Omicron spreads chaos in the air, France tightens restrictions, and Biden warns of hospital stress
The COVID-19 mutant Omicron continues to wreak havoc in the skies with thousands of flights canceled since Christmas weekend, while its rapid spread prompted France to impose new restrictions on Monday and the US President to warn of the “stress” of hospitals.
Europe recorded the largest number of Covid-19 infections in the world with 2,901 thousand and 73 cases in the past seven days (55% of the global total), in addition to the largest number of deaths, which reached 24,287 deaths last week (53% of the global total). followed by the United States of America and Canada, with 10,296 deaths, or 22%, according to Agence France-Presse.
In France, Prime Minister Jean Castix announced the tightening of measures by making remote work “compulsory” 3 times a week, starting next week, after France crossed the threshold of 100,000 new daily infections on Saturday.
It was also decided to limit gatherings to two thousand inside and five thousand outside, in addition to prohibiting eating and drinking standing in bars and cafes, as well as eating and drinking in cinemas and theaters and means of transportation even for long distances. The mask will also be imposed in city centers.
The Council of Ministers also adopted a draft law to impose a vaccination certificate to replace the health certificate. This means that vaccination (or recovery from COVID-19) and a booster dose will be required to enter certain places, pending Parliament’s approval.
In turn, Denmark and Iceland also announced a record daily injury toll, as Greece will close bars and restaurants at midnight and impose two masks to enter shops and public transport after the holidays.
The United States, the most affected by the pandemic in the world, is approaching its record recorded in early 2021, with about 215,000 new infections recorded on Sunday, an increase of 83% within 14 days.
President Joe Biden said Monday that some US hospitals could experience “stress” due to the large number of people infected with Covid-19, and added that “Omicron is a source of concern, but it should not be a source of panic.”
And the US President added that despite the high number of injuries, his country still had tens of millions of people who were not immunized and the number of hospitalizations increased.
New York health authorities sounded the alarm about the “increased number of COVID-19-related infections among hospitalized pediatric patients.”
She added that the largest increase relates to New York City, where the number of hospitalized people has quadrupled between the fifth week of December and the 19th week of it. Half of hospital admissions are for children under five who have not yet reached the age of vaccination.
In addition to the 8,300 international or domestic flights canceled last weekend, tens of thousands of flights reported delays between Friday and Sunday, to the chagrin of those who wanted to resume holiday travel this year, after Covid-19 disrupted the Christmas and New Year 2020 holidays.
The unrest continued Monday with the cancellation of about 2,500 flights, and as for Tuesday, more than 800 flights were announced, according to FlightAware.
Over the weekend, Chinese airlines alone canceled more than 2,000 flights, many of them connecting to Xi’an, a city of 13 million people who are under quarantine.
In Morocco, the Moroccan Minister of Health, Khaled Ait Taleb, warned, on Monday, of the possibility of an epidemic setback in his country, given the remarkable rise in the number of cases.
The Minister of Health said that the possibility of an epidemiological setback in the country remains possible, given the remarkable increase in the number of cases and the new epidemiological foci that have begun to emerge, especially in the family environment and some educational institutions.
He indicated that this is possible despite the tightening of precautions, and despite the decisive decision of the Moroccan authorities to suspend all direct flights for travelers in the direction of the Kingdom.
He pointed out that the situation requires strengthening precautionary measures by maintaining a high degree of monitoring and vigilance, and closely monitoring the epidemiological situation in Europe and the rest of the world.