July 26, 2021

Delta variant progresses, Tunisia and Indonesia announce restrictions

The Delta variant, which appeared in India in April and even more contagious than its predecessor, the Alpha (also known as British), continues to progress in the world. In its wake, restrictions reappear as in Tunisia and Indonesia, and doubts about the prospects for economic recovery in Europe.

Without explicitly mentioning it, the President of the European Central Bank (ECB), Christine Lagarde, warned, Thursday 1is July, that the ongoing economic rebound remained uncertain due to the spread of Covid-19 variants. “The nascent recovery still faces uncertainties, also due to the spread of viral mutations”, she said during a hearing before the European Parliament. “Improving economic prospects thanks to rapid progress in vaccination campaigns has reduced the likelihood of severe scenarios”, however tempered the Frenchwoman. The spread of this variant of Covid-19 worries investors, the epidemic outbreak observed could compromise the summer recovery.

The pandemic has killed nearly 4 million people worldwide since the end of December 2019, according to a report established by Agence France-Presse from official sources on Wednesday evening. The United States is, officially, the country most affected both in terms of the number of deaths (over 600,000) and cases. Brazil, which has more than 518,000 dead, is followed by India (398,000), Mexico (233,000) and Peru (192,000). These figures are based on the daily reports of the national health authorities and are generally underestimated. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that the toll of the pandemic could be two to three times higher than that officially calculated.

  • Tunis in partial containment

On June 22, 2021, in a hospital in Béja, a Tunisian city totally confined since June 20, due to a significant increase in the epidemic due to the coronavirus.

Tunisian authorities have placed the capital Tunis in partial containment from Thursday, banning gatherings there, as the number of new cases and deaths hit a record high in the country. Public holidays, sporting and cultural events or even collective prayers are prohibited until July 14 in the four regions making up Greater Tunis, as well as in the seaside towns of Sousse and Monastir, in the east of the country. The curfew has been extended from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. local time (9 p.m. to 6 a.m. Paris time) while cafes and restaurants will no longer be able to serve on the terrace or to take away, according to the governors’ decisions. posted on Wednesday.

These decisions are in addition to the total containment decided on June 20 in four regions of the interior of the country particularly affected by the epidemic: the governorates of Béja in the north-west, Siliana, Zaghouan in the north and Kairouan, in the center. . The army had to intervene in certain areas due to the lack of respect for these restrictions, in place until July 11 in these regions where hospitals are no longer able to accommodate patients in respiratory distress. The country has vaccinated only 1.8 million people out of 12 million inhabitants, including 549,000 with two doses, mainly for lack of doses.

Read also In Tunisia, the government wants to vaccinate more to stop the new epidemic wave
  • Emergency restrictions in Indonesia

Indonesia will impose “Emergency restrictions” this week in the face of a strong wave of Covid-19 infections, President Joko Widodo announced Thursday as the country’s health system is close to breakdown. New cases of infection have reached records in recent weeks in the Southeast Asian archipelago, hovering around 21,000 a day, while authorities have confirmed the spread of particularly contagious variants.

The restrictions will be applied from Saturday and until July 20 in the capital Jakarta, the island of Java and that of Bali, the most affected by the epidemic. All employees in non-essential sectors will have to work from home and education will be done exclusively online, according to a document published by the services of coordinating minister Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan. Shopping centers as well as mosques will be closed in the country, which has the largest Muslim population in the world, in order to reduce the number of new daily cases to less than 10,000. The country wants to vaccinate 180 million people on its total population of nearly 270 million, but about 5% of its population has been vaccinated at this point.

Read also Covid-19 worldwide: 3 billion doses of vaccines administered
  • Japan set to extend restrictions in Tokyo area

Japan is expected to extend the restriction measures in force in the Tokyo region by two weeks, within a month of the Olympic Games (JO). The Japanese capital and three neighboring prefectures are in a virtual state of emergency until July 11, but the surge in new cases of contamination could lead the authorities to extend the restrictions beyond that date.

The situation could also lead them to reduce the number of spectators allowed to attend the Olympics, scheduled for July 23 to August 8, the sources added. Current restrictions cap the maximum number of spectators for the Olympics at 5,000 people. This figure may be increased to 10,000 or to a gauge representing 50% of the stadium capacity if restrictions are lifted. Depending on how the pressure on the hospital system evolves, the government may also impose a full state of emergency in the capital, the sources noted. Tokyo recorded 714 new cases of contamination on Wednesday, the highest figure in just over a month. A decision on the subject is expected around July 8, the date of arrival in Japan of the President of the International Olympic Committee, Thomas Bach.

Article reserved for our subscribers Read also In Japan, the fear of an “Olympic variant”
  • Record of daily Covid deaths for third day in a row in Russia

The Russian government on Thursday recorded 672 deaths due to Covid-19 during the last twenty-four hours, a new peak since the start of the epidemic, which is experiencing an outbreak in Russia with the rise of the Delta variant. This is a record for the third day in a row. In addition, the country recorded 21,042 new infections. The capital, Moscow, the main focus of the epidemic in Russia, and St. Petersburg for their part recorded 108 and 115 new deaths respectively. The epidemic has resumed since mid-June in the country, boosted by a sluggish vaccination campaign and the appearance of the Delta variant.

Article reserved for our subscribers Read also Covid-19: Vladimir Putin calls on the Russians to resort to vaccination, without making it compulsory
  • WHO calls for better monitoring of Euro spectators

The host cities of the last matches of Euro football must ensure better monitoring of the movement of spectators, including before their arrival and after their departure from the stadium, recommended Thursday the WHO. “We need to look far beyond the stadiums themselves”, underlined during a press point Catherine Smallwood, an official of the European branch of the World Health Organization, questioned on the recommendations vis-a-vis the increase of the cases in London and Saint Petersburg. The British capital is due to host the semi-finals and the final of the tournament next week, the second Russian city will be the scene of the quarter-final between Switzerland and Spain on Friday.

Le Monde with AFP and Reuters