The United Kingdom, faced with a meteoric spread of the Omicron variant, registered more than 122,000 additional cases of Covid-19 on Friday, a new record since the start of the pandemic.
The country, one of the worst affected in Europe by the pandemic, recorded 137 additional deaths in 24 hours, for a total of 147,857, but also 1,171 hospitalizations, marking an acceleration while this data, closely monitored, remained during the little changed hour. . Every nation in the UK is responsible for health matters. So far, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland have announced stricter restrictions that will take effect after Christmas. For England, the Boris Johnson government is procrastinating, relying in particular on studies showing a lower risk of hospitalization with the Omicron variant compared to the dominant Delta until recently. The authorities fear, however, that despite a seriously lower risk, the number of cases is so high that it puts insurmountable pressure on the hospital system. Welcoming these studies as “a beacon of hope for Christmas”, the director of the British health security agency, Jenny Harries, explained that the authorities were monitoring their decisions about the impact of the epidemic on hospitals, but also in society as a whole and in particular in the workforce. In London, one in 20 people had Covid-19 a week ago, according to estimates. Many sectors are now being hit hard, leading to business closures and transportation cancellations.
Chile will administer 4th dose of vaccine from February
Chile will administer a fourth dose of coronavirus vaccine starting in February, starting with risk categories before extending the measure to the rest of the population, announced President Sebastián Piñera. “The main concern and priority is to protect the life and health of our compatriots,” he said this Thursday during an event marking the first anniversary of Chile’s launch of its vaccination campaign against Covid-19.
The first to receive the booster vaccine will be healthcare workers, the elderly and people with chronic diseases.
The country already has the required doses, said Piñera.
The Minister of Health, Enrique Paris, justified this decision stating that local studies “really show that there is a drop in the level of antibodies” that fight the virus six months after the last dose.
At least 16.5 million of the 19.2 million Chileans have a full two-dose vaccination schedule, or more than 86% of the population.
The country has registered 1.7 million cases and 38,954 deaths, including 54 in the last 24 hours.
Since the beginning of December, the vaccination campaign has been extended to children from the age of three.
At least two other countries, Israel and Brazil, have announced campaigns to deliver a fourth dose of the vaccine to their immunosuppressed populations.
The United States will reopen borders to travelers from eight African countries
The United States will lift travel restrictions in eight African countries that were imposed to curb the spread of the Omicron variant on Dec. 31, after just over a month, a White House spokesman on Twitter said Friday. People from South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique and Malawi are currently prohibited from reaching US soil, a decision that was announced on November 26 “out of excess of caution,” the White House recalled.
The US executive assures, in a statement sent by a senior White House official, that “two essential reasons” decided to lift the restrictions.
First, the observation that “current vaccines effectively protect against a severe form (of Covid-19) related to Omicron, especially after a booster dose.”
Then the fact that “international travelers from these countries will not have a significant impact on the number of cases in the United States,” now that the Omicron variant is widely present in the country.
The implementation and then maintenance of these travel restrictions, which weigh only in southern Africa as the new variant spreads at high speed around the world, drew much criticism from the Biden administration.
South Africa ends contact tracing
South Africa has decided to end the tracking of contact cases of people who tested positive for Covid-19, believing that the majority of the population has already been in contact with the virus. “The tracking of contact cases will be stopped, with immediate effect, except in the case of clusters or positive cases in closed places,” such as schools, prisons, nursing homes or large concentrations, according to a circular from the General Directorate of Health. sent Thursday night to provincial officials. These contact persons should be attentive to the appearance of fever or symptoms and only in this case go for the test, the government recommends. And for five to seven days, avoid crowded places, be sure to wear a mask, and respect distancing more consistently.
“The proportion of people who have developed immunity, either by infection or by vaccination, is high,” says the health authority.
The number of asymptomatic is high and only a small proportion of infections are confirmed by tests in the country, adds the circular.
Contact cases no longer need to be evaluated unless they begin to develop symptoms, on the other hand, positive cases must be isolated for ten days, specifies this circular. At the end of these ten days, they will no longer need to be evaluated and will be able to resume their normal activity, estimates the circular.
South Africa is officially the most affected country on the continent, with almost 3.4 million positive cases analyzed, out of a total population of 59 million and more than 90,000 deaths.
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