COVID-19: Anti-restriction protests in Australia and France | Coronavirus

In Sydney, clashes broke out between police on horseback and protesters, who threw flowerpots and bottles at them, as residents of the city of five million people are ordered to stay at home for a month.

And in Melbourne, local media reported that thousands took to the streets after rallying outside the Victoria state parliament.

The protesters, who were not wearing masks, broke rules on non-essential travel and public gatherings issued by the authorities, the latter having hinted that the measures could apply until October.

A protester is arrested by police during a demonstration at Sydney Town Hall.

Photo: Associated Press / Mick Tsikas

Australia wake up, could be read on the signs, the slogans echoing the messages seen during similar demonstrations abroad.

We have unfortunately seen today in Sydney the sad spectacle that we have seen in other citiesNew South Wales State Police Minister, of which Sydney is the capital, David Elliott said after the protest.

It is pretty clear that Sydney is not safe from idiots.

A quote from:David Elliott, New South Wales State Police Minister

He said he expected the rally to result in a spike in COVID cases and urged those present to get tested and self-isolate.

Clashes in a demonstration in Paris

At the antipodes, thousands of people also demonstrated on Saturday in France, especially in Paris and Marseille, against the extension of the “health pass” and compulsory vaccination for certain professions, including nursing staff. Sporadic incidents pitted police and protesters.

This is the second day of mobilization around the slogans For freedom and Against the health dictatorship.

Other rallies take place on Saturday in a hundred cities, including Marseille, where thousands of people of all ages marched to cries of Liberty, Liberty or Macron, your pass, we don’t want it.

This movement is organized while the French say they are overwhelmingly in favor of the decision taken on July 12 by President Emmanuel Macron to make vaccination compulsory for caregivers and other professions, on pain of sanctions.

Protesters amid tear gas fumes in Paris.

Protesters, some wearing yellow vests, stand amid tear gas fumes in Paris during a demonstration against the compulsory vaccination of certain workers and the compulsory use of the health passport.

Photo : Getty Images / SAMEER AL-DOUMY

The extension of the health passport (complete vaccination or recent negative test) to most public places also receives a majority of approvals, according to a survey published the day after these announcements.

Already applied in cultural and leisure venues, this health passport must be extended in early August to cafes, restaurants and trains.

The announcement of the new measures by Emmanuel Macron had the effect of accelerating vaccination in France: 39 million people, or 58% of the total population, had received at least one dose on Friday, and 48% are fully vaccinated.

The number of contaminations is exploding in France under the effect of the highly contagious Delta variant, going from 4,500 cases on July 9 to nearly 21,500 on Friday. The epidemic has killed more than 110,000 people in France to date.

New outbreaks, new restrictions

All over the planet, health restrictions are multiplying in order to limit the impact of the dizzying spread of the Delta variant of the coronavirus on hospital services. The pandemic has already killed more than 4.1 million people since the end of 2019.

Vietnam placed the eight million inhabitants of its capital Hanoi in lockdown on Saturday in an attempt to contain the surge in COVID-19 cases, which has already forced a third of the country’s population to stay at home. Authorities reported more than 7,000 new cases on Friday, the third record for infections in a day broken in a week.

Germany, Europe’s largest economy, itself struggling with an acceleration in contaminations, has decided to tighten restrictions on travel to Spain, including the Balearics and the Canaries, in the face of a resurgence of COVID cases in this destination touristic.

For its part, Spain will impose a ten-day quarantine on travelers from Argentina, Colombia, Bolivia and Namibia from July 27, the government announced on Saturday.

A measure prompted by the increase in cases in the Latin America and Caribbean region, the most bereaved in the world by the pandemic, which on Saturday exceeded the threshold of 40 million declared cases of Covid-19 for more than 1.3 million deaths .

The situation is also worrying in Lebanon, where the economic collapse and power shortages are making hospitals more vulnerable.

All hospitals […] are now less prepared than they were at the time of the wave at the start of the yearFirass Abiad, director of Rafic Hariri University Hospital, the country’s largest public hospital, told AFP.

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