A case of Omicron in Ile-de-France, debate on the compulsory vaccine … Update on the pandemic

We are only talking about him: the Omicron variant, spotted for the very first time in southern Africa in mid-November, is spreading like wildfire on the planet. France, which detected its very first case on Reunion Island on Tuesday, now has a confirmed case in mainland France. This is a man residing in the Paris region, returning from a trip to Nigeria, the Ile-de-France Regional Health Agency announced this Thursday morning. The Omicron variant, the dangerousness of which compared to Delta is still unknown, has also been found in recent hours in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and the United States. Each time, with people returning from the African continent.

  • A first case of Omicron in metropolitan France

“A traveler residing in Seine-et-Marne tested positive for Covid when he got off the plane on November 25, returning from a stay in Nigeria. The sequencing of the sample revealed on Wednesday December 1 that this person was a carrier of variant Omicron. This is a man between 50 and 60 years old who did not show symptoms at the time of the test, “writes this Thursday the Regional Health Agency (ARS) of Ile-de-France, in a press release.

This is the very first confirmed case of the Omicron variant in mainland France, after the detection, a little earlier, of contamination with the same variant in Reunion. There will be others. Wednesday, Gabriel Attal announced that thirteen cases were “suspected” to be carriers of this mutation. The woman from Ile-de-France positive for the Omicron variant is also positive. Sequencing is in progress. The couple are in solitary confinement. Another person living under the same roof was tested on Thursday. None of the inhabitants of this outbreak was vaccinated.

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  • The “White Plan” launched in Mulhouse, Colmar, Strasbourg and Annecy

The Haut-Rhin hospitals of Colmar and Mulhouse, “faced with a rapid evolution” of the Covid-19, launched their “White Plan” on Wednesday, they announced in a press release. The device allows the deprogramming of non-urgent operations and soliciting staff reinforcements.

“To face a significant need for Covid beds, the two establishments are reorganizing themselves to recreate units dedicated to the care of these patients”, which requires “in some cases to postpone scheduled care activities”, indicate the Hospital group of the Mulhouse and South-Alsace region and the Colmar Civil Hospitals. Not far away, in the Bas-Rhin, the Strasbourg University Hospital has taken the same decision, as has the Annecy hospital center, in Haute-Savoie.

  • New Caledonia lifts the suspension of international flights

The French archipelago has lifted the suspension of international flights, in place since April 1, 2020 due to the health crisis, but traffic will remain restricted given the closure of the borders of several neighboring countries. “The Covid-19 virus is now circulating (in New Caledonia) and the vaccination rate makes it possible to envisage links with countries implementing a similar vaccination strategy (to ours)”, Yannick Slamet told the press. , spokesperson for the executive.

Initially, the Caillou borders were to remain closed until December 31, 2021, but the lifting of the measure was brought forward by one month to December 1 because New Caledonia, which had remained free of Covid for a long time, has been in an epidemic situation since the beginning of September. .

  • Omicron spotted around the world

The United States, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates joined the growing number of countries on Wednesday that have confirmed at least one case of the new Omicron variant. In the United States, it is a fully vaccinated individual returning from South Africa, announced the American health authorities. In Saudi Arabia, the variant was detected in a Saudi citizen returning from a North African country, and in the Emirates in an “African woman coming from an African country via an Arab country”.

  • Ursula von der Leyen for a “discussion” on compulsory vaccination

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said the EU should now have a “discussion” on compulsory vaccination, while stressing that such a decision rests with member states.

In France, this prospect convinces for the time being neither the government – the Minister of Health, Olivier Véran, said Wednesday to privilege a strategy “without obligation if possible” – nor the scientific authorities. Professor Delfraissy, president of the Scientific Council, responsible for helping the French government face the health crisis, expressed strong skepticism Wednesday in the face of deputies. On the foreground, “of course that health (…) is an essential element, but should we be deprived all the same of a certain form of freedom?”, He asked himself. On the second level, “how do you control it?”, He asked, emphasizing the case of unvaccinated elderly people, a priori the most at risk of severe forms of Covid 19. “When you have a little grandma who tells you that she does not want to be vaccinated (…), do you think that we will send the gendarmes? “, he insisted.

  • UK approves GSK treatment

The British Medicines Agency (MHRA) announced on Thursday that it had authorized GlaxoSmithKline’s monoclonal antibody against the coronavirus, the British laboratory stressing that the treatment remained active against the new Omicron variant.

Sotrovimab is the second treatment against the coronavirus approved in a month by the United Kingdom, after molnupiravir, anti-Covid tablets from the American laboratory Merck, authorized in early November.

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Sotrovimab has been shown to be “safe and effective in reducing the risk of hospitalization and death in people with mild to moderate Covid-19 infection and an increased risk of developing a severe form of the disease, MHRA said. in a press release. Developed in partnership with the Californian laboratory Vir Biotechnology, the treatment based on long-acting monoclonal antibodies makes it possible, thanks to a single dose, to reduce the risk of hospitalization and death by 79% in high-risk adults with symptoms, she detailed.



Anne Rosencher is the managing editor of L'Express.Anne Rosencher

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