First cases in England and Bavaria. In the Netherlands, spotlights on two flights from South Africa
The Omicron variant lands in Europe. After the first case identified in Belgium, reports arrive from Italy – with the first positive in Campania with mild symptoms -, England, Germany. In the Netherlands there is no official test on passengers on a flight. News from Portugal and the Czech Republic. The variant, initially identified in South Africa and Botswana, monopolizes attention not only in the Old Continent. Alert also in the US and Israel.
GREAT BRITAIN, THE MASK IS BACK IN STORES AND VEHICLES
In England the first two pots were found in the Chelmsford and Nottingham areas. The two positive subjects – these are two related cases – have returned from a trip to South Africa and are in isolation. The relatives of the two positives were subjected to new controls. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson immediately announced new measures: the mask is therefore mandatory in shops and on public transport. “We don’t know how effective our vaccines will be, but we have good reason to believe they will provide at least some protection,” said Johnson, “absolutely confident” that Christmas 2021 will be better than last year. The omicron variant “spreads very quickly” and can also “spread among people who have two doses” of the covid vaccine, he added.
All travelers entering the UK will have to undergo a PCR test within 48 hours of their arrival and self-isolate until they receive a negative result, Johnson explained, who stressed that he didn’t want to interrupt their trips, explaining that the entry restrictions can only slow down the spread of any new variant, not stop it.
GERMANY, THE FIRST CONFIRMED CASES
Germany, already struggling with over 60 thousand infections in the umpteenth critical day of the fourth wave, has discovered the first two cases of the Omicron variant in Munich. These are two people who returned on November 24 with a flight from South Africa, according to the Minister of Health of Bavaria, Klaus Holetschek
In the morning another more than suspicious case in Hesse, as announced by the Minister of Health of the Land, Kai Klose, according to which some mutations typical of the new variant that appeared in recent days in South Africa were found in a person from that country. Klose wrote on Twitter that the new variant has “most likely already arrived” in Germany. News from Munich a few hours later proved him right.
Waiting for the results of the tests on the 61 positive passengers returned to the Netherlands from South Africa. The presence of the Omicron variant appears certain, but it is not yet official. All 624 passengers who traveled aboard the two aircraft “are in quarantine”, the health authorities announced, reiterating the obligation to test for all people – even without symptoms – who arrived in the Netherlands since November 22 if they have been recent in Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland and Zimbabwe.
The alert is also rising outside Europe. The South African variant Omicron may already be in the United States, but has not yet been detected, said immunologist and advisor to US President Biden, Anthony Fauci, in an interview with ‘Nbc’. “I wouldn’t be surprised if it was, we haven’t detected it yet, but when you have a virus that shows this level of transmissibility and you have travel-related cases already detected in other places, it’s almost inevitable that it gets everywhere,” he said.
In New York, the country’s ‘gateway’ to the Atlantic, a state of emergency is triggered in view of a possible surge in infections. The governor of the state, Kathy Hochul, explained that the emergency will come into effect next Friday 3 December. “We continue to see signs of an increase this winter, and although the new Omicron variant has not been detected in New York, it is on its way.”
Israel, which also boasts excellent results in the vaccination campaign, has decided to close the Ben Gurion airport for two weeks for international arrivals of foreigners. For Israeli citizens arriving from abroad, however, the mandatory quarantine will start for at least three days. This is what the Times of Israel reports.