The World Health Organization has warned that the Omicron coronavirus variant poses a high risk of infection surges around the globe.
The head of the organisation, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus in a statement renewed a call for a global push to get vaccines to poorer nations.
He said variant could lead to severe consequences in some regions.
Dr Tedros said scientists around the world are working to discover if the new variant is associated with higher transmission, risk of reinfection and how it reacts to vaccines.
He said that no deaths have been linked to the new variant yet.
Meanwhile, cases of the new Coronavirus variant have already been reported in Canada, the UK, Portugal, Belgium and the Netherlands.
Japan has announced that it is closing its borders to new foreign visitors from midnight today, while Australia has paused its long-awaited plan to ease border restrictions.
Israel has also banned foreigners from entering the country.