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Christmas Under the Haze of the International Epidemic

  In order to prevent the rapid spread of the epidemic, some countries have recently adopted stricter epidemic prevention measures, but some countries have chosen to strengthen prevention and control after the holiday. Experts from many countries remind the public not to relax the epidemic prevention. Although the holidays are important, life is even more precious.

Christmas is approaching, and the epidemic prevention pressure is huge

  During the period, the mutated coronavirus Omi Kiron strain accelerated its spread in the United States, and many epidemic indicators in the United States have rebounded severely. At the same time, as the Christmas holiday approaches, public travel and gathering activities increase, and the difficulty of epidemic prevention and control has further increased. The U.S. Transportation Security Administration predicts that between December 23 and January 3, approximately 21 million people in the United States will travel by air. Public health experts said that the public should be tested for viral nucleic acid before traveling or participating in gatherings, but this poses a huge challenge to testing capabilities and testing resources.

  The United Kingdom reported on the 22nd that there were more than 100,000 new confirmed cases of coronavirus in a single day, a record high since the epidemic. Many tourist attractions, bars and restaurants in the UK have been temporarily closed, and many people have cancelled Christmas celebrations or travel plans. Affected by the epidemic or quarantine regulations, there is a serious shortage of employees in the long-distance railway service sector in the UK. Local media believe that there may be chaos during the Christmas period. In addition, there are also shortages in many areas such as garbage collection, social care, and children's services. The baggage area of the London Heathrow Airport terminal has recently been chaotic due to shortage of personnel.

  French government spokesman Attar said on the 22nd that France is being attacked fiercely by the Omi Keron strain. It is estimated that by the end of December, the number of new confirmed cases in a single day will exceed 100,000. On the same day, French Minister of Health Verande stated that the Omi Keron strain will become the main strain circulating in France "between Christmas and New Year."

  In major Brazilian cities, many citizens are organizing Christmas activities, and many people bring their families back to their hometowns for the holidays. Although there has been community transmission of the Omi Keron strain in Brazil, the results of a national poll released on the 21st by a well-known investigation agency in the country showed that 52% of respondents opposed the mandatory wearing of masks in open spaces.

  Recently, the epidemic in Japan has been relatively stable, but a mass infection occurred in a barracks of the US military base in Okinawa, and more than 200 people were diagnosed. Several local people associated with the US military in Japan have also been diagnosed with the Omi Keron strain. Japanese media quoted Foreign Minister Lin Fangzheng as saying that the US troops in Japan were not tested for the virus when they entered and exited Japan, and the infected people were not completely isolated. He regretted this and asked the commander of the US military in Japan to make improvements.

Prevention and control are tightened, and the time is slightly different

  In response to the shopping tide that has already emerged, the Slovenian government issued new regulations on epidemic prevention on the 22nd, requiring shops to limit the number of customers from the 23rd, allowing only one customer per 10 square meters to enter. In addition, the country’s 62 vaccination centers extended their working hours from the 19th to the 23rd, and some vaccination centers were open 24 hours a day.

  The Australian government decided on the 22nd to accelerate the promotion of the coronavirus vaccine booster vaccination. The "epicenter" of the Australian epidemic, the New South Wales government announced on the 23rd that all indoor public places in the state resumed mandatory measures to wear masks.

  Some countries choose to adopt stricter epidemic prevention measures after Christmas. The German federal and state governments reached an agreement before the Christmas holiday on the 21st to further limit the social scale from the 28th after the Christmas holiday. At that time, even if the social members are all vaccinated or recovered from the new crown, the number of social members will still not exceed 10, and those under the age of 14 will not be included in the quota. Also from the 28th, cross-regional large-scale events such as football leagues will only be held without spectators. German Chancellor Schultz said that previous experience has shown that the Christmas holiday is not the main driving factor for the worsening of the epidemic, so the government intends to implement the above policy after Christmas.

  Governments in many places in the UK have recently stated that they will tighten epidemic prevention measures after Christmas. The Northern Ireland government announced on the same day that from the 27th, “reasonable measures” must be taken in the workplace to maintain a two-meter social distance.

Experts call for scientific response

  Experts from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Brazil's Butantan Institute and other institutions remind the public that effective epidemic prevention measures must be taken during the holidays to ensure the health of themselves and their families, including vaccinations, wearing masks correctly, maintaining social distancing, washing hands frequently, and improving indoor ventilation.

  Alexandra Martinyuk, an epidemiologist at the University of Sydney, Australia, said in an interview with Xinhua News Agency recently that measures such as wearing masks and implementing QR code sign-in in public places will not affect economic activities, and the government should continue to take measures. Related prevention and control measures. Relaxing epidemic prevention will increase the number of hospitalizations and deaths.

  Regarding the British Prime Minister’s announcement that he will not further strengthen epidemic prevention before Christmas, some experts in the British scientific community consider this to be a “risky” behavior. If the Omi Keron strain continues to spread rapidly in the UK, delays in tightening prevention and control may result in the need for stricter restrictions in the future.

  The Robert Koch Institute, a German disease control agency, issued a statement on the 21st, saying that preliminary studies have shown that the Omi Keron strain may become the main strain in Germany in early January 2022. If this trend is not slowed, the medical system will face with overload pressure. For this reason, the Institute recommends immediate strengthening of prevention and control measures, including limiting social contact to the greatest extent, preventing infection to the greatest extent, expanding vaccination as quickly as possible, and traveling only when absolutely necessary.

  The Director-General of the World Health Organization Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said recently that increased social activities during holidays will lead to an increase in coronavirus cases, an overwhelmed health system and more deaths. The coronavirus is still killing about 50,000 people every week. It is hoped that people will make some "difficult decisions" for public health, such as canceling or postponing some celebrations. He said that it is better to cancel an event than to die. Instead of celebrating the sadness in the future, it is better to cancel the event now and save it to celebrate in the future.