Science

Viruses: reduced isolation in the United States, air traffic still disrupted – Sciences et Avenir

The United States has halved the duration of the quarantine of people infected by Covid-19, and asymptomatic, in order to stop the disturbances, especially in the air, caused by the increase in pollution, which led to restrictions in Germany this Tuesday.

Since Friday, some 11,500 flights have been canceled and tens of thousands postponed until the end of the year, a period when air connections are usually the busiest. Many companies explain these contingencies by infections with the Omicron variant among crews.

The entire world has been affected, with around 3,000 flights already canceled on Monday and another 1,100 on Tuesday, according to flight-tracking site FlightAware.

The pandemic gives rise to rare situations in the air, such as when Delta Airlines decided to return a plane flying to Shanghai back to Seattle, in the northwestern United States, last week due to new restrictions. , as the US company explained to AFP on Monday. It has also received criticism from the Chinese authorities.

– Reduction “justified by science” –

In order to allow more people to return to work faster and thus avoid the prospect of lockdowns and shortages, the US health authorities have authorized the reduction of the duration of isolation from ten to five days for people positive to Covid., Provided they are asymptomatic. .

They are advised to wear the mask for five days after quarantine.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the United States’ main health agency, said in a statement that the change was “justified by science,” according to which most infections occur within two days before and three days. after the onset of symptoms.

The quarantine period for unvaccinated contact cases is also shortened from 14 to 5 days, with the advice to wear a mask strictly within five days. According to these recommendations, fully vaccinated contact cases do not need self-isolation.

Omicron, much more transmissible but which appears to cause less severe symptoms, is now the majority in the United States.

And the number of cases is increasing dramatically in the most devastated country in the world, with more than 800,000 deaths.

On Monday morning, President Joe Biden acknowledged that some hospitals across the country were “overwhelmed in terms of equipment and staff,” but asked Americans not to “panic.”

In France, the government will establish new isolation rules for patients and their contacts “at the end of the week, once consultations are completed” with scientific bodies, Prime Minister Jean Castex announced on Monday.

“It will be a question both of tailoring these durations by variant and here again of putting less pressure on vaccinated people,” he said.

It has also implemented new measures (teleworking, gauges for large concentrations) in the face of increased pollution, the threshold of 100,000 new daily cases having been crossed for the first time in France on Saturday.

– Limited contacts in Germany –

On the German side, it is the restrictions announced on December 21 that come into effect on Tuesday, with in particular limiting contact, even between vaccinated people, to a maximum of ten guests for New Year’s celebrations. falls to two guests maximum, then specified the new chancellor Olaf Scholz.

In Sweden, a negative Covid test is mandatory starting this Tuesday for all travelers upon arrival in the territory.

In China, which is preparing for the Winter Olympics (February 4-20) and has applied a “Covid zero strategy” since last year, the city of Xi’an (north) has pledged to impose the measures ” more stringent, “after screening several hundred Covid cases.

City residents have been forced to stay home since Thursday, with the right to go out only once every three days to refuel.

The Covid-19 pandemic has killed at least 5,398,049 people worldwide since the WHO office in China reported the onset of the disease at the end of December 2019 in this country, according to a report prepared this Monday by AFP from official sources. The World Health Organization estimates that the real cost could be two to three times higher.

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