The African Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said today, Thursday, that the “BA2” strain of the mutant Omicron is now circulating in South Africa, and on the other hand, protests against the precautionary restrictions imposed to confront the Corona pandemic were recorded in France, Canada and New Zealand. .

"We have data from South Africa that BA2 is now the most prevalent strain in South Africa," African Centers Director John Nkengasong said, adding that it was detected in Mozambique, Senegal, Botswana, Mauritius, Kenya and Malawi. Likely to be found in other places, but it has not been monitored so far due to weak monitoring systems.

South Africa has been the birthplace of two of the most severe strains of coronavirus in the world, Delta and Omicron, over the past year.

The original Omicron strain is known as BA1 and is highly contagious from the Corona virus, and is currently almost responsible for most of the virus infections worldwide.

In addition to BA1 and BA2, WHO lists two other subspecies under the Omicron umbrella, BA529.1.1 (BA1.1.529) and BA3 (and all of these strains). They are closely related genetically, but they both display mutations that can change how they function.

In a related context, Machidiso Moeti, the Regional Director of the "World Health" for Africa, said today that the organization's estimates reveal that the number of HIV infections on the continent may be 7 times higher than what the official data mention, while the deaths may be 2 or 3 times higher than the announced.

"We are well aware of the problems with the surveillance systems we have on the continent, where the problem of obtaining testing supplies, for example, has led to fewer actual infections being counted," she said in a regular online news briefing.

Anti-vaccination protests

On the other hand, the Paris police said today that they had decided to prevent protesters calling themselves the "Freedom Caravan" from entering Paris.

The protesters set out in their cars from the south of the country yesterday, in what they called the "Freedom Caravan", which aims to gather in Paris and Brussels to demand an end to the restrictions to combat "Covid-19", inspired by what protesters did, blocking roads and disrupting traffic in the Canadian capital, Ottawa.

Participants in the Freedom Caravan in the French city of Nice demand an end to the anti-Corona restrictions (Reuters)

Protesters are expected to come from more cities across France today.

The Paris authorities said that protesters would be prevented from entering the capital between February 11 and 14, citing the risk of public unrest.

In Canada, there are loud demonstrations demanding an end to the requirement that truck drivers be vaccinated with "Covid-19" vaccines in the country to allow them to pass through the main border crossings with the United States.

On Thursday, truck drivers' protests entered their 14th day, despite the start of the authorities announcing the easing of health restrictions in parts of the country.

In addition to the streets of the federal capital, Ottawa, which has been paralyzed by anti-sanitary protests since the end of last January, truck drivers and their supporters want to hit the economy by paralyzing some key trade routes.

Vital bridge closure

The closure of the main Ambassador Bridge on the border with the United States since Monday has increased tension, as despite the strong symbolism of Ottawa, it is not an economic capital.

He added that the Ambassador Bridge is vital to Canadian supply chains, noting that "thousands of workers and companies depend on it."

Truck drivers in Canada and supporters demonstrate against the authorities' imposition of mandatory vaccinations for drivers (Reuters)

And in New Zealand, the police clashed today with protesters against the “Covid-19” vaccine, as they dispersed a sit-in camp in front of Parliament, before arresting dozens.

The protesters performed traditional "Maori Haka" dances, which represent the strength and unity of the indigenous tribes, as they confronted the police, who moved to evacuate the Parliament Square, which has been besieged for 3 days by an estimated 150 protesters.

The protest began last Tuesday after the movement of the "Freedom Caravan" of truck drivers in Canada, as hundreds of trucks and trailers walked downtown Wellington, and Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson said that the residents of Wellington had run out of patience due to the disturbances caused by the protests, calling on the police to act.

New Zealand is making the coronavirus vaccine mandatory for those working in sectors such as health, law enforcement, education and defense, and those who refuse to receive the vaccine face expulsion.