Friday, February 3, 2023

Omicron keeps the world on edge as more information becomes available

TOKYO (NWN) – On Wednesday, the omicron variant kept the world nervous as Japan tightened travel restrictions further, infections associated with the new coronavirus began to appear in more locations, and new data made it clear that the mutant strain was circulating in a few weeks earlier than anticipated. …

Much remains to be seen about the new option, including how contagious it is and whether it can avoid vaccinations, and the head of the European Union admitted that waiting for scientists to tell the world more is like “eternity.” Meanwhile, many countries in Europe are still facing a spike in infections and hospitalizations due to their old enemy, the delta variant.

Japan continued its aggressive stance, asking international airlines to stop accepting new bookings on all flights arriving in the country by the end of December. The actions of the world’s third-largest economy, coupled with the recent return to bans on foreign tourists, are among the most serious in the world, and more in line with the insular neighbor China than some other democracies in the region.

READ MORE: What we know what you can do to protect yourself from the omicron

However, in many countries around the world, travelers are prohibited from entering South Africa, and the United States is tightening testing requirements for those arriving from abroad.

South African researchers notified the World Health Organization about the omicron last week, but it is not known where or when this variant first appeared, and it is already clear that it was circulating in Europe prior to this warning. But Nigeria pushed the timeline further on Wednesday when its National Institute of Public Health said it had found the variant in a sample collected in October – also the first known case of the mutation.

Worry and uncertainty about a new option and the sometimes haphazard imposition of restrictions reminded of the early days of the pandemic, as did the familiar realization that the virus was once again outstripping efforts to contain it.

In a sign of how difficult it is to control the virus in the era of airliners and economic globalization, Japan has confirmed its second case of this option – in a person who arrived from Peru via Qatar. Saudi Arabia, meanwhile, said Wednesday it had discovered its first case of omicron, a day after Brazil reported cases of the variant, the first known in Latin America.

“I listen to my scientists, they all say that we don’t know enough now. So it’s good that they take their two or three weeks, ”said European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen. “In normal times, this is a short period. In times of a pandemic, this is eternity. “

READ MORE: Omicron variant could reach Europe earlier than anticipated

While the world was eagerly awaiting more information, some countries were already struggling to contain the races that preceded the omicron’s announcement.

The German Intensive Care Association warned on Wednesday that the number of COVID-19 patients requiring intensive care will reach a new high before Christmas and that it is expected to surpass a record high since last year.

DIVI has called for national restrictions to immediately slow down the spread. Federal and state leaders are expected to decide on new measures on Thursday. Chancellor-appointed Olaf Scholz said he would support a proposal for mandatory vaccinations for everyone next year.

Austria, meanwhile, extended the quarantine until December 11, as planned, amid signs that the restrictions are helping to bring the incidence of coronavirus to sky-high heights.

Germany and Austria are among the few countries in Europe that are seeing a surge in vaccinations – even in some countries with relatively high vaccination rates. Portugal, which has 87 percent vaccination rates, one of the highest in the world, has tightened entry requirements and introduced mandatory indoor masks on Wednesday to slow the upward trend. Until recently, the country was protected from surges that were seen in other parts of the continent.

South Korea is also seeing a spike caused by the delta, bringing hospitalizations and deaths to record levels. On Wednesday, the country reported a daily jump in the number of coronavirus infections, which for the first time exceeded 5,000.

This option once again left the world between hopes of a return to normal and fears that the worst was yet to come.

In Singapore, which is struggling to survive COVID-19 and has one of the world’s leading vaccination programs, cases are falling rapidly and there is cautious optimism that its widely watched plan has helped it out of the pandemic.

Fiji welcomed its first tourists on Wednesday in more than 600 days after continuing with plans to reopen despite the threat posed by omicron.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top US expert on infectious diseases, said that much more will be known about the omicron in the next few weeks and “we will have a much clearer picture of the challenges ahead.”


This was announced by Casert from Brussels. NWN journalists from around the world contributed to this report.

Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
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