Omicron variant of Covid-19: panic takes over science


The herd reflex of turning in on oneself seems to have taken over science. Long before the dangerousness of the Omicron variant of the Sars-Cov-2 virus, discovered less than a week ago in South Africa, was formally established, politicians seem to have given in to panic, ignoring the recommendation of the Organization World Health Organization (WHO) especially not to close the borders and to trust science.

The WHO said in a statement on Friday that the new variant of Covid-19, B.1.1.529, had a large number of mutations, some of which are of concern. For her part, Dr Angelique Coetzee, president of the South African Medical Association, which identified the new variant, told the BBC that so far patients infected with the new Omicron variant have had very mild symptoms.

“What we’re seeing now in South Africa, and remember I’m at the epicenter, is extremely sweet,” she said.

Clearly, borders are closed according to the precautionary principle. The risk of the boomerang effect is real. Thus, after Great Britain which imposed a “travel ban” on the countries of Southern Africa, Europe which proposes a break in air links with 7 countries of Southern Africa, America has done the same, banning since this Monday

any air connection with South Africa, Botswana, Malawi, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Eswatini, Lesotho.

Other countries are considering cutting ties with South Africa and its neighbors.

The Seychelles have already decided as Morocco and Israel have closed their borders, with Japan forbidding its territory to foreigners, Canada, Australia and the Philippines riding the same wave as India, less excessive, announces a systematic test for passengers coming from Southern Africa.

The European Union has adopted a protocol dividing countries in red, orange and green, from the most critical to the most secure. Obviously, South Africa and its immediate neighbors are in the red.

In our opinion, the discovery of this variant in this southern part of the continent is the consequence of vaccine inequality, the selfishness of developed countries and the deadly logic of the Big Pharma who have defended their patents and property rights over their products. vaccines.

To be sure, between underdeveloped or undervaccinated countries and vaccinated countries where the third dose is in the deployment phase, it will not be the administrative measures that will slow down the virus. Cases of the new variant have been detected in Germany, Italy and the Netherlands as a reminder to globalized humanity of its indivisibility and the vanity of its political borders. Without concerted action on a global scale, it will be something else again in the next season. As South African President Cyril Ramaphosa put it so well, “vaccinate us, do not discriminate against us”. If more than 65% of Europeans are vaccinated, only 1 to 3% of Africans are. Rather than mending this divide, the wave of border closures threatens to deepen it and thereby bring people to their knees. Obviously discriminated against because of their limited resources and ineffective public policies, African countries must strengthen ties for active solidarity around a real vaccine initiative and not that of slogans. By the way, where is the vaccine program announced loudly by the African Union?


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