Covid-19: the first cases of the Omicron variant multiply in Europe

Passengers line up for PCR tests at Johannesburg International Airport on November 27, 2021. AFP - PHILL MAGAKOE

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Suspicions of the first positive cases for the new variant of the coronavirus, Omicron, increased on Saturday, November 27 in Europe and elsewhere in the world.

Concern is pushing for restrictions, especially on travel, mainly targeting southern Africa.

But not just her anymore.

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In northern Europe, it is the government of Denmark, which strongly suspects the presence on its soil of the new Omicron variant of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, in the wake of Belgium, which has confirmed one.

In central Europe, it is the regional hospital of Liberec, in the north of the Czech Republic, which announces the authentication, to be confirmed there too, of the strain of this new variant considered worrying by the WHO.

The day of Saturday, like that of the day before, will have been punctuated by these types of announcements.

Also on the Old Continent, according to Dutch health authorities, the Omicron variant “

probably

 ”

concerns 

some of the 61 passengers who tested positive in the Netherlands, on their return from South Africa.

And the states - European, but not only - to announce one after the other new restrictions on travel, mainly targeting southern Africa, among other "emergency brakes".

► To reread: The Omicron variant is blowing a wind of panic

The announcement of the discovery of a new variant of Covid19 and the start of a new wave panicked the financial markets on Friday: the biggest fall of the year for the Dow Jones for example.

The Paris stock exchange fell 4.75%, the worst session since March 2020, when the first confinement was introduced in France.

Clearly, this is bad news.

Just make sure this bad news turns into an episode

Can the economy cope with a new crisis?

Benoît Chervalier, teacher at Sciences Po Paris and at Essec

Charlotte cosset

UK hopes for a merry Christmas

Outside the EU, the United Kingdom also announced on Saturday that it had detected two first cases of the new variant.

These are two people from the same cluster, who have a link with a trip to southern Africa, reports our correspondent in London,

Claire Digiacomi

.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson held a press conference in the evening. He expressed his concern, and announced the return of restrictions. “ 

It appears that this variant spreads very quickly, and that it can be transmitted between vaccinated people. We must therefore take targeted and proportionate measures now, as a precaution, while waiting to find out more,

 ”he said.

Travelers on arrival in the country will have to isolate themselves, pending the negative result of a PCR test, and no longer antigen, mandatory on the second day.

Ten-day isolation for contact cases of a person positive for the new variant.

The mask is again imposed in stores and all public transport.

A real change, as the British had largely abandoned this protection indoors.

► Read also: Many tourists try to flee South Africa

At four weeks before Christmas, the United Kingdom is protecting itself but Boris Johnson ensures that the situation is different from last year.

The end of year celebrations were held under confinement.

"I am convinced that this Christmas will be considerably better than the last," assures the tenant of 10 Downing Street.

The campaign for booster shots should be extended to a larger part of the population, while more than 40,000 new infections, on average, are recorded every day.

At the moment, it is not known to what extent this new variant could reduce the effectiveness of the vaccine.

The Prime Minister calls on the British to receive their third dose.

We must "

 save time for our researchers,

 " says Boris Johnson, who hopes to soon be able to extend the recall, currently reserved for over 40s, to a larger part of the population.

The American firm Moderna, in a statement, declared its intention to rapidly develop a vaccine candidate for a booster dose specific to the Omicron variant.

Dr François Blanchecotte, president of the Syndicat des biologistes français, understands this race for vaccines.

The notion of commercial no longer makes sense today, we are in the process of manufacturing millions of doses every day.

The important thing is to know if the product that we manufacture can be adapted

François Blanchecotte, president of the Syndicat des biologistes, refutes the commercial argument

Laurence Théault

No case in France for the moment

In France, " 

any contact person at risk of a possible case or of a confirmed case of the B1.1.529 variant, regardless of their vaccination status, must be considered as" high risk contact "and must therefore be placed in quarantine

 " , proclaims a text sent to establishments and health professionals and of which AFP has obtained a copy.

Even if the number of cases of Covid-19 listed in France continued to increase on Saturday with 37,218 new cases in 24 hours, a highest in seven months, and 1,563 patients in intensive care, no confirmed case of this Omicron variant n 'has yet been announced in the country.

► On the front page of the French press: The Omicron threat

In Switzerland, finally, all people from the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, the Czech Republic, Egypt and Malawi must now present, upon boarding and entering the country, a Covid test. negative and quarantine for ten days.

This was already the case since Friday for people from other countries where the mutant was detected, in southern Africa, Belgium, Hong Kong, and Israel ...

Israel closes its borders

Israel is perhaps the country that goes the furthest, Saturday night, announcing the ban from its territory to any foreign visitor for two weeks. In a statement relayed by Reuters, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, subject to government approval, informs that the ban will come into force on the night of Sunday to Monday, while if the country says it has recorded a confirmed case of contamination by the Omicron variant, with seven other cases being “suspect”.

Only returning Israelis, vaccinated or not, will be able to enter the territory on condition that they submit to a quarantine, adds the head of government.

And Naftali Bennnett says communications tracking technology from the Shin Bet, the internal security service, will be used to locate people to reduce the risk of contagion.

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