The pandemic has killed nearly 5 million people worldwide since the end of December 2019, according to a report established by Agence France-Presse from official sources on Wednesday, October 27, in the middle of the day. These figures are based on the daily official balance sheets for each country, so they exclude upward revisions made a posteriori by some statistical agencies. By taking into account the excess mortality directly and indirectly linked to Covid-19, the WHO estimates that the toll of the pandemic could be two to three times higher.
As Moscow isolates itself again, Russia wants to avoid national reconfinement
The epidemic wave is growing in Russia, where more than 1,159 people have died and 40,096 others have been infected in twenty-four hours, according to the latest official report, released Thursday, October 28. This is a new record, after several days when the number of daily deaths caused by Covid-19 hovered around 1,000.
Officially, the death toll in Russia now exceeds 235,000 dead, this is the highest absolute figure in Europe. The national statistics agency, which has a broader definition of the causes of death, even reported, at the end of August, more than 400,000 deaths.
The capital, Moscow, by far the most affected city in the country, is in the process of reconfiguring itself in an attempt to contain the contaminations. From Thursday, all restaurants, schools, beauty salons, clothing stores, gyms and other services or businesses deemed “non-essential” , as well as most businesses and administrations, will close until November 7. Only places selling medicines, food and basic necessities were allowed to remain open.
The Delta variant of the virus, which is more contagious, did much more damage in Russia, as well as in most Eastern European countries, than in Western countries, because of the low respect for wearing a mask and distancing measures, but above all because of insufficient vaccination of the population.
According to the specialized site Gogov, only a third of the 146 million inhabitants have received a double vaccination with one of the four vaccines authorized in Russia. The Kremlin admitted the failure of its vaccination campaign in comparison with those of Western Europe, but blamed this setback on the lack of “Citizen awareness”.
If Moscow closes its doors for at least ten days, the Russian government refuses for the moment to extend these measures to the whole of the territory, so as not to wipe out a still very fragile economic recovery. President Vladimir Putin preferred to declare a non-working period throughout the country, from October 30 to November 7, a measure already taken three times in the past year and a half. These holidays are supposed to reduce the movement of people and, therefore, of the virus.
But, as an AFP journalist found in the streets of Moscow on Thursday, traffic persists despite the closures, the subways are particularly crowded. And the Russian government is worried that many families are taking advantage of this non-working week to prepare for vacations. The Kremlin has warned against “Epidemiological consequences” of these trips, while reaffirming that they were “Not prohibited”.
Rio drops the mask outside
Wearing a mask will no longer be compulsory outdoors from Thursday, October 28 in the state of Rio de Janeiro, announced its governor, Claudio Castro. This measure is made possible by the progress of vaccination against Covid-19. “More than a year and a half after the declaration of a state of emergency due to the pandemic, it is an important victory for all”, rejoiced the governor on Twitter.
More than 68,000 people have died from Covid-19 in the state, with a death rate of 394 per 100,000 inhabitants, well above the national average of 288. However, the daily number of deaths has dropped these last few weeks thanks to the advance of vaccination.
Masks will only be compulsory in closed places open to the public, “Thanks to the progress of vaccination and the low rate of transmission” of the coronavirus. In the city of Rio, nightclubs and concert halls will be authorized to reopen, with a gauge of 50% of their capacity. In Brasilia, the lifting of the obligation to wear a mask outdoors must come into force from November 3. Authorities in Sao Paulo, the country’s largest metropolis, are considering doing the same, but no date has yet been announced.
Israel reopens its doors to vaccinated travelers
The Israeli government has confirmed the reopening of its borders to foreign tourists vaccinated against Covid-19 from 1is November. Travelers from ” all countries “ will be able to travel to Israel without having to first apply for an entry permit, provided they present a vaccination certificate not older than six months, authorities said.
People entering the territory will also have to present a PCR test dating back to seventy-two hours before their departure at most, and take a second test on their arrival. Israel will recognize the vaccines of Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, Sinovac and Sinopharm, but also, from November 15, Sputnik V. The press interprets the validation of the latter as a gesture “Diplomatic” of Israel vis-à-vis its Russian ally.