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Record number of tests in France, 4th dose in Denmark … Update on the pandemic

The Omicron wave triggered a tidal wave in pharmacies and laboratories in France. In addition, people vaccinated against Covid-19 will be authorized from Friday to come from the United Kingdom to France without having to present a compelling reason. In Denmark, hit hard by the Omicron wave, the authorities announced on Wednesday that they would offer a fourth dose of the anti-Covid vaccine to the most vulnerable.

  • Massive strike in education in the face of the Covid protocols waltz

Teachers and other National Education staff, exasperated by the waltz of health protocols linked to the Covid-19 epidemic, participate in a massive strike on Thursday, with half of the schools closed according to the first primary union.

Nearly 38.5% of teachers are on strike in kindergartens and elementary schools, according to the Ministry of Education, while the SNUipp-FSU, the first primary union, announces 75% of strikers. One in two primary schools is closed, according to SNUipp-FSU.

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In middle and high schools, 23.7% of teachers are mobilized, according to the ministry, while the Snes-FSU, the first secondary union, announces 62% of strikers. “The strike is in the majority and shows strong anger in the educational community,” said the union.

  • Nearly 12 million screening tests performed last week

Nearly 12 million Covid-19 tests were carried out in France last week, largely crushing the previous record recorded in New Year’s week, according to figures released on Thursday by the Ministry of Health. More precisely, 11.96 million PCR and antigenic tests were validated between January 3 and 9, against 8.31 million the previous week, specifies the Drees (direction of research, studies, evaluation and statistics), in a press release.

A jump of 44%, accompanied by a new daily peak of 2.16 million tests on January 6. On the rise in all age groups, screening has especially soared among those under 16, whose weekly “test volume” has tripled from 1 to 3 million “with the start of the school year”.

This massive influx weighs on “validation times (which) continue to increase: 93% of results are still returned in less than 24 hours, thanks to two thirds of rapid antigenic tests, but only 78% of PCRs carried out in laboratories.

  • Health Minister Olivier Véran positive for Covid

The Minister of Health, Olivier Véran, tested positive for Covid Thursday at midday after “the appearance of mild symptoms”, his entourage told AFP. “As the protocol requires, being vaccinated three doses, he will respect isolation and continue to work from the private quarters of his ministry, where he resides,” added his services.

  • United Kingdom: vaccinated people will be able to come to France without a compelling reason

People vaccinated against Covid-19 will be authorized from Friday to come from the United Kingdom to France without having to present a compelling reason, announced this Thursday on TV5 Monde the French Minister responsible for Tourism and SMEs, Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne . “For vaccinated people, we also put an end to the period of isolation of 48 hours (…). We will again be able to travel from the United Kingdom for leisure reasons and go skiing” in French resorts, added the minister.

“The constraint is stronger on unvaccinated people who keep compelling reasons and can not come for reasons of leisure. The vaccine makes the difference”, added Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne. “All travelers, vaccinated or not, must initially present a negative test (PCR or antigen test) of less than 24 hours,” said the Prime Minister’s office in a press release. “The government has chosen to lighten the specific health control measures at the borders which were decided on last December for vaccinated travelers from the United Kingdom”, explained Matignon.

  • Denmark: a 4th dose for the most vulnerable

Hit hard by the Omicron wave, Denmark announced Wednesday to offer a fourth dose of the anti-Covid vaccine to the most vulnerable, while lifting certain restrictions in favor of an epidemic under control. “This is a new chapter with the decision to offer a fourth dose to the most vulnerable citizens”, who received their third injection at the start of the recall campaign in the fall, said Health Minister Magnus Heunicke , during a press conference.

Those affected – immunocompromised, cancer patients or people with arthritis – will be contacted at the end of the week or early next week, health officials said. Thanks to the “ambitious” immunization campaign led by the Nordic country, “we are once again in control of the epidemic”, argued Magnus Heunicke.

  • The risk of hospitalization halved with Omicron compared to Delta

A large American study conducted on nearly 70,000 people who tested positive for Covid-19 showed a substantially reduced risk of hospitalization and death with the Omicron variant compared to Delta, regardless of the increasing levels of immunity within the population.

People infected with Omicron were half the risk of being hospitalized than those with Delta, according to the work. The risk of being placed in intensive care was reduced by about 75%, and the risk of dying by more than 90%. Among the more than 52,000 people infected with Omicron followed by this study, none required a ventilator, compared to 11 people of the nearly 17,000 infected with Delta.

In addition, the median length of hospitalization was 1.5 days for Omicron, compared to nearly 5 days for Delta. This analysis was conducted using data from the California hospital system of Kaiser Permanente, during the month of December 2021, when both variants were circulating widely. These data reinforce those accumulated from populations in other countries, for example in South Africa or Great Britain.

  • United States: more and more tests in schools

The United States will increase by 10 million the monthly number of tests for Covid-19 intended for schools in order to keep them open, announced the White House, as the wave of contaminations threatens to make inevitable a return to the ‘Distance Learning.

The 10 million additional tests per month “will help keep schools open,” the White House said in a statement. “We know how to keep schoolchildren and staff safe through immunizations, reminders, indoor mask wear, social distancing, ventilation and setting up screening tests.”

About 4% of schools in the United States have already had to close due to the wave of contamination caused by the Omicron variant. “The students have already made so many sacrifices since the start of the pandemic”, justified the US executive, ensuring to do “everything possible” to avoid the closure of establishments.

  • Tennis: 50% gauge for the public at the Australian Open

The capacity for the public at the Australian Open tennis tournament will be limited to 50% due to an increase in the number of Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations in the Melbourne region, the government announced on Thursday. of the State of Victoria. “This updated rules for the Australian Open means that the public, players and staff can expect an extremely safe event,” State Tourism Minister Jaala Pulford said in a statement.


For this first Grand Slam tournament of the year, which begins Monday, the wearing of a mask will be compulsory for spectators, except for eating and drinking, and rules of distance must be respected inside. As of Thursday, the state of Victoria recorded 953 hospitalized Covid-19 patients, a record number, and more than 220,000 cases of ongoing contamination.



Christophe DonnerChristophe Donner


Column Donner CREDIT: LAURA ACQUAVIVAChristophe Donner


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