Switzerland counted in one day a record number of 17,634 new cases. “The next package [de mesures] – with closures – is ready”, says Alain Berset, who, however, believes that “The time has not yet come”.
The U.SThe FranceThe Denmark all reported record daily infection numbers.
At night, the Belgian Council of State surprised by suspending the decree that closed the concert halls, in a scenario of fierce controversy.
On this subject, read:
■ “The time has not yet come” for new measures, according to Alain Berset
Health Minister Alain Berset spoke on Twitter about the evolution of the health situation in Switzerland. According to him, “the time has not yet come for the Confederation to take new measures. But the next package – with closures – is ready.” He adds that the government “can react very quickly”, noting that “the pressure on hospitals is increasing, but the impact on intensive care remains uncertain”.
The time has not yet come for the Confederacy to take further action. But the next package – with closures – is ready. The Federal Council can react very quickly. For example, as soon as accurate data on omicron virulence become available.
— Alain Berset (@alain_berset) December 29, 2021
In the RTS Forum program, the federal councilor estimated that the current increase in cases “is not unexpected”. But he repeated that the Federal Council would wait to “act when necessary.” He also hammered out that the next measures, the “ultima ratio” would involve closures. According to the government, there are currently “insufficient elements to take brutal measures” and put the economy in jeopardy. However, “the situation can change from day to day”, recalls Alain Berset.
For those who are not vaccinated, there is still time to take the step
About hospitals, read:
■ Health systems close to “collapse”, warns WHO
The increase in cases due to the Omicron and Delta variants will bring healthcare systems to the brink of “collapse”, the WHO has warned.
I am very concerned that the more transmissible Omicron, circulating at the same time as the Delta, is causing a tsunami of cases.
This new epidemic wave “is and will continue to put immense strain on an exhausted health workforce,” said WHO Director Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. To prevent this, he “wants governments, companies and citizens to cooperate in a campaign to have 70% of the population of each country vaccinated by the beginning of July next year”.
■ Spain reduces quarantine for positive cases of Covid
The Spanish government has decided to reduce the duration of the quarantine of positive people to seven days against ten previously, announced the Ministry of Health. This measure aims, according to Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, to find a balance between “public health” and “economic growth” at a time when the wave of the Omicron variant is raising fears of destabilizing the economy as elsewhere.
■ Switzerland has 17,634 new cases in 24 hours, a record
Never has the daily balance been so high. Under the dominance of the Omicron variant, Switzerland has 17,634 additional cases in 24 hours, according to data from the Federal Department of Public Health (OFSP). We regret 25 more deaths and 156 hospitalized patients, two numbers that remain stable. Seven days ago, the FOPH announced 11,562 cases, or 6,072 fewer. On the same day, he counted 32 deaths and 178 additional hospitalizations.
In the last 24 hours, the results of 66,746 tests were transmitted. The positivity rate is 26.4%, compared to 16.3% a week ago. The reproduction rate, which takes about ten days, is 1.10. The Omicron variant represents 57.8% of cases sequenced or examined in laboratories over seven days, with a delay of approximately two weeks.
679 people are currently in intensive care. Covid-19 patients occupy 36.50% of the available places in intensive care, whose occupancy rate is 78.60%.
In the last fourteen days, the total number of infections is 133,381, or 1,531.47 new infections per 100,000 population. Since the beginning of the pandemic, 1,294,380 cases have been laboratory confirmed in Switzerland and Liechtenstein. The total number of deaths is 11,842 and the number of people hospitalized reaches 39,262.
■ United States, France, Denmark: contamination records are increasing
Several countries are facing a worrying epidemic wave fueled by the Omicron variant.
The U.S, has recorded a record 265,427 new daily cases on Tuesday since the start of the pandemic, according to Johns Hopkins University. The seven-day average of daily cases in the country surpassed the previous peak recorded during the third wave in January 2021.
The France in turn, set a new contamination record on Wednesday as it crossed the threshold for the first time. 200,000 cases in 24 hours. 208,000 cases have been registered on French territory, announced Health Minister Olivier Véran.
The Denmark, currently the country in the world with the most new cases in relation to its population, also broke its all-time record on Wednesday with 23,228 cases in 24 hours. The previous peak was reached on Monday with 16,164 cases.
■ Valais limits New Year’s meetings to 15 people
The Council of State announced that it would limit “to a maximum of 15 people, during New Year’s Eve, spontaneous gatherings in public spaces” from December 31 at 6 pm until January 1, 2022 at 6 am. “The epidemiological situation is deteriorating in Valais. In one week, the number of people who tested positive went from an average of 347 to 500 cases per day”, indicate the cantonal authorities.
Outdoor events are allowed.
■ Geneva takes further action against Omicron
The Directorate-General for Health (DGS) is making several changes to its strategy:
- The quarantine exemption criteria is modified for persons vaccinated and recovered from January 1, 2022: the period considered will be 4 months instead of 12 months from the date of the last dose or recovery.
- Only people living under the same roof will be considered as close contacts.
- A new screening centre, City Test, located in the center of Geneva, opens its doors on December 29. It will perform 1000 tests a day.
- Faced with the risk of overloading the hospital system, the canton intends to resort to medical support from the army.
The DGS shares its latest recommendations for the holiday season: “do a self-test before going out and, at the slightest symptom, stay at home”.
■ Vaud: opening of a second test center in Beaulieu
In order to increase the capacity of its testing system, the Canton of Vaud, through the Cantonal Driving Staff (EMCC), will open a new center in Beaulieu (Halle Sud) on 30 December for asymptomatic people.
For symptomatic people, Pavilion 8 will remain open and will be entirely dedicated to them, the canton specifies in a press release.
The Beaulieu center today carries out around 1,000 tests a day, will do more than 2,000 from December 30th thanks to this new centre, increasing to 3,000 from January 10th.
■ A record number of infections worldwide
The number of contaminations reached new records in the world (as seen in Europe, read below), with more than 935,000 Covid-19 cases detected every day on average from December 22 to 28, according to an AFP count made from official reports.
The virus is currently circulating at an unprecedented speed, significantly higher than the previous record reached between 23 and 29 April (817,000 daily cases were then recorded).
Recorded infections, on the rise globally since mid-October, have increased 37% over the past seven days compared to the previous week, prompting the WHO to warn countries of the “very high” risk exhibited by the Omicron variant. (Read below).
■ Novak Djokovic misses the ATP Cup
The tennis world number 1, who refuses to say whether or not he has been vaccinated against Covid-19, will not compete in the ATP Cup from January 1 to 9 in Sydney, organizers announced on Wednesday.
Novak Djokovic still questions his participation in the Australian Open from January 17 to 30, a tournament he won nine times. In order to enter Australia and participate in the tournament, players, their entourage and members of their administration must be vaccinated.
■ Omicron would avoid further antigenic testing
According to a press release from the United States Medicines Agency (FDA), antigen screening tests (called “rapid”) are more likely to indicate a negative result despite infection in case of contamination by the Omicron variant: “ Preliminary data suggest that antigenic tests detect the variant well, but with reduced sensitivity,” it is indicated there.
The agency specifies that it continues to advocate its use to promote screening, while asking people who test negative for antigen but who have symptoms to have a PCR test for verification.
■ Record number of contaminations in Europe
France, the United Kingdom, Portugal and Greece recorded new records for daily cases of Covid-19 on Tuesday, reports the AFP agency. However, these numbers should be taken with caution, as they sometimes include the recovery effects of Saturday, the 25th, a holiday.
In France, almost 180,000 cases have been identified in the last 24 hours. Daily record also in the United Kingdom, one of the European countries most affected by the pandemic, with almost 130 thousand contaminations in England and Wales.
In Greece, the number of cases more than doubled from Monday.
■ WHO concerned about Omicron
In its bulletin on Wednesday, the World Health Organization (WHO) indicates that the risk of the highly contagious variant of the Omicron coronavirus in the world remains “very high”.
Reliable evidence shows that the Omicron variant has a growth advantage over the Delta variant, with a two to three day doubling rate…
… warns WHO in its weekly epidemiological bulletin. “A rapid increase in the incidence of cases is observed in several countries.”
“The rapid growth is likely related to a combination of the loss of immunity and the intrinsic increase in transmissibility of the Omicron variant,” the organization continues.
However, the WHO highlights the 29% drop in the incidence of cases in South Africa, the country that was the first to report this variant to the WHO on 24 November.
The WHO had previously said that data from Britain, South Africa and Denmark – which currently have the highest rates of infection – suggested a reduced risk of hospitalization for Omicron compared to the Delta variant.
■ On video: an update on the patent controversy