Micron variation spreads beyond Africa, WHO warns

12/4/2021 at 10:47 AM / Updated 12/4/2021 10:47 AM

(Credit: Reuters / BBC)

The World Health Organization (WHO) warned on Friday that all countries in the world should be prepared for an increase in covid cases caused by the Ômicron variant first detected in South Africa. The new strain has already been identified. More than 30 countries and at least four of them – Spain, USA, UK and Australia – are already facing social media coverage.

Spain has identified the first case of social outbreak in a 62-year-old Madrid patient who has been vaccinated and has no history of recent travel or contact with travelers. The United States has discovered a patient suffering from Omigran in Minnesota.

Yesterday, the governments of Scotland and Australia, which are under British jurisdiction, also announced that they already have social media in their territories. “In the coming months, I suspect Ômicron will be the new virus in the world,” said Paul Kelly, a medical adviser to the Australian government.

Countries including Hong Kong, the Netherlands, Norway and Russia eased travel restrictions on Thursday, announcing new measures to prevent the variation from crossing their borders. Govt cases in South Africa have nearly tripled in the past three days, with 11,535 new cases registered on Thursday, the 2nd, according to data released by the Ministry of Local Health, up from 8,561 on Wednesday, 1st and 4th Tuesday. 30

The positive rate for the disease also increased. On Thursday, 22.4% of those tested tested positive. On Wednesday, the rate was 16.5%, higher than the 1% recorded in early November, according to the National Institute for Infectious Diseases of South Africa (NICD).

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In the absence of conclusive data, it is not yet known whether the Ômicron variant is responsible for the rapid increase in infections. But data from the NICD showed that there was a new variant in 74% of the genetic samples sorted in November. By the end of October, delta diversity dominated all the provinces of South Africa.

During the Delta expansion, South Africa reached more than 26,000 cases daily in July. Scientists fear that Õmicron will trigger a new wave of achievement, as admission data are showing signs of increasing in recent days.

Gauteng provincial officials say they are preparing for the worst. “We are not panicking, but we are deeply concerned,” said Gauteng Governor David Makura.

Low coverage

The biggest concern of the authorities is that the country has a low vaccination coverage, which currently stands at 36%, according to the Department of Health.

Reluctance before vaccination is the biggest reason why the population is less followed. Earlier this week, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said his government was considering the possibility of making the vaccine mandatory.

The WHO has already warned that it could take weeks to get definitive information on the spread of the new strain and whether the vaccine’s immune barrier can be overcome. Of greater concern is the presence of a greater number of mutations in the variant than in previous strains.

Although South African scientists first discovered the Ômicron variant, it does not necessarily appear to have originated in the country. Nevertheless, many governments, especially those from Europe and South Africa, announced restrictions on flights and passengers, which provoked criticism from the WHO and opposition from regional governments. (With international agencies)

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Information from the newspaper State of So Paulo.

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