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WHO calls for mobilization in the face of unprecedented spread of Omicron | Coronavirus

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In Europe, the Netherlands announced that schools will close from December 20, a week before the start of the Christmas holidays, and extended current health restrictions until January 14, including the closure of non-essential stores, bars and restaurants every day between 5 p.m. and 5 a.m.

This is obviously not the happy message we were hoping for as Christmas approaches. But it’s no surprise, underlined Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte.

77 countries have now reported cases of Omicron, but the reality is Omicron is likely to be found in most countries even though it has not yet been detected, said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus at a press conference in Geneva.

A nurse and a patient in a hospital ward

A nurse with a patient on respiratory assistance in a hospital in Montreuil in the east of Paris

Photo: dpa via getty images / JULIEN DE ROSA

We are concerned that people view Omicron as benign. […] Even if Omicron causes less severe symptoms, the number of cases could once again overwhelm unprepared health systems, he added.

According to Abdi Mahamud, incident manager at the WHO, the spread of the variant is such that it could become the majority in some European countries by mid-December, while they are still facing the impact of the disease. fifth wave of infection caused by the Delta variant.

Many uncertainties still hang over the nature of this new variant which has plunged the planet into panic since it was detected in November by South Africa.

And the WHO further fears that the booster doses decided upon in many Western countries for adult populations will undermine vaccination in poor countries.

Vaccination campaign in Manenberg, South Africa

Vaccination campaign in Manenberg, South Africa

Photo: afp via getty images / RODGER BOSCH

We are against iniquity

WHO is not against booster doses. We are against iniquity vaccine, said Dr Tedros.

It is a question of prioritization. […] Giving booster doses to groups at low risk of serious illness or death simply endangers the lives of those at high risk who are still awaiting their first doses.

A quote from WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus

He pointed out that 41 countries have still not succeeded in immunizing 10% of their population and 98 countries have not reached the 40% mark. If we end the inequity, we end the pandemic. If we allow inequity to continue, we allow the pandemic to move forward, he insisted.

The President of Ghana, Nana Akufo-Addo, had already warned of the consequences that could have for Africa the decision of the European Union (EU) to mobilize its vaccines for booster campaigns.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson attends the vaccination campaign in London.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson attends the vaccination campaign in London.

Photo: Getty Images / WPA Pool

Mobilization and rebellion in Europe

In several Western countries, the new restrictions are going badly, including in the United Kingdom, yet facing a tsunami cases and a first fatal case due to the Omicron variant.

The government of Prime Minister Boris Johnson certainly succeeded on Tuesday evening in getting its measures adopted in Parliament, but it must now reckon with the sling of dozens of deputies of its very critical majority towards this new turn of the screw: wearing of the mask indoors, tests daily for contact cases, teleworking and compulsory health passport in major events.

The Omicron variant is believed to infect 200,000 people every day in the United Kingdom, one of the countries in Europe most affected by the pandemic with more than 146,500 deaths.

In France, where COVID-19 contamination has been at its highest since April, the government has reactivated several levers of mobilization and support for caregivers in the face of the fifth wave of COVID-19.

Faced with a viral explosion of COVID-19, while the resuscitation beds are full, the Mediterranean island of Corsica has called doctors, nurses and orderlies, whether they are employees, liberal or retired, to strengthen hospitals.

A queue on a street in New York

Queue outside a testing center in New York

Photo: Getty Images / Spencer Platt

COVID pill ordered for 10 million Americans

On the medical front, encouraging news has come from Pfizer: the pharmaceutical giant has confirmed that its anti-COVID pill reduces hospitalizations and deaths in people at risk by almost 90% when taken in the first days after the treatment. onset of symptoms.

This news provides another potentially powerful tool in our fight against the virus, including the Omicron variant, welcomed US President Joe Biden, recalling that the United States had already ordered enough treatment for 10 million Americans.

And a study in South Africa further concluded that Pfizer’s vaccine was less effective overall against the Omicron variant, but still provided 70% protection against severe cases of the disease.

The pandemic has killed at least 5,311,914 million people worldwide since the end of 2019, according to an assessment established by AFP from official sources, Tuesday in the middle of the day. The United States is the most bereaved country with 798,713 dead, ahead of Brazil (616,878), India (475,888), Mexico (296,721) and Russia (291,749).

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