It is maximum alert for the variante Omicron, the new Covid mutation identified in South Africa thus renamed by the World Health Organization. After theHim-her-it classified it as “worrying” and that the University of Oxford has expressed fear that vaccines are “almost certainly” less effective against him, many countries are starting to impose new restrictions before it is too late. Pfizer and Moderna let it be known that they are already at work, but the first case of Omicron variant identified in Belgium makes Europe tremble. In England Boris Johnson’s government has confirmed the first two coronavirus cases linked to the new Omicron variant across the UK: they were ascertained in Nottingham and Chelmsford, Essex. Discovered “last night”, they are “connected”, and both are self-isolating along with their families, while further tests are carried out. “This is a reminder that the pandemic is far from over,” explained Health Secretary Sajid Javid, adding that targeted tests are underway in the areas of the two reported cases: Chelmsford, north east London, and Nottingham. , in the center of England.
The results of the checks in progress on the other suspicious episodes reported are then awaited. Three are in Germany: the first in Hesse concerns a person who also had a double vaccination; but there are still two other cases among the passengers on the last Lufthansa flight from Kapstadt that landed last night in Munich. “A person returning from South Africa yesterday found several typical Omicron mutations. There is a very strong suspicion and the person has been placed in home quarantine ”, the Minister for Social Affairs of the Land of Hesse Kai Klose said in a tweet. The first suspected case was also identified in the Czech Republic of the Omicron variant: the prime minister, Andrej Babiš, explained that it is a woman who traveled to Namibia and then passed through South Africa and Dubai returning to the Czech Republic. And to the Netherlands, sixty-one people arrived in Amsterdam, in the past few hours from South Africa have resulted positive al Covid. These are the passengers of two KLM flights, on board of which there was a total of 600 people: specific tests are underway here too to clarify if it is the Omicron In these hours, in fact, many people are rushing to take the remaining flights before travel bans were imposed in several countries of southern Africa.
The European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (Ecdc) has made it known that the risk level associated with the Omicron variant for the EU is “high or very high”. In a report released on Friday evening on the new Covid strain detected in Southern Africa, we read that the variant is the “least similar” one among those examined during the pandemic. In fact, from the first studies, it emerged that it has 32 mutations of the Spike protein that could theoretically increase its transmissibility and the ability to evade antibodies. In the meantime, in the last 24 hours in Russia 1,239 people have died due to Covid compared to 1,235 the day before, bringing the total death toll to 271,531. The relative lethality of the virus in the country remains at 2.85%.
The governor of the New York state, Kathy Hochul announced that it will come into effect from next Friday, December 3 state of emergency. “We continue to see signs of an increase this winter and, although the new Omicron variant has not been taken over in New York, is coming“, He said explaining that the decision is linked to a number of infections in New York State which has returned to growth at levels never seen since last April. The goal is to increase bed capacity in New York hospitals and address the problem of hospital staff shortages.
Precisely for this reason the twelfth ministerial conference of theWorld Trade Organization (WTO) which was to take place next week in Geneva was postponed: the EU ambassador to the WTO, Joao Aguiar Machado, explained that “it was not an easy but right choice”. The EU, he said in a tweet, 2 remains committed to working together to fight this virus and with WTO members for a future ministerial conference that is a success “. Already on Friday the Biden administration had banned entry into the US from eight African states: the US CDC, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, confirmed that at the moment there are no cases of the Omicron variant in the US. of Covid as anticipated yesterday by the virologist advisers of the White House Anthony Fauci. The same director of the National Institute of Infectious Diseases in the US, however, added that He “wouldn’t be surprised” if the Omicron variant had already arrived in the United States.
In the meantime, in South Africa the government has activated a task force to monitor the Omicron variant: President Cyril Ramaphosa has anticipated to today (it was scheduled for Sunday) his meeting with the National Command Council for the coronavirus. “The results of this meeting will give indications as to whether or not further coordination council consultations with the president are necessary,” the presidency said in a tweet. “We point out – continues the note from the South African government – that other variants of Covid have been found that have nothing to do with that discovery in southern Africa. Well, the reaction towards the countries in which they were identified was totally different “. The South African government also recalled that the WHO has for the moment advised against restrictive measures in order to favor a “Scientific approach, based on risk”. Meanwhile, the South African Department of Health says it is confident that existing vaccines can also be effective to fight the new viral strain: Health Minister Joe Phaahla avoids talking about further restrictions for South Africans and invites them to get vaccinated.