The new omicron variant is already in at least 20 countries. Every hour that passes, new cases are confirmed in Europe, so far there are 42 infections in 10 EU countries. Although Dutch scientists say that the new covid mutation was in the region long before it was detected in South Africa.
The situation has led many European governments to impose travel restrictions. Spain has been the last, it will suspend flights from several countries in southern Africa from this Thursday until December 15. The World Health Organization (WHO) is committed to other measures.
“We must continue with the measures that we already know. Use masks whenever possible and advisable while in a room with more than one person, ventilate the room if possible, as often as possible, maintaining hand and hygiene hygiene. all oral hygiene in these circumstances, “explained Christian Lindmeier, spokesman for the WHO, an entity that has rejected the sanitary fence imposed on African nations after the detection of the new strain, calling the measure” ineffective. “
The arrival of the omicron variant forces countries to step on the accelerator in their vaccination campaigns. The United Kingdom has set the month of January as the deadline for all adults to receive the third booster dose against covid.
The British Executive will recruit thousands of volunteers and will deploy at least 400 members of the Army to collaborate with health personnel in the new mass vaccination plan, which will begin with the oldest and most vulnerable people.
However, vaccination is not mandatory as it is in the case of Austria, which also prolongs its general quarantine to 20 days.
In Greece, on the other hand, those over 60 will have to be vaccinated against the virus as of January 16 or a fine will be added to their tax return.
Despite the fact that there is still no evidence that omicron is more dangerous, pharmaceutical companies are studying whether their vaccines against covid lose their effectiveness against this variant.
Ómicron was detected in the Netherlands a week earlier than in South Africa
The Netherlands detected the first case of the omicron variant in a sample on November 19, a week before South Africa sounded the alarm, which comes amid growing concern about the rise in infections in the country. where 155,000 positives have been registered in the last week.
The Netherlands Institute of Public Health (RIVM) analyzed two suspicious samples collected for PCR on November 19 and 23 because they showed an abnormality in the SARS-CoV-2 peak protein, and genomic sequence analysis confirmed that This is the omicron variant detected and announced by South Africa on Thursday, November 25.
Now the municipal health services (GGD) are investigating sources and contacts of the two cases to determine if the two infections are linked and if those involved have been in South Africa, although the laboratories that have discovered these two cases are now analyzing the test material positives taken in the last three months.
One of these people had not traveled to southern Africa, so “probably contracted the virus in the Netherlands,” according to RIVM virologist Chantal Reusken.
Regardless of where this new variant of SARS-CoV-19 may have originated, fears are now that the omicron variant has been circulating in the Netherlands for a considerable time, long before South Africa on Thursday gave the voice of alarm.
On Friday, the Netherlands announced a suspension of flights from several southern African countries due to fears of this variant.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.