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Gryphon variant scares US and hospitals for Covid rise in Italy EU: Introduce mandatory pre-travel checks for people leaving China

Fears of possible new variants are growing around the world. And EU countries are “strongly encouraged to introduce the requirement for Member States to carry out a Covid-19 test 48 hours before departure from China for all passengers departing from China”. This is one of the conclusions of the European Integrated Crisis Response Mechanism (IPCR) communicated by the Swedish EU Presidency.

What is now frightening, especially in the US, is the so-called Gryphon sub-variant: perhaps due to a new increase in infections in China, its prevalence in the US has risen in the last month, accounting for 41% of cases. .

In Italy, on the other hand, the overall number of hospitalizations continues to decline, but hospitalizations among debilitated patients presenting to the emergency room with severe Covid and pneumonia without the fourth vaccine dose are worrying. The global framework needs to be carefully monitored, experts warn, while even with clear changes at the national level, we prepare to manage the new post-pandemic phase, starting with institutional settings on the front lines during the initial waves of Covid. -19.
This is the case of the Italian Medicines Agency (Aifa), where the general manager, Nicola Magrini, will soon leave his office, using a spoilage system. The decision of the Minister of Health was strongly criticized by Pd Secretary Enrico Letta, according to which the removal of Magrini “is a serious and wrong choice of the ban. A discriminatory choice is a dangerous and worrying sign. Health, protection of the weak and the fight against the epidemic – he says – do not need partisan choices, but continuity. Meanwhile, a solution is being sought for the public utility number 1500 related to Covid, which has been suspended since January 1 and employs about 500 workers: today the first meeting with the unions was held at the Ministry of Health and the desire to keep the service active.
From an epidemiological point of view, the fears are linked to the risk of new variants of the SarsCoV2 virus, all of which are known and already present in travelers from China who have tested positive during visits to Italian airports. National territory. Including Gryphon (XBB), always belongs to the Omicron variant family and the vaccines used are effective. However, the Centers for Disease Control (Cdc) says that XBB has been running alarmingly high in the United States over the past month, with 4% to 41% of infections. This sub-variant, virologists and epidemiologists warn, could cause a new wave of Covid-19 in the US. As far as Italy is concerned, the situation appears to be under control, although there are some elements of concern. In fact, for the third week in a row, the survey conducted by the Italian Federation of Health and Hospitals (Fiasso) on January 3 highlights that the curve of Covid hospitalizations decreased by -0.7% compared to the previous survey. However, in this stable scenario, there was an increase of 9.6% in hospitalizations “due to Covid”, i.e. patients who were admitted to the hospital because they developed respiratory distress or pneumonia following SarsCoV2 infection. Hospitalized patients ‘due to covid’ occupy 39% of covid beds and in 87% cases they are debilitated who have not received a booster dose in the last six months. “The vulnerable population is less and less protected – explains Giovanni Migliore, president of Fiazzo – as evidenced by the high proportion of patients who did not take a booster dose in the last six months and have come to the hospital as a result of the covid infection”. A person, Migliore warns, “may increase if strong preventive measures are not taken with vaccination, especially by family doctors”. Meanwhile, the positive percentage of passengers from China at Malpensa airport drops from 50% to 20%. According to Guido Bertolazzo, welfare councilor of the Lombardy region, the drop in positivity must be attributed to the ministerial order to have a negative swap at the time of boarding.

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