A new, potentially more transmissible coronavirus variant, first identified in South Africa, has sparked a new round of travel restrictions around the world and raised concerns about what could happen in the pandemic. The WHO identified the strain, now called Omicron, as a worrying option on Friday and said several studies were underway, with advisers continuing to monitor the strain. In this context, the head of DSU Raed Arafat came out in a press conference, talking about this option and about the new travel restrictions.

Omicron strain, a worrying variant of the virus

While scientists say there are concerns about this option, they point out that we still don’t know much. Even if the Omicron strain is really more contagious, if it causes a more serious disease or what could be its effects on the effectiveness of vaccines.

Although this is worrying, as indicated by the WHO, experts believe that we must take a step back and wait for scientific results in this regard, according to CNN.

The Omicron strain has so far been identified in South Africa, Botswana, Hong Kong and Belgium. A specimen from the first known case of the South African variant was collected on November 9, the WHO announced on Friday.

Currently, the number of cases with the Omicron strain seems to be increasing in almost every province in the country, the WHO said. South Africa has completely vaccinated less than 36% of the adult population, and the rate of new vaccinations has fallen in recent days, according to the country’s health department.

Raed Arfat announces travel restrictions in South Africa

Based on already known data, DSU chief Raed Arafat today announced new restrictions, especially for those coming from South Africa, Hong Kong or Belgium. The Secretary of State also said that those who come from these states will be required to enter the 2-week quarantine.

“Let’s calculate very well any movement and be only the essential ones, if it can be avoided… Let’s think that the first area where it is possible to expand will be the neighboring one…

Those who move must be careful, whenever the rules can be changed, we do not have time to wait, when the decision is made it is applied “, said Raed Arafat.

In addition to South Africa, the following states have been added to the wheel list:

  • Botswana,
  • Eswatini,
  • Lesotho,
  • Mozambique,
  • Namibia,
  • Zimbabwe.

All these South African states already have infections with the Omicron strain, and for this reason it was decided to put them on the red list. Globally, experts say, there are dozens of cases, but there is the problem of an infection much faster and more resistant than the variant so far, Delta.

The Omicron strain was first identified in South Africa

South African officials also initially said there was a confirmed case of a traveler from South Africa to Hong Kong. On Friday, Hong Kong health authorities identified a second case of the Omicron strain among travelers returning to the same floor of a quarantined hotel.

Health authorities have ordered that at least 12 people in neighboring rooms be subjected to the mandatory Covid-19 test and to two weeks of quarantine in a government center.

Also on Friday, the Belgian government said that a person who had recently traveled from Egypt and was not vaccinated was tested positive for the Omicron strain, marking the first case in Europe. The European Center for Disease Prevention and Control said on Friday that, given:

“The potential for escape of immunity and the potential increased advantage of transmissibility of the variant compared to Delta. There is a high to very high risk that it will spread in Europe. “

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told CNN on Friday that “there is no indication” that the option is in the United States at this time, saying that “it appears to have been restricted,” but anything is possible. .

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