NewsThe first Omikron data from Europe give rise to...

The first Omikron data from Europe give rise to hope: the course is probably milder – but there is still a great danger

Omikron is spreading further and further in Europe – in some countries already at breakneck speed. The rules are tightened and there are lockdowns. The news ticker.

  • British government against contact restrictions over Christmas ( see update from December 20, 9:25 p.m. )
  • Figures from Denmark: Omikron with milder gradients than delta variant ( see update from December 20, 6.45 p.m. ).
  • Christian Drosten draws a bitter conclusion from the Omikron outbreak in Oslo (see update from December 19, 11:53 a.m.).
  • This news ticker is updated regularly.

Update from December 20, 9:25 p.m.: Great Britain does not want to tighten its corona measures despite the ongoing omicron wave. The government is not ruling anything out, “but at the moment we want people to exercise caution above all,” assured Prime Minister Boris Johnson after a cabinet meeting in London. Although the scientific advisors had advised that contact should be restricted over the holidays, the cabinet had spoken out against such a procedure. In the UK, 91,743 new infections were reported on Monday, and the hospitalization rate in London continued to rise.

Omicron variant: WHO chief calls for a joint effort

Update from December 20, 9:00 p.m.: The head of the World Health Organization (WHO) Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has called for joint efforts to stop the corona pandemic within the next year. “2022 must be the year in which we end the pandemic,” the WHO chief told reporters in Geneva. With the year-end celebrations coming, he called on people to protect themselves from the coronavirus with vaccinations and contact restrictions.

“We all want to spend time with friends and family. We all want to return to normal, ”Tedros continued. “But in order to return to normal, we have to protect ourselves now.” In addition, Tedros advocated that events “should be canceled now and celebrated later than celebrated now and mourned later.”

Omicron data from Denmark: mild trends likely

Update from December 20, 6.45 p.m .: Germany has still been spared the Omikron variant, but that could change in the coming weeks. However, data from other countries are encouraging: the new mutant is still highly contagious, but the course of the disease is said to be milder compared to the delta variant. In Denmark, of 18,366 Omicron cases, only 0.6 percent had to go to hospital, in the remaining 136,064 cases (other variants, especially Delta) it was 1.5 percent. However, the vaccination picking in our northern neighbor country is significantly lower, 77% of the population are fully vaccinated, 24% are boosted.

Despite a supposedly milder course, experts warn of the dangers of the Omikron variant. Due to the rapidly increasing number of infections, the health system was nevertheless able to quickly reach its limits.

Update from December 20, 2:26 p.m .: Omikron first appeared in South Africa in November. In the epicenter – the South African province of Gauteng – the number of corona cases is falling. Epidemiologist Harry Moultrie tweeted a graphic about this. The 7-day incidence of new infections therefore peaked on December 9 and has been falling since then. The Omikron wave (fourth wave) achieved on average almost the same maximum value (97 percent) as the third wave, in which the delta variant was decisive. Hospital admissions are also declining. They are well below the maximum value of the third wave (47 percent). As with the delta wave, the number of deaths is 8 percent, but it is still increasing. Moultrie estimates that the start of the summer vacation (December 16) would have contributed to more travel and relaxation. However, the epidemiologist does not believe that this is the main reason for the decline.

Moderna-Booster apparently provides effective protection against Omikron

Update from December 20, 12:10 p.m .: Moderna has published new study data on the effectiveness against the Omikron variant *. The booster with a dosage of 50 micrograms increases the omicron-neutralizing antibody level by 37 times, the pharmaceutical company announced with reference to preliminary data. A booster dose of over 100 micrograms increases the antibody level by around 83 times.

“In order to react to this highly transferable variant, Moderna will continue to advance the development of an Omikron-specific booster candidate and quickly bring it into the clinical test phase, should this become necessary in the future,” said CEO Stephane Bancel in a press release.

UK: Twelve people died associated with Omikron

Update from December 20, 11:51 a.m .: Twelve people died in Great Britain in whom the Omikron variant was detected. There are currently 104 people in the hospital who have been infected with Omikron, said British Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab on Times Radio. According to Raab, more than 70 percent of people who have received booster vaccinations are protected.

Omikron LONDON, Dec. 20, 2021 -- Photo shows a digital sign urging the public get a booster jap

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Omikron overruns Great Britain. The government is promoting boosters to slow the fifth wave.

The first federal state allows boosters from three months

Update from December 20, 10.15 a.m .: Boosting is now possible in Berlin from three months instead of five months. “We are shortening the deadline for boosters to 3 months. It makes no sense to send back people willing to booster, although earlier boosting is recommended, ”tweeted the Berlin Senator for Health Dilek Kalayci (SPD). Up until now, boosters were only possible after five months. “We expect the Stiko to make a decision shortly,” Kalayci told Tagesspiegel . Read here what the Standing Vaccination Commission (Stiko) currently recommends about the booster vaccinations from Moderna and Biontech *.

Israel prohibits travel to Germany because of the Omikron variant

Update from December 20, 9.25 a.m .: Israel prohibits citizens from traveling to the Federal Republic because of the Corona situation in Germany. The government announced on Monday that the measure to contain the omicron variant of the coronavirus should come into effect on Wednesday at midnight (local time). The cabinet confirmed a corresponding recommendation by the Ministry of Health. In addition, Italy, the USA, Belgium, Hungary, Morocco, Portugal, Canada as well as Turkey and Switzerland will also be considered “red countries” from Wednesday. There is already an entry ban for foreigners in Israel. So far, more than 50 countries – especially in Africa – have been classified as “red”, Israelis are only allowed to travel there with special permits. On Monday, the Ministry of Health reported more than 1,000 new infections for the previous day for the first time in around two months. Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said on Sunday that the fifth wave of infections had begun

Omikron: Thailand is considering quarantine for tourists

Update from December 20, 7:40 a.m.: Traveling to Thailand could soon become more difficult again due to the spread of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus: The quarantine-free Test & Go model, according to which fully vaccinated tourists only have to do a PCR test when entering the country since November and If you then have to wait a night in your hotel for the result, it may be temporarily put on hold. Then there might be stricter entry rules again, probably especially for countries with a significant omicron spread, the broadcaster Nation TV quoted the health authorities as saying on Monday.

According to Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul, 63 cases of the Omicron variant have so far been recorded in Thailand. 20 other suspected cases are currently still being investigated. The authorities therefore want to check this week whether the entry requirements will be tightened again. How long tourists would then have to be in quarantine is still unclear.

The country reopened its borders to tourists from Germany and dozens of other countries in early November. Therefore, the fear of the new variant spreading is great. Thailand with its popular islands, white beaches, temples and jungles is dependent on the important tourism sector and hopes for an early recovery of the industry.

Spread of Omikron: crisis meeting of the Spanish government

Update from December 19, 3 p.m.: Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez has called a crisis meeting for this Wednesday (December 22) due to the rapidly increasing corona numbers. It should be about measures to contain the pandemic, said Sánchez in a TV address broadcast nationwide on Sunday. Omikron is also circulating in Spain and, according to experts, will soon be predominant.

Sánchez warned that the danger posed by the virus was “real” in Spain, despite the high vaccination rate of 90 percent of all citizens over the age of twelve. The seven-day incidence has risen to nearly 320. “We cannot accept this incidence. We have to increase our efforts, ”stressed the head of government. However, a new emergency or other drastic measures such as a lockdown were not expected because the situation in the hospitals has not been as dramatic as last year.

Omikron: Drosten reports on the Oslo outbreak and draws a bitter conclusion

Update from December 19, 11:53 a.m.: Many details about the new Omikron variant are still not revealed. How contagious is the mutant? And does it lead to less severe illnesses? The omicron outbreak at a Christmas party in Oslo, Norway * before the end of November now provides new indications. Virologist Christian Drosten spoke up on Sunday based on an investigation into the case: “The Oslo outbreak. Practically all infected people were double vaccinated and still symptomatic, half with fever. The oldest case 61 J (median 36), after almost 2 Where no one has been in the Krh. “Nobody boosted.”

However, statistics professor Christoph Rothe from the University of Mannheim also speaks directly in the comments. He notes that currently sometimes contradicting definitions of “mild courses” are being used. While some would speak of a “mild course” when no hospital admission was required, others used this term for asymptomatic courses. This can lead to confusion, he notes.

Omikron is already dominant in England: the prognosis predicts up to two million infections per day

Update from December 19, 11.25 a.m.: Omikron is now dominant in England. The variant accounts for 60 percent of all cases in the country, said British Health Minister Sajid Javid in an interview with Sky News on Sunday. On Saturday alone, 10,059 new Omicron cases were reported in the UK – three times as many as the day before. The variant is already dominant in Scotland.

Scientific advisors are calling for the corona measures to be tightened as quickly as possible in order to prevent the health system from being overloaded. One is “almost certain that there are currently hundreds of thousands of new Omicron infections per day” in England. According to the Guardian , some modelers warned that without more stringent measures, there could be up to two million new infections a day by the turn of the year.

Omikron ensures increasing corona numbers in Europe

First report from December 19: Amsterdam / Copenhagen / London – increasing numbers of infections, the classification of European countries as virus variant and high-risk areas, lockdowns – it feels like a déjà vu. In spring 2021, the delta variant of the corona virus * caused a new wave in Europe. Now it’s omicron. Vaccinations are now crucial, but forgeries of vaccination certificates * are also becoming more and more common.

In Germany, the new variant still plays a subordinate role. However, experts agree that this will change in January at the latest. Some models show a rapid increase in new corona infections this year. Virologist Christian Drosten fears “massive illness-related absences from work” * – also in essential professional groups. Among other things, he refers to current developments in Great Britain.

Omikron: Great Britain becomes virus variant area

The corona situation there has worsened again due to Omikron. The country reported multiple daily records in the number of new infections * in the past week. On Saturday (December 18) there were around 90,000 – more than 10,000 of them Omicron cases. Three times as many as on Friday. The capital London therefore declared a disaster.

As of Monday (December 20), the United Kingdom will be considered a virus variant area, as the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) announced on Saturday evening. People entering Germany then have to be in quarantine for 14 days – regardless of whether they have been vaccinated or have recovered. This period cannot be shortened by taking a test. “We cannot prevent the spread, we can only delay it. The longer it takes for Omikron to have a grip on Germany, the better, “said Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD) of the dpa.

Omikron: Stricter corona rules in Denmark

With the exception of Luxembourg, all German neighboring countries are in future on the list of high-risk areas. The RKI announced on Friday that France and Denmark would also be classified as such from Sunday (December 19). There, the corona numbers have recently increased rapidly – also because of Omikron *.

On Friday, the number of daily corona cases * in Denmark reached a record level of around 12,000. More than a fifth of them are Omikron, said Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen. The result is stricter rules until at least mid-January. Theaters, cinemas, zoos, amusement parks and sports facilities have to be closed since 8 a.m. on Sunday. According to government regulations, restaurants are only allowed to open until 11 p.m. in the evening.

Omikron: Netherlands are going into lockdown

The Netherlands go one step further. Because of the spread of Omikron * there has been a new lockdown since Sunday at 5 a.m. This should initially apply until January 14th. “It is inevitable,” said Prime Minister Mark Rutte on Saturday evening in The Hague. “We have to intervene to prevent worse.”

Menschenmengen gehen am letzten Samstag vor Weihnachten eine Straße entlang. Die Niederlande stehen möglicherweise vor einem neuen harten Corona-Lockdown noch vor Weihnachten.

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On the last Saturday before Christmas, the shopping streets in Amsterdam were full.

Almost all shops, restaurants, cultural and sports facilities, schools and hairdressers must remain closed. The only exceptions are shops such as supermarkets and pharmacies, which are important for the supply. As a rule, each household is only allowed to receive two guests. Exceptionally, up to four visitors are only allowed over Christmas and at the turn of the year. There will be no curfew for the time being, promised Rutte. (ph with dpa) * Merkur.de is an offer from IPPEN.MEDIA

List of rubric lists: © Michel Euler

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