Children returned to school on Monday in 10 of the 16 German Länders, at a time when new contaminations, but not deaths, start to rise again. Non-essential shops and restaurants remain closed for the time being.
The Covid-19 pandemic has killed 2,461,254 worldwide since the end of December 2019, according to a report drawn up by AFP on Sunday.
The United States is the most affected country with 497,648 deaths, ahead of Brazil with 245,977 deaths, Mexico with 179,797 deaths, India with 156,302 deaths and the United Kingdom with 120,365 dead.
Taking into account the population, the country which deplores the highest number of deaths is however Belgium, with 1.89 deaths per 1000 inhabitants, followed by Slovenia (1.82), the Czech Republic (1.80), the United Kingdom (1.77) and Italy (1.59). Switzerland deplores 1.14 deaths per 1,000 inhabitants.
>> The map of contaminations in the world (since the start of the pandemic):
GERMANY – Schools open again
Schools and daycares have reopened after two months of closure across much of Germany, despite fears of a third epidemic wave caused by the spread of the British variant of SARS-CoV-2.
“It is good that many schools are gradually resuming face-to-face teaching,” Education Minister Anja Karliczek said. “Children, especially the youngest, need each other”. However, lessons resume under drastic sanitary conditions, with classes alternating in half-groups or fixed numbers that cannot meet other students. The government also plans to speed up the vaccination of teachers and educators.
Despite drastic restrictions regularly extended for two months, Germany is struggling to contain the pandemic. Some experts even believe that the country is at the start of a third wave.
Germany has been partially contained since November and had succeeded, in recent weeks, in lowering the rate of SARS-CoV-2 infection. But new infections have now plateaued and started to increase slightly last week, from around 7,000 to 7,500 per day (7-day average). This development is attributed to the rapid spread of the British variant of the disease, considered to be more contagious. The number of deaths continues to decline. It has gone from 900 a day in mid-January to around 400 now.
UNITED KINGDOM – The deconfinement plan announced on Monday
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is due to present to Parliament on Monday his plan to get England out of containment. The whole country is again confined in early January to fight the Covid-19 epidemic which has killed more than 120,000 people in the United Kingdom and brought hospitals to the brink of the crisis.
The vaccination campaign launched in December is in full swing, with one in three adults having already received a first dose of the vaccine. The government has promised that all adults will receive a first injection of the anti-Covid vaccine by the end of July, advancing this deadline initially set for September.
Despite the progress, the deconfinement will be “cautious” and “progressive”, however warned Boris Johnson. “Our priority has always been to get children back to school, which is crucial for their education as well as for their mental and physical well-being.” He also wants to allow people to “find their loved ones safely” after months of isolation, by allowing reunions outside, where the risk of transmission is considered lower.
First step on March 8
Schools could reopen from March 8. On the same date, residents of retirement homes will be able to welcome a visitor inside, provided that the latter tests negative for Covid-19 and wears a mask. On the other hand, certain economic sectors, in particular the hotel and catering industry, may have to wait a few more weeks, to the dismay of pub owners.
After peaking at more than 60,000 per day in early January due to the progression of the British variant of Covid-19, which is more contagious, the number of new cases has dropped significantly and now reaches 11,000. Daily deaths, which had crossed the 1000 mark in the last two weeks of January, have dropped back below the 500 mark.
ITALY – New concerns about variants
A year after the discovery of the first outbreak of Covid in Codogno, concern has risen a notch in Italy due to the spread of variants of the virus and crowds in major cities last weekend, favored by a weather forecast particularly lenient. Despite the call to “stay at home” launched on Friday by the Higher Institute of Health, crowds poured into the streets, parks and waterfronts of several Italian cities to take advantage of the particularly sunny weather on Saturday and Sunday. on the peninsula.
Sunday, faced with the progression of variants, three Italian regions classified as “yellow” (moderate risk) officially changed to “orange” (medium risk): Emilia-Romagna (region of Bologna, north), Campania (region of Naples, south), and the small region of Molise (center). In addition, regions have created “red” zones (high risk) in certain parts of their territory, such as Umbria (center), Alto Adige (north) and Lazio (region of Rome), which thus decided to isolate the municipalities of Colleferro and Carpineto Romano, located at the gates of the Italian capital, “because of the high incidence and the presence of the English variant”.
Since the peak of contaminations recorded in the heart of the 2nd wave (35,000 cases per day in mid-November), the number of new cases has fallen to some 12,000 per day, but it has not declined since the end of January. The number of daily deaths is approaching the 300 mark after peaking at more than 700 in early December.
>> The report from 7:30 p.m. in Codogno:
>> Read also:
FRANCE – Confinement on weekends in Nice?
The inhabitants of the Alpes-Maritimes are awaiting new anti-Covid measures taken by the authorities. Containment on Saturday and Sunday is planned in this department, more affected than the rest of France. For the mayor of Nice Christian Estrosi (Les Républicains), confinement on weekends “deserves to be studied”, because it would discourage tourists from staying in Nice during the weekend.
The incidence rate is particularly high in Nice, with more than 700 positive cases per 100,000 inhabitants over the last 14 days, more than three times the national average (190), while around 10% of screening tests ‘are positive (against 6% for France as a whole).
ISRAEL – Half the population has been vaccinated
Israel began to reopen its economy on Sunday and the government believed that a return to normalcy was made possible thanks to the vaccination campaign. According to the Israeli authorities, nearly half of its 9 million inhabitants are now vaccinated and the risk of contamination with Covid-19 has decreased by 95.8% in people who have received the two doses of the vaccine.
The stores have reopened for everyone. However, access to leisure facilities such as sports halls, hotels and theaters remains limited to those who received two doses of the vaccine more than a week ago or to those who have recovered from Covid-19 with a probable immunity.
These people get a kind of health passport displayed on an application of the Ministry of Health. The wearing of a mask and social distancing measures remain in force. Dancing remains prohibited in banquet halls and places of worship must be reduced to half the size.
>> The 7:30 p.m. report:
CANADA – Tests at the border
Worried about the progression of Covid-19 variants, Canada has been imposing screening tests on its land border with the United States since Monday. This can currently only be crossed for “essential” trips, a measure which has just been extended until March 21.
The pandemic is in sharp decline in both countries, with the number of daily deaths falling from 160 (end of January) to 50 (currently) in Canada and from 3,450 (end of January) to less than 2,000 (currently) in the United States.
UNITED STATES – The milestone of 500,000 dead almost crossed
The United States is preparing to cross the dark milestone of 500,000 deaths from Covid-19, the equivalent of the population of the city of Sacramento, the capital of the state of California.
“It’s terrible, it’s horrible,” reacted immunologist Anthony Fauci, adviser to Joe Biden, on Sunday. “We haven’t seen anything like it for over a hundred years, since the 1918 pandemic.” According to figures from the benchmark Johns Hopkins University, the tally stood at 498,879 deaths on Monday at 2:30 a.m.
AUSTRALIA – Anti-vaccines make noise
The Australian vaccination campaign got into the thick of it on Monday. Some 60,000 doses are ready to be injected this week to healthcare workers, police officers, quarantine hotel employees or residents of homes for the elderly. On Sunday, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison was one of the first to be vaccinated as part of an operation intended to strengthen the confidence of the population.
This launch was however clouded by anti-vaccine protests held in some major Australian cities, and by the hostile reactions expressed on Sunday during the final day of the Australian Open tennis tournament, where spectators loudly expressed their opposition during the the closing ceremony.
INDIA – Priority to the country’s vaccine needs
The world’s largest vaccine maker, Serum Institute of India (STI), on Monday called on countries waiting for Covid-19 vaccine supplies to be “patient.” He was ordered to prioritize India’s “huge needs”.
STI produces hundreds of millions of doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine at its large site in Pune (west). Many countries, especially the poorest, depend heavily on Indian business for access to vaccines. Millions of doses have already been shipped overseas.
India’s goal of vaccinating 300 million people by July has been lagging far behind, with just over 11 million doses administered so far. The problem, however, appears to lie more in the shortage of vaccine candidates than in the vaccine supply.
RTSinfo with agencies
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