The Omicron variant scares Europe. From Germany, where the chancellor in pectoris he said he was in favor of the vaccination obligation and the situation of infections and intensive care is so dramatic as to require the transfer of patients abroad (also in Lombardy), to Greece, where the compulsory inoculations for the over 60, countries are looking for the necessary countermeasures to deal with the fourth wave. With the further threat of a variant against which there are still no adequate countermeasures. However, very reassuring data arrives from Israel, according to which the vaccines we already have would be sufficient against the Omicron variant, provided that we have made the booster.
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November 30, 2021
First data from Israel: with 3 doses protected by Omicron
The first data show that with 3 doses of Pfizer vaccine you are protected by the Omicron variant. Israeli health minister Nitzan Horowitz said so. «The situation – he explained quoted by Times of Israel – is under control and there is no reason to panic. We were expecting a new variant and we are ready … In the coming days we will have more precise information on the efficacy of the vaccine but the first indications show that those who have a booster are most likely protected against this variant ».
The statements by Spallanzani of Rome also go in this direction at the end of a teleconference between the task force for the study of variants of the Institute and the colleagues of the NICD (National Institute of Infectious Diseases of South Africa): “The epidemiological data shown are not currently able to suggest or confirm a possible increase in infections among vaccinated people. It is therefore possible that the vaccines currently in use maintain their protective capacity against serious disease even in the presence of the new variant “.
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As of November 30, there are 44 confirmed cases of the Omicron variant of Sars-CoV-2 reported by 11 EU and European Economic Area (SEE) countries: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, France (Reunion), Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and Sweden. The European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (Ecdc) takes stock, in the latest epidemiological update released today.
“Numerous probable cases have also been reported throughout the region, but they are still under investigation – the body pointed out – Most of the confirmed cases have a history of travel to African countries, some have taken connections in other destinations between Africa and Europe “. Another important element reported by the ECDC is that “all cases for which information on severity is available were asymptomatic or had mild symptoms”. So far “no serious cases or deaths have been reported among these cases.” Cases of Omicron outside the EU / See are currently being reported by 9 countries and territories: Australia, Botswana, Canada, Hong Kong, Israel, Japan, South Africa, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.
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Germany and vaccination obligation
From Germany, one of the European countries most in difficulty in the face of this fourth wave, the German Chancellor in pectoris Olaf Scholz expressed himself in favor of the general obligation for the anticovid vaccine, during the consultation between the State and the Regions in which he participates together with Angela Merkel. “It is important to establish a general obligation to vaccinate,” he said according to reports from some German media, including Spiegel. The problem, then, is that the intensive care units in Germany are overloaded. Thus, in the German state of Baden-Württemberg, people are preparing for transfers of patients to other countries. “We have prepared today, if necessary, for transfers abroad,” Baden-Württemberg Minister of Health Manne Lucha (Verdi) told the dpa, quoted by Stimme. Several states have already offered to accept Covid ICU patients from Baden-Württemberg. These include Switzerland and, in Italy, Lombardy.
France, 47,000 infections in one day: “The situation is getting worse, intensify the calls”
The health situation “is worsening” said today the French Minister of Health, Olivier Véran, with an average of daily infections that could soon exceed that of the peak of the third wave of the Covid-19 epidemic. In the last 24 hours, Véran said, there have been 47,000 infections, and this “confirms the increase in the spread of the virus on the national territory, with a weekly average that exceeds 30,000 infections per day”. The minister specified that vaccination makes it possible to limit the number of serious cases, hospitalizations, resuscitations and deaths: “this currently protects our country – he said – and this is also the usefulness of the health pass (the green pass French)”. “But – he added – the number of serious cases continues to rise: 1,700 patients are in intensive care and resuscitation services, so we need to expand the recall campaign”.
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Record infections in Switzerland
The Swiss government is preparing a new squeeze in anti-covid measures, in the face of the growth in infections that exceeded the incidence of one thousand cases per hundred thousand inhabitants and the new potential risks of the omicron variant. The package includes the extension of the obligation of the mask and the green pass. The green passport will also be required for private meetings with more than 10 people.
In the last 24 hours, 8,422 new cases of covid-19, 22 deaths and 138 hospitalizations have been recorded in Switzerland. This was reported by data from the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPE). The incidence has now exceeded a thousand cases: over a period of 14 days there are 1014.67 infections per 100 thousand inhabitants. Over the last 24 hours, the results of 52,625 tests were transmitted, with a positive rate of 16%. The total number of infections in the past two weeks is 88,371. 65.67% of the population is vaccinated with two doses. Since the start of the pandemic, there have been 1,014,645 cases recorded and 11,149 deaths.
Greece, vaccine obligation for over 60s
But there are those who have already started the vaccination obligation. Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has announced mandatory vaccination against Covid-19 for all Greeks over the age of 60. Those who refuse will have to pay a monthly fine of 100 euros for each month they are not vaccinated, starting January 16. Funds raised from the fines will be donated to Greek hospitals fighting the pandemic. Bloomberg reports it. “It’s not a punishment,” said Mitsotakis, “I’d say it’s a health tax.”
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Vienna Cathedral becomes vaccination hub
The cathedral becomes a vaccination hub for the pandemic emergency. It happens in Austria, where due to the enormous demand, St. Stephen’s Cathedral in Vienna is available to people who get vaccinated six days a week. Despite the blockade in place in Austria, the demand for vaccinations against Covid is very high, as reported by the health service of the Order of Malta and the Order of the Hospitallers of St. John, who commissioned the campaign. Since August, exactly 17,817 doses of vaccine have been administered in the Barbara Chapel, of which 10,123 since the beginning of November and 2,872 just last weekend. The activity does not interfere with the cathedral’s program: the six weekday masses and nine festive masses that are celebrated, with songs and prayers, help and contribute to the success of the vaccination service. Vaccination against Covid, Sir recalls, is also underway in other churches throughout Austria.
The mask is back in the UK
The UK, meanwhile, reintroduces the use of indoor masks like Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales. The mask will be required in shops and on public transport. From today also the obligation of tests for all arrivals on the island, to contain the Omicron variant of Covid. Health Secretary Sajid Javid said the new restrictions will help ensure that people can “enjoy Christmas with their families.” Javid said the government has acted “quickly” and “in a proportionate manner” and will take further action “in a proportionate manner where necessary”, although at the moment, he explained, it is not necessary to work from home. And he said he hoped the new squeeze could be lifted in the space of a few weeks.
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November 30, 2021
Putin asks the government for an action plan within 7 days
Russian President Vladimir Putin has asked the government to prepare an action plan within a week to address the spread of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus. It is important, he added, to have medicines and oxygen available, as well as leaving hospital beds available for patients. “First of all, it is necessary to constantly monitor the effectiveness of tests and vaccines, use clear algorithms to reduce the spread of the infection,” he said speaking to an economic forum. In the last 24 hours, the Russian coronavirus task force reported 33,860 new cases and 1,209 deaths.