The wave of the Omicron variant has exploded the number of contaminations by Covid-19: the first region concerned, Europe – the current epicenter of the pandemic – is facing unprecedented levels of contamination: more than 4.9 million infections were recorded in the last seven days, 59% more than the previous week, according to a count from Agence France Presse (AFP) on Saturday. In total, more than 100 million cases have been recorded there since the discovery of the virus in December 2019. Across the Atlantic, the wave is also strong.
The pandemic has killed at least 5,438,312 worldwide since December 2019, according to a report established by AFP from official sources, Sunday, January 2, in the middle of the day. The United States is the most bereaved country with 825,819 dead, followed by Brazil (619,105), India (481,770) and Russia (310,518). The World Health Organization estimates, taking into account the excess mortality directly and indirectly linked to Covid-19, that the toll of the pandemic could be two to three times higher than that officially recorded.
Israel expands the 4e vaccine dose for over 60s
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett announced on Sunday January 2 that all Israelis over the age of 60 and medical staff will be able to benefit from a fourth dose of the Covid-19 vaccine, in the midst of the outbreak of contaminations linked to the highly contagious Omicron variant. “The Omicron wave is here and we must protect ourselves”, said Bennett. The rise in the number of cases of infection with the Omicron variant could lead Israel to herd immunity, Health Ministry Director General Nachman Ash said on Sunday.
Israel also received Thursday a first delivery of anti-coronavirus pills from Pfizer as the number of contaminations continues to increase since the appearance at the end of November of the first case in the country of the Omicron variant. In a country of 9.2 million people, where more than half of the population has already received a booster dose, severe cases are currently concentrated in unvaccinated people, according to data released by authorities. A total of 1,394,407 contaminations have been identified since the start of the pandemic in Israel, including 8,244 deaths according to official figures.
Record increase in cases in the United States, which joins the list of countries classified “red” by France
With an average of almost 400,000 new infections per day, the increase in the number of Covid-19 cases in the United States is following a curve “Almost vertical”, which is not currently the case with hospitalizations, said Dr.Anthony Fauci, senior White House adviser on the health crisis, on Sunday. “We are in the middle of a very strong wave”, claimed the scientist who clarified that the increase in cases was ” unprecedented “.
The French government has announced a tightening of the health rules applicable to travelers arriving from the United States. The United States thus joins the list of classified countries « rouge » by Paris, the third level out of four of a scale based on the evolution of health indicators, which brings together the territories “In which an active circulation of the virus is observed with the presence of variants of concern”.
This change of category does not change the rules applicable to people vaccinated from the United States, who must present on boarding the negative result of a PCR test or an antigen test (TAG) carried out less than 48 hours before the departure. flight. Vaccinated travelers may also be tested for antigen on arrival.
Flights continued to be disrupted on Sunday, the day back from vacation: nearly 2,600 flights had already been canceled at the end of the afternoon, between disruptions linked to Omicron, strong winds, floods and snowstorms. This represents more than half of the approximately 4,300 flights canceled worldwide at the same time.
Very many flights, without being canceled, were however late: more than 7,500 for the United States alone, and more than 15,000 for the whole planet. The weather is particularly difficult this weekend in the United States, with many regions affected by heavy snowfall, high winds, or flooding.
Anti-restrictions protest in Amsterdam
Riot police used batons to disperse a crowd of several thousand people gathered in Amsterdam on Sunday to protest the containment measures and the COVID-19 vaccination. Despite the ban before the demonstration by the authorities, many people gathered on the Museumplein, one of the main squares in the Dutch capital, observed an AFP correspondent.
Clashes with the police resulted in several minor injuries and the police made arrests, according to Dutch public television NOS.
Health restrictions are strict in the Netherlands. A new confinement was imposed on the population there a week before Christmas in the face of a new wave of Covid-19 and the spread of the Omicron variant. All non-essential shops, restaurants, bars, cinemas, museums and theaters are closed until January 14 and schools until at least January 9. Outside, only gatherings of two people are allowed, with exceptions such as funerals. But no restriction on movement has been decided.
China: decline in cases in Xi’an
New Covid-19 contamination reached its lowest level in the past seven days in Xi’an, public health officials said on Sunday. On Sunday, 122 new coronavirus infections – its lowest level since December 25 – were recorded in this historic city in the north of the country, famous for the underground army of the first emperor of China, against 174 the day before.
According to Zhang Canyou of the Chinese disease control agency, the massive screening strategy, coupled with the impact of containment has resulted in “Some positive changes”, he told China Central Television (CCTV). 16 patients are, however, in a state of « grave », according to the National Health Commission.
Although low compared to figures recorded elsewhere, the new contaminations in recent days have reached a level not seen in China since March 2020.
The rigid policy of “Zero Covid” allowed China to limit its official death toll to less than 5,000 deaths since the start of the pandemic, against more than 800,000 in the United States.
But in a handful of regions the communist regime faces sporadic outbreaks, which has led authorities to house millions of residents, step up screening and restrict movement between provinces. Since December 9, more than 1,500 cases of the Delta variant have been reported in Xi’an. China has not recorded any deaths from Covid-19 since January 2021.