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Variant Omicron: increase in hospitalizations expected by WHO | Coronavirus

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A rapid rise in Omicron, like the one we are seeing in several countries, even if combined with a slightly less severe illness, will still lead to a large number of hospitalizations, especially among the unvaccinated.

A quote from Catherine Smallwood, one of the main managers of WHO Europe

The specialist called for taking preliminary data on a lower risk of hospitalization with caution, because for the time being the cases observed mainly concern young and healthy populations in countries with high immunization rates.

For some experts, greater contagion may wipe out the advantage of a less dangerous variant, as many countries report record contagion since the start of the pandemic.

Experts are also uncertain whether this seemingly lower severity stems from the variant’s intrinsic characteristics, or whether it is related to whether it strikes populations already partially immune to the vaccine or a previous infection.

Faced with these uncertainties, new restrictions have been adopted in several countries.

New restrictions everywhere

China confined tens of thousands of additional people on Tuesday, as the country faces a record number of COVID-19 contaminations within 40 days of the Beijing Winter Olympics.

The city of Xi’an (north), famous for the underground army of the first emperor of China, was subject to a sixth day of strict quarantine on Tuesday after a limited epidemic rebound.

A man is tested by a healthcare worker in a protective suit.

A resident of Xi’an, China is tested for COVID-19.

Photo: AFP / STR

300 kilometers away, tens of thousands of residents in a district of Yan’an City were in turn ordered to stay at home, while businesses were forced to close.

China reported 209 new COVID-19 patients on Tuesday, the highest number of daily infections in 21 months.

In Sweden, a negative Covid test is mandatory from this Tuesday for all travelers upon their arrival in the territory.

Finland, she decided to go further, closing its borders from this Tuesday to foreign travelers not vaccinated against COVID-19, even with a negative test.

Only foreign travelers can enter with a negative COVID-19 test and who can prove a full vaccination or past infection, the Interior Ministry said.

A border guard spokesman confirmed to AFP that unvaccinated foreigners would be turned away, unless they belong to one of the exempt categories (residents in Finland, essential workers, diplomats …).

Our COVID-19 file: what you need to know

In France, new isolation rules for patients and their contacts will be set by the government by the end of the week, announced Monday the Prime Minister Jean Castex.

In Germany, a new battery of measures entered into force on Tuesday, ahead of the New Year’s celebrations.

Private meetings of more than ten people are prohibited, even for the vaccinated and the cured. For the unvaccinated, the limit drops to two members of different outbreaks.

Two masked men.

An employee checks a customer’s immunization status at a market in Leipzig, Germany.

Photo: AFP / STRINGER

All sports competitions, especially football matches, will take place behind closed doors, which is expected to affect the Bundesliga when the German league resumes on January 7.

Discos and clubs also closed to prevent the virus from spreading on December 31.

Germany must also take legislative measures to protect access to intensive care for people with disabilities in the event of sorting medical condition imposed by the pandemic, ruled the Constitutional Court in a judgment published Tuesday.

For its part, Qatar’s main public hospital group has suspended the leave of all its medical and administrative staff working with COVID-19 patients, while infections are on the rise in the Gulf countries.

The United States has halved the length of quarantine for people infected with COVID-19 to five days, provided they are asymptomatic.

The COVID-19 pandemic has killed at least 5,404,577 worldwide since the WHO office in China reported the onset of the disease at the end of December 2019, according to a report established by AFP in from official sources Tuesday at 11 a.m. KST.

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