If it hopes that the recent tightening of health measures in some member states will bear fruit in the face of the virulent variant Delta, the European Union can at least rejoice on one point: that of having overtaken the United States for the population rate. who have received at least one dose of vaccine.
Long lagging behind on vaccination, “the EU has now vaccinated a larger part of its population in the first dose than the United States (55.5% / 55.4%)”, said the secretary of French State for European Affairs, Clément Beaune, on Twitter. “We continue, we accelerate! “, he added.
The European vaccine strategy, which had started more slowly than in the United Kingdom and the United States for lack of sufficient supplies, was the subject of criticism at the start of the year. The European Commission, which coordinated vaccine orders for the 27 member states, had been targeted.
Events in France
In Spain, Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez for his part promised on Saturday that half of the population would be fully vaccinated next week and reiterated his goal of reaching 70% by the end of the summer.
In the aftermath of the imposition of a nighttime curfew in Catalonia, it is the turn of the Greek island of Mykonos, symbol of festive nights, to reinstate certain restrictions, including a curfew between 1:00 a.m. and 6:00 a.m.
France imposed, as of midnight Saturday, Covid-19 tests of less than 24 hours on unvaccinated travelers from the United Kingdom, Spain, Portugal, Cyprus, Greece and the Netherlands. Low. Until now 72 hours tests were accepted, except for those coming from the United Kingdom who had to present a test of less than 48 hours.
France has also extended its list of “red” countries to new countries: Tunisia, Mozambique, Cuba and Indonesia.
Wearing a mask outdoors will also make a comeback in certain regions of the east and south-west of the country.
The tightening of health measures announced Monday by President Emmanuel Macron – expansion of the health pass in particular to shops, restaurants, places of culture, planes or trains as well as the vaccination obligation for certain professions – aroused the anger of part of the population.
Several processions marched on Saturday in Paris and in several large cities to denounce the health “dictatorship” imposed, according to them, by Mr. Macron and measures they consider to be liberticidal. However, the latter are accepted by a very large majority of French people, according to a survey.
Worried about the “persistent presence” in France of the Beta variant, identified for the first time in South Africa, the British government has decided to submit those who come to quarantine, even if they are vaccinated.
“Very confused message”
This variant is one of the four so-called disturbing variants identified by the WHO, alongside Alpha, Gamma and Delta.
British Health Minister Sajid Javid announced on Saturday that he had tested positive for Covid-19, two days before the lifting of almost all restrictions in England, a deconfinement that worries due to the surge in cases linked to the Delta variant.
“We remove all barrier measures on July 19 and, on the other hand, we quarantine the English or doubly vaccinated residents who return from France”, wonders Dr Maud Lemoine, hepatology consultant at St Mary’s Hospital in London , deeming that it sends a “very confused message to people”.
The Delta variant makes governments fear a new runaway of the epidemic which has already killed four million people around the world and which could force a new turn of the screw at the start of the school year.
The European disease agency predicts a strong rebound in the number of Covid cases in the coming weeks, with nearly five times as many new cases by August 1. However, the number of hospitalizations and deaths should increase less quickly, according to the ECDC, thanks to vaccines.
The Olympics under surveillance
In addition to tourist places, large gatherings raise fears of a runaway epidemic.
The first two cases of athletes positive for Covid-19 were recorded among residents of the Olympic village, the organizers of the Tokyo Olympics announced on Sunday (July 23 – August 8), a third sick athlete living outside the village having also been discovered.
The nationalities and disciplines exercised by these athletes have not been specified.
And Covid obliges, the annual pilgrimage to Mecca opened on Saturday, but restricted to a quota of 60,000 participants, only Saudis and foreigners residing in the kingdom duly vaccinated, far from the some 2.5 million who came from around the world in 2019.