More countries around the world are reporting their first cases of the new version of COVID-19, Omicron. From southern Africa to Canada, Italy, Germany, the United Kingdom, Spain, France via Réunion or the Netherlands, the version is still circulating, with at least one case.
While scientists are trying to determine the degree of dangerousness of this mutant variant, as explained by Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization:
“We do not yet know whether omicron is associated with greater transmission, more severe disease, greater risk of reinfection, or greater risk of avoiding vaccine coverage. WHO scientists and around the world are working to answer these questions. Working immediately.”
“Omicron’s emergence is another reminder that while many of us may think we’re done with COVID-19, it’s not done with us.”
Spain is one of the last countries to report its first confirmed case of Omicron. It was discovered in a traveler who had returned from South Africa on Sunday, the country where the new variant was first detected.
While the majority of Omicron cases reported worldwide are from travelers arriving from overseas, the cases reported in Portugal and Scotland raise concerns that Omicron is already spreading locally. Notably in Portugal, 13 players of a football club were declared infected.
Meanwhile, travel restrictions are increasing: a ban on all incoming flights to Morocco, a ban on the entry of foreign visitors to Israel and Japan. Flight restrictions with many southern African countries. The UK and other countries are requesting that all visitors undergo a PCR test upon arrival and remain in isolation until the test result is negative.
Most of the EU members are also expanding their vaccination programs, like Germany. It should not be forgotten that the delta virus remains the dominant form.
Despite the general concern, the scientists say they are confident and believe that if given time, they can adapt or develop vaccines if necessary to counter the new variant.
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