Thursday, January 21

Covid-19: variants are spreading, WHO meets urgently

The resurgence of the virus is also hitting China, which had largely controlled the epidemic but on Thursday recorded its first death from Covid-19 since last May.

Particularly contagious, the British and South African variants of the coronavirus are swarming: the number of countries and territories where the variant initially spotted in Great Britain is found is 50 and it is 20 for the variant identified in South Africa, WHO believes that this assessment is probably underestimated.

And a third mutation, originating in the Brazilian Amazon and whose discovery Japan announced on Sunday, is being analyzed and could impact the immune response, according to the WHO, which mentions “a disturbing variant“.

To discuss in particular these variants – one of the topics that “require urgent debate“- the WHO expert committee, which normally meets every three months, was convened two weeks in advance. Recommendations for WHO and member countries will be published after the meeting Thursday, said a statement from the organization published Wednesday in Geneva.

– Investigators in China –

A new wave of contamination is hitting all over the world.

China, where the epidemic appeared at the end of 2019, reported the first death in eight months from the coronavirus on Thursday. It was recorded in Hebei province, where several cities have recently been subjected to containment after the appearance of outbreaks of contamination. Chinese health authorities have reported 138 new infections, the highest daily toll since March.

The new death comes as a WHO team is expected in the country on Thursday to investigate the origin of the pandemic once their preventive quarantine has expired. This team of ten people arrive in Wuhan (center) where the virus was first reported at the end of 2019.

Still in Asia, Japan extended its state of emergency, already in place in Tokyo and its suburbs, to seven additional departments on Wednesday, including an evening closure of bars and restaurants.

Faced with the worst outbreak of cases and the worst toll in Europe with nearly 85,000 dead, the United Kingdom, re-confined due to the spread of a more contagious variant of the virus, recorded 1,564 deaths on Wednesday, the worst daily toll since the start of the pandemic.

On the continent, it is Portugal which has resolved to a new general containment from Friday, while the virus is spreading there in an accelerated manner with more than 10,500 new cases in one day Wednesday among its 10 million d ‘inhabitants.

In neighboring Spain, with nearly 39,000 new cases recorded on Wednesday, it is a situation of “extreme risk“, in the words of Carolina Darias, Minister of Territorial Policy.

While in Italy the government has announced its intention to extend the state of emergency until April 30, France is holding its breath: new measures will be unveiled on Thursday to deal with the increase in contamination (more than 23,000 registered Wednesday) and the spread of the new British variant.

For its part, Tunisia is reconfiguring itself for four days, from Thursday to Sunday to slow the spread of the Covid-19 which has reached records, leading to a situation “very dangerous“according to health authorities.

And in southern Africa, Mozambique on Wednesday announced a strengthening of health restriction measures due to an increase in the number of contaminations.

– “Astronomical” –

The Covid-19 pandemic has killed at least 1,963,557 people worldwide since the WHO office in China reported the onset of the disease at the end of December 2019, according to a report established by AFP on Wednesday .

The United States remains the country most affected both in terms of death (more than 384,000) and cases (more than 23 million). With an average of three deaths per minute, the country recorded Tuesday a new daily death record (4,470).

The United States announced Wednesday that it has reached the figure of 10 million people vaccinated, important worldwide since the WHO reports 28 million doses administered in total in 46 countries. But it is still very little to curb the epidemic.

In California, one of the main foci of the coronavirus, a “mega center“vaccination program opened on Wednesday in a parking lot at the famous Disneyland theme park in Anaheim, which has been closed for ten months by the California authorities due to the pandemic.

Pope Francis, 84, was vaccinated on Wednesday, according to reporters.

In Russia, President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday ordered to start vaccination against the coronavirus of all categories of the population from next week, saying that the vaccine designed by his country was the “better“.

As the epidemic spreads, governments around the world are rushing to acquire and deliver vaccines as quickly as possible.

The United Kingdom intends to put in place “as soon as possible“24-hour vaccination. The objective is to vaccinate by mid-February the over 70s and caregivers, or about 15 million people, for 2.4 million vaccinated today since the 8th December.

The African Union has obtained 270 million anti-Covid vaccines for the continent, which most countries do not have the means to finance the immunization of their population, announced Wednesday evening South Africa, which ensures the rotating presidency of the AU.

As for Brazil, he announced Wednesday that two million doses of the AstraZeneca / Oxford vaccine would be shipped from India by plane so that the vaccination begins by the end of the month.




Robin Rivaton, economist.By Robin Rivaton

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France, Paris, December 14, 2019, portrait of François Bazin.Francois Bazin

Evaccination emergency

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