How to respond to Omicron?
The Omicron variant is causing infection rates to soar in many countries, although hospitalisation rates remain low. Initial studies show that mice and hamsters experience less severe forms of the disease with the new variant. Europe's media discuss which measures are called for and how much should be asked of citizens.
This wave could soon be over
The current restrictions may well soon be lifted, Ilta-Sanomat hopes:
“It's believed that the worst wave [in South Africa] has already subsided. The infection situation and the conditions there are different from here. However, there is no reason to assume that the infection trend will be different in Europe. We have to be patient and not rely on assumptions. In a few weeks we may be able to assess the true impact of Omicron. Everywhere in Europe, the new wave of infections is being countered with a return to stricter restrictions - including in Finland. It could be that the differences in the way Omicron behaves will allow restrictions to be lifted faster than usual.”
Quarantine rules no longer sustainable
The prognoses for high infection rates are forcing governments to change their quarantine rules, Új Szó explains:
“Otherwise, mass isolation could seriously jeopardise the functioning of supply chains and the economy. A number of governments have already - rightly - announced that they will change their quarantine rules. ... However, there is one important precondition for the relaxation of rules: full vaccination protection. In Italy, people are only exempted from quarantine obligations after their third jab.”
Everyone protect themselves as they see fit
There is already a large scope for autonomous decisions in the face of the Covid pandemic, observes La Vanguardia:
“People have chosen to let common sense prevail, to put on masks when they see danger, to avoid crowds and to fork out for insurance or for any tests they need. In short, they are looking for ways to protect themselves that go beyond what the unpredictable competent authorities say. If the virus is here to stay, perhaps it's time for everyone to deal with it in their own way as best they can.”
A bitter end
The Omicron variant could in fact show us the way out of the pandemic, writes Eleftheros Typos:
“Because it is gradually turning Covid into an endemic disease, just one more among the many that occur every year. In the meantime, however, it will tragically 'confirm' the decision of a large section of society not to get vaccinated. ... In particular, unvaccinated people over 60 who remain unvaccinated by choice are more easily infected with Omicron. They represent a rapidly growing 'army' of carriers who could bring the virus into every household with relative ease. ... Unfortunately, before this 'salvation' in the form of Omicron comes, more people - the vast majority of whom are unvaccinated - will lose their lives.”