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How countries continue to fight the corona pandemic

With the onset of the New Year, the coronavirus pandemic is in no hurry to retreat. RG correspondents talk about what measures are being taken by countries around the world in the fight against the “crown”.

The Germans are ordered not to relax

In Germany, where the New Year holidays were not at all fun, the authorities are in no hurry to ease quarantine. On the contrary, on January 5, Berlin and the states agreed on a new, unprecedented measure. In regions with a critical level of infection – more than 200 patients per 100 thousand inhabitants per week – citizens will be banned “without a good reason” to leave their homes further than 15 kilometers. At the same time, since mid-December, the Germans cannot go to a hairdresser, for a manicure or massage, get together in a large company or miss something in the street near the Christmas tents. And restaurants, bars and non-food shops have closed even earlier. Meanwhile, Chancellor Angela Merkel recently announced that “the most difficult months of the pandemic are still ahead,” which, of course, did not please compatriots.

And although Frau Merkel urged “not to allow a split in society”, the citizens of Germany have already divided into active supporters and opponents of vaccination, which managed to start here in the last days before the New Year. Only the first phase, which will affect deeply elderly people, healthcare providers and high-risk social workers, is expected to stretch into summer before covid vaccinations are available to everyone.

According to the Koch Institute as of January 9, the increase is sick in Germany amounted to 24694 patients per day, 1083 people died. At the same time, according to the FAZ newspaper, due to the holidays, the regions were a little late with the transmission and processing of statistics.

Is Israel going to recover?

Israel will be the first country to overcome the pandemic – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made such a loud promise. According to the politician quoted by The Times of Israel, he managed to achieve a “powerful breakthrough” in negotiations with Pfizer, which promised to supply Israel with so many doses of the American-German vaccine that it would be enough for all residents of the country over 16 years old. According to the prime minister’s forecasts, the entire adult population of the country, if desired, will be able to get vaccinated from the “crown” by the end of March, or even earlier. At the same time, Netanyahu himself is in favor of maintaining quarantine, because due to severe restrictions on public life in Israel, the court hearings on the prime minister’s corruption case were postponed, the newspaper notes.

The Scandinavians went on the defensive

Sweden, which initially advocated a “special path” in the fight against covid, eventually came up with the idea of ​​extremely tight control over public life. Recently, the kingdom’s parliament passed the Pandemic Law, which gives the government the right to regulate literally every corner of the public space. We are talking about the work of enterprises, transport and restaurants, about trips to theaters, museums, swimming pools and parks, and even about the convening of private parties, which may be prohibited at the discretion of the authorities. At the same time, the Ministry of Health calls the launched plan of restrictions “not a sprint, but a long-distance marathon”.

And in neighboring Denmark, until January 17, it was decided to significantly limit entry and exit from the country. This was announced by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom, Jeppe Kofod, reports the newspaper Politiken. According to him, from now on, all countries of the world are considered as “red”, that is, unfavorable, which means that any foreign travel, including business trips, is undesirable. In turn, foreigners will no longer be allowed to enter Denmark without urgent PCR tests.

Ekaterina Zabrodina

Polish children stay on vacation

In Poland, strict restrictive measures have been in force since mid-December, but it is not possible to reverse the situation with the spread of coronavirus in the country. The day before, the country reported about ten thousand new cases.

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In the new year, for the first time, all schoolchildren in all Polish provinces have holidays at the same time – from January 4th to 16th. Considering that the Christmas holidays at the end of December were also non-working days, we can say that the children did not go to school for almost a month. The decision on whether Polish junior schoolchildren will return to their desks after the end of the holidays has not yet been made. Polish Deputy Health Minister Slawomir Gadomski explained to reporters: “We are waiting for Monday to see what the incidence rate will be, what the situation with hospital beds will be. Germany in terms of the number of cases and deaths. There are records in the UK, France, Spain … For us, not only what is happening in our country will be decisive, but also this. “

However, all Poles expect this difficult period to be the last, since on December 27, the country began full-scale vaccination of the population against coronavirus. The first batch of vaccine – 10 thousand doses – arrived in Poland on December 26, two days later another 300 thousand doses were brought to the country, and on January 4 – 360 thousand. Deliveries will be made every week, but so far people are reluctant to vaccinate. According to the data posted on the website of the Ministry of Health of Poland, out of 697 thousand available doses of the vaccine, 199 thousand were used, that is, three and a half times less than circumstances allow.

Ariadna Rokossovskaya

Italy cannot come out of quarantine

After a tiresome Christmas and New Year lockdown until at least January 15th, serious restrictions will continue to apply throughout Italy. This is due to the difficult epidemiological situation, which the authorities have been unable to bring under control.

On Saturday, nearly 20,000 cases of coronavirus infection were reported in the Apennines, from which 483 people died. Over the past two weeks, the national average COVID-19 (RT) prevalence index has grown and is now 1.3. According to the latest government decree, Italy maintains a curfew between 5 a.m. and 10 p.m. and a ban on movement between regions remains. Travel is only permitted for valid reasons related to work, health and emergency. Contrary to expectations, the Italian Ministry of Health postponed the opening of ski resorts on January 18 from the previously announced date on January 8. The beginning of full-time classes in high school was also postponed from January 7 to 11. And in a number of regions (Calabria, Emilia-Romagna, Lombardy, Veneto and Sicily), which were assigned a medium-high “orange” status of the COVID-19 hazard, bars, restaurants and other catering establishments could not open their doorsFor clients who are tired of forced gatherings at home during the holidays.

True, there is every reason to believe that this state of affairs will not last long. It is expected that from January 16, the country will revise the principle of assigning the status of the “red zone” to settlements. It is possible that they will include regions in which the number of cases exceeds 250 cases per 100 thousand inhabitants.

Meanwhile, a campaign to vaccinate the population has begun in Italy. The first dose of vaccination was received by almost 550 thousand people – medical workers, employees and patients of nursing homes. The Vatican will also start vaccinating next week, including the Pope himself, who has already signed up for the procedure. “I think that from an ethical point of view, everyone should get vaccinated, because the health and lives of other people depend on it,” the pontiff emphasized in an interview with Mediaset TV channel.

Niva Mirakian, Rome

Even the first lady fell ill in France

Brigitte Macron, following her husband, also had a coronavirus, as reported by her office staff. The virus was found in her on December 24 at Fort Bregancon in southern France, where the presidential couple celebrated Christmas. Apparently, Brigitte, like Emmanuel Macron, suffered from mild covid, because the test results from December 30 and 31 were already negative. At the beginning of last week, the first lady of France returned to the Elysee Palace and continued her usual activities, in particular, she was engaged in the preparation of a charity event “Yellow Coins” to raise funds for sick children.

“The epidemic is not abating, but even intensifying in places.” This was stated by French Prime Minister Jean Casteks. Indeed, over the past day, 20,177 French people have been infected with the coronavirus. There are 2,600 patients in intensive care units, which is 10 percent more than the day before. In this regard, in a number of regions of the country, the conditions of the curfew, introduced in mid-December, are being tightened. To 15 departments, where it begins to operate not from 20:00, but from 18:00 and until six in the morning of the next day, eight more were added this Sunday in the east and south of France, including in Bouches-de-Rhone, where located in Marseille, the second most populous city in the country.

Of particular concern here is the penetration of the “British” more active strain of covid. Two clusters have already been discovered. One is in the city of Bagneux, which is to the south of Paris, the other is in Marseille. In both cases, local authorities urged the townspeople to urgently undergo special PCR testing with an emphasis on identifying the “Briton”. As for the vaccination campaign, in France it is gaining momentum slowly. Over the past week and a half, only about 100 thousand vaccinations were made.

Vyacheslav Prokofiev, Paris

Covid descended from the Capitol

The United States set another record for the number of daily cases of COVID-19 … On Saturday, authorities reported 278,920 new coronavirus cases, surpassing Friday’s one-day record of 269,420, according to NBC News.

According to Johns Hopkins University, about one in 15 Americans tested positive for coronavirus as of Saturday night. The US also surpassed the threshold of 22 million cases on Saturday. California has been particularly hard hit during the latest outbreak of the pandemic, with 52,636 cases and 695 deaths reported Friday in this most populous state in the United States. Eight American states, including New York, have discovered a new strain of coronavirus, believed to originate in Britain.

On Saturday, 3,603 people in the United States died of virus-related causes. Thursday’s death toll – 4,110 – was the latest peak in deaths from a pandemic in the United States. According to experts, these numbers reflect the projected fatal increase in coronavirus cases associated with gatherings and travel during the Christmas and New Year holidays. The siege of the Capitol on Wednesday is likely to spark another pandemic, said Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. He expressed concern that thousands of people at the Trump rally did not wear masks and have since left Washington for various parts of the country.

Andrey Vasiliev

Havana rolls up parties

The authorities in the Cuban capital have decided to tighten quarantine measures to combat another outbreak of coronavirus in Havana. The decision was announced by the head of the Provincial Defense Council Luis Antonio Torres, noting that over the past day, the number of new cases of COVID-19 in the capital has reached a record 132 since the start of the pandemic. Havana is returning to the early stages of post-pandemic recovery, which includes a number of restrictions.

Public transport in the Cuban capital will now operate until 9 pm, and inter-provincial service will be canceled from 12 January. It provides for strict control over compliance with the requirements of social distancing, as well as the correct wearing of a mandatory medical mask. Violators of these requirements face impressive fines (can go up to more than $ 100). The practice of door-to-door rounds of residents by specialized medical personnel in order to identify cases is resumed.

Finding people in parks and other public places (for example, the epicenter of evening walks – the Malecon embankment) is possible only until 7 pm. Restaurants will be open until this time. All kinds of entertainment are also prohibited: cinemas and bars are shutting down. For an indefinite time, Cubans will have to refrain from noisy home gatherings with friends, and they will also be subject to fines.

The new restrictions will not yet affect the resumed schooling after the previous ban only in November last year. Museums, libraries and galleries will continue to work. But with regard to travelers arriving in Havana, including foreign ones, it is indicated that so far “tourist activity remains.” At the same time, it is not entirely clear what kind of activity we are talking about, since all excursions were banned. Apparently, we are talking about independent walks, which, subject to other restrictions, are not yet prohibited.

This is the second time since the start of the pandemic that Havana has tightened quarantine measures after partially lifting them. So, in July last year, the authorities of the Island of Liberty announced the stabilization of the situation with the coronavirus in the capital, which was interpreted by the population, who had previously strictly observed all the prescribed requirements, very frivolously: all kinds of Cuban parties immediately began, the people began to make up for the lost communication during the previous isolation … And now, by September, the number of new cases of COVID-19 has gone up sharply and the authorities have introduced tough measures, including, for example, a curfew. The new restrictions had a positive effect, and after a month they were partially canceled.

Havana airport was opened on 15 November. As it turned out, this step became a ticking time bomb, and we are not talking about tourists. Most of all, the current outbreak of coronavirus has been affected by the large flow of Cubans living abroad, who, after the prolonged closure of flights, decided to visit their relatives on Liberty Island. Especially on the eve of the New Year holidays. Almost no one followed the prescribed quarantine upon arrival (until the results of the repeated PCR testing, which was carried out on the fifth day after arrival). Instead, after a long separation, the first thing to do is warm hugs with relatives and friends, which are countless among sociable Cubans.

As a result – anti-record for anti-record for the number of newly diagnosed cases of coronavirus and the number of active cases. To date, a total of 14188 cases have been identified in Cuba, although on December 17 this number was almost a third less – 9893. It is quite logical that the epicenter was the most populous city – Havana. However, the situation in other provinces is also far from rosy, quarantine restrictions are tightening everywhere. And since the beginning of the year, Cuba has drastically limited the number of flights from a number of Latin American countries, as well as the United States. It was from these countries that the largest number of infected arrived. In addition, now, to enter the Island, it is necessary to provide a negative PCR test for COVID-19, which was not previously required.

Sergey Novikov, Havana

Brazilian New Year’s Hangover

New 2021 Brazil met with anti-records. Last Thursday, the country crossed the 200,000 deaths mark from COVID-19. On the same day, the largest daily increase in cases of coronavirus infection was recorded – 87, 8 thousand people, and the death rate for the first time since the end of July exceeded the figure of one and a half thousand people. The next day, the total number of cases here was already more than eight million.

Since the beginning of December last year, Brazilian virologists have blown all pipes, demanding that local authorities return strict quarantine restrictions according to European standards for the period of Christmas and New Years. Traditionally, this time is considered a high tourist season here. People throughout the country flock to the beaches.

However, local authorities limited themselves to half measures. In Rio de Janeiro, access to all city beaches was banned, but only on New Year’s Eve. Throughout the state of São Paulo, three days after Christmas and the first three days of the new year, maximum restrictions were imposed, according to which only grocery stores and pharmacies could operate. True, the mayors of a number of coastal cities simply ignored the governor’s decree, and in other resorts a tourist could get everything he needed at his hotel.

The situation with the spread of the coronavirus has already led to the reopening of field hospitals in some regions, and the health care system working to the limit. Disturbing news comes from the capital of the state of Amazonas, Manaus. In hospitals, there is an acute shortage of mechanical ventilation, doctors again have to choose who to connect to oxygen, and who will wait for their turn and hope that they will. The situation with the burial sites of the bodies of those killed by the coronavirus is aggravated again. In the first seven days of the new year, a third of all those buried were victims of COVID-19. According to estimates by David Almeida, Mayor of Manaus, if this trend continues, there will be enough space in cemeteries for no more than two to three months.

From January 2, for two weeks in the entire state of Amazonas, any trade that is not recognized as vital is prohibited. From Monday to the end of January, only grocery stores and pharmacies will be able to open their doors to customers in Belo Horizonte, the capital of the southeastern Brazilian state of Minas Gerais. Everyone else will be allowed to provide services exclusively with home delivery.

Against this background, the issue of vaccination of the population has become even more acute in Brazil. But no one can still give a definite answer to it.

“When will we start vaccination in Brazil? I will give you three periods: the first is until January 20, at best,” said Brazilian Health Minister Eduardo Pazuello – On average, we expect the period from January 20 to February 10. In the worst case, we are talking about the end of February – mid-March, if there are any disruptions in production. “

Last Friday, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro sent a letter to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to expedite the shipment of the first batch of Oxford vaccine, two million doses, produced at the Indian laboratory Serum. Currently, the Brazilian National Agency for Sanitary Inspection (ANVISA) is considering requests for the emergency use of the Chinese vaccine CoronaVac and the British drug developed by the Oxford Institute and the company AstraZeneca.

In the coming days, production of the Russian vaccine Sputnik should begin in Brazil V “. Now the domestic drug is awaiting permission from ANVISA to conduct clinical trials in Brazil. However, the approval of the Brazilian regulator for the use of Sputnik V in the third stage of research opens the possibility for the Russian vaccine to request permission for its emergency use.

According to the Brazilian Ministry of Health as of January 9, 62,290 new cases of COVID-19 have been detected in the country over the past 24 hours, 1171 people have died. In total, a little less than 8.08 million cases of coronavirus infection were recorded here during the pandemic. Its victims were 202.6 thousand Brazilians.

Ivan Kartashov, Brasilia

People in Iran believe in their vaccine

Since the beginning of the pandemic in Iran, 1 280 438 people have been infected with coronavirus infection. the number of deaths is more than 56,100. On average, about 6,000 new cases of infection are detected in the Islamic Republic per day. At the beginning of the year, the first case of infection with the “British” strain of COVID-19 was detected in an Iranian who returned from a trip to Albion.

In many large cities of Iran, including Tehran, there is a ban on movement within the city from 21:00 to 04:00, and the mandatory wearing of masks in public places and enclosed spaces remains. All educational institutions of the capital have been transferred to distance learning, which will last until the end of the year according to the Iranian calendar (expires on March 19).

Against this background, the Iranian authorities are actively continuing to develop their own vaccines against coronavirus. The first such vaccine, Kovo-Iran, has already been administered to several volunteers. Tehran hopes that by spring the issue of creating a national vaccine will be finally resolved. At the same time, on the personal instructions of the spiritual leader of Iran, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, a ban was introduced on the import of COVID-19 vaccines from the United States and Great Britain to the Islamic Republic. Khamenei believes that there is no confidence in the effectiveness of such vaccines, given the high mortality statistics from COVID-19 in these countries.

Stanislav Khamdokhov, Tehran

Quarantine through fingers

Since January 8, Ukraine has introduced the two-week quarantine measures announced for the month – lockdown. Catering establishments, large shopping centers and other crowded places were to be closed. However, according to state and regional media reports, quarantine measures are actually not implemented – restaurants and markets, as well as sports facilities, continue to operate in cities. In reality, only schools, universities, theaters and museums were closed.

President Zelensky, who is vacationing at a ski resort in the Carpathians, confirmed the formality of the quarantine by his example: he decided to take a picture “with the people”, but did it without a mask … The scandal was intensified by a cadre of vacationers next to the president, hundreds of people queuing up for the ski lift and neglecting mandatory protective equipment.

The restrictions were not without curiosities. So, the government initially included in the list of goods prohibited for sale in stores, socks, cigarettes, condoms and, in fact, hygiene products. It was suggested to buy them either in specialized kiosks or in pharmacies. Officially, on January 10, only 5,011 cases were detected in the country with 23 thousand tests performed. This is significantly less than the average for November and December, which makes local commentators think about manipulations with figures and outright lies of the authorities about the true state of affairs.

Petr Likhomanov