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The new “Corona” strain causes panic and Europe begins countermeasures

Omicron - Coronavirus - Covid

New Covid variant 

The outbreak of a new strain of coronavirus has caused panic in several countries around the world, especially in Europe where several countries have started taking precautions to prevent the new strain from reaching their territories.

The measures include a European Commission proposal to suspend flights from South African countries.

The president of the European Union Commission said he wanted to stop air traffic from South Africa to fight the spread of a new variant of the virus that causes the Covid-19 epidemic.

In Berlin, German Health Minister Jens Spahn announced on Friday that his country would ban most flights from South Africa due to the mutating new coronavirus.

Span said the decision, to be implemented last Friday night, would cover South Africa and its "most likely neighbors". According to AFP, only German nationals are eligible to return with a 14-day quarantine period, even if they have been vaccinated.

And Italy also took drastic precautions last Friday by preventing entry, which has visited several South African countries in the past 14 days due to the outbreak of the new Corona strain.

Previously, the UK had decided to temporarily ban flights from six African countries, as Crown's new mutant was more infectious, immune to vaccines, and deemed "vaccine-cheatable".

UK Health Minister Sajid Javid said yesterday that "the decision will cover all flights from South Africa, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Zimbabwe and Botswana".

He added, "The preliminary evidence we have for this mutant suggests that it may be more infectious than the Delta mutant and that the vaccine we currently have may be less effective" in preventing infection.

The minister said British scientists were "deeply concerned" by the new version of the mutation that South Africa blamed for the country's recent surge in the number of people living with HIV.

This mutation was also seen in travelers from Botswana and Hong Kong.

He said: "We will ask anyone coming from one of these countries to self-isolate in a hotel on Sunday, November 28, starting at four in the morning."

He added, "Those arriving from these countries before that date will need to self-quarantine in their homes and have a PCR test on the second day of arrival and a second similar test 6 days after the first."

And the Minister of Health stated that the decision to bring those from these countries to the UK would be retroactive as "we ask everyone who came from one of these countries in the last ten days to take the test".

What has the World Health Organization announced about the new Covid-19 mutant?

Last Friday, the World Health Organization WHO announced the classification of the new Covid-19 mutant, first discovered in South Africa, as "alarming" and named it "Omicron".

 In addition, EU representatives, who met on Friday to discuss the dangers of new mutants, recommended that 27 EU countries suspend flights from the region.

The expert group tasked with monitoring the epidemic announced that "WHO was first notified of the B.1.1529 mutant from South Africa on November 24, 2021. This mutant contains a large number of mutations, some of which are alarming."

"Member states have agreed to speed up restrictions on all flights to the European Union from seven countries in the South African region: Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa,  and Zimbabwe," said European Commission spokesman Eric Mamer. write on Twitter. Air. It has been reported that the first infection was found in Europe, in Belgium.

South Africa's position on the new European measures

For its part, the South African government considered the decisions "hasty." These measures deal a fresh blow to tourism just before the southern summer when zoos and hotels are usually full.

So far, according to the National Institute of Infectious Diseases in South Africa, 22 new cases of the new mutant Covid-19 have been reported, mostly in young people.

Both injuries were reported in Botswana and one in Hong Kong for someone returning from a trip to South Africa.

Scientists in South Africa currently seem unsure about the effectiveness of existing vaccines against the new form of the virus. Virologist Tulio de Oliveira told a news conference at South Africa's Ministry of Health that the new mutant "contains many mutations" and we were able to determine the possibility of a very rapid spread.

The researchers found that the "B.1.1.529" mutant carried at least 10 different copies compared to the two copies of the delta mutant. The transformation of the original virus can make it more infectious to the point where the mutant becomes dominant.

"Our concern is that these mutants not only have an increased transmission capacity but can also penetrate parts of our immune system," explains Professor Richard Lessells.


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