Omicron detected in several European countries

The first positive cases for the new variant of the coronavirus Omicron multiplied on Saturday in Europe, where concern is pushing travel restrictions as the world continues to isolate southern Africa. After Belgium, Great Britain, Germany and Italy, the Czech Republic has announced a first case in a Covid-19 patient hospitalized with mild symptoms in Liberec (north). She was vaccinated and had traveled to Namibia, before returning to the Czech Republic via South Africa and Dubai, according to the head of government. In Amsterdam, about sixty passengers, disembarked Friday from Johannesburg and Cape Town, were still in quarantine near the airport. “The Omicron variant was probably found among those tested,” said the National Institute of Public Health (RIVM), pending final results expected yesterday Sunday. The first to suspend flights from South Africa, the British government has announced a tightening of entry rules for arrivals from all origins: mandatory PCR testing and isolation until the result, alongside the return of the compulsory mask in all shops. Switzerland has also announced that people from the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, the Czech Republic, Egypt and Malawi must present, upon boarding and entering Switzerland, a negative Covid test and place themselves in quarantine for 10 days. This was already the case since Friday evening for people from several countries in southern Africa, Belgium, Israel and Hong Kong. Any person “contact” of another, tested positive for the new variant will have to be isolated even if it is vaccinated, for its part announced Saturday evening the French ministry of Health. Earlier on Saturday, the British Ministry of Health announced that it had identified “two cases of Covid-19 comprising mutations compatible with B.1.1.529”, specifying that these “two British cases of the Omicron variant” were linked and had been identified after “a trip to southern Africa”, where Omicron was first identified this week. The announcements followed one another: two confirmed cases in Germany in travelers arriving from South Africa at Munich airport (south), another suspected in a traveler arriving at Frankfurt airport (central Germany) , a first case in Italy in a man from the Naples region (south) who returned from Mozambique … The day before and the day before, cases had been reported in Hong Kong, in Israel on a person returned from Malawi and in Botswana, as well as about twenty people in South Africa, a scientifically advanced country and the first to raise the alarm. The new variant has been classified as “of concern” by the World Health Organization (WHO), however, which has advised against travel restrictions and estimates that it will take “several weeks” to understand the virulence of the new variant. Since the end of 2019, the Covid-19 has killed at least 5.18 million people worldwide, according to an AFP count. The European Union health agency reinforced the concern by stressing that this new variant B.1.1.529 represented a “high to very high” risk for Europe. According to the WHO expert group, preliminary data on this variant suggests that it presents “an increased risk of reinfection” compared to other variants, including Delta, which is currently dominant and already highly contagious.