The widespread distribution of the Omicron strain in Russia is inevitable, and the surge in infection will occur after the New Year holidays… This opinion was expressed to Izvestia by the virologist, Honored Doctor of Russia Mikhail Kagan. Due to the risk of a worsening epidemiological situation, some regions have introduced a ban on public events, which also applies to New Year’s corporate parties. Moscow and some other constituent entities of the federation have decided ahead of schedule to release schoolchildren on vacation. Izvestia figured out how Omicron would behave in Russia and how it would affect the New Year holidays.
Waiting for a new strain
December 20, 27,022 coronavirus cases detected in Russia, the infection control operations headquarters said. Wherein infections with “Omicron” are still sporadic – on December 16, Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova reported 25 Russians with this strain… Among the sick are residents of both capitals, the Moscow region and Rostov-on-Don. So far in Russia and in the whole world the strain “Delta” prevails, but in some countries “Omicron” is gaining momentum. For example, in the UK, 37,101 cases have already been recorded, in the US, the new variant accounts for up to 3% of new infections.
An outbreak of infection with the Omicron strain may occur in Russia after the New Year holidays… This is the forecast of the Honored Doctor of the Russian Federation, the leading scientific editor of the distance medical education service Vrachu.ru, Mikhail Kagan. But it is still difficult to predict the rate of spread of the new strain, he told Izvestia.
– Given that Omicron is incredibly contagious, it is wise to cut back on activities that increase the risk of infection during the upcoming holidays.… This is especially true for people who have not yet been vaccinated and have not been ill. As well as those suffering from chronic diseases or taking medications that weaken the immune system, – said Mikhail Kagan.
He added that if a mass celebration cannot be avoided, it is advisable to take into account the vaccine status of the guests, ask them to undergo express testing and remain masked… And also provide good ventilation of the room. A crowded hall with poor ventilation is a sure way to infection, the doctor said.
“Omicron has received so much attention because this variant of the virus has a large number of mutations that can give it new properties. In addition to the fact that it is much more infectious than “Delta”, antibodies produced by the body act on it weaker, so it can cause illness in people who have already had covid or vaccinated. In a number of countries “Omicron” has already proved that it is not at all an “appendage” of the “Delta” and is ready to completely oust it, – said Mikhail Kagan.
On December 20, at a briefing in Geneva, the head of the World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Adanom Ghebreyesus, announced that there is consistent evidence that people who have been vaccinated and who have recovered from the coronavirus may be re-infected with it. In addition, it spreads faster than the Delta strain.
“Christmas trees” for their own
Due to the threat of the spread of a new strain, regional authorities impose restrictions on the period of the New Year holidays… Some constituent entities of the federation have banned New Year’s corporate parties, while others have made it difficult to hold children’s matinees and “Christmas trees”. For example, in the Tula, Leningrad and Samara regions “Christmas trees” and “lights” will be held within a class or group, and adults can only be present if they are vaccinated or have been ill. In some regions, the holidays will begin ahead of schedule.
– A ban on corporate events will be introduced in Chuvashia. This decision is based on the fairly large numbers of newly infected and the additional risks associated with the Omicron strain. They are very alarming, ”a spokesman for the press service of the head of the Chuvash Republic told Izvestia.
He noted that in order to surely exclude the holding of hidden corporate parties on New Year’s Eve, it was decided to introduce a non-working regime for public catering establishments. In addition, only adults vaccinated or recovered from COVID-19 will be able to attend children’s parties and Christmas trees. The issue of extending the holidays is also being considered.
New Year’s corporate parties are also prohibited in the Republic of Mari El. In general, all public, mass, entertainment, educational and advertising events are prohibited until February 5, 2022, the government of the republic told Izvestia.
– In the Tula region, it is prohibited to hold public, concert, entertainment and leisure events, including in nightclubs, bars, discos, karaoke clubs, open concert venues, as well as mass business and educational events, except for distance ones, – clarified for Izvestia in the regional government.
Under no circumstances will parents be allowed to attend children’s parties in the Tula region, and the winter holidays will begin on December 27. Moscow schoolchildren will go on vacation on the same day, the capital’s education department reported to the media. In the Stavropol Territory, the holidays will begin even earlier – on December 26.
Similar restrictions are adopted in the Novgorod, Leningrad and Samara regions.
The headquarters of the Krasnodar Territory will decide on New Year’s corporate parties depending on the current epidemiological situation, the regional department of Rospotrebnadzor told Izvestia.
– Children’s “Christmas trees” – city and school-wide – will not be held. Festive events are allowed in certain classes, in certain groups. The presence of parents is allowed with all preventive measures, as well as with the presence of a document on full vaccination or a certificate of a disease transferred no later than six months, ” the Rspotrebnazdor in the Krasnodar Territory clarified.
Representatives of the federal Rospotrebnadzor stressed that each region has the right to independently decide on the prohibition of New Year’s corporate events.
Deputy Chairman of the State Duma Health Protection Committee Alexei Kurinny believes that uniformity is impossible here, you need to focus on the epidemiological situation.
– I think that it is necessary to make a decision for each separate region, republic, based on what is the incidence rate there, what is there with the bed fund, what strain is widespread– said the deputy to Izvestia. – It will not be possible to indiscriminately prohibit all regions from holding New Year’s corporate parties. If there is a threat, then such decisions are fully justified and they will be understood. If the situation is calm, there is no reason to spoil the holiday for people.
The deputy believes that after the New Year holidays there will be more opportunities to assess the new strain, the degree of its danger.
Sergei Leonov, member of the State Duma commission on parliamentary ethics, agrees with his colleague.
– Our entire paradigm of combating coronavirus infection is focused on a specific region. And it is impossible to prohibit New Year’s corporate parties or matinees throughout the country, – the parliamentarian noted.
In addition, Sergey Leonov suggested expanding COVID-free zones on holidays.
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