Thursday, January 21

New York to reopen schools, Canada remains closed … Pandemic update

The Covid-19 continues to spread, while the pandemic has killed more than 1.45 million people worldwide, according to a report established on Sunday. Some 62.1 million cases have been officially recorded, of which more than 39.5 million have been cured.

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In North America, the United States fears a marked rise in contamination following Thanksgiving travel, although New York has chosen to reopen schools, while Canada has announced the extension of its border closures. In contrast, in the southern part of the continent, in Venezuela and Bolivia, restrictions are gradually being lifted. Update on the pandemic around the world.

  • Canada’s borders remain closed until January 21

Canada announced on Sunday a new extension, until January 21, 2021, of the closure of its borders to foreigners whose presence is not considered essential. Since last March, travelers arriving in Canada, whether Canadian or not, have been subject to a mandatory 14-day quarantine in order to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

For its part, Canada’s border with the United States remains closed until December 21, as part of a separate bilateral agreement with Washington. Only trade in goods and merchandise and travel considered essential are authorized. The closure of the longest land border in the world was decided in March and it could be extended after December 21, the Canadian government said in a statement.

In addition, the Canadian government has announced a ban on the export of several drugs to the United States, in particular those used in the treatment of Covid-19, if these sales cause or exacerbate a shortage in Canada.

  • US fears explosion of cases

After a weekend of family celebrations in the United States, “we could see a new outbreak on top of the current” surge in new coronavirus contaminations, the director of the American Institute of Infectious Diseases, Anthony Fauci warned on Sunday. . At least 1.1 million people flew in the single day before Thanksgiving Day last Thursday, a record number since the pandemic began in the country in March, according to TSA, responsible for security checks at airports.

“I want to be clear with the Americans, the situation will worsen in the coming weeks,” added the chief medical officer of the United States, Jerome Adams. Several states had already experienced an increase in new infections after the long Memorial Day weekend at the end of May, which pays tribute to the American armed forces.

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“We are getting ready to experience this post-Thanksgiving (case) surge, with three, four, ten times more sick across the country”, than in May warned Dr Deborah Birx, coordinator of the crisis cell on the White House coronavirus.

Hospitalizations due to Covid-19 are at a peak in the country with more than 90,000 people currently hospitalized, the official recalled. As of Sunday evening, 140,651 cases and 822 deaths have been recorded over the past 24 hours, according to the Johns Hopkins University count which refers to it. The most bereaved country in the world by the pandemic, the United States has a total of more than 266,000 deaths and 13.3 million cases.

  • New York reopens its schools

Despite a new surge in Covid-19 cases, New York’s public primary schools will reopen on December 7, as will schools for children with learning disabilities, city mayor Bill de Blasio.

Many parents having difficulty reconciling their employment and the education of their young children during the pandemic, the municipality has given up demanding the closure of primary schools as long as the positivity rate of the Covid-19 tests does not remain below 3 % during one week. The percentage of positive tests in New York is currently 3.1%.

The reopening of schools is possible “because we have a lot of evidence that schools are very safe,” Bill de Blasio said at a press conference. Students will be tested on a weekly basis, the Democratic mayor added, adding that teaching in person five days a week is best for schools large enough to allow physical distancing.

  • Attendance at the Shanghai Marathon

Some 9,000 runners took part in the Shanghai International Marathon on Sunday, according to several Chinese media, an attendance that has become rare due to the Covid-19 pandemic. This year, the prestigious New York, Berlin, Boston and Chicago marathons have been canceled. Those in London and Tokyo had been reserved for elite runners.

To participate in the Shanghai Marathon, athletes had to undergo a Covid-19 screening test and wear a mask before departure and immediately after arrival. Some kept it on their face for the duration of the ordeal. The number of participants was also limited (around 38,000 athletes participated in the event in 2019) and spectators were encouraged not to attend the race.

READ ALSO >> China: life (almost) as before the coronavirus

China, where Covid-19 was first detected last year, has largely contained the epidemic since the spring, thanks to tests, containments, quarantines and tracking of movements. Life has returned to an almost normal course, with the exception of localized foci. Several local cases of Covid-19 contamination have however been identified this month in the Chinese economic capital (24 million inhabitants).

  • Progressive deconfinement in Lebanon

Lebanon begins this Monday a partial deconfinement after two weeks of almost total closure of the country against the backdrop of an increase in the number of Covid-19 cases. After a Sunday meeting of the ministerial committee responsible for managing the pandemic, the outgoing Minister of Health, Hamad Hassan, announced the “gradual” reopening of “all sectors” and businesses and the cancellation of the circulation system alternate.

Restaurants will however reopen “up to 50%” of their capacity while bars and nightclubs will remain closed and weddings prohibited, Hamad Hassan said at a press conference. The curfew will begin at 11 p.m. local each day, down from 5 p.m. for the past two weeks.

In addition, the schools – the vast majority of which only provided online courses since the start of the school year – will open their doors under a hybrid regime, alternating face-to-face and distance, confirmed Hamad Hassan after a decision to this effect taken Friday by the ministry of Education.

  • In Bolivia, resumption of activities suspended since March

The Bolivian government announced on Sunday that it would soon authorize the resumption of sports, cultural, religious and political activities suspended since March due to the coronavirus epidemic. The government “will coordinate actions with regions and municipalities for the application of biosafety protocols”, in order to prevent a second wave of infections, the probable occurrence of which is estimated for the first quarter of next year. The authorities hope that the country will then have been able to start a massive vaccination campaign.

The Covid-19 has infected 144,000 people in Bolivia, 9,000 of whom have died. In March, the government imposed strict containment, which has been gradually eased. But restrictions still apply for cultural and leisure events, sporting events and gastronomic services, with some exceptions.

  • Venezuela eases restrictions

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro on Sunday announced the lifting of the curfew imposed due to the Covid-19 epidemic in the border towns of Colombia and Brazil and the easing of restrictions in December. Since June, Maduro has applied a device he describes as “7 + 7”: seven days of “radical” confinement with the closure of non-essential businesses alternate with seven days of “flexibility” which allow their opening.

“Last week of this radical quarantine year 2020,” the president said on a television show. “We are in the Christmas spirit,” the president said on a television broadcast, referring to the resumption of commercial, economic and social activities.

On the other hand, he said, “the 7 + 7 will resume in January with strength, organization, discipline and responsibility”. “We are in the middle of the pandemic and I don’t want to make false promises to anyone,” the president said.

  • In Naples, the warning of coach Gattuso

Napoli coach Gennaro Gattuso said on Sunday that “too many people” were coming out “without masks” to honor the memory of city idol Diego Maradona and called for “common sense” in the face of the coronavirus pandemic .

“Maradona is a legend, everyone knows it, but at the moment we must also behave well, otherwise we will pay the consequences. The city is suffering economically, we have to do things well,” he added. Italy, the first European country affected by the coronavirus pandemic last spring, exceeded the threshold of 50,000 deaths last week, according to the authorities.



Pierre Assouline, journalist, writer, Goncourt academician and columnist for L'Express.By Pierre Assouline

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