The WHO team of experts tasked with investigating the origins of the coronavirus pandemic arrived in Wuhan on Thursday, as the fight against the resurgence of the Covid-19 pandemic intensifies around the world, with confinements, curfews and vaccinations.
The coronavirus pandemic has killed at least 1.96 million people worldwide since the end of December 2019, according to a report established by AFP from official sources on Wednesday evening. More than 91.5 million cases have been officially diagnosed.
The United States is the most affected country with 384,277 deaths. Brazil follows with 205,964 dead, India (151,569) and Mexico (135,682).
>> The map of contaminations in the world (since the start of the pandemic):
CHINA – WHO experts arrive in Wuhan
The World Health Organization’s international expert team tasked with investigating the origins of the coronavirus pandemic arrived in Wuhan on Thursday, the suspected birthplace of the virus in central China, Chinese state television reported .
Scientists have arrived on a low-cost airline flight from Singapore and are expected to begin a two-week isolation period.
The WHO delegation was expected to arrive in China earlier this month but Beijing had failed to provide all the necessary permissions, a delay attributed by the Foreign Ministry to a “misunderstanding” that the director general of WHO has publicly criticized.
The visit comes as China faces a surge in new coronavirus infections in the northeast, after having succeeded for several months in stemming the number of daily infections. A first death since last May was reported on Thursday and 138 new cases have been reported.
TUNISIA – The tenth anniversary of the revolution in confined mode
Some special programs but no flags or demonstrations: the 10th anniversary of the fall of Zine el Abidine Ben Ali in Tunisia is marked by empty streets due to containment following the worsening of the pandemic.
If the powerful UGTT trade union center and other organizations have given up demonstrating given the health situation, the demands are nonetheless strong. The rise in prices, the persistence of unemployment and the growing failure of public services, while the pandemic has further accentuated precariousness, feeds a disappointment equal to the hopes born in 2011.
Tunisia records more than 50 deaths per day and doctors warn of the growing difficulty in finding beds for the most seriously ill. A four-day lockdown begins Thursday.
>> Also listen to the story of Tout un monde on the Arab Spring in Tunisia:
FRANCE – New restrictions in sight
The curfew from 6 p.m. extended to other departments, or even generalized to the whole country? The executive must decide on new restrictions in the face of Covid-19, as vaccination enters a new phase with the opening of registrations for those 75 and over. The day after a new Health Defense Council, Jean Castex held a press conference at the end of the day, surrounded by six ministers.
If the extension of the curfew beyond the 25 departments already concerned by the measure seems acquired, it remains to determine its extent.
Reconstitution, on the other hand, seems ruled out for the time being, according to several government sources, although the executive is worried about the circulation of the British variant.
GERMANY – More than 1,200 deaths, a record
Germany has recorded 1,244 coronavirus-related deaths in the past 24 hours. This is a new record, according to figures from the German Robert Koch Institute, responsible for disease control and combating.
Since the start of the pandemic, the virus has already killed 43,881 people across the Rhine. As of Thursday, 25,164 new cases were diagnosed in the country, as the government extended its restrictive measures until January 31.
If there is no strict containment applied, the Germans are nevertheless called upon to stay at home as much as possible. Stores deemed non-essential and cultural and sports infrastructure still remain closed.
UNITED STATES – Over 10 million people received first dose of vaccine
More than 10 million Americans have received a first dose of the coronavirus vaccine, according to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Wednesday.
The milestone of 10 million doses administered was crossed the day after the Trump administration announced a new directive urging US states to vaccinate all people aged 65 and over, and no longer just staff medical priority.
A vaccination “mega center” also opened its doors Wednesday in a parking lot at the famous Disneyland theme park in Anaheim, closed for ten months by the California authorities due to the coronavirus pandemic.
CUBA – Closure of schools, bars and restaurants in Havana
Havana will close its schools, bars and restaurants on Thursday due to an upsurge in coronavirus cases, Cuban authorities said on Wednesday. Public transport will be stopped every evening from 9 p.m.
The ban on the movement of vehicles and people between 7 p.m. and 5 a.m., first announced by the state media, was finally removed from the list of measures to come into force, as was the total suspension of public transport, whose circulation will be restricted to the hours of 5 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Bars and restaurants will be closed, only take-out and home delivery of food being allowed. Severe fines with high amounts are foreseen in the event of non-compliance with these rules or incorrect wearing of the mask.
BOLIVIA – Former President Evo Morales tested positive for Covid-19
Former Bolivian President Evo Morales has tested positive for the coronavirus, Senator Leonardo Loza, of the Movement towards Socialism (MAS), party of the former head of state (2006-2019) said on Wednesday.
The announcement of the contamination of Evo Morales, by the local media, had been denied Tuesday by the same senator, who explained to have had since the confirmation of “positive results”. According to the Bolivian press, Evo Morales is being treated in Cochabamba (center), in particular by Cuban doctors.
LEBANON – Beginning of strict confinement of eleven days
Lebanon begins on Thursday the first day of a strict eleven-day lockdown imposed by authorities in a bid to slow an outbreak of new coronavirus cases. The restrictions include a 24-hour curfew until January 25.
Measures to fight Covid-19 have been stepped up after some hospitals began to run out of beds to treat patients with the disease.
Since the end of December, Lebanon has experienced an exponential spread of the virus, with daily peaks never seen since the appearance of the pandemic in February. This country of six million inhabitants has so far recorded 231,936 cases, including 1,740 deaths.
RTSinfo with agencies