The Omicron variant a few days after its discovery in South Africa has crossed the borders of all continents, from Europe to Australia, from Asia to America, where the first cases in Canada were confirmed yesterday evening.
“a race against time” to understand more and adopt the right countermeasures, underlines the president of the EU Commission Ursula von der Leyen while London, the current president of the G7, has called for today an “emergency meeting” of the ministers of the Group health.
Nations are returning to arm themselves and close their borders, the specter of 2020 returns: Israel, Morocco and Japan have completely closed their borders, several European countries – including Italy – have closed them only to some African countries. South Africa, on the other hand, does not close, but is evaluating the hypothesis of compulsory vaccination.
On the variant, scientists are working to understand how it developed, how dangerous it is in terms of disease severity and how far it can bypass current vaccines. We have to wait a couple of weeks for certain answers.
For South African doctors, the first to study it, the symptoms of the infected are “mild”, but its numerous mutations (perhaps 10, compared to 2 of the Delta and 3 of the Beta) make it a hybrid never seen before and worthy of the best attention . And the government has launched an appeal, also reiterated by the WHO, to avoid a “punitive” ban on flights.
CLOSURES – In the meantime, the governments are committed not to frustrate the efforts made so far. Israel and Japan have closed their borders, Morocco has suspended incoming flights for two weeks.
In Europe, Great Britain has the longest red list of southern African countries from which travel is prohibited, but in London they want to strengthen their defenses. In the Kingdom, three cases of Omicron have been recorded and at stake there is the possibility of “enjoying Christmas with families”, underlined the Minister of Health Sajid Javid. the obligation to test for all arrivals, with quarantine until the result.
In the Old Continent the variant is spreading to more and more countries, all the positives are arriving from southern Africa: Denmark has joined Belgium, the Czech Republic, Italy and Germany, there is a suspected case in Austria. Then there is Holland, where there are almost certainly several dozen cases of Omicron (at least 13 confirmed) among passengers on two return flights from South Africa. The semi-confinement has just started in the Netherlands, with the closure of restaurants, bars, non-essential shops, cinemas from 5 to 5: a decisive crackdown before the arrival of Omicron.
In the US “it will inevitably hit”, underlined the virologist Antony Fauci, pointing the finger at a stagnant vaccination rate that risks leading to a “fifth wave”. In South Africa, since Omicron was detected, the positivity rate has jumped to 9.2%.
LOCATELLI – “Worry” about the Omicron variant “seems to me a very excessive term”. To say it is Franco Locatelli, coordinator of the Cts in Buongiorno on SkyTG24. “We know – he adds – that this is a variant that has had an important diffusion in South Africa, the time it took to become predominant is greatly reduced compared to the other variants, there was an increase of almost 260% of cases in that Country: everything supports a greater contagiousness. But we have no evidence that it can cause more serious disease or escape the protective effect of vaccines in an important way “.
VACCINES – On the vaccine front, the administration of first doses in Italy is once again increasing. Yesterday 28,385, Saturday 28,018, Friday 25,607, compared to an average of just over 17 thousand inoculations per day last week. Effect of the reinforced Green pass and fears for the new mutation.
In the meantime, we continue to push on the third doses. “87.5% of people received the first dose, 85% completed the cycle. While we take the third dose we must also recover the people who have not been vaccinated ”, said Health Minister Roberto Speranza.
(Unioneonline / L)
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