The first positive cases of a new variant of the corona virus surfaced in Europe on Saturday, where travel restrictions have raised concerns as the world continues to isolate South Africa.
After Belgium, Great Britain, Germany and Italy, the Czech Republic has announced the first case of a Kovit-19 patient admitted to a hospital with mild symptoms in Liberec (North).
The head of government said he had been vaccinated and traveled to Namibia via South Africa and Dubai before returning to the Czech Republic.
In Amsterdam, about sixty passengers who landed Friday from Johannesburg and Cape Town were in isolation near the airport. The National Institutes of Health (RIVM) said on Sunday that the final results expected were pending, adding that “Omigran variation was detected in those tested.
The British government, which first stopped flights from South Africa, has announced it will tighten entry rules for people of all nationalities: compulsory PCR testing and isolation until the end, and the mandatory withdrawal of masks from all stores.
Switzerland has also announced that nationals from the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, the Czech Republic, Egypt and Malawi must remain in isolation for 10 days if the Kovit test is negative when boarding and entering Switzerland.
It has already been available since Friday evening to people from several countries in South Africa, Belgium, Israel and Hong Kong.
The French Ministry of Health announced Saturday evening that if another person’s “contact” is tested favorably on the new variant, he or she should be vaccinated but isolated.
Earlier on Saturday, the British Ministry of Health announced the identification of “two Covit-19 cases involving mutations compatible with P1.1.129”, noting that “two British cases of the Omigron variant” have been linked and identified. After “A Trip to South Africa”, Omicron was first identified this week.
Announcements one after another: Two confirmed cases in Germany of passengers arriving at Munich Airport (South) from South Africa, and another on suspicion of a passenger arriving at Frankfurt Airport (Central Germany) This is the first case for a man from the Naples area in Italy. Returning from (southern) Mozambique …
The day before and the day before, cases had been reported in Hong Kong, Israel, against a returnee from Malawi and Botswana, as well as the first day of a ‘warning’ on twenty people in scientifically advanced South Africa.
The new variant is classified as “worrying” by the World Health Organization (WHO), however, advised against travel restrictions and estimates that it will take “several weeks” to understand the dosage of the new variant.
According to AFP, since the end of 2019, Covid-19 has killed at least 5.18 million people worldwide.
The EU Health Agency has strengthened concerns that this new variant B.1.1.529 represents the “highest to highest” risk to Europe.
According to a WHO expert panel, initial data on this variant present a “higher risk of re-infection” compared to other species, including delta, which is currently dominant and already highly contagious.
– South Africa “sentence” –
On all continents, countries have covered South Africa, with its main hub of Johannesburg being the rat race to catch the return flight on Fridays and Saturdays.
Travel restrictions apply to Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Sweden, Mozambique and sometimes Malawi, with the exception of South Africa.
South Africa was “punished” for discovering the Omnigron variant, condemning the Pretoria government on Saturday for the occurrence of “panic” and unjustified “severe” actions.
“Some leaders are looking for sacrifices to solve the global problem,” South African Health Minister Joe Pahla said on Friday, adding that its country receives significant revenue from tourism.
US President Joe Biden has echoed the WHO’s repeated calls to help poor countries get vaccinated to prevent new variants from appearing.
“Information about this new variant should make it clearer than ever that this epidemic will not end globally without vaccines,” he said in a statement Friday evening.
Following in the footsteps of many European countries, the United States has banned travelers from South Africa in addition to U.S. citizens and permanent residents.
Several Arab countries, including Canada, Brazil and Saudi Arabia, have accepted the sanctions.
In Asia, the restrictions will apply to Japan, South Korea and soon Thailand.
– Explosion in Europe –
The origins of the Omicron variant come at a time when Europe is already facing an epidemic that is returning to health restrictions, not always well accepted.
The Netherlands announced the closure of GMT bars, restaurants and non-essential shops on Friday evening from 4:00 pm to 4:00 pm, the site of riots.
The new variant also raises fears of a global economic recovery and lowers oil prices. The Paris Stock Exchange has experienced its worst session since Friday, March 2020 and London since June 2020.
Nearly 54% of the world’s population has received at least one dose of the Govt-19 vaccine, but only 5.6% in low – income countries, according to Ever World’s data base. In South Africa, the most affected country on the continent, only 23.8% of the population is fully vaccinated.