The Covid-19 pandemic has killed at least 2.54 million people worldwide, according to a report established by Agence France-Presse (AFP), from official sources, Tuesday, March 2. At the same time, vaccination is gaining ground all over the planet.
“Progress” in American vaccination logistics
US President Joe Biden thus assured on Tuesday that the United States would have enough vaccines against Covid-19 for all American adults. “By the end of May”. He had mentioned, three weeks ago, a deadline at the end of July.
“This is progress, significant progress”, he hammered, insisting however that this did not mean that all American adults would be vaccinated by that date. “Having the vaccines available is not enough. We need people who inject into people’s arms, into millions of American arms ”, he added.
Mr Biden made the announcement during a brief address in which he confirmed an agreement between pharmaceutical giants Merck and Johnson & Johnson to increase production of the latter’s vaccine. “This is the kind of collaboration between companies that we saw during the second world war”, he stressed.
Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine was granted emergency use approval in the country last weekend, for adults 18 years of age and older. It has two significant logistical advantages: it can only be administered in a single dose and can be stored at refrigerator temperatures. Johnson & Johnson has currently committed to ship 100 million doses to the United States before the end of June.
Texas eases restrictions
On the same day, the Republican Governor of Texas, Greg Abbott, announced an easing of the restrictions with the end of the wearing of the compulsory mask and the reopening of 100% of the capacity of the businesses as of ” next Wednesday “. “Thanks to medical advances in vaccines and antibody treatments, Texas now has the means to protect Texans from the virus”, estimates the governor.
Nearly 44,000 people have died from Covid-19 in Texas since the start of the epidemic, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. On Monday, the director of the American Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC), the country’s main federal public health agency, warned against any slackening, especially on wearing a mask.
Italy closes schools in the red zone
Conversely, the Italian government ordered on Tuesday the closure of all schools located in the red zones (the regions of Basilicata and Molise in the south of the peninsula). They will switch to distance education from Saturday, while until now only secondary schools located in the so-called red areas were closed.
New figures released by the National Institute of Health (ISS) revealed that 54% of cases of contamination with the new coronavirus in Italy are now due to the British variant. “The British variant has a particular ability to spread among the younger generation”Health Minister Roberto Speranza told a press conference.
The new decree also extends a ban on travel between Italian regions until March 27.
Australia extends border closures
Australia will, for its part, extend by at least three months the closure of its international borders, a self-isolation policy already in force for a year. The government has been advised by health experts that “The situation around Covid-19 abroad continues to pose an unacceptable risk to public health in Australia, in particular the appearance of more contagious variants”said Health Minister Greg Hunt. Therefore, strict border control will be extended until June 17, he said.
Australia quickly closed its international borders after the outbreak of the pandemic, barring entry to most non-nationals with some exceptions.
Limits have also been placed on the number of Australians allowed to return home each week, blocking tens of thousands of them abroad. Travelers allowed to enter the island must spend 14 days in hotel quarantine, which is an expense of several thousand dollars.