Alarm for the new Omicron variant of Covid-19. An emergency meeting of G7 health ministers will be held today. Checks and controls have been strengthened at international airports.
Japan announced today that it will suspend the entry of all foreign visitors from around the world for fear of the new variant. Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said the measure will take effect tomorrow. The decision means Japan will reintroduce border controls it eased earlier this month for short-term business visitors, students and foreign workers. Over the weekend, Japan tightened entry restrictions for people arriving from South Africa and eight other countries, requiring them to undergo a 10-day quarantine period at government-designated facilities.
Recorded the first two cases of Omicron variant also in Canada. Today, the province of Ontario confirmed two cases of the Omicron variant of Covid-19 in Ottawa, both reported in individuals with recent trips from Nigeria. Public health in Ottawa is conducting case management and contacts and patients are in isolation, ”reads a note from the Ontario health authorities.
“The best defense against the Omicron variant is to stop it at our border. In addition to the measures recently announced, we continue to urge the federal government – it is emphasized – to take the necessary measures to impose tests at the point of arrival for all travelers, regardless of their origin, to further protect themselves from the spread of this new variant ».
“The new Omicron variant causes a mild disease without major symptoms,” said Angelique Coetzee, president of the Medical Association of South Africa, the country from which the variant originates and which has isolated it. However, Dr. Coetzee pointed out that elderly people and people suffering from diseases are still at risk. She claims that the possibility of a new variant had already emerged several days ago, due to the presence in the private clinic she managed in Pretoria of people who presented symptoms that initially did not seem those characteristic of Covid. People of all ethnicities showed up with a sense of fatigue, children with a rapid heartbeat, without anyone presenting one of the most typical symptoms of the new coronavirus infection, that is, the loss of taste and smell.
“Their symptoms were very different and mild compared to those I had previously treated,” says the president of South African doctors, who has been in the profession for 33 years. On November 18, when four members of the same family with these symptoms tested positive, Coetzee said he notified the scientific committee that coordinates vaccination and treatment policies. A couple of dozen of his patients tested positive, at least half without being vaccinated. Coetzee expressed concern about older people, who are more vulnerable, especially if they suffer from cardiovascular disease or diabetes. According to the head of Israeli public health, Sharon Alroy-Preis, the transmission potential of the new Omicron variant of Covid-19 is “very high” but at the same time – he stressed – in cases of vaccinated people the disease is “very light”.