Thousands of people protest in Australia against pandemic restrictions

In the midst of the commotion that the appearance of the Omicron variant awakens, thousands of people demonstrated this Saturday in front of the Parliament of Victoria, in Melbourne, Australia, to demand lifting of restrictions, refunds ready to contain the advance of the coronavirus pandemic.

Melbourne, the city of the world with more days accumulated in confinement Strictly speaking, it overcame its latest wave of infections and deaths from the virus in October and tries to restore normalcy between laws that penalize people who have chosen not to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

In this context, the Victoria state legislature approved this week a battery of measures that will seek to replace the state of emergency from mid-December, in force since March 2020 and that will expire on December 15, which allows the regional government to implement restrictions for the fight against the pandemic.

Among the measures promoted are the restrictions to move and enter shops for people without the full vaccination scheme and the obligation to be vaccinated for workers from a wide range of sectors.

The protesters, who have the support of a handful of ultra-conservative politicians, demand the removal of all restrictions in the jurisdiction, where more than 91% of about 5 million inhabitants They are vaccinated with the complete schedule of the coronavirus vaccine.

 

On December 15, the state of emergency that allowed the government to impose a series of restrictions will expire. Photo: EFE

Meanwhile, in the state of New South Wales, whose capital is Sydney and where the last regrowth began in the southern country, health authorities are closely observing the evolution of confirmed cases with the Omicron variant, of which they already accumulate 13 infected, including at least one person per local broadcast.

Last Monday, the Australian authorities delayed the partial opening of the borders to qualified workers and vaccinated foreign students until December 15 after detecting the first cases of the new variant.

Health Minister Brad Hazzard urged the community to keep perspective on the outbreak, but also called on the national vaccine advisory group to speed up approval of the vaccine for children ages 5 to 11.

In August, thousands of people demonstrated against the lockdown in Australia. The demonstration ended with hundreds of people arrested in violent clashes between protesters and the police in Sydney and Melbourne.

The omicron threat

New countries, including Mexico, announced on Friday the arrival of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus that, although it has not yet caused deaths, according to the WHO, caused multiple restrictions that threaten economic growth.

The managing director of the International Monetary Fund, Kristalina Georgieva, indicated that the new variant may slow down the recovery and force the organization to revise its global economic projections downward.

“A new variant that can expand rapidly can take a toll on confidence and in this regard, we will probably see cuts from our October projections for global growth,” he said.

In that latest estimate, the IMF had already trimmed its optimism, estimating world GDP growth of 5.9% in 2021 instead of the previous 6%. By 2022, they expect 4.9% progress.

More than a week after South Africa announced its detection, the new variant has already been registered in 38 countries and caused panic in many governments, which tightened sanitary measures and closed borders.

In addition, several countries such as Spain, the United States or Australia began to report cases of presumed local transmission, with infected patients who had not traveled abroad.

Although the new variant appears to be highly contagious, a World Health Organization (WHO) spokesman Christian Lindmeier said on Friday that he had received “no reports of Omicron-related deaths.”

There are also doubts about the danger and resistance to vaccines of the new variant of the coronavirus that, according to the WHO, has already spread in the six regions in which the health organization divides its activity.

Ireland announced several measures on Friday night, including closing nightclubs from December 7 to January 9. The Brazilian city of Sao Paulo suspended the New Year festivities and Germany imposed heavy restrictions on unvaccinated people, who will be practically confined.

In Asia, a day after Singapore announced two cases, neighboring Malaysia and Sri Lanka on Friday reported their first cases in travelers returning from Africa.

Several companies, including Moderna, AstraZeneca, Pfizer / BioNTech, and Novavax, have expressed confidence in its ability to create an omicron vaccine. Russia is also working on a version of its Sputnik V aimed specifically at this variant.

An estimated 5,233,111 people have died worldwide from the coronavirus, which has caused nearly 265 million infected since the end of 2019.

By Editor

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