In response to the emergence of the omicron coronavirus variant, many countries are introducing or considering additional restrictions. In France, everyone, even those who have been vaccinated, will be quarantined after exposure to the new variant. Great Britain tightens epidemic control rules, and Switzerland imposes restrictions on travelers. Calls for COVID-19 vaccines are also mounting. Germany does not rule out restrictions on non-vaccinators. Germany in Crisis – Assessments of the head of the local Robert Koch Institute.
The French Ministry of Health said on Saturday that anyone who has been in contact with a confirmed or probable case of the novel Omicron virus variant will be subject to quarantine, even if they have been vaccinated against COVID-19. According to the rules in force in this country so far, if a person has been in contact with a person infected with the Coronavirus, he should self-isolate for seven days only if he has not been vaccinated, or has not been fully vaccinated and/or if he has an immunodeficiency. .
No case of a new variant of SARS-CoV-2 has been confirmed in France.
Great Britain places additional restrictions. PCR tests for visitors and compulsory isolation
The UK government has also responded to the discovery of more cases of the novel coronavirus, which on Saturday announced new restrictions to slow the spread of the omicron variant.
Anyone crossing the UK border will be required to take a PCR test by the end of the second day after arrival. Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced at a press conference in London that, until it turns negative, those will have to self-isolate. In addition, people in contact with the infected will have to undergo a ten-day quarantine. The British Prime Minister also announced the tightening of the rules for wearing masks and the acceleration of the booster vaccination campaign.
Chris Whitty, England’s chief medical officer, who attended a press conference with the prime minister, assessed that concerns about the reduced efficacy of vaccines in the case of the omicron variant were justified.
The first two cases of the new variant coronavirus were identified in the UK on Saturday. Earlier on Thursday evening, the government decided to close the borders to non-nationals from South Africa, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Namibia and Zimbabwe. Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia and Angola will be added to the list on Sunday. British nationals arriving from there will be required to self-quarantine for ten days at a government-designated hotel.
Germany does not rule out restrictions on those not vaccinated against COVID-19
Germany’s health minister, Jens Spahn, has not ruled out imposing long-term restrictions in the country on people who are not immune to COVID-19.
Spahn admitted that he was “fundamentally skeptical” about the idea of introducing compulsory vaccination against COVID19. As a worthwhile alternative, he pointed to the introduction of the so-called principle of 2G in all areas of social life, that is, access to places and services only for vaccinations and convalescence, which will be applied throughout 2022.
He explained that in such a case, the unvaccinated person would “only be allowed to go to the supermarket or office”.
– We can all see what’s happening in the country, because 11 million adults can’t be convinced [do szczepień – red.]Now we all suffer from it, Spahn said. “Germany is perhaps at the most difficult and most dramatic moment in this pandemic,” he said. – It is enough to see what is happening in the hospitals of Saxony, Bavaria, Thuringia, Baden-Württemberg and many others – he pointed out.
Note that the dynamics of vaccination have increased, and over the past week nearly 450,000 people have decided to take the first dose of the vaccine. – However, it is certainly still not enough – argued the minister.
“Germany is in crisis and the solution is vaccination”
Spahn also noted the work of the Bundeswehr air force, which on Friday participated for the first time in a nationwide operation to transport critically ill COVID-19 patients from more stressed areas. They were brought mainly from Bavaria, where there are no beds for patients with coronavirus in intensive care units. – Let’s hope that this situation will serve as a wake-up call for many and make them decide to get vaccinated – said the German Minister of Health.
Robert Koch Institute President Lothar Wheeler said that unless a large proportion of the population is vaccinated against COVID-19, universal mandatory immunization “will become an option to consider”. Germany is in crisis and the solution is vaccination. As a general rule, he added, nothing should be excluded in a crisis situation.
Wheeler noted that in order to break the fourth wave of infections, it is necessary to limit contacts, including canceling mass events, and “close the vaccination gap” as quickly as possible. She also noted the importance of booster vaccination.
However, he was reassured that “when it comes to cellular immunity in particular, I’m of the opinion that it would also work with omicron”. – We are optimistic, [uważamy – red.] The head of the RKI said that with this new type of virus, vaccinated people are not starting from scratch.
Omicron in the United States? Fusei: Although we haven’t figured it out yet, I wouldn’t be surprised
The White House’s chief medical adviser, Anthony Fauci, said Saturday that a new type of Omicron coronavirus already exists in the United States. “Although we haven’t discovered it yet, I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s actually in the United States,” Fauci was quoted as saying by Bloomberg. “Given the high prevalence of the variant, sooner or later it will spread all over the world,” he added.
In South Africa, Omicron appears to have spread very quickly. And his ability to infect people who have already had COVID-19 and even those who have been vaccinated means we need to prepare for something serious, he said.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the State Department on Saturday advised US citizens against travel to South Africa, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Mozambique, Malawi, Lesotho, Eswatini and Botswana. Meanwhile, the President of the United States, Joe Biden, announced on Friday that due to the emergence of a new alternative, he has temporarily decided US borders closed for a South African and seven other travelers from South Africa. This travel ban is expected to go into effect on Monday.
Switzerland imposes restrictions on travelers
Switzerland has also taken steps to contain the spread of the new coronavirus.
Already on Friday, it banned direct flights from South Africa and other countries in the region, and imposed travel restrictions from other countries, including Hong Kong, Israel and Belgium. Entry from these countries will only be possible for Swiss citizens or people who have a residence permit in Switzerland or the Schengen area.
On Saturday, the Federal Office of Public Health said it was decided that travelers from the United Kingdom, Czech Republic, Netherlands, Egypt and Malawi will have to test negative for COVID-19 and undergo a 10-day quarantine for ten days. Twitter. He did not specify whether travel from these countries would also be restricted to Swiss citizens and residents.
The GAVI Alliance wants fairer dose distribution
Seth Barclay, Director General of the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (Gavi), recognized that to avoid the emergence of new types of coronavirus, it was necessary to distribute vaccines more equitably between rich and poor countries. As long as a large proportion of the world’s population remains unvaccinated, new variables will emerge and the epidemic will evolve. We will avoid this only if we are able to protect everyone, not just the richest parts of the world, the epidemiologist said in an interview with Reuters.
Only 3 percent. Residents of countries with a per capita national income of less than US$1,025 have been fully vaccinated. In the case of middle or high income countries, this percentage is 60%. – Remember the newspaper “The Guardian”. As reported, in South Africa, where the omicron variant was first reported on November 24, it was 27 percent. population.
The newspaper added that “for every first dose in the poorest countries, there are six booster doses given in the richest countries.”
Main image source: PAP / EPA / PHILIPP GUELLAND
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