Europe between the jaws of the mutant Omicron and the protests against health restrictions | Politics news

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Paris – Europe is experiencing a panic that necessitated tightening preventive measures and closing borders, after daily infection rates with the Corona virus reached a record high, especially in Germany, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands and Britain, amid fears of new waves of the epidemic with the onset of winter.

Similar to Britain and Germany – whose deaths exceeded 100,000 people – the number in France jumped to about 119,000 deaths, at the beginning of this week.

While the World Health Organization has warned that 700,000 new deaths from the Corona virus may be recorded in Europe by spring, an official statistic published by Agence France-Presse showed that the epidemic caused the death of more than 1.5 million people in Europe. The pandemic has killed more than 5 million people worldwide since the end of 2019.

Luftwaffe Transports Covid Patients From High Incidence StatesTransfer of people infected with the Corona virus in Germany (Getty Images)

The worrying mutant

In conjunction with the discovery of the new mutant, which the World Health Organization called “Omicron”, and described it as a “worrying mutagen”, European countries announced tightening health measures and banning flights from South Africa and several neighboring countries, in line with the European Health Commission’s description of the new mutant. as a “dangerous spread”.

The mutant continues to spread in Europe, which, according to observers, has become a “global epicenter of the epidemic”; After the first case of it was discovered in Belgium at the end of last week, and similar cases were suspected in the Netherlands, Germany and Britain, Denmark announced – on Sunday – two cases of the “Omicron” strain.

Italy, in turn, detected the first infection with the new mutant, and the government’s Higher Institute of Health explained – last Saturday evening – that “the positive sample was taken from a patient who came from Mozambique.”

The Netherlands confirmed the discovery of the infection of 13 travelers from South Africa carrying the same mutant. Meanwhile, the German government’s advisor to the Corona crisis announced that a traveler returning from South Africa had been infected with the “rapidly spreading” mutant. And this came in the wake of the announcement by the state of Bavaria – the day before yesterday, Sunday – that two cases of the new mutant had been diagnosed in the city of Munich. The same thing was announced by the Czech Ministry of Health.

Urgent Actions

In light of this, several European countries announced urgent measures to confront the new mutator, in response to the warnings issued by the European Center for Disease Prevention, which expected a rise in Corona infections in the coming December and January unless urgent measures were taken to confront the virus.

And in Germany, the government’s advisor to the Corona crisis said that a comprehensive closure may be necessary if the new mutant does not respond to vaccines. Italy suspended flights from South Africa, and ordered Italians returning from South Africa to go into quarantine.

France, so far, has not announced any infection with the new mutant, but it has strengthened its health measures in the face of the fifth wave of Corona. Last Saturday, the vaccination campaign began with the third dose for people over the age of 18, but French Health Minister Olivier Veran ruled out – last Thursday – a return to complete closure.

On the other hand, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said – the first on Sunday – that “we are now in a race against time to analyze the Omicron strain.” But, she added, “scientists and vaccine manufacturers need two or three weeks to form a comprehensive view of the characteristics of the mutated mutations,” and called for continued vaccination and continued preventive measures.

Corona examination station on a street in Vienna, where the authorities began imposing restrictions on those who had not been fully vaccinated (Anatolia)

violent protests

In parallel with its confrontation with the new axis, Europe is experiencing a wave of strikes and protests that reject the mandatory vaccination and the return of quarantine in some countries and the “painful health measures”.

In Austria, following the adoption of the complete stone – on Monday night – about 40 thousand people demonstrated in Vienna denouncing the “dictatorship”, in response to a call by the far-right party, in addition to another march that included thousands of demonstrators in Linz, in the north of the country.

In the Netherlands, violent protests erupted in which dozens were arrested, last week, in Rotterdam and The Hague, as a result of the imposition of partial closures, and the prevention of unvaccinated people from entering some places.

Last week, the Belgian capital, Brussels, witnessed clashes and protests, in which about 35,000 demonstrators participated, rejecting the new measures.

As for France, it decided – last Friday – to postpone the mandatory vaccination of medical personnel in the Antilles until December 31, after this caused an unprecedented social crisis punctuated by days of violence.

And live the French islands of Guadeloupe and Martinique – in the Caribbean – violent protests against the imposition of mandatory vaccinations on medical care providers and firefighters.

What is the reason for the increase in injuries?

The cardiologist in Paris hospitals, Dr. Mohamed Ghannam, attributes the reasons for the high rates of corona infection in Europe after its decline to several reasons, including that 70% of Europeans have taken the vaccination, but 30% have not been vaccinated so far. He adds that “the efficacy of vaccines is uneven, and the unvaccinated plays a negative role in the virus reaching the vaccinators who were not vaccinated.”

Ghanem says – to Al Jazeera Net – “If we add to all this that the immunity of vaccines decreases with the passage of time, and does not curb the spread of the virus, we understand this strong return to the rise in infections, and we understand that immunity is not sufficient to reduce the spread of the epidemic and the new mutant.”

Ghannam also attributed the high number of injuries to the return of life to normal by government decisions, mixing and overcrowding of people, their abandonment of masks, and health protection measures.

The doctor calls for accelerating the pace of vaccination to curb the spread of the virus quickly, as well as giving the third dose to those over 60 years old, and then expanding the vaccination to the younger groups.

And about the severity of the new wave of the virus, especially with the discovery of the mutant Omicron, Ghanem says, “Europe is at the beginning of the fifth wave now, and as the epidemic spreads, new strains appear. There are many strains that appear and disappear and people do not hear about them because they are not dangerous, compared to strains such as the new mutant, we need to More time to find out how dangerous it is.”

Ghanem believes that “the new strain is worrying because it has many rapid transformations in a short time, unlike the rest of the mutant. This makes it more contagious and moves quickly between humans and between countries. Therefore, the rapid transformations of the new strain may make vaccines ineffective in front of it, hence the concern and danger.” .

A passenger tries to find a flight as several airlines have stopped flying out of South Africa, amidst the spread of the new SARS-CoV-2 variant Omicron, at O.R. Tambo International Airport in JohannesburgA passenger at Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg, South Africa, which is the new epicenter of the Corona virus (Reuters)

Adaptation of old vaccines

At a time when South African scientists are credited with saying that they are unable to be certain that the currently available vaccines are effective in fighting the “Omicron” mutant, what are the solutions to confront it?

Dr. Ahmed Ghannam explains that the first vaccination was made to counter the first strain of corona, but since the first virus and the emerging strains have some common characteristics, the available vaccines remain effective even with the new mutant or Micron, albeit with less efficacy.

But – according to Ghanem – the greatest fear remains from the number of rapid transformations of the new strain, which may reach 10 transformations in a short period, and this makes it spread and become more complex. But he said that it must be analyzed and scrutinized to judge its severity and severity, “and the first and last solution remains in vaccination and taking the necessary precautions.”

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