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.
The mask becomes mandatory again in the streets of Paris from Friday to face the “tidal wave” of the Omicron variant which has led to an outbreak of Covid 19 contaminations in France, the capital’s police headquarters announced on Wednesday.
This obligation applies to people over 11 years old, “with the exception of people moving inside vehicles, cyclists and users of two wheels” or “people practicing a sporting activity”, specified the prefecture in a press release.
A negative test for Covid-19 may be sufficient for young people aged 12 to 17 for school trips to places subordinate to the next vaccination pass, the deputies voted in committee on Wednesday. An amendment to this effect carried by Caroline Abadie (LREM) was voted by the Law Commission which examines the government project, “strengthening the tools for managing the health crisis”.
The text transforms the health pass into a vaccination pass “for access to leisure activities, restaurants and drinking establishments, fairs, seminars and trade shows or even interregional transport”, particularly by rail.
More than 10,000 people were hospitalized with Covid-19 on Wednesday in England, a first since early March, while the United Kingdom recorded more than 183,000 additional contaminations, a new record due to the meteoric spread of the Omicron variant.
The country, one of the most affected in Europe by the pandemic, recorded Wednesday 183,037 cases in 24 hours, and 57 additional deaths, bringing the total death toll to 148,089, according to official government figures.
France again crossed a new record for Covid-19 contamination on Wednesday, exceeding the threshold of 200,000 cases for the first time, after nearly 180,000 cases on Tuesday, according to figures from Public Health France.
Precisely, 208,099 cases have been recorded in the last 24 hours in France, “figures that make you dizzy”, had commented earlier in the day the Minister of Health Olivier Véran during a hearing at the National Assembly.
On average, over the last seven days, 105,190 people have tested positive daily.
The Belgian government announced Wednesday that it was canceling its decision to close theaters, cinemas and performance halls taken to stem the spread of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus, after being disowned the day before by the courts. The Council of State, the highest administrative court in the country, on Tuesday suspended the closure of “closed places in the cultural sector”, following an appeal for interim measures by a theater producer.
The measure, announced last week by Prime Minister Alexander De Croo, had provoked a rebellion in artistic circles.
The “tsunami” of Covid-19 cases due to the Omicron and Delta variants is straining health systems, already on the brink of “collapse”, warned the World Health Organization (WHO).
“I am very concerned that the more transmissible Omicron circulating at the same time as Delta is causing a tsunami of cases. This is and will continue to put immense pressure on an exhausted health workforce and health systems on the brink of collapse, ”WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at a press conference.
The international organization believes that the Delta and Omicron variants are “twin threats” that increase the number of new cases, causing spikes in hospitalizations and deaths. The pressure on healthcare systems is not only coming from new patients, but also from the large number of healthcare workers falling ill, Ghebreyesus added.
The Spanish government decided on Wednesday to reduce the duration of the quarantine of people positive for Covid-19 to seven days against ten previously, announced the Ministry of Health. According to Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, this measure is intended to strike a balance between “public health” and “economic growth” at a time when the surge of the Omicron variant is raising fears of destabilization of the economy, as elsewhere.
Faced with the surge in contamination linked to the Omicron variant in Greece, the government announced on Wednesday a new series of restrictions including the ban on music in bars and restaurants in an attempt to limit outings for the New Year.
“The Omicron variant is currently dominating and the public health system is under pressure,” Thanos Plevris, the Greek Minister of Health, warned in a televised message.
In order to stem the pandemic, the minister announced that from Thursday until January 16, “catering and entertainment will only be allowed to accommodate tables of up to six people and music will be prohibited”.
The United States, facing a worrying fifth wave of Covid-19 fueled by the Omicron variant, on Tuesday recorded a record average of 265,427 new cases per day since the start of the pandemic, according to Johns Hopkins University.
The seven-day average of daily cases in the country surpassed the previous peak recorded in the third wave, in January 2021.
Five FC Lorient players tested positive for Covid-19 and placed in solitary confinement, while training resumed on Wednesday, we learned from the Ligue 1 club. “They tested positive for covid on Tuesday », Lorient coach Christophe Pélissier told the press at the end of training which was held on the lawn of Espace FCL, in Plœmeur (Morbihan).
He did not specify the identity of the players concerned, citing medical confidentiality.
Denmark, currently the country in the world with the most new cases of Covid-19 relative to its population, shattered its all-time high on Wednesday with 23,228 additional cases in 24 hours.
However, this record is largely explained by a very large number of PCR tests carried out after Christmas, the rate of positive tests remaining almost stable, at 12.3%, according to data from the health authorities. The previous peak was reached on Monday with 16,164 cases.
“We are facing two enemies, the Delta variant, which must be fought in the best way. The second is the Omicron variant, ”deplores Olivier Véran, who was heard at the National Assembly.
The Minister of Health also announces that more than 208,000 French people have tested positive for Covid-19 over the past 24 hours.
“Every second more than 2 French people are contaminated by the coronavirus”.
“5 million French people are still not vaccinated”.
“10% of people are contact cases”, estimates the Minister of Health.
“It will be mandatory to present the vaccine pass to attend activities from January 15, from 12 years old”, announces Olivier Véran, while he details the bill, making pass the health pass in vaccine pass “.
“70% of patients in intensive care in Paris hospitals are not vaccinated. Of those who are already vaccinated, 80% of them are basically immunosuppressed. These figures attest to the efficacy of the vaccine ”.
We would like to extend the activity loss aid system after December 31. I extend the coverage to 100% of teleconsultations, by health insurance. Public service competitions will also be maintained ”.
Initially scheduled for application at the end of January, the bill relating to the vaccine pass is examined by the Law Commission at the Palais Bourbon on Wednesday, after a hearing at 2:30 p.m. with the Minister of Health Olivier Véran.
The text will then be discussed in public session in the hemicycle of the Palais Bourbon from Monday and in the Senate from Wednesday January 5 for entry into force scheduled for January 15.
The regional prefect of Réunion, Jacques Billant, announced on Wednesday the establishment of a curfew on the island from Saturday evening from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m., for three weeks, due to the degradation of the health situation caused by the outbreak of the Omicron variant.
“We must act to curb the exponential circulation of the virus in the island since the beginning of the week”, explained the prefect during a press conference to justify the implementation of new restrictive measures.
The parents of a 10-year-old girl, vaccinated by mistake with a half-dose of Moderna intended for adults in Avranches (Manche), have filed a complaint, we learned Wednesday from corroborating sources.
“A complaint was filed by the father for these facts”, told AFP the prosecutor of the Republic of Coutances Cyril Lacombe, confirming information from the local press.
Up to 90% of Covid-19 patients admitted to intensive care in the United Kingdom have not received a vaccine booster dose, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Wednesday, once again ruling out any tightening of restrictions before the New Year.
The world has reached new contamination records over the past week, with more than 935,000 cases of Covid-19 detected every day on average from December 22 to 28, according to an AFP count made from official reports.
These figures, the highest since the start of the pandemic at the end of 2019, are based on the reports communicated daily by the health authorities in each country. A large proportion of the less serious or asymptomatic cases remain undetected despite the intensification of screening in many countries since the start of the pandemic. In addition, testing policies differ from country to country.
Frédérique Vidal, Minister of Higher Education, Research and Innovation, announces on Twitter that the exams at the beginning of the year at the university will take place in person.
As of November, we have considered several protocols for the exams. Almost all establishments have scheduled face-to-face exams, and plan to organize replacement sessions for students infected with Covid or contact cases.
– Frédérique Vidal (@VidalFrederique) December 29, 2021
Frenchman Benoît Paire announced that he had tested positive for Covid-19 again, which could call into question his participation in the Australian Open, and expressed his fed up with the situation.
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Culture Minister Roselyne Bachelot assured that culture was not “sacrificed” after the new measures to fight the coronavirus, and that the government would continue to help the sector.
The discos will remain closed for three additional weeks, from January 3, announces the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne.
A “race against the clock” against Omicron: barely two weeks after the government’s announcement of wanting to transform the health pass into a vaccination pass, the bill arrives this Wednesday in committee at the National Assembly, fifteen days before its expected entry into force.
The government has accelerated its schedule, despite some criticism from the opposition: initially scheduled for application at the end of January, the text will be examined by the Law Commission at the Palais Bourbon on Wednesday, after a hearing at 2:30 p.m. with Minister of Health Olivier Véran. The text will then be discussed in the Senate Chamber from January 5 and its entry into force is scheduled for January 15.
Antigenic screening tests for Covid-19, which have the advantage of delivering a result in just a few minutes, are less sensitive to the Omicron variant than to previous variants, US health authorities warned on Tuesday. This means that these tests are more likely to indicate a negative result despite an infection – the notorious false negatives – if a person is infected with Omicron. “Preliminary data suggests that antigenic tests detect the Omicron variant well, but with reduced sensitivity,” the US Medicines Agency (FDA) said in a statement.