The ECDC has declared the recently discovered Omicron variant B.1.1.529 as a Variant of Concern in its latest bulletin.
It’s unprecedented for this procedure to happen so quickly. The Omicron variant hadn’t even been named by the WHO when the ECDC listed it as a VOC, underlining the very grave potential for this new virus to overtake Delta as the main variant of concern in Europe in the middle of the existing winter wave.
German Health Minister Jens Spahn on Friday said that the pandemic situation has worsened over the past week and it’s now “more serious than last week,” adding that the country is facing “a national emergency.”
When asked about the possibility of imposing a new lockdown for everyone, he said: “We’re in a situation where we can’t rule anything out.”
Update, 20th November 2021:
“The fourth corona wave has captured the hospitals in the south and east of Germany with full force. “We are on the verge of collapse,” says Stefan Rath, the medical director of the Donau-Isar Clinic in Deggendorf. From the other clinics in the area, from Traunstein, Mühldorf am Inn, Freyung and Sonneberg in Thuringia, it sounds similar: “It’s like being in a nightmare that doesn’t wake you up, it just keeps getting worse.” absolutely on the wall. You can also say that we are in the middle of an impact. “” We are collapsing. “
FAZ.net report (in german)
Germany has seen unprecedented levels of Covid infections for nearly a month. A lockdown is now the only tool available to bring down infections quickly enough to prevent the German health service from being overwhelmed.
Denmark has seen large queues at Covid test centres across the country today as its all-time Covid infection record looks likely to be broken within days. Long queues have also formed at its vaccination centres.
“There were huge queues at several test centres in Valby and Gentofte, among other places. In Valby, BT’s man on the scene told that there was up to two hours of waiting time despite the fact that there is an appointment. The same was true at the test centre in Gentofte. Here, however, there is no appointment to show up.” (BT.dk report in Danish)
Denmark has seen its Covid infection rate increase in a similar fashion to Germany, Austria and the Netherlands over the last month. The stark, almost vertical chart line shows that the infection case record dating back to December 18th 2020 is about to be broken within days.
Europe has seen major changes in coronavirus case rates over the last two months. In many areas of Europe covid case rates have dropped sufficiently to allow restrictions to be eased, but there are notable exceptions. The Covid-19 rate in Spain now appears to be as bad, if not worse, than two months ago, and the Netherlands has seen a dramatic increase in numbers recently.
In the case of both Spain and the Netherlands, the rates increased following the decision to unlock their countries too quickly, and in both cases those decisions have had to reversed within weeks. Greece too appears to be seeing a new wave, and these areas now represent the largest threat to Europe’s strategy to keeping infection rates down.
“There are more than 200 coronavirus cases traceable to St. Petersburg across the country – THL director urges returnees from St. Petersburg to go for corona tests instead of work”
Most of the coronary infections brought by St. Petersburg travellers are in the Helsinki metropolitan area. The likelihood that the infections are due to a susceptible delta transformation is high.
YLE.fi report (in Finnish)
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“As part of the review of the regular pandemic summary safety reports for Vaxzevria, AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine, the PRAC is analysing data provided by the marketing authorisation holder on cases of Guillain-Barre syndrome (GBS)  reported following vaccination. GBS is an immune system disorder that causes nerve inflammation and can result in pain, numbness, muscle weakness and difficulty walking. GBS was identified during the marketing authorisation process as a possible adverse event requiring specific safety monitoring activities. PRAC has requested the marketing authorisation holder to provide further detailed data, including an analysis of all the reported cases in the context of the next pandemic summary safety report.”