COVID-19: Omicron variant spreads – New measures in many countries

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New measures, a new record as the Omicron variant spreads: an overview of the latest developments regarding the COVID-19 pandemic in the world.

– Omicron is spreading –

The new variant strain is now widely used to dominate the new coronavirus (responsible for 73% of new cases) in the United States. However, they are “ready”, as their president Joe Biden assured yesterday, Tuesday, reiterating that there is no reason to “panic”. However, the US president warned those who have not been fully vaccinated, saying they have “serious reasons to worry” and that it was their “patriotic duty” to get vaccinated.

The White House had earlier announced in detail the strategy it had adopted: tests, enhanced vaccination facilities and additional means for hospitals, but no restrictive measures before Christmas.

The new variant of the coronavirus Omicron spreads to the Old Continent: “The Omicron becomes, or has already become, the dominant in many countries, including Denmark, Portugal and the United Kingdom, where the numbers double every one and a half to three days, causing “Unprecedented transmission rates,” said Dr. Hans Kluge, director of the World Health Organization (WHO) for Europe.

In Britain, 129 people are currently being treated for the Omicron variant of the coronavirus and so far 14 have been diagnosed, British Deputy Health Minister Gillian Keegan told Sky News today.

She also noted that the British government will not hesitate to introduce further restrictions because of Covid-19, if the data show that it is necessary.

The British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said yesterday, Tuesday, that he will not put in place new restrictions in England before Christmas, but the situation remains extremely difficult and the government may need to act afterwards.

France, where 20% of positive cases are now in Omicron, does not rule out going “beyond” the restrictive measures it has put in place in the event of a “very strong recovery of the epidemic”.

Spain yesterday recorded a national record of 49,823 new cases of coronavirus in 24 hours, almost half of which belong to the variant strain Omicron, according to the Ministry of Health. The previous record set in the country was in mid-January at almost 40,000 new cases in a 24-hour period.

-Israel: Fourth installment for over 60s and health-

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said on Tuesday that all Israelis over the age of 60 and medical personnel would be eligible for a fourth dose of COVID-19 vaccine after consulting a panel of experts.

– New restrictive measures in Europe –

German Chancellor Olaf Solz announced yesterday that sporting events in Germany will be held behind closed doors no later than December 28 to stem the epidemic. In the face of the threat of Omicron, contacts, even between vaccinated people, will be limited to a maximum of 10 guests for the New Year celebration.

Sweden will implement a series of measures, from teleworking to an expanded use of vaccine pass, in response to an increase in the number of cases, the government has announced.

In Finland, bars will stop serving alcohol at 21:00 and close at 22:00 on Christmas Eve, the Finnish government announced today. More than 23,000 new cases of coronavirus have been reported in the last two weeks, an absolute record in this country of 5.5 million inhabitants.

– Japan: McDonald’s will only sell small portions of french fries –

In Japan, the fast food chain MacDonald’s announced that for a week, until December 30, its stores in the country will sell only small portions of french fries due to “supply delays” associated with floods in Canada and the new coronavirus pandemic. .

– More than 5.35 million dead –

The pandemic has caused at least 5.35 million deaths worldwide since the WHO office in China announced the appearance of COVID-19 in late December 2019, according to a report released yesterday by AFP based on official sources.

In absolute numbers, the countries that have recorded the most deaths since January 2020 are the USA (809,958), Brazil (617,948), India (478,007) and Russia (299,249). In terms of population, the countries in which the epidemic has caused the most damage are Peru, Bulgaria, Bosnia and Hungary.

The region of Europe is the one that records the most deaths today, followed by the USA / Canada zone.

The WHO estimates, given the high mortality rate directly or indirectly linked to COVID-19, that the pandemic rate may be two to three times higher than that officially recorded.

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