Variant Omicron: singled out and shunned by Europeans, South Africa feels "punished"
© VALERY HACHE Passengers crowded on Saturday, to leave South Africa airport Johannesburg. AFP / Phill Magakoe The misty look, between frustration and relief, Valerie Leduc left the window from Johannesburg airport sesame pocket: finally a place on a return flight to Belgium, via Addis Ababa in three days. "It seemed to be criminals," says the young woman.
© Philip Fong Employees at Tokyo airport control arrivals while new sanitary measures were announced on 29 November 2021
Omicron, a turning point in the COVID-19 crisis? Too early to say, insist many researchers, after several days of hazardous speculation on the real risks of this new varying in the profile certainly disturbing.
"I hope we can approach (...) Omicron with empiricism, caution and humility, instead of pure speculation in recent days," said Twitter Canadian Infectiologist Isaac Bogoch, during a weekend End marked by a breaking of assumptions around this recently detected variant in South Africa.
Coronavirus: Two passengers from the southern Africa contaminated in Australia by the Omicron Variant
The Ministry invites the 260 passengers and flying crew members to set up isolation © USA Today Network / SIPA USA / SIPA Passengers have traveled since Southern Africa via Doha. Variant - The Ministry invites the 260 passengers and flight crew members to be setup Australian Sanitary authorities announced this Sunday have detected the presence of the coronavirus Omicron variant after testing. Emergency carried out in two passengers from Southern Africa who landed Saturday in Sydney.
© Phill Magakoe PCR Test leads to Johannesburg airport, November 27, 2021
What is, for the moment, some? This variant has an exceptionally large number of mutations and are concentrated on a portion, the "Spike" protein, which is the virus input key in the body.
These genetic characteristics make it fears, on the theoretical level, that this variant is more contagious and better resists vaccines than its predecessors.
It is "a very high risk" at the global level, as judged on Monday the World Health Organization (WHO). Several countries, such as Israel and Japan, have already closed their borders.
But WHO also emphasizes how much one still ignores everything about the contagiousness and the actual severity of this variant, after several days of contradictory information, sometimes reassuring and sometimes alarmist.
Coronavirus: WHO judges the global risk related to the Omicron variant as "very high"
health-coronavirus-WHO: coronavirus: WHO judges the global risk related to the Omicron variant as "very high" © Reuters / Denis Balibouse Coronavirus: WHO judges the global risk related to the Omicron variant as "very high" Geneve (Reuters) - The World Health Organization (WHO) estimated Monday that the risk related to the Omicron Variant of the Coronavirus SARS- COV-2 was "very high" globally, especially because of the great probability that it is spreading around the world.
In the first category, remarks held by a South African doctor - and collected Sunday by AFP - reported "light symptoms", leaving some commentators hypothesize a more contagious but less dangerous variant.
"Really it's much too early to say that," said Monday French Infectiologist Yazdan Yazdanpanah, at a conference organized by the Scientific Council who advises the government in the health crisis.
"As for gravity, we have for the moment very few elements," he insisted, stressing that it was impossible to draw conclusions from an isolated testimony.
Other elements, on the other hand, raise anxiety. It is primarily the explosion of the number of cases in South Africa: this is about to pass the 10,000 cases a day, according to the South African epidemiologist Salim Abdool Karim Monday.
Is it in the sense of particularly high contagiousness of Omicron? Again, it's too early to say, according to researchers, who note that other local elements can play.
Covid-19: Global tourism should lose $ 2000 billion in 2021
© PH Lavieilla Some countries have resumed tourist activity during the summer, but new restrictions are now taken in several parts of the world . LP / PH. Lavieille This year will not really be better than the previous one. The global tourism sector should still lose $ 2,000 billion (€ 1,780 billion) in 2021 as a result of CVIV-19 pandemic restrictions, announced on Monday the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) .
- The strategy does not change -
South Africa is thus little vaccinated - less than a quarter of the population - which makes its inhabitants more vulnerable to infection. Above all, the delta variant, currently very dominant in Europe, is little present, which suggests an integral doubt about Omicron's ability to take its place.
"The circumstances of emergence and movement of the Omicron variant in South Africa are not the same" in Europe, noted, alongside Mr. Yazdanpanah, the French epidemiologist Arnaud Fontanet. "It is very difficult to compare the momentum that could be between different countries."
As for the resistance to the vaccine, it will be necessary to wait two or three weeks to have first elements as to the ability of the human body to generate antibodies facing this variant. And several months to get an idea of the actual effectiveness of vaccines against omicron contamination.
For the moment, researchers insist on a point: the strategy of fighting current variants, especially Delta, remains a priori the good, even with the appearance of Omicron.
In other words, in full epidemic wave in Europe, including in France, it is necessary to pursue the widest possible vaccination, in any case in adults, and continue to respect barrier gestures such as the port of the mask.
published Monday, new forecasts of the French Pasteur Institute - which do not logically take into account Omicron in view of the many uncertainties - believe that the good respect for these gestures can considerably reduce a wave of hospitalizations at the top planned for early 2022 .
"We probably do not have a huge effort," the AFP explained the Simon Cauchemez modelizer.
"We need to be more attentive, Teletravel a little more ... it can really make the difference," he concludes, while his study also emphasizes the importance of the current campaign Anti-Covid vaccination reminder.
JDY / ITO / May / VK
COVID-19: There are now 12 cases of Omicron in France .
© Copyright 2021, Obs The number of cases of infection in the Omicron variant detected in France now rises to twelve, according to the last updated balance sheet Friday night by the health authorities. "At 16h, three new cases of OMICRON variant infection have been reported in France", indicates on its site the Public Health Agency France .