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‘Omicron’ Coronavirus Variant Reaches Germany

Two passengers from South Africa who are infected with the new ‘Omicron’ mutation of the Coronavirus recently landed in Munich. A suspected case was reported in Frankfurt. The WHO and other experts are worried.

Berlin, November 28th, 2021 (The Berlin Spectator) — According to the WHO, ‘Omicron’ ist a “SARS-CoV-2 Variant of Concern”. Four days ago, the organization received first reports about it from South Africa. Germany reacted quickly, by implementing a transport ban for flight passengers from South Africa. ‘Omicron’ reached the country before the ban took effect. German citizens and holders of residence permits for Germany are exempt, meaning they are allowed to fly from South Africa to Germany.

‘Typical Mutations’

The new, potentially dangerous Corona strain reached Bavaria on November 24th, 2021, according to the federal state’s Health Minister Klaus Holetschek. In Frankfurt, Hesse’s Social Affairs Minister Kai Klose stated a passenger who had come in from South Africa was a suspected case because “typical mutations” had been found on him. The Health authorities in Frankfurt are expecting a confirmation tomorrow. The affected person is in quarantine.

Two of Germany’s nine neighbors, Austria and Denmark, also reported ‘OmIcron’ cases. The authorities in the Netherlands are in the process of testing flight passengers from South Africa who arrived at Shiphol Airport in Amsterdam. Both Biotech and Moderna are reportedly already looking into their vaccines in regard to the effectivity against the new variant which is also known as B.1.1.529. According to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), the likelihood ‘Omicron’ will spread on the continent is “high to very high”.

Spreading Fast

At this point, it is unclear whether ‘Omicron’ actually is more dangerous than the Corona variants known so far. But it seems to be spreading a lot faster. Christian Drosten, one of Germany’s leading virologists, said he believed the available vaccines would protect people against the new Corona mutant as well, especially in regard to severe disease progression. Some of Drosten’s colleagues seem to be worrying more.

There is a lot to worry about these days, even without ‘Omicron’. The number of new Coronavirus infections in Germany remains very high. In the past 24 hours, there were 44,401 new cases, a bit more than last Sunday. Since yesterday, the Seven Day Incidence increased slightly, to 446.7. This morning, 104 Corona-related deaths were reported, but only some German hospitals and health authorities report their numbers on weekends.

Corona Hotspots

With an Incidence of 1205.5 (no typo), Saxony remains one of Germany’s Corona hotspots. The Robert Koch Institute reported a level of 878.4 for Thuringia, 719.7 for Saxony-Anhalt, 709.4 for Brandenburg, 632.2 for Bavaria and 514.7 for Baden-Württemberg.

All relevant Corona numbers for Germany, and daily Corona updates, can be found in our Corona chronology.

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