France is facing a wave of the Omicron variant, pushing the government to take new measures, in particular on the vaccination pass, teleworking, or even wearing a mask outdoors. Follow all the news related to Covid-19 in France and around the world.
South Africa, where the Omicron variant was detected last month, announced Thursday an easing of restrictions linked to Covid and in particular the lifting of the curfew, the country having passed the peak of this wave of pandemic, announced the Presidency. Demands for a lifting of the night curfew in effect from midnight to 4 a.m. had multiplied in recent days, in anticipation of New Year’s Eve.
The owners of restaurants and bars had launched an online petition called “No curfew”, addressed to President Cyril Ramaphosa. “The curfew is lifted. There are therefore no longer any restrictions on traffic times, ”the presidency indicated. The sale of alcohol is authorized after 11:00 p.m. for establishments with a license.
“All indicators suggest that the country has probably passed the peak of the fourth wave” of the epidemic, she explained. New contaminations fell by 29.7% last week (89,781), compared to the previous week (127,753).
More than 3,500 people with Covid-19 are currently hospitalized in critical care services, where the most serious cases are treated, according to data released Thursday by Public Health France.
In detail, critical care services are currently treating 3,306 patients seriously affected by the coronavirus, including 299 new ones admitted over the past 24 hours.
The health protocol in schools, colleges and high schools during the start of the school year on Monday will be identical to that in force before the school holidays, AFP learned Thursday from union sources.
“There is nothing new, nothing announced”, summarized Guislaine David, spokesperson and general secretary of SNUipp-FSU, after a meeting between the teachers’ unions and the ministry. At this stage, the protocol is not changed: level 3 (out of 4) is maintained in elementary schools, like level 2 in middle and high schools, and all lessons will therefore take place face-to-face.
Students aged six and over will therefore have to wear the mask, and mixing will remain limited between classes and levels.
The Portuguese health authority decided on Thursday to reduce from ten to seven days the period of isolation imposed on people infected with the coronavirus without showing symptoms, as well as their cases of contact.
Mentioning the shorter duration of the incubation period of the Omicron variant, which now constitutes 75% of new cases in Portugal, the Directorate General of Health has thus followed suit with other countries which have already decided to reduce this quarantine. , like neighboring Spain and the United States.
Portugal, which has one of the most vaccinated populations in the world (89.4%), nevertheless recorded on Thursday a new record of daily contaminations, with 28,659 additional cases in 24 hours.
France is easing travel restrictions “for the end of the year” holidays for Britons wishing to transit through France to regain their European residence, the Interior Ministry told AFP, while new restrictions French authorities linked to Covid-19 are causing confusion in the United Kingdom.
Many British nationals have gone “in good faith” to the United Kingdom for the end of the year holidays and “find it difficult to reach their country of residence”, according to the ministry which decided to send “instructions to tolerance ”to border police forces so that everyone can reach their residence.
Wearing a mask compulsory in town, six people maximum per table in bars and restaurants, ban on gatherings of more than six people: the prefect of Mayotte announced on Thursday new restrictions effective from Friday to slow the progression of the Covid epidemic .
Faced with a health situation which “continues to deteriorate”, with an “alarming” incidence rate of 163.9 per 100,000 inhabitants the week of December 21 to 27, and an intensive care unit “saturated”, the prefect took new measures to slow the progression of the Omicron variant “now the majority in Mayotte”, French territory in the Indian Ocean, the prefecture said in a press release.
Pope Francis has canceled his traditional New Year’s visit to the nativity scene in St. Peter’s Square, due to the risk of Covid-19 contamination induced by this type of gathering, the Vatican announced on Thursday. The Sovereign Pontiff is normally welcomed by the faithful when he visits the manger on December 31, after having presided over the end of year vespers and sung the Te Deum prayer.
But the Vatican has indicated, in its agenda, that “the event will not take place, to avoid gatherings and the risks of contamination by Covid-19”.
The symbolic milestone of one million daily infections by Covid-19 in the world was crossed for the first time during the week of December 23 to 29, a few hours from the New Year festivities on which the pandemic will weigh once again.
On average, 1,045,000 new daily cases were detected over the period, up 46% from the previous week, according to an AFP count on Thursday established from reports communicated by each country.
The Director General of the World Health Organization Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has announced fears of a “tsunami of positive cases” with the Omicron variant. He calls for health systems to do their best to avoid disaster.
He explains that this Omicron variant “will continue to evolve” and calls for “collective responsibility”.
“This [#COVID19] virus will continue to evolve and threaten our health systems if we don’t improve the collective response.
– World Health Organization (WHO) (@WHO) December 30, 2021
Guillaume Rozier, the founder of the CovidTracker application, which closely follows the Coronavirus epidemic, explained that he could no longer follow the evolution of the Omicron variant.
Stop Omicron tracking on CovidTracker
France has broken the only public data allowing us to follow the progression of the Omicron variant, and we can no longer do anything about it. Explanations… 1/16 pic.twitter.com/m5VJeQSTgC
– GRZ (@GuillaumeRozier) December 29, 2021
He evokes a problem of tracing cases, and anomalies in the figures communicated by the government. “The DGS decided on Friday 17th to upset the screening methods to“ better follow Omicron ”, by communicating little information.
Since then, the proportion of cases known to have C has dropped in public data. It is now impossible to follow Omicron ”, according to Guillaume Rozier.
The problem of screening the Omicron variant had already been denounced by CNRS researcher Florence Debarre on December 26th.
Since Monday and the nth change in screening doctrine, the number of screening results reported in open data (in green in the figure) is so low that these data are now unusable.
We can no longer follow Omicron in France now. ▫️1 / 4 pic.twitter.com/LSaI2pWK5W
– Flo Débarre (@flodebarre) December 26, 2021
Residents of Xi’an told AFP on Thursday that they lack food, when Chinese authorities ensure that the supply is “sufficient” in the city confined due to Covid-19. Xi’an (north), famous for the underground army of the first emperor of China, has been in prison for a week, after cases of Covid-19.
Nobel Peace Prize winner and former Finnish President Martti Ahtisaari, 84, is in hospital where he tested positive for Covid-19. This is the second time that the former mediator of international conflicts has contracted the disease, after having already been infected in March 2020.
Antoine Griezmann has tested positive for Covid-19, announces Atletico Madrid. It is asymptomatic.
The club also reported that Diego Simeone, Koke, Hector Herrera and Joao Félix also positive are in isolation.
Saudi Arabia is reinstating physical distancing measures at the Grand Mosque in Mecca, Islam’s holiest city, due to an epidemic rebound in the kingdom that hosted millions of pilgrims before the pandemic.
Britons have not been able to use the Channel Tunnel for several days to transit by road through France to reach their European residence, under the traffic rules put in place by France to curb the Covid-19 epidemic , creating confusion at the border.
More than 6.8 million Covid-19 tests were carried out last week, a “new record” due “mainly” to 16-65 year olds, according to figures released Thursday by the Ministry of Health.
Fighting action at the French leader in rapid diagnostic tests. Biosynex has hired 200 temporary workers to respond to a meteoric demand for self-tests driven by the records of Covid-19 contamination and the end-of-year celebrations.
To respond to orders, we had to make room. It is therefore under a large marquee, erected in the parking lot, that the company based in Illkirch-Graffenstaden, on the outskirts of Strasbourg, has set up its testing packaging workshop.
“All fairs and shows are not affected by the gauges” set on Monday to curb the Omicron variant of the Covid-19, said the Minister Delegate in charge of Tourism and SMEs, Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne, on Thursday.
Zoos and amusement parks are also not affected by these gauges set at 2,000 people maximum indoors and 5,000 outdoors to slow down the Omicron variant, Lemoyne added on RMC.
While the government imposes three to four days of teleworking per week from next Monday, recalcitrant companies will risk a fine of up to 1,000 euros per employee, announces on LCI the Minister of Labor Elisabeth Borne.
An amendment to the bill on the vaccine pass will be tabled by the end of the week.
The number of new cases of Covid has almost tripled in one week and continues to grow “worryingly” in Guadeloupe, where the Delta variant remains in the majority, announced the ARS and the prefecture.
Some 543 cases were identified from December 20 to 26, against 203 the previous week and “nearly 850 cases were identified in less than 3 days” for the start of the week from December 27 to January 2, said Valérie Denux , Director General of the Regional Health Agency (ARS), during a press conference. “The situation this week is really very very worrying,” she explained.
The Mexican drug regulator on Wednesday authorized the emergency use of the Cuban Abdala vaccine against Covid-19, authorities said.
Argentina, after the United States on Monday, then Spain, announced a reduction in the quarantine for people positive for Covid, from 10 to 7 days, in an attempt to minimize the impact on economic activity in the face of a record outbreak of cases in recent days against the background of the presence of the Omicron variant.