The data on the number of detected cases of the Omicron strain are not encouraging, and, most likely, many European governments, which have not yet tightened restrictions due to the coronavirus, will resort to new measures against the background of the spread of the strain. This opinion was expressed to Izvestia on Wednesday, December 22, by Flavio Tokswaerd, an expert in economic epidemiology at the University of Cambridge.
“The situation is changing rapidly, and the latest data on the number of Omicron infections are not encouraging. Some governments have already taken measures to freeze their societies, while others, such as the UK, are still awaiting more data before making a decision. But I suspect that some restrictions will eventually be introduced, including school closings, mandatory vaccines and COVID immunity certificates, ”he suggested.
At the same time, how intrusive these measures will be, as well as their duration will depend on what scientists will be able to find out about the seriousness of the new variant of the virus and the effectiveness of the measures, the British expert summed up.
Many countries in Europe have already introduced new restrictions, closing or restricting the operation of nightclubs, bars, restaurants and other public places, significantly barring opportunities for mass gatherings and transferring people to telecommuting. The Netherlands announced a nationwide lockdown. At the same time, many European governments have warned citizens that a new series of restrictions may follow after Christmas.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), as of December 21, cases of a new strain of coronavirus “Omicron” were already recorded in 106 countries of the world. The organization’s report says the overall risk for the ‘option of concern’ remains very high. “
Earlier in the day, WHO Regional Director for Europe, Hans Kluge, said that the Omicron coronavirus strain could be the next storm for Europe. Kluge clarified that this variant of the coronavirus has already been identified in at least 38 of the 53 countries in the region. According to him, Omicron has already become dominant in the UK, Denmark and Portugal.
On December 13, the UK reported the first death from the effects of the Omicron strain. Experts believe that in the worst case scenario, up to 75 thousand people can die from infection in five months in the country.
The WHO has warned that Omicron spreads much faster than other mutations of the virus and is more likely to infect both vaccinated and those who have already had COVID-19.