Concern about the spread of the new variant of Covid-19, “Omicron”

The World Health Organization considers the new variant initially detected in South Africa “worrying”. Named Omicron, the latter was also identified in Hong Kong, Botswana and Israel in a traveler returning from Malawi.

The first European case was identified in Belgium and confirmed on Friday, November 26, by Belgian Health Minister Frank Vandenbroucke. In reaction to the variance, Brussels has decided to completely close its nightclubs, as well as its restaurants and bars at 11pm for the next three weeks.

On Saturday 27 November, the regional authorities of the state of Hesse in Germany announced a first suspected case in a person who had just returned from South Africa.

Border closures to passengers from southern Africa

The United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Russia and Morocco have decided to restrict access to their territories to people from South Africa and neighboring countries.

Several European Union countries, including France, Italy and Germany, have suspended flights from this region of the world.

In addition to South Africa, travel restrictions apply to Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique, and Malawi.

The president of the European Commission recommended suspending air links “until we have a clear idea of ​​the danger posed by this new variant” and added that “travelers returning from this region must respect strict quarantine rules.”

Laboratories already in operation

According to the WHO, this variant would be very contagious due to its multiple mutations.

The German laboratory BioNtech is giving two weeks to estimate if its Pfizer vaccine is effective against this new strain of Covid-19.

The Modern American has announced that it wants to “rapidly develop a candidate vaccine” for a specific booster dose of Omicron.


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