The European Union (EU), criticized for the slow pace of COVID-19 vaccinations, announced progress on Sunday in its battle to obtain the doses promised by the laboratories, as restrictions, including travel, multiply in the world to try to contain the pandemic.
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The AstraZeneca laboratory, which has suffered the wrath of European leaders for several days due to significant delays in deliveries – will finally increase by 30% in the first quarter of the deliveries of its vaccine, authorized on Friday on the European market.
The company will “provide 9 million additional doses” – or 40 million doses in total – and “will start deliveries a week earlier than expected,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen wrote on Sunday. Twitter. The leader also maintained the EU target of vaccinating 70% of adults by “the end of summer”.
Despite everything, the months of February and March will remain “a difficult phase” in terms of vaccine supply, she admitted, however.
While experts from the World Health Organization (WHO), who are investigating the origin of the coronavirus, visited the Huanan market in Wuhan (central China), the starting point a year ago for the pandemic, the rest of the world continues to fight against the virus and its variants.
A first case of contamination by the variant identified in South Africa was notably reported on Sunday in Thessaloniki, the second largest city in Greece.
Faced with the danger posed by the worrying evolution of the pandemic, which has killed more than 2.2 million people to date, several countries have decided to toughen their restrictive measures, especially in terms of travel.
France has thus closed its borders to countries outside the EU, a measure which comes into force on Monday, tightening the screw like Portugal, Germany and Canada – which crossed the threshold of 20,000 dead on Sunday – for curb the third wave of COVID-19.
Hard-hit Portugal ended non-essential overseas travel on Sunday.
“There are so many deaths, we don’t have places to store so many, everything is overloaded. With COVID-19, I have already lost my aunt, my cousin, my father and my grandfather ”, deplores Artur Palma, funeral director in the suburbs of Lisbon.
The Australian authorities, for their part, confined two million people in Perth for five days on Sunday after the detection of a single case, while the Israeli government decided, Sunday evening, to extend its containment measures by five days.
In Peru, the 10 million inhabitants of the capital Lima have started compulsory quarantine.
In the United States, masks will be mandatory from Tuesday on public transportation, planes, buses, trains, taxis and ferries.
After the recent riots in the Netherlands, governments are also worried about the rejection of the restrictions by the populations.
In Vienna, around 10,000 people, including neo-Nazis, defied a ban on demonstrating against the curfew and lockdown put in place by the government on Sunday. In Brussels, nearly 500 people were preemptively arrested on Sunday to prevent two protests banned by the authorities against anti-COVID-19 measures.
Clashes also broke out on Sunday evening in the Lebanese city of Tripoli between the police and demonstrators, after several days of violent clashes and rallies denouncing the economic repercussions of strict confinement.
In China, in Wuhan, the WHO team, subject to close control by local authorities, “met key people” and “asked questions to help better understand the factors that allowed the emergence of the COVID, ”said one of its members, Peter Daszak, in a tweet.
Although a year has passed since the outbreak of the epidemic, Mr. Daszak judged talking to staff and seeing the market as “very informative.”
The experts did not answer any questions from the journalists, kept aside by the police. This visit is highly sensitive for Beijing, accused of having delayed reacting to the first cases.
If China has been able to limit the number of dead on its soil to 4,636, according to the official count, it continues to be vigilant. On Sunday, it decided to temporarily ban the entry into its territory of foreign nationals from Canada, announced the Chinese embassy in Ottawa.
The “Captain Tom” hospitalized
Become one of the symbols of the fight against the pandemic after collecting a record sum for the British health service, Captain Tom Moore, a hundred-year-old veteran, was hospitalized on Sunday after being in turn infected with the coronavirus.
The planet is counting on vaccination to stop the epidemic. Algeria launched its vaccination campaign on Saturday with the Russian vaccine Sputnik V, while Egypt awaited its first shipment of AstraZeneca vaccines on Sunday.
South Africa has ordered 20 million doses of the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine.
Under pressure from the United Nations to facilitate the vaccination of Palestinians, Israel announced its intention to provide them with 5,000 doses, a measure deemed “symbolic”. And Dubai has announced that it wants to “accelerate” the distribution of vaccines against the coronavirus, in particular to “emerging countries”, after the WHO called not to abandon the poorest states.