The acceleration of the third wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, especially in Europe, pushes aside the prospect of an easing of restrictions in Germany, fueling the anger of part of the population, and pushes the EU to organize its next summit by videoconference.
However, thanks to the planned acceleration of vaccination campaigns, Europe could have achieved collective immunity in July, said European Commissioner for the Internal Market Thierry Breton.
“Let us take a symbolic date: on July 14 we have the possibility of achieving immunity at the continental level,” he said. “It is the home stretch because we know that to overcome this pandemic, there is only one solution: to be vaccinated. The vaccines are coming, they will be there”.
This week, 465,300 new contaminations were recorded daily around the world. Excluding Africa and the Middle East, all the other regions are experiencing accelerations: + 34% in Asia, + 18% in Europe, + 15% in the United States / Canada and + 5% in Latin America / Caribbean.
– Extend restrictions –
Germany is badly affected. The national incidence rate indeed passed Sunday above the symbolic threshold of 100 (to 103.9), which triggers “emergency brakes”, namely new restrictions at the local level.
So much so that the easing of anti-Covid restrictions is no longer relevant. On the contrary: several German Länder (regions) are pleading for an extension of these measures in a document prepared for a meeting scheduled for Monday on the subject between Chancellor Angela Merkel and the regions.
The country must “extend” until a date yet to be determined in April all travel restrictions, insists the document.
But the health restrictions fuel the anger of some who assimilate them to a form of “dictatorship”. By the thousands, they made it known on Saturday during demonstrations in Austria, Bulgaria, Great Britain, Switzerland or Germany.
“Stop the Corona terror” or “The Covid is a hoax”, could one read on certain signs brandished by the demonstrators, from Montreal to Belgrade.
In Cassel, a city in central Germany, clashes occurred on Saturday and the police used pepper spray, batons and water cannons.
In London, at least 36 people were arrested on Saturday and several police officers injured during a similar protest.
-2.7 million deaths –
At the European level, the “outbreak of Covid-19 cases in the Member States” has resulted in pushing the President of the European Council Charles Michel to decide that the EU summit scheduled for next Thursday and Friday in Brussels would be held by videoconference.
The President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, has warned Great Britain about AstraZeneca vaccines.
Deliveries of the Swedish-British group’s anti-Covid vaccine are significantly lower than the figures initially forecast. Consequence: Ursula von der Leyen threatened London to block exports of the AstraZeneca vaccine if the EU did not receive its deliveries first.
Such a measure would be “counterproductive”, warned British Defense Minister Ben Wallace on SkyNews on Sunday.
After having suspended it due to doubts about its safety, several countries restarted vaccination with the AstraZeneca vaccine at the end of the week, as recommended by WHO experts.
Governments are working hard to scale up immunization as the epidemic has already claimed the lives of more than 2.7 million people worldwide.
In France, the figures remain at a very high level: the number of contaminations in 24 hours exceeded 35,000 on Saturday. More than 4,400 patients are being treated in the intensive care units, the highest figure since November 23.
Despite this, some 6,500 people without masks gathered to celebrate carnival in Marseille, in the South of France. This unauthorized gathering was described as “irresponsible” by the police who intervened to disperse the revelers.
In the United States, three million doses of vaccines per day were administered for the first time on two consecutive days, further illustration of a vaccination campaign that continues to gain momentum, according to official figures released on Sunday.
According to the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC), 24.5% of the American population have now received at least one dose of vaccine and 13.3% are fully vaccinated.
In India, fears center on the religious festival Kumbh Mela in Haridwar, in the north of the country. This Hindu pilgrimage is considered one of the largest human gatherings on the planet and the authorities fear that it will revive the epidemic in the country.
The Philippines announced new restrictions, as contaminations hit a new record of more than 7,000 new cases per day. Churches in Manila will be closed and non-essential travel outside or to the capital will be banned as of Monday.
– “Victory of humanity” –
The organizers of the Tokyo Olympics have decided not to welcome foreign spectators, considering it “highly unlikely” that they will be able to travel to Japan this summer.
Since their forced postponement a year ago, the Tokyo Olympics have given rise to a semantic shift reflecting the persistence of the global health crisis, despite the arrival of the first vaccines.
Last summer, the organizers still wanted to make these Olympics a celebration of “the victory of humanity over the virus”. But their rhetoric has changed in recent weeks, emphasizing the Japanese “anxiety” and the “priority” given to their safety.
burs-gde / sg / mm / lpt