Spain’s Catalonia reimposes virus rules as Delta strain wreaks havoc around the world
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Spain’s Catalonia region was set to reimpose virus restrictions on Saturday amid rising coronavirus infections, as the highly contagious Delta strain forced nations around the world to curb a long-awaited return to normalcy.
The highly transmissible Delta variant, first detected in India, sweeps the world as countries rush to inoculate their populations to avoid new epidemics that increasingly affect unvaccinated young people.
After an “exponential” increase in cases in recent days, officials in the autonomous region of northeastern Spain have said they have no choice but to reimpose restrictions.
Nightclubs will be closed from this weekend and a negative Covid-19 test or proof of vaccination will be required to participate in outdoor activities involving more than 500 people.
“The pandemic is not over, the new variants are very contagious and we still have significant segments of the population that are not vaccinated,” said Patricia Plaja, spokesperson for the regional government, at a conference. hurry.
The Netherlands are also set to reimpose checks on Saturday, where infections have increased sevenfold in one week, an increase officials have blamed on the Delta variant.
Prime Minister Mark Rutte has ordered all nightclubs closed and restaurant opening hours reduced, with restaurant visitors now required to adhere to a 1.5-meter social distancing rule.
But the new measures didn’t mean the Netherlands would revert to a lockdown or curfew like in previous months, and Rutte promised the Dutch could still enjoy a ‘great summer’.
– Difficult to cope –
Authorities were equally optimistic despite a spate of cases in Thailand, which will impose a 9 p.m. to 4 a.m. curfew on Monday in Bangkok and nine other provinces to stem a severe third wave of infections that began in April. .
“We apologize for the hardships of people living in areas with maximum restrictions, but this will effectively support disease control. Thailand will be victorious,” said Apisamai Srirangson, deputy spokesperson for the task force.
Residents will also be prohibited from gathering in groups of more than five people, while public transport networks will be closed from 9 p.m. each evening. Supermarkets, restaurants, banks, pharmacies and electronics stores in shopping malls can remain open, but other stores must close.
Further south, the Delta virus is wreaking havoc in hard-hit Indonesia, where emergency supplies arrived from Singapore on Friday as the country reports hundreds of deaths and tens of thousands of cases a day.
Hospitals are struggling to cope, with many now turning away new patients, leaving dozens of people dead at home, as desperate relatives search for oxygen tanks to treat the sick.
Nearly 1,000 Indonesian medical workers have died from Covid-19, including more than a dozen who were already fully vaccinated, according to the country’s medical association.
Authorities said on Friday that doctors would receive a third booster using the vaccine made by the American company Moderna, to provide them with additional protection.
– Vaccination policy –
Despite the slow resumption of activities in the United States and parts of Europe, the virus continues to wreak havoc everywhere from Africa to South America, exposing critical vaccine supply shortages for some. most vulnerable in the world and accelerating efforts to expand access.
Senegal, the EU, the United States, several European governments and other partners signed an agreement in Dakar on Friday to finance vaccine production in this West African state.
And Cuba has approved its local Abdala vaccine for emergency use, the first Latin American coronavirus vaccine to do so and a possible lifeline for a region trying to tackle a deadly pandemic with modest means.
High vaccination rates may be the only way to stem the spread of the Delta variant, according to a panel of scientists advising the French government, which has warned that up to 95% of people may need to receive injections before the strain is not under control. .
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© 2021 AFP