New Covid Omicron ‘variant’ first detected in fully vaccinated individuals
The EU as well as the US, UK and Canada will ban travel from South Africa and seven other southern African countries after the World Health Organization (WHO) declared a new variant called Omicron to be "of concern". But South African Health Minister Dr Joseph Phaahla said these “draconian” decisions did not make any scientific sense.
Published: November 27, 2021, 10:44 am
“The leadership of some countries is finding scapegoats to deal with what is a worldwide problem,” the minister said. It has now become obvious that the vaccines do not work and that so-called “boosters” will be made mandatory.
Passport-holders from South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique and Malawi are now banned from entering the EU.
It’s the usual narrative of ‘breakthrough cases’ meaning that vaccines do not work as advertised
The new Omicron variant was first reported to the WHO from South Africa on 24 November. A South African ministerial advisory committee member Prof Ian Sanne suggested that these were merely “breakthrough” cases and that the effectiveness of jabs were no different in other countries.
“In terms of vaccine effectivity, there is an indication of an increase of percentage of cases identified that are indeed due to breakthrough infections, within groups that have been previously vaccinated. This rate is higher than it was previously. But we have every indication that the vaccines are still effective in preventing severe disease and/or complications.” As is seen all over the world, the infection rate is currently 4:1 in favor of the vaccinated.
The four individuals infected with the new strain had been fully vaccinated, according to an official statement from the Botswana government. And those who had had close contact with these individuals “have no Covid-19 symptoms and have tested negative for Covid-19”.
MEDIA RELEASE#LetsDefeatCOVID19Together#AReFenyengCOVID19Mmogo 🇧🇼 pic.twitter.com/LVMbmtLQx4
— Botswana Government (@BWGovernment) November 25, 2021
STATEMENT ON THE NEW COVID-19 VARIANT pic.twitter.com/ItmUi8H6j8
— Botswana Government (@BWGovernment) November 26, 2021
‘Storm in a teacup’
The chairwoman of the South African Medical Association Dr Angelique Coetzee said it was too early to assess the impact of the B.1.1.529 variant. She described the reaction from the EU, US, UK and Canada as “a storm in a teacup” and the travel restrictions as “hasty”.
Coetzee told BBC News: “We think it is a premature decision that has been taken, I think it is a hasty decision. So far what we have seen is very mild cases. [I’m] not sure why we are all up in arms.
“We know there are a lot of mutations but no-one can tell us at this stage if it means something, or if it is just going to fade away. We just don’t know,” she added. South Africa’s Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor agreed that a flight ban “seems to have been rushed”.
The ‘variant’ coincides with the need to sell booster shots
Just days ago, the EU had recommended that its member states allow the Corona certificate to expire nine months after the second jab. According to a press release, more than 650 million digital Covid certificates have now been issued in the EU. The communication coincides with the news of the “new strain”.
The Commission is now proposing to focus more on a “person-to-person” approach to travel measures and recommended setting a standard recognition period for a health pass of nine months from the first vaccination. The EU Commission explained the recommended time limit of nine months as follows:
“The 9-month period takes into account the guidelines of the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) for the use of booster doses from the sixth month and provides an additional period of three months to ensure that national vaccination campaigns are adjusted and citizens have access to booster doses.”
EU Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders said this was decided because of booster vaccinations, which, according to Reynders, are essential for combating the virus. A unified agreement on this proposal is therefore “of crucial importance for the coming months and the protection of the free movement of citizens”.
Stella Kyriakides, Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, claimed in a press release that, according to her assessment, there were still too many people who were not “protected”. She said the EU urgently needed “to achieve significantly higher vaccination rates” as well as to “strengthen our immunity through booster vaccinations”.
Scaremongering continues as citizens reject draconian measures
Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo told a press conference that this new strain heralded the arrival of “Covid-21” in an effort to sow panic. “You could say that this is Covid-21 instead of Covid-19: it is three times more infectious than the original virus,” De Croo said. Belgian scientists have confirmed that the variant originated in Botswana.
His fear mongering comments should be seen against the backdrop of growing revolt against his administration’s health measures. Just days ago, tens of thousands of protesters descended on Belgium’s capital Brussels to reject anti-Covid measures. The protest left three police officers and one demonstrator injured.
The uprising came just hours after Germany looked set to follow Austria’s example in making the shots compulsory.
Mass demonstrations against arbitrary restrictions have taken place in Austria, Switzerland, Croatia, Italy, Northern Ireland, Australia and the Netherlands, days after Dutch police opened fire on anti-health-pass protesters.
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