Time is getting shorter and shorter if European countries do not want to revive the health situation in March, estimated the European Union (EU) on Thursday, coinciding with new restrictive measures in Spain, France and the United Kingdom which, in some cases , come up against citizens’ discontent.
In the words of the Commissioner for Food Security and Health, Stella Kyriakides, member states must strengthen “immediately” control and protection measures to prevent a second wave of the pandemic.
“Perhaps it is the last opportunity to avoid the same situation as last spring” (northern hemisphere), said the commissioner, who considers the situation “really worrying”.
“We cannot let our guard down. This crisis has not been overcome ”, he insisted, before recalling that winter, which will start soon in Europe,“ is the period of the year when we have more respiratory diseases ”.
In the same vein, the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) said on Thursday that seven EU countries (Spain, Romania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Hungary, Czech Republic and Malta) are experiencing an evolution of the covid pandemic. -19 which causes “great concern” and a high risk of mortality.
These countries show a “higher proportion of serious cases or hospitalizations”, with a “verified” increase in mortality or that “may happen soon”.
In total, Europe has passed the five million covid-19 contagion mark and the pandemic has killed almost 228,000 people on the continent.
Worldwide, the pandemic has caused more than 978,000 deaths since the end of December and has infected nearly 32 million people, according to an AFP balance sheet, based on official country figures.
Restrictions or abyss
Kyriakides pointed out that the relaxation of control measures during the European summer led to “an increase in the number of cases”.
The same happened in Israel, which for months respected a confinement that managed to stave off the pandemic, but saw the numbers soar as the restrictions eased. The scenario led the government to opt for more severe confinement.
“If we do not take immediate and harsh measures, we will fall into an abyss,” said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
From Friday at 2:00 pm (8:00 am Brasília) the synagogues will remain closed, except for Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement, celebrated on Sunday night and Monday), only those sectors of work considered “essential” may continue open doors and open-air meetings will be limited to 20 people and less than one kilometer from the residence.
The authorities are also evaluating the closure of Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion international airport.
The measures announced by the Netanyahu government have been criticized in Israel, as in other countries that adopt restrictions to avoid a second wave.
In France, the city halls of Paris and Marseille expressed dissatisfaction with the announcements made yesterday by the federal government. The city of Marseille, particularly affected by the new coronavirus, called the announcement of the closure of all bars and restaurants from Saturday onwards. A local representative classified the measure as “collective punishment”.
Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo also expressed irritation at the idea of closing gyms and sports facilities and allowing bars to remain open until 10 pm. The announced measures “are difficult to understand”, he criticized.
Concentrations will be limited to a thousand people, compared to the current 5,000. The move particularly affects the Roland-Garros tennis tournament, which will start next Sunday, four months late.
France has registered 16,096 new cases in the last 24 hours, and the situation in hospitals is starting to become worrying. “Public opinion must be very attentive. If we do not act, we may find ourselves in a situation close to that of spring, which may mean reconfiguration ”, warned the French Prime Minister, Jean Castex.
The same problem occurs in Greece, where the Prime Minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, estimates that “the current dilemma is self-protection or confinement”, given the growing number of infected people in that country.
The increase in new cases is also staggering in Spain, Russia and the United Kingdom. British Finance Minister Rishi Sunak on Thursday announced new measures to support the economy and employment as the pandemic accelerated.
In Brussels, European leaders expressed concern about the protests and tiredness on the part of the population regarding the restriction measures, and called on government officials to fight against “misinformation” and false news, which increases confusion among citizens .
Olympic Games with or without vaccine
The American continent remains the most affected by the covid-19. The United States, the most affected country on the planet, has a balance of 201,910 deaths and almost seven million contagions. In Latin America and the Caribbean, 330,403 fatalities and 8.4 million contagions were recorded.
The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) recalled that Brazil, Peru, Colombia, Mexico and Argentina remain among the top 10 countries with the highest number of infections in the world.
Carissa Etienne, director of PAHO, the WHO regional unit, warned that covid-19 will continue to spread, even with a vaccine, and asked countries to prepare to immunize the population without letting down their guard.
On Thursday, the president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Thomas Bach, said that the Tokyo Games, postponed from 2020 to 2021, can be played even without the development of a vaccine.
“Sport returns slowly but surely in the world,” celebrated Bach. “Very complex events like the Tour de France, which ended on Sunday, showed the world that sporting events can be organized, even without the vaccine,” he added.
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