WHO: ‘Potential’ end to COVID-19 pandemic in Europe after Omicron
The “World Health” expected a “possible” end to the Corona epidemic in Europe after the “Omicron” mutant. On the other hand, a Buckingham Palace source revealed that the spread of the virus spoiled Queen Elizabeth’s plans to celebrate Christmas.
Today, Sunday, the director of the European branch of the organization, Hans Kluge, announced that the Omicron mutant, which may infect 60% of Europeans by next March, has launched a new phase of the Corona virus epidemic in the region and may bring the health crisis closer to the end.
“It is possible that the region is nearing the end of the epidemic,” Kluge told AFP, but urged caution about the changing reality of the virus.
He added: When the omicron wave subsides, there will be herd immunity over a period of weeks and months, either thanks to the vaccine or because people will have immunity due to infection.
This comes at a time when WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus warned of the emergence of new strains after Omicron, pointing out the exceptional importance of monitoring and evaluating the situation with new strains of the Corona virus.
On January 18, Omicron accounted for 15% of new cases of corona in European countries, or more than half compared to the previous week, according to WHO figures.
This mutant appeared in the European Union and the European Economic Area, at the end of November, and is more contagious than Delta, and now Omicron is dominant, according to the European Health Agency.
With the number of infections soaring, it is now a question of “reducing disruption and protecting people at risk” and no longer focusing solely on reducing transmission.
Clashes in Brussels
In Belgium, police broke up a demonstration in Brussels to protest against government restrictions imposed to limit the spread of the Corona virus.
Police fired tear gas and water cannons at the protesters to stop them, after the demonstration turned violent.
A police spokesman said that six people were arrested before the demonstrations began, for possession of what he called dangerous materials.
The demonstrations came after a government decision was issued last Friday to reduce the validity of vaccination notice certificates from 270 days to 150, starting from the beginning of next March, in an effort to encourage more citizens to receive booster doses of the Corona virus vaccine.
This country is currently living in the midst of a fifth wave of Corona injuries, and it is not expected to reach its peak at least two weeks before. According to official data, about 89% of adults were fully vaccinated, while 67% received a booster dose of the vaccine.
11 Palestinian prisoners injured
In the Arab world, the “Prisoners Media” office of the Palestinian Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) announced that 11 prisoners in the occupation prisons have been infected with the Corona virus.
In a statement, the office confirmed the injury of 6 prisoners in Eshel Prison in Beersheba (south) and 5 in Ofer Prison (west of Ramallah).
He added that the wide spread of Corona in the occupation prisons endangers the lives of the prisoners, especially since Eshel prison houses a large number of sick and elderly prisoners, and there is a real fear for their lives.
Until the end of December 2021, the number of Palestinians in Israeli prisons reached about 4,600, including about 600 patients, 4 of whom had cancer, according to institutions concerned with prisoners’ affairs.
And in the United Kingdom, a source at Buckingham Palace said that a helicopter transported Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II to her estate in Sandringham, eastern England, today, Sunday, after the spread of Corona caused the postponement of her traditional trip to celebrate Christmas for a month.
For decades, the Queen, 95, had been traveling from Windsor Castle to her Norfolk residence to spend Christmas with members of the royal family, before the pandemic swept the country in 2020.
Elizabeth II remained at Windsor Castle, west of London, for most of the pandemic.
This year, the Queen celebrates the Platinum Day, marking the 70th anniversary of her accession to the throne.
Record injuries in Italy and Russia
In Italy, the Ministry of Health said that it recorded more than 138,000 new cases of corona on Sunday, and 227 deaths.
This country has recorded 143,523 deaths related to Corona since the start of the pandemic in February 2020, which is the second largest number of deaths in the old continent after Britain, and the ninth in the world.
And in Russia, today, it was announced that a new record number of Corona virus infections had been recorded for the third consecutive day, due to the rapidly spreading mutant Omicron.
And this country, the most affected by Corona in Europe, recorded 63,205 new infections, after it recorded 57,000 on Saturday, and 49,000 on Friday, according to official issued figures.
President Vladimir Putin warned last week that his country had two weeks to prepare before the new mutation hits it, calling for intensified testing and vaccination.
The capital, Moscow, the epicenter of the epidemic in the country, recorded a new record for the fourth consecutive day, with 17,528 new infections.