Covid: the Omicron variant is blowing a wind of panic on the planet

First postponement announced because of the Omicron variant: the ministerial conference of the World Trade Organization scheduled for Geneva from Monday.

© Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP

Text by: RFI Follow

3 min

The appearance of a new variant in South Africa has been causing panic around the world in recent days.

Some countries, especially in Europe, have announced a strengthening of measures to fight the Covid pandemic.

Omicron, the new variant considered worrying by the World Health Organization, caused the fall of the financial centers in the world.

The price of oil has not escaped this phenomenon and now the whole world is preparing to face the arrival of this variant which could prove to be even more contagious and perhaps more resistant than the Delta variant.


Read more

For more than 24 hours, decisions to close the borders to flights from southern Africa, and South Africa in particular, have multiplied.

These are the first measures taken to try to slow down the arrival of this new variant.

The United States, Canada and Brazil have decided to suspend flights from this region.

A decision also taken by many European countries when the first cases were detected on the old continent: the first in Belgium on a traveler returning from Egypt.

A first suspected case of the Omicron variant has also been detected in Germany.

About 60 passengers on a flight from South Africa also tested positive on arrival in Amsterdam;

research is underway to find out if this is the new variant.

Russia also intends to apply restrictions on flights from South Africa and neighboring countries, as do some Gulf countries, while Japan intends to tighten the conditions of entry into its territory with 10 days of isolation at respect.

Reactions denounced by the South African Minister of Health who considers them unjustified and which puts them on the account of panic.

New measures announced as part of the planet faces a new pandemic wave.

It is indeed a new wind of panic which is blowing on the planet while the WHO has still not confirmed the dangerousness of this new variant.

► To read also: 

Covid-19: South Africa feels punished after its revelations on the Omicron variant

Major events already impacted

First postponement announced: the ministerial conference of the World Trade Organization.

After an emergency meeting of its 164 members, the WTO decided to postpone its 12th conference sine die.

It was to meet in Geneva from Monday, around 4,000 participants including heads of state and more than a hundred ministers were expected.

This was to be the institution's first ministerial meeting for 4 years.

In June of last year, the Covid-19 had already prevented the holding of this gathering. 


To read also: The new variant of Covid-19 detected in southern Africa renamed Omicron

The World Health Organization is due to discuss a possible pandemic treaty next week.

Following the decisions that will be taken, the holding of two other major meetings, one on sustainable finance and the other on lethal autonomous weapons systems, could also be canceled. 

All over the world, restrictive measures are being taken in the face of the new epidemic wave and the detection of the new variant.


Receive all international news directly in your mailbox

I subscribe

Follow all the international news by downloading the RFI application


  • Coronavirus

  • Vaccines

  • South Africa

  • WHO