The US on the brink of half a million deaths from covid and England eases the confinement

First modification: 22/02/2021 – 15:28

Washington (AFP)

The United States is approaching 500,000 deaths from coronavirus this Monday, although the vaccination rate offers a glimmer of hope in the world, as in England, which is preparing for a “prudent” deconfinement.

However, the UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, denounced the “nationalism of vaccines” by pointing out that “only ten countries have distributed more than three-quarters of the doses of the vaccines against covid-19 administered until today “.

In the world, the pandemic accumulates more than 2.46 million deaths, according to an AFP balance on Monday at 1100 GMT.

After almost a year since the announcement of the first death in the United States, on February 29, 2020, the figure is about to exceed half a million. According to the count of Johns Hopkins University, in the United States, the coronavirus so far leaves 498,901 deaths.

“We haven’t seen anything like it in 100 years, since the 1918 pandemic,” Anthony Fauci, a counselor to President Joe Biden, said Sunday. “It is something that will remain in history,” he remarked.

The United States, the country most affected by covid-19, exceeded 400,000 deaths in January, on the eve of the inauguration of Biden, which made the fight against the pandemic its top priority.

“500,000! That’s 70,000 more than all the Americans killed during World War II, in a four-year period,” Biden exclaimed on Friday.

The president focuses his hopes on the rate of vaccination. “I think we will get closer to normal by the end of this year,” he said.

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With an average of 1.7 million daily injections, a figure that should increase in the coming weeks, Biden was confident of reaching the immunization of 600 million doses – that is, vaccinating the entire population – by the end of July.

More than 61 million people received one of the two vaccines licensed in the United States (Pfizer / BioNTech and Moderna), and 18 million, the two required doses.

– “Prudente” deconfiguration “-

In Britain, the worst-hit European country with more than 120,000 deaths, Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday unveiled a “prudent” and “progressive” plan to lift England out of lockdown imposed in early January following an explosion of cases linked to the British variant of the coronavirus.

English schools will open on March 8, the government has already ordered. Each nation decides its strategy of deconfinity. Schools will progressively reopen from Monday in Scotland and Wales.

In Germany despite the fear of a third epidemic wave related to the British variant, schools reopen on Monday after a two-month closure.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel noted the popular desire to speed up the easing of restrictions and said she is willing to consider it, an attendee at a meeting held by the ruling party told AFP on Monday.

In France, confinement measures will be imposed in the next two weekends in a part of the Côte d’Azur (southeast) with greater controls at the region’s airports and surveillance of the Italian border.

Variations of the virus and people’s movements on weekends raise fears in Italy.

205 million doses have been administered worldwide.

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– Patience –

Called to prioritize India, the Serum Institute of India, the world’s largest manufacturer of vaccines that produces AstraZeneca’s under the name Covishield, called on countries awaiting supply to be “patient.”

India wants to vaccinate 300 million people by July but is behind schedule with just 11 million doses administered. In its most affected state, Maharashtra (110 million inhabitants), which is home to the economic capital Mumbai, new restrictions were imposed on Monday after an increase in infections.

Australia launched its vaccination campaign on Monday. Some 60,000 doses are ready to be injected this week by nurses, police officers or residents of nursing homes.

The launch was overshadowed by protests from anti-vaccine activists in several cities and hostile reactions from attendees to the men’s final of the Australian Tennis Open on Sunday.

The Philippines approved the emergency use of the Chinese Sinovac vaccine, the third approved in the archipelago, but no dose was delivered, for which President Rodrigo Duterte is subjected to severe criticism. Beijing will donate 600,000 doses in the next three to five days, according to authorities.

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