June 3, 2023

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Closed borders, isolated contact cases … How France tries to prevent the spread of the Omigron variant

The new Omigron variant, discovered on November 25, has already caused concern around the world. In France, “Eight Possible Cases” This new strain of Sars-CoV-2 – the virus that causes Covit-19 – was recently discovered on Sunday, November 28 in travelers to South Africa. According to the Ministry of Health, these cases have not yet been confirmed due to the sequence of tests currently underway. Faced with the risk of infection, in the midst of the fifth wave of epidemics, the government is trying to prevent the spread of the Omicron variant. Francinefo reviews the actions taken.

By stopping flights from specific countries

The announcement of the discovery of the new variant caused a wave of global panic and many countries, including France, decided to ban the arrival of travelers from South Africa to their territory within hours.

As of Friday, November 26, Paris had grounded all flights from South Africa, Lesotho, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Namibia and Eswatini (formerly known as Swaziland). The suspension initially lasted 48 hours, but these places will eventually be closed until midnight on December 1, the health ministry said. In a press release (PDF).

For now, the measure only applies to countries in South Africa. “We will wait to see the evolution of the environment, but in Europe we will never close borders completely, we will never close borders within Europe.”, Clement Beyonc, Secretary of State for European Affairs, promised France Inter.

By strengthening the screening of passengers

On the same radio, Clement Peon promised “Reinforced Health Protocol” Passengers arriving from these areas and passing through French airports will be accommodated “We can not live 100% on a flight suspension because we have French nationals who have the right to join the region.” And add:

“There must be very strict protocol, testing, and isolation for all people returning from these high-risk countries.”

Clement Peon, Secretary of State for European Affairs

On France Inter

In addition to this reinforcement, The French government announced The foreign regions of Réunion and Mayotte were also closely monitored because of their “Direct or Indirect Link” With South African countries. From November 28, any person leaving or arriving in one of these two foreign ports will be required to submit a result of a negative screening test or test conducted within 48 hours of boarding. And this, even though she was vaccinated.

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By isolating contact cases, even vaccination

Beyond the travel issue, health measures are being strengthened in an effort to control the spread of Omicron, while waiting to determine the nature of this variant, especially its dangerous nature. Therefore, once a potential contamination of the Omigron variant is detected, even before knowledge of the sequence results is known, the affected person is contacted by Medicare for immediate isolation.

Those identified as “possible cases” who traveled to South Africa within the last 14 days, i.e. between November 14 and 28, received a positive test result with a negative screening for mutations found in others. Anxiety (alpha, beta, gamma, delta).

This isolation applies to all persons involved in the “potential case” regardless of the status of the vaccine. These must be inspected and monitored by Medicare and ARS.

Separation by positive tests

The dangerous and contagious nature of the Omigron variant is surrounded by many more uncertainties. Because of that “May give an advantage in terms of mutations and contagion that may provide the ability to escape the immune response”, The World Health Organization hopes it delivers “Too high risk” Dissemination among the people of the world. Despite this, “To date, no deaths have been reported associated with the Omicron variant.”, WHO insists.

In France, work is underway to deepen our knowledge of this diversity “32 mutations”, Public Health France mentions on its site. The scientific community is wondering about the possible resistance of Omigran to existing vaccines and the severity of the symptoms it may cause. Meanwhile, surveillance is being stepped up to identify epidemiological signals such as an increase in events that could generate a warning.

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All positive tests are routinely screened to detect those suspected of presenting the gene of the Omicron variant. All suspicious tests will be fully deployed to confirm or confirm the presence of Omicron. In addition to screening to detect the presence of Omicron in France, “We do 6,000 and 12,000 sequences per week”, Promised the Minister of Health.

By extending the booster size to everyone

“When I speak to you, one or two or ten cases of victims of this variation, even in Europe or France, will not affect the profile of the epidemic wave we know of, whether it is in circulation or not. It is a wave., Olivier Véran argued Sunday evening. To deal with this fifth wave, the government announced that all people aged 18 and over are eligible for a single dose. Reminder.

Those without Covid-19 should receive this third dose (or second for those already infected) at the last injection of the vaccine (Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna or AstraZeneca) and at least five months after four weeks. After Johnson’s single injection. Although it is still too early to know whether the protection provided by the vaccine works on Omicron, TheThe head of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, however, called on European citizens to call back within three weeks to prevent the spread of the disorder.

“I do not knowI can not wait “, Confirms Professor Jean-Daniel Lelièvre, head of the department of infectious diseases at Henri-Mondor Hospital in Créteil. According to the vaccine expert, FranceInfo interviewed, “L‘The arrival of a new variant is a sign of this extra dimension’ By getting an extra dose of the vaccine, “We are going to mobilize a specific population and induce high levels of antibodies.”. Thus he recalls “This third dose has a far broader immunomodulatory effect”.