The new variant of the coronavirus, named omicron and potentially more contagious, it continues to spread throughout the world after its epicenter in southern Africa was reported and with a new, increasingly widespread border closure, a disturbing situation, but in the face of which the president of the United States, Joe Biden, has asked not to “panic.”
BORDERS CLOSED AND BIDEN ASKS NOT TO ENTER “IN PANIC”
After Israel, which was the first country in the world to impose a strict border closure to shield itself from the omicron, of which there are already two confirmed cases in the country, a good number of countries have joined the decision to apply criteria restrictive access, especially for travelers from southern Africa.
The president of the USA, Joe Biden, today considered that the omicron variant “is cause for concern, but not for panic”, for which he assured that the experts do not consider that “additional measures” are necessary in the country.
In an intervention from the White House accompanied by the chief epidemiologist of the US Government, Antony Fauci, Biden remarked that the United States is in a “better situation” than Christmas last year, and urged citizens to seek the reinforcement dose of the vaccines available in the country, although he recognized that it is “almost inevitable” that “at some point” the new variant reaches the United States.
As of today, the US has imposed restrictions on travelers from South Africa and seven other southern African countries.
CANADA ANNOUNCES TWO OMICRON CASES, WHICH WOULD BE THE FIRST IN AMERICA
Canada today announced the detection of two confirmed cases of the omicron variant in its territory, which would be the first two that are known in America.
The health authorities of the Canadian province of Ontario reported this Monday at a press conference that these two cases, detected in Ottawa, are two individuals who arrived in the country from Nigeria.
In addition, two other people in the town of Hamilton, about 60 kilometers southwest of Toronto, are suspected of being infected with the omicron variant.
Canada on Friday banned foreigners from seven southern African countries, including Nigeria, from entering the country.
The nations affected by the decision are South Africa, Mozambique, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Lesotho and Eswatini.
WHO WARNS OF “VERY HIGH” RISK OF OMICRON
The risk posed globally by the new omicron variant is “very high”, warned today the World Health Organization (WHO) in a technical report on this new strain of SARS-CoV-2.
Taking into account the high mutations of omicron, with the potential to be more resistant to immunization and more contagious, the risk of the variant being transmitted worldwide is “high”, the document states.
Faced with these risks, the WHO calls on its member states to take certain priority actions, including “accelerating vaccination, especially among the population at risk that remains unvaccinated.”
G7 CALLS FOR ACCELERATING VACCINATION IN DEVELOPING COUNTRIES
The G7 Health Ministers today highlighted the importance of promoting vaccination programs against covid-19 in developing countries, especially after the appearance of the omicron variant.
At an emergency meeting called by the British presidency, representatives of the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, Canada and Japan, plus the European Union (EU), agreed on the “strategic relevance” of extending immunization.
The group of developed countries addressed the need to improve the capacity of the poorest to receive millions of vaccines and implement large-scale vaccination programs, for which they need “operational assistance”.
The G7, which at the leaders’ summit in June pledged to donate one billion vaccines, today reiterated its willingness to “move forward” towards the fulfillment of that commitment.
CHINA WILL FACILITATE ONE BILLION DOSES TO AFRICA
The President of China, Xi Jinping said today that his country will provide Africa with one billion doses of vaccines to combat covid-19 on the continent.
Xi made the announcement at the telematic opening of the eighth ministerial conference of the Forum for China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), which seeks to strengthen relations between the two parties and which is held in Dakar until Tuesday.
“To contribute to the achievement of the goal set by the African Union of vaccinating 60% of the African population against COVID-19 by 2022, I hereby announce that China will provide Africa with one billion additional doses of vaccines”said the Chinese president, who specified that this offer implies “600 million in the form of donations and 400 million in other forms, such as joint production between Chinese companies and concerned African countries.”
In addition, “China will carry out ten health projects for African countries and send 1,500 medical professionals and experts in public health,” said Xi, whose country says it has supplied, to date, about 200 million doses to fifty African Union countries.
THE UN CONCERNED ABOUT THE “ISOLATION” OF SOUTH AFRICA
The Secretary General of the UN, António Guterres, said today he is “deeply concerned about the isolation of the countries of southern Africa” in the face of the new travel restrictions imposed by the appearance of the omicron variant.
With his message, Guterres refers to the cancellation, in recent days, of flights from southern Africa announced by a large number of countries.
Guterres once again criticized the unequal distribution of vaccines in the world, and specifically the low level of vaccinations on the African continent, “breeding ground for variants” of the covid-19 virus, he says.
“The nations of Africa cannot bear the blame for the immorally low level of vaccines available in Africa, nor should they be penalized for identifying and sharing scientific and health information crucial to the world,” says Guterres in reference to the early warning launched by the Government of South Africa upon detecting the new variant of the virus.
FIRST CASE DETECTED IN SPAIN, WHERE THE INCIDENCE INCREASES
Spain reported today the first case of the omicron variant, detected by the microbiology service of the Gregorio Marañón hospital in Madrid.
This service, on his Twitter account, indicates that he is a traveler from South Africa, who according to the Madrid regional government is 51 years old and returned on November 28 with mild symptoms.
The patient, who is in isolation while in quarantine, returned from South Africa last Sunday with a stopover in Amsterdam.
The incidence reaches 199 cases per 100,000 inhabitants in the last fourteen days, after a weekend in which 22,911 new infections were reported, a high figure in the country, which since last August did not exceed 20,000 on a weekend. week, according to official data released today.
This figure would have placed Spain at high risk of contagion according to the indicators that the country applied until a few days ago, which were modified to give greater relevance to others such as hospital pressure.
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