Russian Government Develops Measures to Combat Omicron

Russian Government Develops Measures to Combat Omicron

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A total of 74,072 new COVID-19 cases, including 1,682 with the omicron strain, have been diagnosed in Russia over the past 24 hours. A total of 10.8 million Russian have caught the virus during the pandemic, while 9.9 million have recovered. 323,000 people passed away from COVID-19, reported the federal operational headquarters.

According to TASS, the number of omicron cases has doubled in Moscow over a week. The Russian capital is the leader by the number of novel coronavirus infection cases. A total of 8,795 cases of infection were recorded in Moscow in the past 24 hours. The number of Muscovites who visited doctors grew proportionally, and the number of admissions, according to Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin, “practically did not increase.” Despite this, the regime of self-isolation for elderly citizens in the capital has been extended. Other restrictive measures will not be introduced, the Moscow mayor said. The collective immunity in Moscow currently stands at 68.5%.

According to Lenta.ru, twindemic, simultaneous infection with COVID-19 and influenza, is expected in European countries due to the sharp spread of Omicron and simultaneously influenza. Meanwhile, a mutation of the Omicron strain has been already detected in Sweden. There is a “probability of repeated infection” by COVID-19, but vaccinated people have a milder course of disease easier thanks to the formed antibodies, said Alexander Gorelov, deputy director of Rospotrebnadzor Central Research Institute of Epidemiology.

Measures to contain the spread of COVID-19 on the territory of Russia were discussed at a meeting of the coronavirus coordination council. According to Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin, the number of COVID-19 cases has been growing all over the country for the last 10 days although the problems are different in the regions and the increase in the number of cases is distributed unevenly.

Russia recorded 1,682 Omicron cases in 42 regions; mostly in Moscow and the Moscow Region, as well as in St. Petersburg, said Deputy Prime Minister Tatiana Golikova. She underlined that almost 30% of all infected citizens had been fully vaccinated and 68.9% of Russians had not been vaccinated. The fact that more than 70% of infected citizens have not traveled outside the country suggests that the omicron strain is already spreading in Russia. In addition, Golikova reported that the quarantine period for the disease had been halved to 7 days.

The number of admissions is the main indicator of the danger of newly detected varieties of coronavirus infection, said Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin. At the moment, there is no sharp increase in the number of patients in hospitals across the country. As it was announced at the meeting, there are 158,600 beds in Russia specifically for COVID-19 patients, and almost 70% of them are occupied.

Mishustin also reported that the government had developed additional measures to help the domestic health care system in case of a sharp increase in the number of COVID-19 cases. Most of these activities relate to outpatient care facilities, because they bear most of the workload. That is why it is planned to allocate additional funds for the purchase of medicines. Addressing the employers, Mishustin urged them to transfer their staff, if possible, to remote work. According to him, it is also necessary to increase the volume of testing and tighten control over compliance with sanitary requirements in places of mass gathering of citizens.

As RIA Novosti reports, Alexander Ginzburg, head of the Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology, said that it cannot be predicted that those infected with the omicron strain would have a severe course of the disease less often. According to him, this tendency is observed in European countries, where currently 60% to 80% of the population has been vaccinated. The situation in Russia is different, and “it's possible that the unvaccinated will have a severe course of the disease.” Those who were vaccinated with Sputnik V “most likely will not have this problem,” Ginzburg said.

Tatyana Ruzhentsova, deputy director of Rospotrebnadzor's Gabrichevsky Research Institute, previously reported that Russian citizens may carry this strain of the coronavirus infection differently judging by the situation in other countries. According to Ruzhentsova, many factors influence the course of the disease, including food and genetic characteristics. Climatic conditions on the territory of Russia are different and, therefore, the symptoms of the disease “may be different,” said Ruzhentsova.

It is commonly noted that infection with the omicron strain develops more rapidly than with other strains. That is why, according to Svetlana Smetanina, chief infectious disease doctor of the Moscow Health Department, it is necessary to drink up to two liters of water to reduce the body intoxication when the first signs of the disease appear. Smetanina underlined that high fever, headache and muscle pain should be the first signs to pay attention to. The patient should also take antipyretics, measuring the temperature at least three times a day. If body temperature remains above 38 °C for three days, one needs to see a doctor. Nasal congestion can be treated by irrigation with a solution of sea salt. One can also use antiviral medications but doctors do not recommend taking antibiotics.

Collective immunity to COVID-19 in Russia now stands at 63.9%. According to doctors, it is necessary to continue the vaccination to raise this figure to 80%, as it is already in Sevastopol, Karelia, the Chukotka Autonomous District and St. Petersburg.

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