Coronavirus: Pending vaccines, new restrictions

In Toronto, Northern Ireland and California, measures are in place to prevent the spread of the virus.

Temperature control at a restaurant in Santa Monica, California.

KEYSTONE

The Pfizer / BioNTech alliance filed on Friday in the United States an application for authorization of its vaccine against Covid-19, a buoy to which populations facing new restrictions across the world are clinging to the soaring contamination .

Only ten months after the sequencing of the new coronavirus, this request marks for the CEO of Pfizer Albert Bourla “a crucial step” in the frantic quest for a vaccine. And another American company, Moderna, is expected to do the same very soon.

What to hope that the first vaccines against Covid-19 can begin to be distributed from December in the United States and in the European Union if they quickly obtain the green light from the health authorities concerned.

Pfizer / BioNTech and Moderna have announced an efficacy of around 95% for their vaccines, of which hundreds of millions of doses have already been reserved by various governments.

Another ray of hope: infected people are very unlikely to contract the disease again within six months of infection, according to a study by the British University of Oxford and Oxford University Hospitals presented Friday.

One of the positive Trump sons

Pending the arrival of vaccines, new restrictions are being imposed everywhere every day to curb the spread of the virus. Measures that awaken the painful memory of spring, when the world had gone to bed at the height of the first wave of the pandemic.

Canada’s largest city, Toronto, and much of its suburbs will be placed in “lockdown” from Monday.

The Northern Irish will be confined for two more weeks, while pubs and restaurants in several Scottish regions closed their doors on Friday evening for three weeks.

In the United States, the epidemic is in “exponential” phase, with more than 197,000 new cases and 1,800 deaths over 24 hours Friday. The day before, the country had deplored more than 2,200 deaths in one day, a threshold that had not been reached for months.

As a result, most of California will be placed under a nighttime curfew for a month; New York has closed its schools, despite the displeasure of many parents, and Americans have been urged to refrain from travel for the big Thanksgiving family celebration next Thursday.

Among the Americans recently infected is Donald Trump Jr, one of the president’s sons, himself already affected by Covid-19 in early October with his wife Melania.

Fines and curfews in India

More than 56.8 million cases and 1.36 million deaths have been officially recorded worldwide since the start of the pandemic, according to a report drawn up by AFP on Friday.

Among the countries most affected, India has crossed the mark of nine million cases, and officially deplores more than 132,000 deaths. Widely underestimated figures, say many experts. The gatherings due to the festival of Diwali last Saturday caused a worrying resumption of contagions.

After very strict confinement in March and then a gradual lifting, restrictions are starting to be reintroduced in the country. In New Delhi, the authorities have decided to quadruple the fine imposed on those who do not wear the mask, while those in Ahmedabad, the main city of the state of Gujarat, imposed from Friday a night curfew for an indefinite period, coupled with total confinement this weekend.

The World Health Organization (WHO) on Friday recommended not to administer remdesivir to hospitalized Covid-19 patients. The drug, which is very expensive and has significant side effects, does not prevent death or severe forms of the disease, she said. The WHO also welcomed a drop in weekly cases in Europe last week, but deaths have continued to increase and caution remains in order.

Peak probably crossed in France

Sweden, which has followed a less strict strategy than elsewhere on the Old Continent, recorded a new daily record of contamination on Friday.

The head of the Orthodox Church of Serbia, Patriarch Irinej, has died from Covid-19, three weeks after celebrating the funeral of the head of this Church in Montenegro.

Massive screening campaigns will be carried out in Austria, which has ordered seven million antigenic tests, and in South Tyrol, an autonomous region in the far north of Italy.

In France, the peak of the second wave has probably been crossed, said health authorities, an official even evoking an “exit of the tunnel” with the imminent arrival of vaccines.

A breath of fresh air that the aviation sector will need, plunged by the pandemic into a historic crisis. The International Air Transport Association, which is holding its 76th General Assembly from Monday by videoconference, estimates the drop in traffic this year at 66% and considers that global air traffic will not return to its 2019 level before 2024.

(AFP/NXP)

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