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DIRECT – Coronavirus: Omicron variant appears to spread faster than Delta variant, according to WHO


Many countries, including France, are facing a fifth wave of the epidemic. Six regions have already activated the “white plan” to reduce tension in hospitals. Follow all the news related to Covid-19 in France and around the world.

6:58 p.m.

Health officials in the UK announced on Sunday raising the Covid alert level due to a “rapid increase” in cases of the Omicron variant. The level is reduced from three to four, which is the second highest level and indicates that “transmission is high and the pressure on health services is widespread and significant or increasing”.

“The first elements show that Omicron spreads much faster than Delta and that vaccine protection against symptomatic diseases of Omicron is reduced,” they point out.

6:02 p.m.

The Omicron variant of the coronavirus responsible for Covid-19 seems to spread more than the Delta variant, cause less severe symptoms and make vaccines less effective, the WHO said on Sunday, which emphasizes that the data remains very incomplete.

Omicron is now present in 63 countries, said the organization in a technical update, which confirms the statements of its officials in recent days.

According to the WHO, Omicron seems to be spreading faster than the Delta variant, which is still responsible for most of the infections in the world for the time being. This faster diffusion is seen not only in South Africa, where Delta was less prevalent, but also in the United Kingdom, where this variant dominates.

5:11 p.m.

An agreement with the main laboratories in South Africa has been reached by the competition commission to reduce the price of PCR tests, commonly used to detect cases of Covid-19, she announced on Sunday.

The country’s two main laboratories, Ampath and Lancet, “have agreed to reduce the price of PCR tests from R850 (47 euros) to a maximum of R500 (27 euros) per test with immediate effect,” said during an online press conference competition commissioner Tembinkosi Bonakele.

This decision arbitrated by the competition court arose out of a complaint from the Autonomous Organization for the Regulation of Health Schemes (CMS), which considered the high price of these tests unjustified.


The British government on Sunday announced additional measures to combat the spread of the Omicron variant, including the extension of the vaccine booster campaign to over 30s from Monday.

From Tuesday, fully vaccinated contact cases of people who test positive for Covid-19 will also be asked to carry out antigenic tests daily for seven days, while those who are not vaccinated must remain isolated for ten days, announced the Ministry of Health.

11:45 a.m.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been accused of cultivating a “culture of disregard of the rules” in government after a photo was posted on Sunday showing him taking part in a quiz in December 2020 at a time when Britons were being asked to limit their social interactions.

The new revelation comes on top of a string of scandals that are damaging the Tory leader’s credibility as he calls on Britons to comply with new rules to tackle the rapid spread of the Omicron variant in the country.

The British blame him in particular for a party which was allegedly organized in Downing Street on December 18, 2020 when they themselves were deprived of celebrations because of the coronavirus. A leaked video showing Boris Johnson collaborators joking about the “Christmas party” added fuel to the fire.


Hospital pressure linked to Covid-19 is not weakening in France where more than 2,500 people are currently treated in critical care services, according to figures released on Saturday by Public Health France.

In the past 24 hours, 787 people with Covid-19 have been admitted to French hospitals, bringing in total to 13,855 the number of Covid patients hospitalized in France. Since the end of October, the number of hospital admissions linked to Covid-19 has been climbing daily.


A judge of the Supreme Court of Brazil decided on Saturday to make compulsory the presentation of an anti-Covid 19 vaccination certificate for travelers arriving in the country, in order to prevent the spread of the Omicron variant.

The decision has yet to be validated by nine other judges of the Federal Supreme Court. Brazil’s health regulator Anvisa had recommended requiring a health passport for travelers arriving in Brazil, where at least eight cases of Omicron have been confirmed and where a larger influx of tourists is expected for the holidays. end of year.


The French health authorities authorize the preventive use of an antibody treatment against Covid-19, in people whose body is resistant to vaccination, provided that they present a high risk of severe form.

Evusheld is a synthetic antibody treatment developed by the AstraZeneca laboratory.

Unlike most anti-Covid antibody treatments, which are intended for patients already hospitalized to prevent them from a very serious form, Evusheld aims to act before the onset of the disease, on the same principle as a vaccine.