Denver, Colorado 2021-11-26 13:24:54 –
Brussels — The World Health Organization’s advisory board has classified the first new COVID-19 variant detected in South Africa as a highly infectious virus of concern and named it “Omicron” under the Greek alphabet system.
Friday’s announcement from the United Nations Health Organization is the first time in months that WHO has so classified the COVID-19 variant. The most popular delta variants in the world are also in the same category.
Health professionals, including the World Health Organization, warned against overreaction before subspecies outbreaks in southern Africa were better understood. But after the emergence of COVID-19, which caused a pandemic and killed more than 5 million people worldwide, the volatile world was afraid of the worst.
“We must act promptly and as soon as possible,” UK Health Minister Sajid Javid told lawmakers.
There were no immediate signs of whether the mutant was more contagious or caused a more serious illness. Like other variants, some infected individuals are asymptomatic, South African experts said.
Some genetic changes appear to be of concern, but it was unclear whether the new mutant poses a significant public health threat. Some earlier variants, such as the beta version, were initially associated with scientists, but were less prevalent.
The European Union of 27 countries has temporarily banned air travel from southern Africa, causing inventories to plummet in Asia, Europe and the United States. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell by more than 1,000 points. The S & P 500 index fell 2.3% at the worst day pace since February. Oil prices have plummeted by nearly 12%.
“The last thing we need is to bring in new variants that will cause even more problems,” said German Health Minister Jens Spawn. Incidents have surged recently in EU member states.
EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said, “We need to suspend our flights until we clearly understand the dangers posed by this new variant. Travelers returning from this area will have strict quarantine rules. Must be respected. “
She took great care and warned that “mutations could lead to more emergence and spread of viral variants that could spread around the world within a few months.”
Belgium became the first European Union country to publish an example of this variant.
“It’s a suspicious variant,” said Health Minister Frank Vandenbroucke. “I don’t know if it’s a very dangerous variant.”
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top infectious disease expert in the US government, said it has not yet been detected in the United States. Overseas, the variant “seems to be spreading at a fairly high rate,” he told CNN. And while it may be more contagious and resistant to the vaccine than other varieties, “we certainly don’t know it now.”
According to scientist professor Marc Vann Ranst, the Belgian case returned from Egypt to Belgium on November 11 with mild symptoms until Monday, showing how complex the subspecies epidemic is. Involved travelers who did not get sick. A group that oversees the Belgian government’s response to COVID-19.
Israel, one of the most vaccinated countries in the world, announced on Friday that it also detected the first case of a new variant of a traveler returning from Malawi. The traveler and two other suspicious cases were quarantined. Israel said all three had been vaccinated, but authorities were investigating the exact vaccination status of travelers.
After a 10-hour night trip, passengers on flight KLM 598 from Cape Town, South Africa to Amsterdam were detained for four hours at the end of the runway at Schiphol Airport on Friday morning until a special test was conducted. it was done. Passengers on flights from Johannesburg were also quarantined and tested.
“It’s ridiculous. If you’ve never caught a scary bagger before, you’re catching it now,” said Francesca de Medici, a passenger on the plane, a Rome-based art consultant.
Some experts said the emergence of this variant indicates that vaccine storage by developed countries could prolong the pandemic.
In Africa, less than 6% of people are fully immunized to COVID-19, and millions of healthcare workers and vulnerable people have not yet received a single dose. These conditions accelerate the spread of the virus and increase the chances of it evolving into a dangerous variant.
“This is one of the consequences of unfairness in the deployment of vaccines, and that is why the acquisition of surplus vaccines by richer countries inevitably repels all of us at some point,” said the University of Southampton, UK. Michael Head, Senior Research Fellow at Global Health, said. .. He urged a group of 20 leaders to “beyond vague promises and fulfill their promise to actually share doses.”
The new variant added to investor anxiety that months of progress, including COVID-19, could be reversed.
Forex broker Oanda’s Jeffrey Halley said, “Investors are more likely to shoot first and ask questions later.”
As a sign of how concerned Wall Street is, the so-called horror gauge of the market known as VIX has risen 48% to 26.91. This is the highest volatility index since January, before the vaccine was widely distributed.
Prior to the EU announcement, Dr. Michael Ryan, WHO’s head of emergency, warned against a “kneeling reaction.”
“We’ve seen in the past all sorts of references to all sorts of variations, and everyone closing their borders and restricting travel,” Ryan said. “It’s really important that we stay open and focused.”
The Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has agreed to ban travel to countries that have reported new variants, strongly discouraging them. Past experience has shown that such a travel ban “has not had meaningful consequences.”
The UK announced at noon Friday that it would ban flights from South Africa and five other South African countries, requiring anyone who recently arrived from these countries to be tested for coronavirus.
Germany said the flight ban could be enacted soon on Friday night. According to Spawn, flights returning from South Africa can only return Germans, and travelers are required to enter quarantine for 14 days with or without vaccination.
A record daily number of cases has recently been seen in Germany, with COVID-19 deaths exceeding 100,000 on Thursday.
The Italian Ministry of Health has announced measures to ban persons who have lived in seven countries over the past 14 days: Southern Africa, Lesotho, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Namibia and Eswatini. The Netherlands and the Czech Republic have planned similar measures.
The Japanese government has announced that Japanese traveling from Eswatini, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Botswana, Southern Africa and Lesotho will be isolated for 10 days in a government-only accommodation and will be tested for COVID-19 on the 3rd, 6th and 10th days. Announced that you need to receive it. Japan has not yet opened its doors to foreigners.
The South African government said the UK’s decision to temporarily ban South Africans from entering the country “seems to be in a hurry,” citing the fact that WHO has not yet recommended the next step.
Forch said US public health officials were discussing with a South African colleague on Friday. “We want to know exactly what is happening from scientist to scientist.”
The WHO Technical Working Group may meet on Friday to evaluate a new variant (currently identified as B.1.1.529) and decide whether to name it from Greek letters. In Europe, the only region in the world where COVID-19 continues to grow, coronavirus infections are said to have surged 11% last week.
Dr. Hans Kluge, WHO’s director of Europe, warned that the continent could kill another 700,000 people by spring without urgent action.
Contributed by Associated Press writers Lorne Cook in Brussels, Colleen Barry in Milan, Pan Pylas in London, James Keaten in Geneva, Mike Corder in The Hague, Dave McHugh in Frankfurt, Carley Petesch in Dakar, Andrew Meldrum in Johannesburg and Frank Jordans in Berlin. Did. This report.
New COVID-19 variant named “omicron,” classified as highly transmissible by World Health Organization Source link New COVID-19 variant named “omicron,” classified as highly transmissible by World Health Organization