Home LATEST NEWS Omicron sweeps the world, governments ease isolation rules

Omicron sweeps the world, governments ease isolation rules


The extreme contagiousness of Omicron and its impressive procession of work stoppages and quarantines weigh heavily on the organization of the company, even if the acceleration of contaminations is not accompanied, for the time being, by ‘an increase in the number of deaths.

The first region concerned, Europe, the current epicenter of the pandemic, must face unprecedented levels of contamination: more than 4.9 million infections have been recorded in the last seven days, or 59% more than the previous week , according to an AFP count on Saturday. In total, more than 100 million cases have been recorded there since the discovery of the virus in December 2019.

In America, the wave is also strong. Dr Anthony Fauci, senior advisor to the White House on the health crisis, stressed on Sunday that the increase in the number of cases in the United States, almost vertical, was unprecedented with an average of almost 400,000 new infections per day.

To preserve socioeconomic life, France, where more than a million cases have been detected in the last seven days, announced on Sunday the relaxation of the rules for the isolation of infected people and their contacts from Monday, thus joining the list growing number of countries reducing quarantine times.

Fully vaccinated positive people will now have to self-isolate for seven days instead of ten, an isolation that can be lifted after five days if they test negative. And there will be no more quarantine for people with contact cases who have a complete vaccination schedule.

This change of rules should make it possible to ensure controlling contamination while maintaining socioeconomic life, explained the Ministry of Health of France.

Living with the virus to save the economy

In the United Kingdom, which records daily contamination records, Health Minister Sajid Javid said on Saturday that new restrictions would only be imposedas a last resort in England. Shortly before Christmas, the British government reduced the isolation period there from ten to seven days for vaccinated people who contracted the coronavirus.

Emphasizing the enormous health, social and economic cost of confinements, Mr. Javid felt that we had to give ourselves the means to live with the virus through vaccination, an arsenal of treatments and massive screening in a column published by the Daily Mail.

However, the minister acknowledged that the health service would be inevitably under pressure over the next few weeks due to a sharp rise the number of hospitalizations.

On Friday, the Swiss health authority also decided that the cantons could reduce the quarantine of contact cases to seven days against ten previously and limit it. to people living together or having been in intimate contact with a person declared positive.

Fears of destabilization of the economy had already led Spain to decide, on Wednesday, to reduce the forty people positive for COVID-19 to seven days against ten previously in order to find a balance between public health and economic growth, according to Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez.

On the same day, Argentina took a similar decision in an attempt to minimize the impact on economic activity of a record spike in cases in its territory. Portugal adopted the same measure on Friday.

South Africa, believing to have passed the peak of the Omicron wave, for its part abolished the night curfew in force for 21 months on December 31. We seek to find a balance between people’s lives, their livelihoods, and the goal of saving lives, explained the Minister to the Presidency Mondli Gungubele.

Air traffic affected by the Omicron wave

However, other countries have taken or are keeping strict health restrictions, for example the Netherlands, which reimposed lockdown a week before Christmas. And thousands of people demonstrated in Amsterdam on Sunday against the stringent measures taken to try to contain the epidemic.

Illustration of the shock of the Omicron wave, global air traffic is still experiencing many disruptions with flights canceled due to lack of flight personnel, sick with COVID-19 or contact in quarantine.

Sunday, the day back from vacation, more than 2,000 flights in the United States had already been canceled at the end of the morning because of these disruptions to which were added bad weather conditions.

To limit absences and thus avoid blockages and shortages, Joe Biden’s administration decided on Monday to reduce the duration of the recommended quarantine from ten to five days for people positive for COVID, provided they are asymptomatic.

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