“Today, the government has decided to implement a strict three-week lockdown with the option of extending this measure,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in the evening.
Authorities last week imposed a curfew on some 40 cities across the country, including ultra-Orthodox Arab and Jewish cities, which hasn’t stopped the number of cases from rising.
The infection rate in the country is on the rise with currently 153,217 cases of Covid-19, including 1,103 deaths, for a population of nine million inhabitants.
The lockdown will come into effect from Friday for the feast of Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year), will continue during Yom Kippur and will end on the last day of Sukkot, around October 9, authorities said.
– “Beginning of the second wave”
In Vienna, the city which recorded more than half of the 870 new cases in Austria on Saturday, Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said his country was “at the start of the second wave” and that the number of cases should soon exceed 1,000 new cases. per day.
He called on the population to strictly respect anti-virus measures and to reduce contact as much as possible. From Monday, masks, already mandatory in supermarkets and transport, will be in all Austrian shops and public buildings.
Same concern in the Czech Republic, which recorded for the third consecutive day a record of infections on Saturday, with 1,541 new cases, according to the Ministry of Health.
This country of 10.7 million inhabitants is now one of the three member states of the European Union where the daily progression of the virus is the fastest, after France and Italy. The latter two countries, however, carry out twice as many screening tests.
“If the epidemic continues at this explosive rate, we will reach the limits of our hospital capacity” at the end of October, warned epidemiologist Roman Prymula on Czech television on Sunday. “It is urgent to put the brakes on hard”.
For the Czechs, the mask has already been compulsory since the beginning of September in closed places, except classrooms, and in companies if employees cannot maintain a distance of two meters.
South Korea, on the other hand, has decided to ease its anti-coronavirus restrictions for the 25 million inhabitants of the Seoul region from Monday. But its Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun is already planning to tighten the screws during the great transhumance that the country experiences each year at the end of September, on the occasion of the harvest festival (Chuseok).
In France, the symbolic milestone of 10,000 new cases in 24 hours was crossed on Saturday, a record since the launch of large-scale tests in the country.
However, good news came to shed light on this grim record on Saturday: the resumption of clinical trials of a potential vaccine by the pharmaceutical group AstraZeneca.
These tests were halted on Wednesday after the onset of a “potentially unexplained illness” – possibly a serious side effect – in a participant in the UK.
– 90 contaminated peacekeepers
WHO has identified 35 “vaccine candidates” being evaluated in human clinical trials around the world. Nine are already at the last stage, or are preparing to enter.
While waiting for a vaccine, the authorities are trying to enforce the protective measures but are met with resistance and sometimes have to use the hard way. Australian police, for example, arrested more than 70 people in Melbourne on Sunday who demonstrated against the restrictive measures.
In southern Lebanon where they are deployed, 90 UN peacekeepers, almost all from the same unit, have tested positive for the virus, a spokesperson for the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) announced. . They were placed in solitary confinement.
The pandemic has killed at least 921,097 people worldwide since the WHO office in China reported the onset of the disease at the end of December, according to a report established by AFP on Sunday.
More than 28,819,490 cases of infection have been officially diagnosed, of which at least 19,133,300 are now considered cured.
Saturday, 4,806 new deaths and 284,827 new cases were identified. The countries that have recorded the most deaths in their latest reports are India with 1,114 new deaths, Brazil (814) and the United States (523).
The United States is the most affected country in terms of both deaths and cases, with 193,705 deaths for 6,486,401 cases, according to the Johns Hopkins University count.