The new variant of Covid-19, found in South Africa, called Omigron and considered “worrying” by the WHO, has spread and reached Europe, where Belgium found its first case, pushing the world to gradually close its borders to South Africa.
The most contagious and with many mutations, the identity of this new variant of Covit-19 was announced in South Africa on Thursday. One case was reported in Hong Kong, one in Israel for a returnee from Malawi and another in Belgium.
“He is from abroad. He was tested positive on November 22. He has not been vaccinated.”Belgian Health Minister Frank Vandenbrook explained. His cabinet said he was from Egypt and had passed through Turkey and arrived in Belgium on November 11.
“It’s a suspicious type, we do not know it is a very dangerous variant. Do not panic.”, Hammer the cabinet.
But following the United Kingdom, many European countries, including France, Italy, the Netherlands, Russia and Switzerland, which supply large numbers of passengers, have banned flights from South Africa and neighboring countries.
In the evening, the EU recommended suspending all travel from South Africa and six countries in the region.
Canada and the United States later announced that they would ban travelers from South Africa from entering their territory, while Japan would tighten its entry restrictions, which would include 10 days of isolation.
“Information about this new variant should make it clearer than ever that this epidemic will not end globally without vaccinations. The United States has already given more vaccines to other countries than any other country. It is time for other countries to do the same. Like the United States.” US President Joe Biden said in a statement.
“Unfair reactions”, South African Health Minister Joe Pahla lamented, triggered “instinctive reactions of panic”.
A variation has never caused so much concern in the world since the delta variation appeared. Known as Omigron, it has “a large number of mutations, some of which are of concern”, according to a panel of experts working with the World Health Organization (WHO) to monitor the evolution of Kovit-19.
The fall of global stock markets
According to official figures, the epidemic has killed more than 5.18 million lives worldwide, with the WHO estimating that it could actually be as high as two to three.
These travel bans are a tragedy for the South African government just before the southern summer, when wildlife parks and hotels are usually packed. The tourism industry began to anticipate a normal season.
“Our immediate concern is the damage this decision will do to the tourism industry and businesses.”South African Foreign Minister Naladi Pandor said in a statement.
At the venue, some spectators only thought of stuffing their bags, especially as European teams of the United Rugby Championship were about to play on Day 6 of the Championship and golfers coming to the Johannesburg Open.
Maxine Mackintosh, a 28-year-old British man who arrived in South Africa on Thursday, was planning to take his first “real” vacation after the outbreak. “After dinner, I realized I had to leave immediately,” he told AFP on his way to the airport.
Fears about this new variation have led to health restrictions, social tensions and persistent distrust of the vaccine, which has caused oil prices to plummet and global stock markets to plummet.
Paris since March 2020 (-4.75%) recorded its worst session and London since June 2020 (-3.64%) lost 4.15% at the end of Frankfurt. Previously, Tokyo was -2.53%.
The New York Stock Exchange, which was devastated by the change, also ended the year with a sharp decline (-2.53%).
“Increased transfer capacity”
A WHO spokesman said Friday that it would take “several weeks” to understand the spread of the new variant and the extent of the virus.
For the European Medicines Agency (EMA), planning to convert vaccines to the Omicron variant is “premature”.
So far, 22 cases have been reported, most of them affecting young people, according to the South African National Institute of Infectious Diseases (NICD). Cases have also been reported in neighboring Botswana.
Travel restrictions apply to Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique and sometimes Malawi, with the exception of South Africa.
The transformation of the initial virus, to the extent that it dominates the variant, makes it more contagious.
“What worries us is that this variant not only has increased transmission capacity, but can also cross certain parts of our immune system.”South African researcher Richard Lessels said Thursday evening.
About 54% of the world’s population has received at least one dose of the Govt-19 vaccine, but only 5.6% in low – income countries, according to our World Database. In South Africa, the most affected country on the continent, 23.8% of the population is fully vaccinated.
Despite these delays, Namibia will soon have to destroy 270,000 vaccines, which will soon expire due to the slowdown in the immunization campaign.
“Music geek. Coffee lover. Devoted food scholar. Web buff. Passionate internet guru.”