In the face of omicron surge, simplified isolation rules to avoid paralysis

In the face of the new wave of Omicron variant exploding the number of cases of COVID-19 contamination, more and more governments around the world are being forced to relax rules for isolating patients and their relatives to avoid economic paralysis.

• Read also: More than 2,600 flights canceled in the US due to Omicron and the weather

• Read also: British Health Minister calls for “living with” the virus

Omicron’s severe infection — and its impressive procession of layoffs and quarantines — weighs heavily on the company’s regulation, even if, for the time being, the acceleration of pollution has not been accompanied by an increase in deaths.

The first region in question, Europe – the current epicenter of the epidemic – is facing unprecedented levels of contamination: more than 4.9 million infections have been recorded in the past seven days, or 59% more than the previous week, according to AFP. Saturday. In total, more than 100 million cases have been recorded there since the virus was discovered in December 2019.

To preserve social and economic life, France – where more than a million cases were discovered in the past seven days – announced on Sunday the relaxation of the rules for isolating infected people and those in contact with them from Monday, thus joining the growing list of countries reducing quarantine times.

Fully vaccinated people will now have to self-isolate for seven days, instead of ten, regardless of the alternative, which can be lifted after five days in the case of a negative test. There will be no more quarantine for cases of contacts with the full vaccination schedule.

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The Ministry of Health explained in a press release that the change of rules would make it possible to ensure “control of pollution while preserving social and economic life.”

“Living with the virus”

And in the UK, which keeps daily pollution records, British Health Secretary Sajid Javid indicated on Saturday that the new restrictions would only intervene as a “last resort” in England. Shortly before Christmas, the British government reduced the isolation period there from ten to seven days for vaccinated people who contracted the coronavirus.

Mr Javid stressed the “huge health, social and economic cost of incarceration” and felt it necessary to give one the means to “live with the virus” thanks to vaccination, an arsenal of treatments and mass screening, in a column published in the Daily Mail.

But the minister acknowledged that health services will “inevitably” be under pressure in the coming weeks due to the “sharp increase” in hospitalizations.

On Friday, the Swiss health authority also decided that cantons could reduce the quarantine of contact cases to seven days from ten previously and limit them to “people who live together or have had intimate contact with someone who has tested positive”.

Fears of destabilizing the economy had already prompted Spain to take a decision, on Wednesday, to reduce the number of people infected with the Covid-19 virus to seven days compared to ten previous days, in order to find a balance between “public health” and “economic growth,” according to the president Minister Pedro Sanchez.

On the same day, Argentina made a similar decision in an effort to reduce the impact on economic activity as a result of a record rise in cases in its territory. Portugal decided to take the same measure on Friday.

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Canceled flights in the United States

South Africa, which believes it has passed the peak of the Omicron wave, for its part canceled the night-time curfew in force for 21 months on December 31. “We seek to find a balance between people’s lives and livelihoods with the goal of saving lives,” Minister Mondli Gongupeli told the presidency.

Illustrating the effect of the Omicron wave, global air traffic continues to suffer from many disruptions. Pilots and flight crew members are absent after contracting COVID-19 or contact, so in quarantine, airlines are forced to cancel flights.

On Saturday, in the United States, as inclement weather added to disruptions linked to the outbreak, about 2,660 flights were canceled, more than half of the 4,617 canceled globally, around 7:30 p.m. FlightAware website.

To limit absences and thus avoid drawbacks and shortages, the Joe Biden administration decided on Monday to reduce the recommended quarantine period from ten to five days for people with Covid, provided they are not showing symptoms.

Omicron’s severe infection — and its impressive procession of layoffs and quarantines — weighs heavily on the company’s regulation, even if, for the time being, the acceleration of pollution has not been accompanied by an increase in deaths.

The first region in question, Europe – the current epicenter of the epidemic – is facing unprecedented levels of contamination: more than 4.9 million infections have been recorded in the past seven days, or 59% more than the previous week, according to AFP. Saturday. In total, more than 100 million cases have been recorded there since the virus was discovered in December 2019.

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To preserve social and economic life, France – where more than a million cases were discovered in the past seven days – announced on Sunday the relaxation of the rules for isolating infected people and those in contact with them from Monday, thus joining the growing list of countries reducing quarantine times.

Fully vaccinated people will now have to self-isolate for seven days, instead of ten, regardless of the alternative, which can be lifted after five days in the case of a negative test. There will be no more quarantine for cases of contacts with the full vaccination schedule.

The Ministry of Health explained in a press release that the change of rules would make it possible to ensure “control of pollution while preserving social and economic life.”

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