Around the world, the Delta variant is spreading and is forcing many countries to impose new restrictions to curb the pandemic
Return of the mask, extension of the health pass: the Delta variant will have, in a few weeks, overcome summer recklessness, including in countries such as the United States or Israel which imagined themselves out of the woods and coming back to life, in in the middle of summer, with the restrictive measures.
Less than four weeks after celebrating the National Day, all smiles and without a mask in the middle of a thousand guests at the White House, Joe Biden, who promised a “summer of freedom” to his compatriots, had to take Thursday a series of measures to relaunch vaccination, broken down after a drastic start.
Americans, even vaccinated, are in fact once again called upon to put on the mask in areas where the circulation of the virus is important. Unvaccinated federal employees will be required to wear masks everywhere and undergo regular testing.
Third dose in Israel
Israel, which had also launched a massive vaccination campaign very early on and prided itself on being the first to come out of the crisis, on Thursday reinstated the health pass, compulsory in places hosting more than 100 people. The Hebrew state is also launching from Sunday a “complementary” vaccination campaign with a third dose for those over 60 years old.
In Europe, where many countries are facing a fourth wave, it is also time to turn the screw. In Spain, the curfew has been extended in Barcelona and part of Catalonia, and France has ordered the reconfinement from this weekend of the islands of Reunion and Martinique.
Everywhere, however, pressure is mounting to speed up vaccination, with more than four billion doses of anti-Covid vaccines administered worldwide, according to a count Thursday from official sources.
However, vaccination remains highly unequal: high-income countries have administered an average of 97 doses per 100 inhabitants, compared with only 1.6 doses in poor countries.
Thursday, the World Health Organization (WHO) was alarmed by a “rise” in contaminations in fifteen countries of the Maghreb, the Middle East, Africa and Asia, which are facing a fourth wave with a predominantly unvaccinated population.
Sick people dismissed for lack of oxygen
In the meantime, the situation is “desperate” in Burma, the United Kingdom warned Thursday, which urged the UN Security Council to ensure that vaccines can be delivered despite the crisis situation since the coup. February state. According to London, half of the Burmese population, or 27 million people, could be infected with Covid-19 in the next two weeks.
In Africa, Senegal, relatively spared for a long time by the pandemic, is experiencing, like the rest of the continent, an unprecedented outbreak of contamination, with overwhelmed hospitals. At Fann, Dakar’s referral hospital, ambulances bring patients with shortness of breath, often from other hospitals. But doctors are often forced to send them away for lack of oxygen.
Tunisia – which has the highest number of deaths in North Africa – is also struggling to cope with the surge in contamination, and oxygen cylinders are lacking in overwhelmed intensive care units.
In Algeria, where large hospitals also lack oxygen, the Audiovisual Authority urged the media to “avoid focusing excessively on negative news” in their coverage of the health crisis.
Saudi Arabia reopens
Rare good news in this context, Saudi Arabia announced Friday the reopening of its borders to vaccinated foreign tourists, after a 17-month closure due to the pandemic. Riyadh, however, has not announced the lifting of restrictions on the Omra pilgrimage, which attracts millions of Muslims from around the world each year.
The pandemic has killed at least 4,190,383 people around the world since the end of December 2019, according to a report established Thursday by AFP from official sources. But the WHO estimates, taking into account the excess mortality directly and indirectly linked to Covid-19, that the toll could be two to three times higher.
In Mexico, the national statistics institute announced that the coronavirus had caused 35% more deaths in 2020 than the figure so far advanced by the government, or 201,163 deaths (against 148,629 confirmed by the Ministry of Health).