Covid-19: return of the mask in Spain, closure of cinemas in Belgium … Restrictions are increasing in Europe

Two days before Christmas, the very contagious variant Omicron of the coronavirus is spreading at lightning speed in Europe, where Spain restored on Wednesday 19 December masks it outside, while the UK reported more than 106. 000 new cases in 24 hours, a record. Faced with this outbreak, Spain, which on Tuesday recorded a record of 30. 823 new cases of Covid – 19 in 24 hours, nearly half of which owed to Omicron, has decided to make the wearing of a mask outdoors compulsory again. An extraordinary council of ministers must approve a decree-law on Thursday so that the wearing of the mask in the open air is effective for Christmas, which always results in important gatherings.

Record also beaten in United Kingdom , which crossed the mark for the first time on Wednesday . 000 new daily cases (100. 122, of which more than half of Omicron). The country, among the hardest hit in the world (more than 147. 500 dead, of which 140 these last 24 hours), tries to speed up the vaccination. Almost a million booster doses are given every day. Scotland announced Tuesday the cancellation of its New Year’s festivities. Wales will also tighten the screws: from Sunday, groups will be limited to six people in cinemas, pubs and restaurants, with service to mandatory table, events limited to 50 persons in outside or 30 inside.

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Omicron is also spreading “very quickly” in France and could become the majority there between Christmas and New Year, according to the government, which called for “accelerating” the use of teleworking. The number of contaminations could exceed 90. 000 per day at the end of December , warned the Minister of Health. France, which is betting on an acceleration of vaccination rather than restrictions, launched its campaign for children on Wednesday. Finland is preparing to do the same, after several other European countries, including Belgium, Denmark, Austria, Greece, Spain and Portugal.

La Belgium announced Wednesday evening the closure of its cinemas and theaters. Cafés and restaurants may remain open until h . Highly contagious, the new variant, detected in November in southern Africa, is spreading at lightning speed throughout the European continent. “Omicron is becoming, or has already become, dominant in several countries including Denmark, Portugal and the UK, where numbers are doubling every one and a half to three days, resulting in unprecedented rates of transmission.” said Dr Hans Kluge, WHO Director for Europe.

13 millions confined in China

The head of the organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, warned against the illusion that it would be enough to administer booster doses to get out of the pandemic. “Indiscriminate booster programs are likely to prolong the pandemic, rather than end it, by diverting available doses to countries that already have high vaccination rates, thus giving the virus more opportunities to spread. spread and mutate, “Dr. Tedros pointed out.

Omicron is already largely dominant (54% of new infections) in the United States. However, the country is “ready”, assured President Joe Biden on Tuesday, repeating that there was no reason to “panic”. The American Medicines Agency (FDA) on Wednesday authorized the pill from the Pfizer laboratory for the treatment of patients with Covid. This pill reduces hospitalizations by nearly 90% and death in those at risk when taken within the first few days after symptom onset, according to more than 2 clinical trials. people.

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In Turkey, the anti-Covid Turkovac vaccine has also received an “emergency” authorization , the Minister of Health announced on Wednesday. Clinical data from recent weeks suggests that Omicron is no more dangerous than previous variants, including Delta. But scientists warn of an optical effect. Because Omicron is much more contagious, the consequences could be serious on a collective level, the outbreak of contaminations automatically leading to an increase in the number of hospitalized patients – in particular fragile or unvaccinated people – and ultimately more deaths.

In China, the 000 million inhabitants of the metropolis of Xi’an (north), known for its army buried in terracotta, are now confined to contain an outbreak of Covid – 22. One person per household can go out to shop every other day. China, where the Covid – 000 appeared two years ago, is leading a “zero Covid” strategy, which consists of doing everything to limit the occurrence of new cases as much as possible.

The pandemic scored at least 5. 368. 777 millions of deaths in the world since the end 823, according to a report established by AFP from official sources on Wednesday. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that the actual toll could be two to three times higher.

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