Health ministers of G7 countries meet urgently this Monday, 19 November in a crisis situation facing the variant Omicron, which is growing rapidly. Eight “probable” cases were detected in France. People who have been to Southern Africa in the last 14 days.
Since the discovery of the Omicron type of coronavirus, it has spread widely around the world. The list of countries where Omicron has been detected on Monday continued to grow, especially in Europe. The 14th case has been reported in the Netherlands among travelers coming from South Africa. The first cases of the variant were also found in Portugal, Austria and Scotland. The thirteen cases of Kovid-19 identified on Saturday among footballers of Portuguese club Belenense SAD are the first “linked” in Portugal, according to the National Institutes of Health (INSA). Six cases of the Omicron version of the coronavirus have been detected in Scotland for the first time, some not related to overseas travel, the Scottish government said on Monday, ahead of new restrictions in the UK being implemented. According to the Austrian government, variation has also been reported in Austria in a person who has recently traveled to South Africa.
The Scientific Council held a press conference on Monday 29 November. The President of the Scientific Council, Jean-François Delfraissy, emphasized the lack of information currently available to the scientific community on the new Omicron version. ,Priorities are not going to change. The progress of the fifth wave should be slow. Everything we do is useful to slow Omicron’s circulation: the same equipment will be deployed. What we are doing to curb Delta will be useful in slowing down Omicron traffic.”, he explained.
Eight “probable” cases of Omicron type contamination in France
The Omicron version could have arrived in France. Olivier Veran, who was visiting the vaccination center for the 18th convention in Paris on Monday, reacted to the concerns raised by this new edition. ,As it spreads among our neighbors, chances are it is already circulating among us“, he clarified.
In France, the Ministry of Health has indicated that 8 probable cases have been identified in the national territory. The sequence of tests of these patients will be done rapidly. ,As soon as these probable cases were identified, and even before sequencing results were received, measures were implemented to identify and isolate potential cases and their contact persons at risk”.assures the ministry.
,We test them, and we see if people are positive for COVID”, he explained. ,These diagnoses will be transferred to sequencing, and we will know in the next few hours if there are any positive cases of the Omicron variant. At this point in time, we are on the possible cases.”
Is it more virulent than other variants?
“It’s too good to say”, explain the members of the Scientific Council.
Classified by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a “worrisome” variant this Friday, 26 November, this new variant identified in South Africa is particularly viral. The WHO estimates that the risk associated with the Omicron version of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus is “very high” globally, especially because of the high probability that it spreads around the world.
In a technical note addressed to its 194 member states, which was made public overnight, the organization stressed that many specific mutations of this type make it possible to avoid or even avoid an immune response (post-vaccination or post-infection). That can give an advantage to avoid increased transmittance. suggesting a “high” risk of further spreading globally.
Should we be worried about the new Omicron version?
On the severity of the virus, “we could actually read in the media that, perhaps, this new variant would be associated with more benign forms. But it is too early to confirm this and to know what is the nature of the gravitational omicron matter “, Scientific Council member Arnaud Fontainet.
But the Minister of Solidarity and Health was keen to stay on course and change his priority: “This does not affect the dynamics of the pandemic that we know of. We have about 30,000 cases a day of the delta variant. Today we have an enemy, the Delta variant.”
Borders closing in front of new version
France announced the closure of its air borders with some countries in southern Africa until Friday, 26 November.
For its part, Israel has banned the entry of foreign nationals into its territory since Sunday. Morocco has suspended all its tourist flights from Monday and for at least two weeks.
The United Kingdom announced that new restrictions will go into effect from Tuesday, November 30, to reduce the spread of the Omicron variant, including the wearing of masks and tightening entry measures into the country. Japan will also close its borders with all countries from this Wednesday, December 1.
The WHO, however, said on Sunday, 28 November, “borders remain open”, while travel restrictions in African countries are increasing.
“WHO stands with African countries and calls for borders to remain open,” the organization said in a statement, calling on countries to “take a scientific approach” based on a “risk assessment”.
“In Europe we have never completely closed borders”
The government calls on Europe not to close borders. ,We will wait to see the development of the situation, but in Europe we have never completely closed the borders and we are not going to close the borders within Europe.”, assured the Secretary of State for European Affairs, Clement Beaune, on Monday, 29 November at France Inter. “PAt the moment, we must be careful and honest, we do not know the features of this Omicron version “, He said, however, given that we would have, “European circulation preserved as much as possible”.
Australia on Monday postponed its plan to reopen the borders to students and skilled workers, citing uncertainties that still surround the dangerousness and transmission potential of the Omicron variant. The Philippines, for its part, has suspended its plans to reopen the borders to fully vaccinated tourists. These reopenings were initially scheduled for 1 December in both countries.
Singapore and Malaysia eased restrictions on their land borders on Monday after nearly two years of closing the crossing between the two Southeast Asian countries, one of the world’s busiest. Singaporeans and Malaysians who have been vaccinated and who benefit from permanent resident status and work permits in these countries can as of Monday cross the one-kilometre bridge between them without being put into a quarantine.
“Sad” that some African countries follow the wind of panic
South Africa, where the new version of Covid-19 dubbed Omicron was detected, on Monday deemed it “sad” and “regrettable” that some African countries are following the wind of panic and imposing travel restrictions on the continent .
Thursday’s announcement by scientists who detected the variant in the southern African country provoked a reaction from several countries such as France, the United States or the Philippines, which, within hours, decided to ban their territory to travelers from southern Africa . “It is quite unfortunate, unfortunate, and I would even say sadly that African countries have imposed travel restrictions.Foreign Ministry spokesman Claeson Monella said in an online press conference organized by the Ministry of Health.
In Africa, Angola, Mauritius, Rwanda and Seychelles have stopped flights from South Africa. “What I don’t understand is that some African countries that do this are causing difficulties for the continent when European countries make such a decision.”, Mr. Monella explained.
Consequences on the economy of South Africa
South Africa fears the consequences on its economy and tourism in particular. This restrictionshould be canceled immediately”, he continued, recalling that South Africa had recentlyenough donationVaccines for some countries that currently have flight restrictions.
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