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Countries around the world try to balance Omicron’s restrictions while keeping the economy open – EURACTIV.com


Reuters data on Wednesday (December 29) showed that global COVID-19 infections reached a record high in the past 7 days, as the Omicron variant got out of control and the government tried to control its spread without paralyzing the fragile economy.

From December 22nd to 28th, an average of nearly 900,000 cases were detected every day around the world. Many countries have set record highs in the past 24 hours, including Argentina, Australia, Bolivia, the United States and many European countries.

Studies have shown that Omicron is not as lethal as some of its previous variants. However, the large number of people who test positive may overwhelm hospitals in some countries and make it difficult for e-commerce companies to continue operating without workers ordered by government officials to quarantine.

Researchers in South Africa have discovered that a key part of the immune system’s second-line defenses-its T cells-are very effective in identifying and attacking Omicron variants, preventing most infections from progressing to critical illness.

Political leaders in some countries are worried about the economic impact of leaving so many workers at home, so they are considering shortening the time required to isolate COVID-19 after testing positive or being exposed.

Spain said on Wednesday that it would reduce the quarantine period from 10 days to 7 days, while Italy said it plans to relax the quarantine rules for people who are in close contact with the virus patient.

Earlier this week, the US health authorities issued new guidelines to shorten the quarantine period for people diagnosed with infection from 10 days to 5 days, provided they have no symptoms.

WHO Director-General Tedros Tedros said at a press conference: “I am very worried that Omicron is highly contagious and is spreading at the same time as the Delta virus, which is causing a tsunami of cases.”

French Health Minister Olivier Véran told lawmakers that the number of cases in France is “dazzling”, with 208,000 reported in 24 hours, a national and European record.

According to statistics from Reuters on Wednesday, the United Kingdom, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Cyprus and Malta all recorded a record number of new cases on Tuesday, while the average daily number of new cases in the United States for seven days reached a record 258,312. example. The previous peak was 250,141, which was registered in January last year.

Rochelle Varensky, director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said on Wednesday that despite the surge in coronavirus infections, the number of deaths and hospitalizations is relatively low.

Although the current daily average number of cases for 7 days is approximately 240,400, an increase of 60% over the previous week, the hospitalization rate during the same period only increased by 14%, reaching approximately 9,000 cases per day. Walensky added that the number of deaths per day has dropped by about 7% to 1,100.

Some experts questioned the CDC’s new regulations to halve the quarantine period for asymptomatic coronavirus infections, saying it may lead to more infections. The new directive does not require testing to confirm that a person is no longer contagious before returning to work or socializing.

Anthony Fauci, the top leader of the US government, said: “They are trying to strike a balance: How do we implement good public health principles when we don’t have to be forced to close the country?” Infectious disease officials explain CDC Told MSNBC when the new guideline.

Government statistics show that the UK reported 183,037 COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, setting a new record and more than 50,000 more than the high set a day ago. Ireland also reported a record number of cases on Wednesday, with more than 16,000 new infections.

According to health officials, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson stated that he will not issue new restrictions this year to limit the spread of Omicron, which currently accounts for about 90% of all community infections.

Australia has registered nearly 18,300 new cases, surpassing the pandemic high of approximately 11,300 cases on Tuesday.

In Spain, the Madrid regional government’s demand for free test kits far exceeds the supply, and there are long queues outside pharmacies.

The government is increasingly worried about the economic impact of large numbers of people being forced to quarantine due to contact with coronavirus patients.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison told reporters: “We can’t let everyone be de-circulated because they only show up at a specific place at a specific time.”

Morrison hopes to make urgent changes to the COVID-19 testing rules to ease the pressure on the testing sites. He said Australia needs to “shift gears” to manage overburdened laboratories and free people from isolation.

While Spain and Italy eased some quarantine regulations, China adhered to a zero-tolerance policy. With 151 new cases reported on Tuesday, 13 million people in Xi’an, the capital of central Shaanxi, were under strict lockdown for the seventh consecutive day. So far, there is no cooperation with Omicron.

“I just want to go home,” said a 32-year-old mechanic who was on a business trip in the city last week when the city was effectively cut off from the outside world.





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