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South African studies provide Omicron’s hope as countries re-impose Reuters curbs

© Reuters. Patients will be on standby after receiving a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine booster at the North Oakland Health Center in Pontiac, Michigan, USA on December 21, 2021.Reuters / Emily Elconin


By Stephen Farrell and Estelle Shirbon

Jerusalem (Reuters)-A South African study has forced countries around the world to impose new curbs on a rapidly prevailing variant of the coronavirus, pre-Christmas on the severity of Omicron on Wednesday. Good information was provided.

The government has urged citizens to vaccinate as Omicron becomes the dominant stock, overturning plans to resume, which many expected to signal the end of the pandemic, and worried financial markets. ..

Germany, Scotland, Ireland, the Netherlands and South Korea have recently re-imposed partial or complete blockades or other social distance measures.

German health experts said Wednesday that the new curb was probably not well underway, as the Minister of Health said he did not rule out a complete blockade.

Italy is preparing new measures and may require more categories of workers to be vaccinated, said Prime Minister Mario Draghi.

Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic and Spain were also considering new curbs.

Omicron was first detected in southern Africa and Hong Kong last month. Studies show that it is more resistant to vaccines developed before it emerged.

However, a South African study suggested that people infected with Omicron were less likely to be hospitalized than those infected with Delta.

“Positive story”

A study by the National Institute of Infectious Diseases (NICD) and major universities did not peer-review, but compared South African Omicron data in October and November with data on the April-November Delta. ..

The authors found that patients with Omicron had an approximately 80% lower risk of hospitalization and a 30% lower risk of serious illness.

“In South Africa, this is epidemiology. Omicron is acting in a less serious way,” said one of the authors, Professor Cheryl Cohen of NICD.

“Convincingly, our data together really suggest a positive story that Omicron is less severe than other variants.”

Still, the author warned against jumping to conclusions, including warnings. A study published last week at Imperial College London showed no signs that Omicron was milder.

Policy makers around the world are struggling to deal with the potential economic consequences of new outbreaks. The UK announced on Tuesday that its £ 1 billion ($ 1.3 billion) aid to businesses was the hardest hit.

About 300 South Korean business owners protested the revival of strict social distance rules in Seoul on Wednesday and called on the government to abolish the “vaccine pass” policy and compensate for losses.

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett welcomed the Ministry of Health’s panel’s recommendation that people in their 60s and older, with weakened immunity, and health care workers should take a fourth COVID shot.

Free test kit

However, Professor Lawrence Young, a virologist at the University of Warwick in the United Kingdom, said, “In a situation where about 73% of people in wealthy middle-income countries are (fully or partially) vaccinated … It’s hard to justify this. ” Only 12% are vaccinated in Africa. “

The Israeli recommendation required approval from the ministry’s ministry, and it was not clear when that would happen.

According to Reuters, more than 275 million people worldwide are infected with the coronavirus, with nearly 5.7 million deaths.

Since the first case was confirmed in central China in December 2019, infections have been reported in more than 210 countries and territories.

U.S. President Joe Biden promised to distribute 500 million free rapid COVID-19 tests on Tuesday, and to a quarter of unvaccinated U.S. adults, their choice was “raw. And the difference between death and death ”was warned.

Japan reported the first suspected case of Omicron’s community infection on Wednesday, but India urged the federal state to prepare for a surge and allowed restrictions on crowds and rallies.

Some wealthy countries want to reduce the time between the second and booster vaccinations, hoping that this will reduce the need to impose a new blockade on tired citizens. ..

Australia on Wednesday reported more than 5,000 daily infections for the first time. Nevertheless, Prime Minister Scott Morrison argued that the strict blockade would not be regained.

Interactive graphics tracking the global spread of coronavirus: https: // Open / 2FThSv7

South African studies provide Omicron’s hope as countries re-impose Reuters curbs South African studies provide Omicron’s hope as countries re-impose Reuters curbs

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