Health authorities in Monaco are urging the population to return to hygiene measures designed to limit the spread of Covid as the next wave begins to grip the Principality and summer holidays approach.
Amidst a new rise in infections spurred by Omicron variants BA.4 and BA.5 throughout Monaco and neighbouring regions, the Prince’s Government on Monday released a public statement calling for “renewed vigilance”.
“Even if the increase in contamination is more contained in Monaco than in neighbouring regions, the figures show a renewed epidemic of Covid-19,” it said.
The incidence rate over the past seven days has risen to 748 in Monaco compared to 148 a month ago. In the Alpes-Marititmes, it has hit 1,071.
With the approach of summer holidays, and subsequent increase in travel and social interactions, health authorities are urging the population to reinstate personal health measures such as washing hands, wearing masks in crowded places such as public transport, and social distancing to protect themselves and others, “especially since the variants of the Covid-19 virus, currently in circulation, are highly contagious.”
They are also “strongly encouraging” people over the age of 60 and those with a high risk of developing a serious form of Covid-19 to get their free second booster shot, the 4th vaccine dose available.
Monaco is now offering two types of vaccines: a messenger RNA vaccine (Pfizer) and a vaccine that does not contain messenger RNA (Novavax).
In possible contact case situations, the government asks that people test and self-isolate in order to break the chains of contamination.
According to new data from researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Centre, of Harvard Medical School, Omicron subvariants BA.4 and BA.5 appear to escape antibody responses among both those who have been fully vaccinated and boosted. However, Covid-19 vaccination is still expected to provide substantial protection against severe disease.
Pfizer and Moderna said that they have already started designing boosters based on Omicron’s BA.1 and BA.2 subvariants. They have now been encouraged to forge ahead with new formulations targeting the newer, more infections BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants, which could be available as early as autumn 2022.
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