The World Health Organization announced, on Tuesday, that the new “Omicron” mutant of the Corona virus is spreading at an unprecedented rate and has likely become widespread in most countries of the world, while the United States has crossed the threshold of 800,000 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization, said in a press conference that "77 countries have so far reported infections with Omicron, but the reality is that Omicron is likely present in most countries even if it has not yet been detected," noting that it is spreading at a rate that we have not seen. before with any other mutant.

According to the World Health Organization, Covid-19 vaccines appear to be slightly less effective in preventing acute infections and death, but they provide "great protection".

Mike Ryan, director of emergencies at the World Health Organization, said vaccines have not failed and offer significant protection from severe injury and death.

"Emerging evidence indicates a slight decrease in vaccine efficacy and mortality against severe COVID-19 disease and a decrease in preventing mild disease or infection with the virus," Ghebreyesus said.

Ghebreyesus: 77 countries have so far reported Omicron (French)

Programs and anxiety

Tedros noted that the emergence of Omicron has prompted some countries to offer booster dose programs against Covid-19 to all their adult populations, although researchers have not found evidence of the efficacy of booster doses against this strain.

"The World Health Organization is concerned that such programs will duplicate the stockpiling of COVID-19 vaccines we have seen this year and exacerbate disparities (among people)," he said.

In the United States, US health officials said that the Omicron strain now accounts for 3% of all successive cases of Covid-19 in the country, as the infection rate rose in early December, in a sign of the rapid spread of the new Corona virus strain, according to Bloomberg News reported.

And the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in an e-mail that cases of the strain had been detected in 33 US states.

Agency spokeswoman Jasmine Reed said that the proportion of Omicron infections is expected to increase while the Delta strain remains the dominant strain in the country, accounting for 96% of cases.

The United States has recorded more than 50 million cases of Covid-19 (French)

outcome and procedures

This comes while Johns Hopkins University data showed that the United States has crossed the 800,000 mark of coronavirus deaths since the beginning of the pandemic.

The university also indicated that the threshold of 50 million confirmed cases had been exceeded.

The university's data as of Tuesday evening indicated that 50 million, 226,706 people have been infected with the virus since its outbreak began.

In Europe, yesterday, the office of Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi announced the extension of the state of emergency in the country due to the Corona virus epidemic until next March 31.

Italy has also implemented a new rule for visitors from other European Union countries to provide proof of a negative coronavirus test before they travel to Italy, the health ministry said.

Unvaccinated visitors will be subject to a 5-day quarantine.

In France, the Ministry of Health reported that 63,405 cases of coronavirus infection were recorded, which is the second largest number of daily infections in the country this year since last April.

France ranks seventh in the world in terms of the number of injuries, and 12th in terms of total deaths.

A Dutch school during the closing procedures last year (Anatolia)

CLOSE AND WARNING

In the Netherlands, on Tuesday, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte announced the closure of primary schools next week and the extension of health restrictions until January 14, due to the new mutant Omicron.

He said - during a press conference in The Hague - that schools will be closed as of December 20, a week before the Christmas holiday, because children with the highest rates of Covid-19 cases can transmit the infection to their older family members.

In the Arab world, the Moroccan Ministry of Health warned yesterday evening of what it called an epidemiological setback in the country, due to “a large number of female citizens and citizens abandoning basic preventive measures,” and called for speeding up the taking of vaccine doses.

As of this morning, Wednesday, the number of people infected with Corona around the world exceeded 271 million and 698 thousand, of whom more than 5 million and 336 thousand died, and more than 244 million and 199 thousand have recovered, according to the “worldometers” website.

And in the context of the effectiveness of vaccines, the American company “Pfizer” said that its experimental drug against Corona appears to be effective against the mutant Omicron.

The company explained that the results of its preliminary study, which included nearly 2,300 people, showed that the drug reduced deaths and the degree of risk for people infected with the virus by nearly 89%.

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