The Covid-19 pandemic has claimed more than 5.3 million lives worldwide since the World Health Organization (WHO) office in China reported the onset of the disease in late December 2019 in this country, according to a report established Monday, December 27, by Agence France-Presse (AFP) from official sources.
In absolute terms, the United States is the most affected country with more than 816,000 deaths, followed by Brazil (618,000), India (479,000) and Russia (305,000). WHO estimates that the real toll could be two to three times higher.
US health officials cut isolation time in half for infection
US health authorities on Monday halved the recommended quarantine time for people positive for Covid-19. The duration of isolation is reduced from ten to five days for asymptomatic people and from fourteen to five for unvaccinated contact cases, the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) said.
The main US health agency also advises wearing a mask for five days after quarantine, while fully vaccinated contact cases do not need to self-isolate. The majority of infections occur in the two days before and three days after the onset of symptoms, authorities said in a statement.
The United States is approaching a threshold never reached for contamination, with nearly 215,000 new cases on Sunday, a jump of 83% in fourteen days. But President Joe Biden refused to panic: the Omicron variant of the new coronavirus will not have the same impact as the first wave of Covid-19 or the Delta variant, he estimated, due to the massive vaccination and screening campaign.
“We are not seeing hospitalizations increase as much” than before, Mr Biden said, with 72 per cent of the population receiving at least one injection. He acknowledged, however, that some hospitals in the country were “Outdated, in terms of equipment and personnel”, by an increase in hospitalizations, mostly unvaccinated people who are still numerous.
In addition – and in the same way -, NBA players who test positive will now be able to leave quarantine after only six days, against a minimum of ten days previously, if they are vaccinated and asymptomatic, the league also said in a note sent to teams and viewed Monday by the American media ESPN.
New restrictions in Greece
In Europe, the global epicenter of the epidemic rebound, several countries have decided on new restrictions to prevent hospital congestion. Europe is the one that records the most cases in the world, with 2.9 million in the last seven days (55% of the world total), as well as the most deaths with more than 24,000 deaths last week (53% of the total), followed by the United States – Canada zone (over 10,000, 22%).
The Greece will close, from January 3, restaurants and bars at midnight and allow tables of only six people in these establishments. And people in businesses and public administrations must switch to 50% teleworking from January 3 until January 16.
the Denmark and theIceland have also announced that they have exceeded thresholds never reached for daily Covid-19 cases. And the Norway said the new variant of the coronavirus was now in the majority in the capital, Oslo.
In Xi’an, China, only motorists involved in the fight against the epidemic are allowed to drive
In China, which is preparing for the Winter Olympics (February 4 to 20) and has been applying since last year a “Zero Covid strategy”, the city of Xi’an (north) has promised to impose the measures “The strictest” after the screening of several hundred cases of Covid-19.
Residents of the city have been forced to stay at home since Thursday, with the right to go out only once every three days for refueling. And from Monday, only motorists involved in the fight against the epidemic have the right to get behind the wheel.
Fourth dose of vaccine in Israel
In Israel, a hospital on Monday began administering a fourth dose of the coronavirus vaccine to its caregivers, as part of a clinical trial expected to precede a nationwide campaign.
Nearly 2,500 flights canceled on Monday
The Omicron variant continued to strongly disrupt air transport, which is particularly popular this holiday season, on Monday, with thousands of flights canceled since Christmas weekend due to this highly contagious variant identified in South Africa in November.
Some 8,300 international or domestic air routes were canceled over the weekend, tens of thousands of flights were delayed between Friday and Sunday. During the long weekend, Chinese airlines alone cut more than 2,000 flights, including many to Xi’an. The disruptions continued Monday (nearly 2,500 canceled flights) and Tuesday (more than 800 at this point), according to the FlightAware website.