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World on alert as UK reports cases of omicron COVID variant | St. Louis News Headlines – St. Louis, Missouri

St. Louis, Missouri 2021-11-27 10:55:00 –

London (AP) — The UK became the latest country on Saturday, as governments around the world sought to strengthen defenses by restricting travel from South African countries, resulting in a new potentially more contagious Omicron variant of the coronavirus. Reported a case of the body.

There is growing concern that pandemics and associated blockade restrictions will last much longer than expected, in the fear that new variants identified recently may be more resistant to the protection provided by the vaccine. ..

British Health Minister Sajid Javid confirmed that the two were positive for the Omicron mutant and that the case was associated with a trip from southern Africa. One is in the southeastern town of Brentwood and the other is in the central city of Nottingham. The government had previously said that one of the places was Chelmsford, but there was no reason for the change.

Javid said the two confirmed cases were self-isolated with the household during contact tracing and targeted testing. He also added four countries to the national travel red list from Sunday: Angola, Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia. Six locations were added on Friday: Botswana, Eswatini (formerly Swaziland), Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe. This means that anyone authorized to arrive from these destinations must be quarantined.

“This really reminds me that this pandemic isn’t over yet,” he said. “If you need to take further action, do so.”

Prime Minister Boris Johnson will hold a media briefing late Saturday with his chief adviser.

Many countries have lifted restrictions in response to warnings about the communicability of new variants to various countries in southern Africa, including Australia, Brazil, Canada, the European Union, Iran, Japan, Thailand and the United States. bottom. World Health Organization advice. Pharmaceutical companies have shown optimism that vaccines can be refined to combat new variants, albeit obviously time consuming.

Despite the flight ban, there is growing concern that variants are already widely seeded around the world. Cases have been reported in travelers from Belgium, Israel and Hong Kong, in addition to the United Kingdom. Germany also said it suspected a positive case, and Dutch officials were testing whether 61 people arriving on two flights with COVID-19 from South Africa had the Omicron variant.

The plane arrived in the Netherlands from Johannesburg and Cape Town shortly after the Dutch government banned flights from southern African countries. The 539 travelers who tested negative were allowed to return or continue their journey to another country. Those who live in the Netherlands and are allowed to return home under government regulations must be quarantined for at least 5 days.

Meanwhile, German officials said it was “very likely” that a variant of Omicron had already arrived in the country.

Kai Klose, the health minister of Hessen, including Frankfurt, said in a tweet that “some mutations typical of Omicron” were found in travelers returning from South Africa, who had been quarantined at home. The test ordering was not yet complete.

Global Health Organization Named New variant OmicronLabel it as a variant of concern because of the high number of mutations and early evidence that it is more infectious than other variants. This means that people who have recovered from COVID-19 may catch it again. It may take several weeks to find out if the current vaccine is ineffective against it.

When Too many uncertainties about Omicron variants Countries around the world take a safety-first approach, knowing that the previous outbreak of a pandemic is partly facilitated by loose border policies, as scientists are unlikely to materialize the findings over the weeks. Is taking.

Approximately two years have passed since the pandemic that claimed the lives of more than 5 million people around the world began, and countries are becoming more vigilant.

The rapid spread of the subspecies South Africa It surprised medical professionals, even though there were no immediate signs that the mutant would cause a more serious illness.

Many pharmaceutical companies, including AstraZeneca, Moderna, Novavax and Pfizer, said they have plans to adapt the vaccine in the light of the advent of Omicron. Pfizer and its partner BioNTech said they expect to be able to fine-tune the vaccine in about 100 days.

Professor Andrew Pollard, director of the Oxford Vaccine Group, who developed the AstraZeneca vaccine, expressed cautious optimism that existing vaccines may be effective in preventing serious illnesses caused by Omicron variants.

He said most of the mutations appear to be in areas similar to those of other varieties.

“It shows that despite these mutations present in other variants, the vaccine continues to prevent serious illness as it passes through alpha, beta, gamma and delta.” He told BBC Radio. Vaccines are still optimistic that they are effective against new variants of serious illness, but in reality, you have to wait a few weeks for them to be confirmed. “

“It is very unlikely that a pandemic restart will occur in the vaccinated population as we saw last year,” he added.

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.

“One of the key factors in the emergence of variants could be low vaccination rates in parts of the world. WHO requires us all to be safe and careful. Until then, we warn that no one is safe, “says Professor Peter Openshaw. Of Experimental Medicine at Imperial College London.


Geir Moulson of Berlin and Mike Corder of The Hague, The Netherlands contributed to this report.

Copyright 2021 AP communication. all rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.

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