COVID-19: Omicron a “very high” risk according to WHO

COVID-19: Omicron, a 'very high risk' according to WHO

MISE & Agrave; DAY

Paris | The COVID-19 pandemic has soared in recent days, with world contamination records over the past week, and the World Health Organization on Wednesday warned of a “very high” risk linked to the Omicron variant . & nbsp;

More than 935,000 cases of COVID-19 on average were detected every day between 22 and 28 December, a number never reached since the beginning of the pandemic at the end of 2019 which represents an increase of 37% compared to the previous week, according to an AFP count made from official reports.

“The overall risk associated with the new variant of concern Omicron remains very high,” noted the WHO in its weekly epidemiological bulletin, despite preliminary data suggesting a lower risk of hospitalization linked to Omicron.

“Reliable evidence shows that the Omicron variant has a growth advantage over the Delta variant with a doubling rate of two to three days.”

The majority of new contaminations are observed in Europe where several countries recorded on Tuesday new records of daily cases.

– New records –

In France, there are nearly 180,000 cases that have been identified in the last 24 hours. Daily record also in the United Kingdom, with nearly 130,000 contaminations in England and Wales. Spain is also reaching an all-time high level of contamination (almost 100,000) and in Greece the number of cases has more than doubled compared to Monday.

Argentina has also experienced a spectacular spread of the virus, with nearly 34,000 new infections in the last 24 hours, 10,000 more than the day before and six times more than a week ago, but the government has so far ruled out new restrictive measures.

“A rapid rise in Omicron, like the one we are seeing in several countries, even if combined with a slightly less severe illness, will still lead to a large number of hospitalizations, especially among the unvaccinated,” said to AFP Catherine Smallwood, one of the main officials of WHO Europe.

The specialist called for taking preliminary data on a lower risk of hospitalization “with caution”, because, for the Currently, the cases observed mainly concern “young and healthy populations in countries with high vaccination rates”.

U.S. health officials have warned that COVID-19 antigen tests, with rapid results, are less sensitive to the Omicron variant than previous variants and therefore more likely to indicate a negative result despite infection.

As of December 31, President Joe Biden lifted the ban on entry into the United States for travelers from eight countries in southern Africa, the region where this variant appeared, now present throughout the world.

New restrictions

Several countries have put in place new strict restrictions.

China, which records an epidemic outbreak within 40 days of the Beijing Winter Olympics, confined Tuesday tens of thousands of additional people.

After the city of Xi'an (north) submitted For a week at a strict quarantine, tens of thousands of residents of a district of Yan'an city, 300 kilometers from Xi'an, were instructed on Tuesday to stay at home, as businesses were to close./p>

The country of China reported on Tuesday 209 new patients in 24 hours, the highest number for 21 months.

Since Tuesday, Sweden has required a negative Covid test for all travelers arriving on its territory. Finland has decided to go further by allowing entry only to foreign travelers with a negative Covid-19 test and who can prove a full vaccination or past infection.

South Africa, which last week announced the end of the tracing of contact cases of people who tested positive for COVID-19, reversed this decision.

In France, after announcing on Monday the “compulsory” recourse to teleworking “where possible” and the ban on standing concerts, the government decided on Wednesday to extend the nightclub closure for three weeks in January in effect since December 10. New isolation rules for patients and their contacts must be set there by the weekend. & Nbsp;

And in Germany, a new set of measures came into effect on Tuesday, such as banning private meetings of more than ten vaccinated or cured people. For the unvaccinated, the limit drops to two members of different outbreaks. All sports competitions will take place behind closed doors.

In a judgment published on Tuesday, the German Constitutional Court ordered the state to take legislative measures to protect access to intensive care for people with disabilities in the event of medical “triage” imposed by the pandemic.

In Belgium, the Council of State, the highest administrative court, on Tuesday suspended the recent government decision to close theaters and performance halls, considering that the need had not been demonstrated.

< p> In two years since the discovery of the virus, more than 282 million cases of COVID-19 have been officially detected worldwide, for more than 5.4 million deaths. According to the WHO, the death toll linked to COVID-19 could, taking into account the excess mortality directly and indirectly linked to Covid-19, be two to three times higher.

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