America sees between indifference and concern the advance of the omicron variant of the coronavirus, a new strain identified for the first time last week in South Africa and that has set off the alarms of the World Health Organization (WHO). The organization has warned that the global risk “is assessed as very high” and has called for extreme precautions.
On Monday, a day after the first two cases of the new strain were confirmed in Canada – two people from Ottawa who had traveled to Nigeria – US President Joe Biden said that the emergence of the variant is a reason for “the worry but not for panic ”. The president, who on Friday announced that he would ban flights from eight southern African countries to prevent the spread – Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Swaziland, Mozambique, Malawi and South Africa – urged citizens who have not done so to get vaccinated to stop the spread of the virus and those who have two doses to get a booster. More than 80% of American adults have received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine and about 60% have the full vaccination schedule.
In addition to the United States, Canada and Brazil – where a possible case of the new variant is also being studied – have issued travel restrictions for countries in the south of the African continent, where this variant was identified. The scientific community is still not sure that this version of the virus is more transmissible and that vaccines lose efficacy against it, but the first signs and the more than 30 mutations detected in this variant have precipitated a chain reaction in the middle world to stop its expansion.
Faced with the caution of these nations, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has minimized the possible effects of the omicron variant in his first conference of the week: “There is no reason to worry, according to the reports that specialists have given me. We carry out a follow-up, there are no elements to worry about ”, he assured. “What there is is a lot of information in the media,” he said.
In Mexico, 65 million people have been vaccinated with the complete scheme and 11 million more have their first dose. Recently, adolescents aged 15 to 17 years have been incorporated into immunization, but the third dose, advanced in other countries, has not yet begun to be implemented in Mexico.
In other countries in the region, the rulers are also cautiously observing the advance of the new strain. The president of Colombia, Iván Duque, has announced the application of measures for travelers from Africa who show symptoms of the disease, although that country does not have direct flights to the African continent. “People who have been in Africa in the last 15 days and who present any type of symptoms, must inform the Colombian authorities and must also be in isolation,” said the president.
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