European countries are nervous about the appearance of a new mutation ‘Omicron’, and they are hastily locking the door to South Africa, which was designated as the source.
Slovenia, the chair of the EU touring in the second half of this year, tweeted that the 27 member health expert committee had “agreed to trigger an ’emergency brake’ measure and temporarily restrict entry into the EU from South Africa.”
The target countries are South Africa, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia and Zimbabwe.
EU member states quickly agreed to the move when it became known that ‘Omicron’ had already landed in Europe.
The first case was reported today in Belgium.
The UK, Germany, Italy, Czech Republic, Netherlands, Spain, Austria, Switzerland and Russia have previously announced measures such as blocking flights from South Africa and neighboring countries, bans entry of non-nationals, and quarantine.
Asian countries such as Singapore and Japan, the Middle East such as Israel and Saudi Arabia, and American countries such as the United States and Canada also began to control borders one after another.
Belgium announced additional quarantine measures to close nightclubs for three weeks from the 27th, and to keep restaurants, bars, Christmas markets and cultural facilities open until 11pm.
The ‘Omicron’ came to light when South African scientists reported the discovery of a new mutation that caused 32 genetic mutations in the spike protein.
It was first discovered in Botswana, Africa, and is spreading in South Africa.
Following Hong Kong, it was confirmed in Israel and Belgium on the same day.
The Belgian ‘Omicron’ infection was a young woman who traveled to Egypt via Turkey and returned on the 11th, and was confirmed 11 days later with flu-like symptoms.
The first confirmed case of ‘Omicron’ in Hong Kong was a traveler from South Africa.
However, a person who arrived from Canada was also quarantined in a room opposite the same hotel and became infected after a while, raising the possibility of a secondary infection.
A Hong Kong health authority spokesman said the traveler to South Africa could have spread through the air at the time the visit was held because the traveler was using an unfiltered and valved mask, Bloomberg News said.
There are suspicions that ‘Omicron’ may have already landed in the UK.
South Africa protests, saying it is ” hasty” to impose an entry ban before the World Health Organization (WHO) recommendation is issued.
The World Health Organization (WHO) named it ‘Omicron’ by adding the 15th letter of the Greek alphabet to the new mutation called B.1.1.529.
In addition, it was classified as a ‘variant of concern’ and explained that “according to preliminary evidence, the risk of reinfection appears to be increased compared to other mutations.”
A variant of concern is classified as a variant of concern when an initial investigation is ongoing because the spread or fatality rate of the mutant virus has increased and resistance to current treatments or vaccines has improved.
‘Omicron’ has 32 gene mutations in its ‘spike protein’.
Viruses use ‘spike proteins’ to penetrate into host cells, so a mutation in the spike protein can cause changes in the propagation power.
It can also affect the effectiveness of the vaccine.
The UK’s Health and Safety Agency (HSA) described the spike protein as “dramatically different”, calling it “the worst I’ve ever seen”.
Ahead of the winter season, countries around the world, including European countries suffering from the rapid spread of COVID-19, are reacting in shock.
Global stock markets celebrated ‘Black Friday’ today.
On the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), the Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged 2.53%, the biggest drop since October 28 last year, and European stocks also plunged more than 4%.
West Texas Intermediate (WTI) also fell more than 10%.
UK Health Minister Sajid Javid told Parliament on Wednesday that the new mutation is a major international concern.
Transport Minister Grant Chaps said earlier in an interview with Sky News that “safety comes first in the UK.
The international community is of the position that border control should buy some time until the results of the analysis on the new mutation are released.
The World Health Organization said it would take “weeks” to analyze the new mutation. said.
He also said that if necessary, the vaccine could be redesigned within six weeks and initial batches could be shipped within 100 days.