After being first detected on Thursday in South Africa, causing a planetary stir, the Omigran variant has already begun to spread everywhere.
Read more: The Omicron variant was discovered in the UK
As the world began to close its doors to South Africa, potential lawsuits were identified in Belgium, Israel and Hong Kong. But potential infections of this new variant are now also found in Great Britain, Germany, Italy and the Czech Republic.
About 60 passengers from Johannesburg have tested positive for COVID-19 in the Netherlands and are waiting for confirmation of the variation. According to Dr. Anthony Fauci, a White House adviser, the latter has already reached the United States.
Global markets have plummeted for 48 hours amid concerns over the potential for a strong resumption of the health crisis. Gasoline prices are likely to rise further in the coming days.
Already in Canada?
According to many experts, Omigron has been described as highly contagious and re-infectious, having already made its way into Canada and Quebec.
“The advent of this variant is absolutely inevitable,” said Lionel Berthaucks, a virologist at the University of Quebec in Troyes-Rivers (UQTR).
About 700 passengers who arrived in the country from South Africa in the past two weeks have been ordered to self-isolate and test. According to the Association des Microbiologists du Quebec (AMQ), Christian Jacob, it is too late.
“This is not really surprising. This variation has already spread to many countries since its discovery,” he emphasizes.
– In collaboration with QMI Agency
⁇ About ten countries have stated that there are potential cases of the new variant
- Netherlands: 61 cases (Waiting for confirmation)
- UK: 2 cases
- Germany: 1 case
- Belgium: 1 case
- Czech Republic: 1 case
- Italy: 1 case
- Israel: 1 case
- Hong Kong: 6 cases
- Botswana: 59 cases
- South Africa: 59 cases
Causes of concern
What worries health officials is the high number of mutations, especially the more than thirty omega variants. Most of these, the variant has improved its malignancy, ability to infect and immunize the immune system.
For now, the World Health Organization reports that these last two points will be significantly increased in Omicron compared to other types. Recurrent infections have already been observed.
“When I first read about this variation, I could not believe it. Thirty changes are enormous, ”said Christian Jacob, of the association’s Microbiologists du Quebec (AMQ).
He fears that this variant may override the immune defenses provided by Quebec’s strong vaccine. So the health system pending the arrival of the new vaccine will be under pressure again.
But do not panic
However, there is no need to panic yet, according to experts pointing out that it is not yet certain whether the effectiveness of the vaccine will be reduced. Moreover, the fact that the virus has changed in all its aspects is “impossible”. So it is not because it is very contagious, it can cause very serious symptoms.
Andrew Pollard, director of the Oxford Vaccine Group, said yesterday that the production of a new vaccine could be done “very quickly” if necessary.
Another assurance is that it is easy to quickly distinguish Omicron from other types in the PCR test due to mutation.
Many experts say that we will not be able to cope with the epidemic until the entire planet is vaccinated at high rates. However, in poor countries such as South Africa, only 24% of the population is fully vaccinated. When the vaccine is weak, the virus spreads freely. Only then does the chances of him mutating increase.
⁇ [Dans ces pays], There is a shortage of freezers and medical personnel. The task is tough, but the vaccine campaign needs to be global, ”explains Lionel Berthaucks, a virologist and professor at UQTR.
Tourists are waiting
For their part, travel agencies indicate a “standing” position among their customers. If no one has yet canceled an already planned trip, many are questioning their company about the measures in place. With the advent of diversity, many countries have partially closed their borders, while others have tightened their operations. In the United Kingdom, the results of the PCR test are pending and should be isolated upon arrival in the country. “We felt the recession needed, and people were waiting to see what would happen,” explains Nicole Saint-Hiller, owner of Club Voyages Beauport.
Towards another vain Christmas?
Since the end of October, the increase in new cases in Quebec has been steady. Yesterday, 1,171 new infections or more than 1,000 were infected for the second day in a row. Add to this the fears regarding the Omicron variant, and QMA President Christian Jacob, not hoping for more relief in the coming weeks. Instead, he hopes the holiday season will be the same as last year. “If the curve starts to accelerate, we will not want to do anything. Doing nothing is dangerous,” he said.