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  • South African government protests: "Punished for discovering the Omicron variant"


01 December 2021

We will have to wait to understand what the characteristics of the Omicron variant are and its impact on the progress of the pandemic. There is still no evidence that it is actually more dangerous. What emerges from the reports in the countries where it is the most widespread variant and for the longest time it appears that the Omicron has a great transmission speed.

 In South Africa - a country that had the merit of sequencing it - the cases of Covid-19 recorded today have almost doubled compared to yesterday, with 8,561 infections in 24 hours, with a positive rate of 16.5%.

The figure is reported by the National Institute for Communicable Diseases, cited by Bloomberg.

Compared to a week ago, before the discovery of the Omicron variant, the increase in cases is over 400%. 

WHO: "Travel bans are useless"

 "Widespread travel bans will not prevent the international spread of Omicron and represent a heavy burden on lives and livelihoods". This was said by the WHO director general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, today during the usual update on the Covid situation in the world.       

Ghebreyesus again thanked Botswana and South Africa "for detecting, sequencing and reporting this variant so quickly. It is deeply concerning to me - he said - that those countries are now being penalized by others for doing the right thing. Countries to adopt rational and proportionate risk reduction measures, in line with the International Health Regulations. This includes measures to delay or reduce the uptake of the new variant, such as screening of passengers before travel and / or on arrival, or 'application of the quarantine to international travelers ".   

Omicron in 23 countries, for now

 "The emergence of the Omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2 has understandably captured global attention. At least 23 countries in five of the six regions of the World Health Organization have now reported cases of this variant and we expect the number to grow," Ghebreyesus says again,

"WHO" continues to ask for the optimization of social and public health measures and to ensure that high-risk and vulnerable people in all countries are immediately vaccinated. At the same time, we must not forget that we are already dealing with a highly transmissible and dangerous variant: the Delta variant, which currently accounts for almost all cases globally. We must use the tools we already have to prevent transmission and save lives from Delta. And if we do, we will also prevent transmission and save lives from Omicron. "Who will not" will not even stop Omicron. 

"In Europe Christmas in lockdown? We'll see"

Answering the question of whether in Europe we should prepare for a Christmas in lockdown, WHO executive director Michael Ryan replied that "you need to have a little patience to understand the consequences of the Omicron variant" and stressed that the 'crisis 'in Europe it is driven by the Delta variant.

Ryan reiterated the call also made by the other WHO leaders for countries to vaccinate "the most vulnerable" and then asked governments to work closely with citizens instead of making "full responsibility for containing the fall on their shoulders. pandemic".