Only ten months after the sequencing of the new coronavirus, the American pharmaceutical group Pfizer asked the United States Medicines Agency (FDA) on Friday to authorize its vaccine. Europe should follow very soon.
The coronavirus pandemic has killed more than 1,373,381 people around the world since the end of December, according to a report established by the AFP at midday on Saturday. More than 57,583,290 cases of infection have been officially diagnosed since the start of the epidemic.
The United States is still the most affected country in terms of both deaths and cases, with 254,424 deaths for 11,913,945 recorded cases. Next come Brazil with 168,613 deaths and 6,020,164 cases, India with 132,726 deaths (9,050,597 cases), Mexico with 100,823 deaths (1,025,969 cases), and the United Kingdom with 54,286 deaths (1,473,508 cases).
>> Map of new contaminations over 14 days in Europe:
USA – First request for authorization of a vaccine
Just ten months after the sequencing of the new coronavirus, the American pharmaceutical group Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech on Friday asked the United States Medicines Agency (FDA) to authorize their vaccine against the disease caused by the virus. They are the first manufacturers to do so in the United States. Europe should follow very soon.
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The request had been expected for several days, following the publication of the results of the clinical trial according to which the vaccine would be 95% effective in preventing Covid-19, without serious side effects.
Donald Trump’s government is already planning to vaccinate 20 million people at risk in December, then 25 to 30 million per month.
>> See also the 7:30 p.m. report on the situation in the United States:
FRANCE – Drop in death toll and intensive care admissions
Nearly 300 Covid-19 patients have died in the last 24 hours in France, 110 less than the day before, and the number of intensive care patients continues to decline for the 5th consecutive day, according to official statistics published on Saturday.
Data from the French public health agency (SpF) show 276 deaths in the space of 24 hours in hospitals, against 386 the day before, bringing the number of deaths linked to the coronavirus to 48.’18 since the start of the epidemic in France.
While the peak of the second wave has undoubtedly been crossed, according to the health agency which called on the French to remain vigilant on Friday, the noose is slowly loosening on the hospital.
The intensive care unit was occupied by 4,493 Covid patients on Saturday, including 220 new admissions. A figure which continues to fall for the 5th consecutive day. The day before, these services had 4,566 Covid patients, including 264 new admissions.
Castex “hopes” for a reopening of shops “in a few days”
Prime Minister Jean Castex, traveling to Dijon on Saturday, said he “hoped” for a reopening of businesses deemed non-essential “in a few days”.
So-called “non-essential” businesses have been closed in France since October 30 as part of the new national confinement scheduled to last at least until December 1.
But their reopening is in the pipeline with a reflection on a new health protocol, and the head of government indicated on Friday, during a trip to Finistère, that the reopening date would be announced next week.
PORTUGAL – Schools closed for two days
The Portuguese government has decided to “tighten” the restrictions to curb the spread of the new coronavirus, in particular by closing schools on Monday, November 30 and December 7, on the eve of public holidays, Prime Minister Antonio Costa announced on Saturday.
Faced with a number of new contaminations “extremely worrying”, the socialist executive made the bet to divide the country into four zones, according to their risk of propagation of the epidemic, to which will correspond from Tuesday various levels of restrictions, a he said during a press conference in Lisbon.
DENMARK – Angry mink farmers in Copenhagen
Hundreds of Danish mink farmers and breeders demonstrated by tractor in Copenhagen on Saturday, protesting the government’s decision to slaughter millions of these fur animals to fight a problematic mutation of the new coronavirus.
More than 500 tractors decorated with Danish flags crossed the capital, passing in particular in front of the seat of the government and the Parliament of Christiansborg, before regrouping in the port, noted an AFP journalist.
Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen’s government had to admit that its decision to slaughter the huge Danish herd – more than 15 million mink raised for their fur – had no legal basis for animals not contaminated by the new coronavirus , arousing the anger of breeders.
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SPAIN – Major vaccination plan announced
After eight months of anguish and more than 42,000 dead, the Spanish government wanted to give hope to the country on Friday by announcing an ambitious vaccination plan against Covid-19. A large part of the population could benefit from it by next summer. This plan must still be adopted Tuesday at the next Council of Ministers.
The head of government, Pedro Sanchez, assured that Spain would be “the first country in the EU, with Germany, to have a comprehensive vaccination plan” for its 47 million citizens.
>> Watch the 7:30 p.m. report on the logistical challenges of mass vaccination
GERMANY – The 900,000 infection mark exceeded
The number of confirmed cases climbed to 902,528, 22,964 more cases than the day before, according to data released Saturday by the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases.
The institute also reports 254 additional deaths, bringing the toll to 13,884 deaths since the start of the epidemic in the country.
BRAZIL – A second wave is taking shape
Brazil passed the milestone of six million confirmed cases of contamination with the new coronavirus on Friday, the Ministry of Health announced, as fear of a second epidemic wave grows in the country.
After peaking at just over 69,000 contaminations and around 1,600 deaths on July 29, the epidemic seemed partly under control at the end of October in Brazil with averages of 20,000 cases and 425 deaths per day. But the daily number of infections is increasing again in Brazil, with a daily average of infections having risen to 26,500 and that of deaths to 480.
CANADA – Toronto in “confinement” from Monday
Canada’s largest city, Toronto, and much of its suburbs will be placed in “lockdown” from Monday due to the worsening epidemic, the Ontario premier said on Friday.
This confinement, during which all indoor private gatherings will be banned, will last at least 28 days and violators will face fines of 750 Canadian dollars (522 francs). Outdoor gatherings, meanwhile, will be limited to 10 people, as will religious services, funerals and weddings.
Beauty care facilities, such as hair salons, as well as training rooms, and casinos will be closed. Restaurants and non-essential businesses will only be open for take out orders or deliveries. The schools will remain open.
RUSSIA – Record rise in contamination
With 24,822 new infections and 476 new deaths, Russia on Saturday recorded new records in terms of infections and daily deaths, two days after surpassing the two million sick mark.
If the Russian authorities consider the situation “worrying”, they nevertheless assert that it remains under control, and have for the time being ruled out any new national confinement so as not to shut down the Russian economy, already weakened by a strict containment in the spring, as well as by Western sanctions.
IRAN – Closures of non-essential businesses in many cities
Iran announced on Saturday the closure of non-essential businesses in the majority of Iranian cities and for a period of up to two weeks, imposing new restrictive measures in order to curb the epidemic of the new coronavirus in the country.
“With these new restrictions, we only wanted to tell the people that the problem of the coronavirus is very serious” in the Islamic Republic, said President Hassan Rouhani during a meeting of the Committee to fight the virus, broadcast on television.
In areas with the highest epidemiological risk, only businesses considered essential remain open, in particular health centers, the food sector, the press, public transport, pharmacies, banks and gas stations.
According to official data, more than 400 people have died from the virus every day in Iran since early November, prompting Hassan Rouhani to speak of a “third wave” of the epidemic.
RTSinfo with agencies