Omicron: Professor outlines symptoms of new covid variant
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Paris has announced it will bring in the ban on Saturday in response to the spread of the Omicron variant with only French citizens returning from the UK or British people living in France able to enter the country. The news sparked criticism on social media with Twitter user @snellcj fuming: “Stupid posturing by Macron. France is riddled with Omicron already”.
Fellow Twitter user Despicable added: “Omicron is already in France. Completely pointless.”
LondonComment raged: “‘Omicron’ becomes ‘Oh Macron’? Latest exhibition of post-Brexit pram-based toy-throwing from Mini Macron ahead of April 2022 French presidential election. A global joke!”
And Andrew78505925 tweeted: “How hilarious that France put restrictions on the UK when Germany’s cases have been at 100k for a week and French have 50k cases but only test about 1/3 that of UK.
“UK also only had 4,671 Omicron cases yesterday… French political grandstanding for votes. Moron Macron.”
According to a French government spokesman, France has so far identified 240 positive cases of the Omicron variant.
This compares to more than 9,000 confirmed cases of Omicron in the UK. As of Monday there were 13 hospitalisations and one person who had died of the variant, according to the UK Health Security Agency.
Germany recorded 56,677 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 522 deaths yesterday, according to the Robert Koch Institute.
However, experts say the actual number of Omicron cases in Germany could be far higher because samples in the country are not sequenced for all confirmed Covid cases.
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Under Macron’s plans, travellers who make their way back to France from the UK will need a negative test taken less than 24 hours before travel.
French Government spokesperson, Gabriel Attal, said a “more drastic border control” would be applied for travel between the two countries.
Amid questions over how the new policy will affect cross-Channel trade,Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said hauliers would be exempt.
He tweeted: “To confirm I have liaised with my French counterpart (Jean-Baptiste Djebbari) and hauliers will remain exempt.”
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A Brittany Ferries spokesman said: “These new measures are a hammer blow to our Christmas season.
“In the context of an Omicron variant that is passing through the French population as it is in the UK, further border controls seem as unnecessary as they are unwelcome.”
Ferry operator DFDS said passengers can travel through France to other countries without having to quarantine as long as the transit takes less than 24 hours.
It expressed hope that the measures will be lifted in the New Year.
Health minister Gillian Keegan told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme she felt glad she had cancelled her own Christmas trip to France.
She said: “But, of course, every government is dealing with Omicron, every government has to make their decisions and has their response to it. It is obviously going to alter people’s plans, which is very unfortunate.”
The World Health Organisation reports that France recorded just over 63,000 new cases of coronavirus in the last 24 hours while the UK saw 59,077.
Britain has tested more than any of the 31 countries worst affected by COVID-19 with 5,434,323 tests carried out as of 9 December.
The analysis by Statista shows France having carried out 2,603,518 tests by the same date, putting it in third place in the testing count. Czechia is in second place (4,207,030).
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