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Omicron variant and surging Covid-19 affect European nations

Neill Fronde

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PHOTO: The Omicron variant and Covid-19 surges in Europe. (via DW)

Following on our reporting on Covid-19 and the Omicron variant spreading throughout the US and in Africa and Australasia, here are some updates on European reactions to the new strain and dealing with a renewed Covid-19 threat.

ENGLAND & IRELAND

The UK Health Security Agency reported 75 more infections of the Omicron variant bringing the total throughout the country to 104 cases. In Ireland, restrictions are tightening to protect from Omicron for a one month period from December 7 to January 9. Private homes will be allowed a maximum of 4 families mixing, restaurants will be allowed table service only, and nightclubs will be closed completely.

RUSSIA

Russia has been entrenched in its own wave of Covid-19 in the past few months with a surge in pandemic deaths putting 2021 on track to be the countries most deadly year since the Second World War. Federal Statistics Service data reported on Friday that October saw 74,839 deaths from Covid-19, up 47% from July, the previous deadliest month.

While the Omicron variant hasn’t officially been recorded in Russia yet, the continued Covid-19 statistics are troublesome, with the country already suffering more than 575,000 Covid-19 deaths.

SWITZERLAND

Swiss citizens have been supportive of Covid-19 prevention measures, and the government is expanding restrictions to protect against the Omicron variant. While schools and ski resorts remain open, all public events held indoors will require a certificate showing they are vaccinated or recovered from Covid-19 or a recent negative test.

The government is strongly recommending mask-wearing as well as suggesting working from home after an attempt for a work-from-home mandate failed to pass. Event organisers and public institutions are allowed the right to ban unvaccinated people from being in attendance.

NORWAY

One person had been found with the Omicron variant in Oslo until a Christmas party resulted in 12 new cases of the strain of Covid-19. There is potential for even more Omicron cases after a 120-person Scatec ASA employee party on November 26 resulted in more than 50 people testing positive for Covid-19.

GERMANY

Despite signs that Covid-19 infections may be peaking in Germany, it may not be enough to stabilise the overwhelmed intensive care units. In fact, new cases levelling off might be a sign of that medical fatigue as local health workers lag on testing. The president of the RKI public-health institute urged people not to misinterpret the Covid-19 data and to remain vigilant against the virus.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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    Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10 years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.

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