Given the increase in infections, and despite the advancement of vaccination campaigns, many governments have had to impose measures again to curb the spread of the disease.
Italy, one of the European countries most affected by the virus, began this Saturday, 3, a strict confinement, with all the territory considered a “red zone” of high risk, which deprived families of meeting on this traditional Christian holiday.
At the Vatican, Pope Francis presided over his second Via Crucis without audience in St. Peter’s Square on Friday night due to the pandemic. For the second year in a row, all events commemorating the death of Jesus are celebrated within the walls of the Vatican and without the presence of crowds of believers.
In France, new restrictions across the country came into force on Saturday to try to contain an explosion of cases that is bringing hospitals in the capital to the brink of collapse.
And in neighboring Germany, where the government had to step back in severe restrictions for the Easter weekend, Chancellor Angela Merkel called on the population to limit their meetings as much as possible. The leader called for “a quiet Easter celebration, in small circles, with reduced contacts”.
25 million cases
Across the Atlantic, Latin America suffers hard from the pandemic, surpassing, on Friday, 25 million cases and accounting for more than 788,000 deaths by covid-19, according to an AFP count based on official data .
In Chile, which has already vaccinated 24% of its population with two doses and is progressing faster than any other country in the region, the worst numbers of infections since the beginning of the pandemic have been recorded in recent days.
In this context, the authorities announced the closure of the borders as of Monday and throughout the month of April. In total, the country has exceeded one million infections and 23,000 deaths.
In Argentina, President Alberto Fernández announced on Friday that he tested positive for covid-19 in an antigen test, more than a month after receiving the second dose of the vaccine. The 62-year-old president clarified that he is “physically well” and that he is waiting for the result of a PCR test to confirm that he has the disease.
Argentina, with 44 million inhabitants, faces a second wave of coronavirus with a sustained escalation of infections, totaling more than 2.3 million cases and 56,023 deaths.
In many countries in the region, there are cases of the Brazilian variant of the coronavirus, the so-called P1, which is believed to be more contagious.
Brazil, the second country in the world with the most deaths from the virus (321,000), experienced the worst month of the pandemic in March with more than 66,000 deaths. Among the states that apply sanitary measures, Rio de Janeiro announced on Friday a partial extension of the restrictions, initially planned to last until Sunday.
Worldwide, the coronavirus has killed more than 2.8 million people and infected more than 130 million.
“Don’t let your guard down”
On Friday, the positive news came from the United States, where more than 100 million people received at least one dose of the anti-viral vaccine, according to data from the health authority.
Despite this encouraging figure, President Joe Biden again called for “not to let your guard down” in the face of the pandemic. In other countries, vaccination campaigns are not progressing as they should.
In Europe, the World Health Organization (WHO) warned that only 10% of the population received a dose and 4% both, far from their goals.
In the European Union, there are four licensed anticovid injections: Pfizer / BioNTech, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca. The latter, developed by the Anglo-Swedish laboratory and the University of Oxford, is at the center of a controversy over possible blood clots detected in people immunized with the drug.
Although the European regulator guarantees that it is “safe and effective”, several countries, such as Norway and Denmark, have chosen to temporarily suspend its use. Others, such as Germany, the Netherlands and France, have imposed age limits on their application.
In the United Kingdom, where more than 18 million doses of this immunizer have already been administered, seven people who received it died from blood clots, out of a total of 30 cases identified so far, the British drug regulator said on Saturday.
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