LIVE Covid-19: in the Netherlands, at least 13 passengers arriving from South Africa positive for the Omicron variant

The Covid-19 pandemic in Francedossier

Fifth wave, new variant, third dose, epidemic assessment, new treatments against the virus … Find the latest information on the health crisis linked to the Covid-19 pandemic.

In summary

– The WHO classified a new variant as “worrisome” on Friday: Omicron. First detected in South Africa on Wednesday, it is causing concern because it could become more contagious and escape vaccines. Analysis is being carried out to determine the real danger. Without delay, many countries suspended their air connections with southern Africa. This does not prevent Omicron cases from multiplying on the European continent over the weekend, although none have yet been detected in France.

– The Minister of Health, Olivier Véran, detailed this Thursday the different measures aimed at dealing with the fifth wave of Covid-19 that is affecting France. While the third dose was opened for everyone over the age of 18 this Saturday, as early as five months after the last injection or infection, reservations for a reminder are increasing on dating platforms.

– In schools, the rule “1 case of Covid = closed class” is over. As of this Monday, a new protocol comes into force to limit the number of closings, while about 9,000 classes currently have closed doors. From now on, there will no longer be a class closure but a screening of all students if any case is detected.


An additional case of omicron on the other side of the Rhine. The German authorities confirmed this Sunday a third airline of the new variant, a traveler who arrived on November 21 from South Africa at the Frankfurt airport. This person “is fully vaccinated, he developed symptoms during the week and that is why he was tested” for the virus, he added, specifying that this person had been placed in isolation at his home.

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At least 13 positive passengers of the omicron variant in the Netherlands. They had arrived in Amsterdam on Friday on two planes from South Africa. 13 passengers with a positive diagnosis of Covid-19 are carriers of the Omicron variant, Dutch health authorities announced on Sunday. “But the investigation is not over yet. The new variant could be found in other samples, ”the Dutch National Institute of Public Health (RIVM) said in a statement. Among the 590 passengers on the two planes, 61 tested positive for Covid-19, or more than 10%.


In the UK, new restrictions against Omicron from Tuesday. The UK government said on Sunday that new measures to reduce the spread of the Omicron variant will take effect on Tuesday. The use of a mask in transport and in stores will once again be mandatory, stressed Health Minister Sajid Javid. This change comes after the detection on Saturday of two cases of the Omicron variant. Prime Minister Boris Johnson also announced that he will tighten entry measures to curb the spread of this variant, by making it mandatory for “anyone entering the UK to undergo a PCR test” two days after arrival. and isolate herself until she has the result ”.


Castaner optimistic about the third dose. “France is among the first countries in the world in terms of vaccination and France will be, I have no doubt, one of the first countries in the world in terms of recall rate”, declared the head of the deputies of La République running on BFMTV this Sunday at noon. “We have done everything so that coercion weighs on those who refuse to be vaccinated because there is, in my opinion, a form of irresponsibility” when we reject the vaccine, Castaner said.


By referendum, the Swiss say “yes” to the health pass. Called to the polls this Sunday in the middle of the fifth wave of Covid-19, Swiss citizens responded favorably to the Covid law allowing the establishment of the health pass, according to the first estimates published by the survey institute gfs.bern. Opponents of the health pass, who had launched the referendum, would not have surprisingly lost the vote, since the polls carried out before the referendum had always given a clear majority to the yes field. Only the right-wing populist UDC party, the country’s main political party, asked for a vote against the law.


Doubts remain about the dangerousness of Omicron. “We can fear that this new variant is at least as contagious as delta,” Olivier Véran estimated this Sunday morning, although in his eyes this does not “change the situation” of current health policy. “All researchers are working hard to see if this variant has elements that should be of concern to us. When in doubt, we act as if this variant were dangerous ”.


For Véran, the Omicron variant is surely already present in France. During a visit to a vaccination center in Paris, the Minister of Health considered that “since [ce variant] circulating among our neighbors, it is likely that it is already circulating among us ”. Its detection on French soil is “most likely a matter of hours.” A concern that translates into the maintenance of certain restrictions: “I signed an order this morning that extends until Tuesday night at least the ban on flights from South Africa to France,” says Véran. On Saturday night a strengthening of the health protocol was decreed for people with contact cases of the new variant, who must imperatively isolate themselves, even if they are vaccinated.


Israel closes its borders against the Omicron variant. Israel, where a case has been confirmed in a traveler returning from Malawi, will prohibit from Sunday night the entry of foreigners to its territory and will impose on its vaccinated nationals a PCR test and three days of quarantine (seven for the unvaccinated ). The country had just reopened its borders on November 1 and is preparing to celebrate eight days during the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah.


In Portugal, a first division football match interrupted by the virus. With fourteen players absent due to Covid-19, the Belenenses club was forced to line up a team made up of just nine footballers to face Benfica’s eleven on Saturday night. The team was forced to initiate several young players from the reserve, as well as a goalkeeper repositioned as an impromptu fielder. It was 7-0 at the break, only seven Belenenses players returned to the pitch after the break and one of them remained on the ground after the restart. Upon noticing his injury, the referee was forced to declare the early end of the match in the 48th minute of play, soccer laws stipulate that no match can continue “if any of the teams has fewer than seven players.”


Switzerland votes on your health pass. At the end of a heated electoral campaign, Swiss citizens are summoned this Sunday to vote on the law that creates the health certificate. A sign of unusual tensions in the country, the police have blocked the square in front of the government and parliament headquarters in Bern in anticipation of protests. However, according to polls, the population should accept the law even if antivax and antipass have made their voices heard in recent weeks by organizing numerous demonstrations, sometimes prohibited and peppered with violence. The Swiss also voted Sunday on a popular initiative on nursing care calling on the Confederation to guarantee “adequate remuneration” for care services.


Omicron variant cases detected worldwide. Despite the interruption of air links with many countries, the new variant already seems to be present on several continents. The Czech Republic confirmed its first case on Saturday night, in a woman, vaccinated and with mild symptoms, who had traveled to Namibia, before returning to the Czech Republic via South Africa and Dubai. Thousands of kilometers away, Australia announced this Sunday morning that it had detected the presence of Omicron in two passengers from southern Africa who landed in Sydney. The two passengers traveled on a Qatar Airways flight via Doha, according to Australian health authorities. Cases have already been identified in Belgium, Germany, the United Kingdom and Italy, as well as in Israel and Hong Kong. Checks are being carried out in the Netherlands and Denmark.


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