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the United States maintains restrictions for international travel, the Netherlands eases them

At the heart of the summer season, a new wave of contamination with Covid-19 – but especially its more contagious variants – threatens almost the entire planet. Iraq has notably recorded, in the past twenty-four hours, its highest number of new contaminations ever recorded since the start of the pandemic, in March 2020, according to data from the Ministry of Health.

In Senegal too, the situation is rapidly deteriorating, and hospitals in the capital, Dakar, are “close to saturation, with almost 99% occupancy rate”, explained the national director of public health establishments, Ousmane Dia. The medical staff is “very tired and burnt out”and testing laboratories are also “Overwhelmed by high demand”both for “suspect cases only for travelers”also entrusted the ministry of health.

Around the world, the pandemic has killed more than 4.16 million people since the end of December 2019, out of more than 194 million confirmed contaminations, according to a report established by Agence France-Presse (AFP), Monday 26 July. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that the toll of the pandemic could be two to three times higher than that officially established.

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  • Divergent strategies on travel restrictions in the Netherlands, Congo-Brazzaville and the United States

Contrary to the evolution of the health situation, the Netherlands announced on Monday the easing of restrictions and again authorized travel to all countries of the European Union (EU), several of which had remained prohibited to the Dutch, on the general criterion of the rate of infection.

From Tuesday, a negative opinion ” will not be given only to countries with a new variant of concern that is not yet widespread in the Netherlands”, said the Ministry of Health. And from August 8, travelers over the age of 12 will have to present a negative test before returning to the Netherlands from these countries.

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On the other hand, the government announced the extension, until 1er September, the banning of multi-day festivals. The 2021 editions of internationally known music festivals such as Lowlands, Mysteryland and Down the Rabbit Hole, scheduled for August, are therefore cancelled. A decision on whether to hold the Dutch Formula 1 Grand Prix in Zandvoort in early September is also expected on August 13.

An Air France Airbus A350 aircraft in September 2019.

Conversely, the authorities of Congo Brazzaville told Air France officials that they no longer wanted flights to and from their country to stop in Kinshasa, capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo. This request aims to “Do not put populations at risk of contamination”in particular to the Delta variant which represents “84% of variants in circulation” in the DRC, the government said.

“Today, we have a plane that serves both Brazzaville and Kinshasa. The planes are loaded and we have more than two hundred and fifty people per plane. If we have to change the rotation, it must necessarily impact the customers.said Olivier Jallet, director of Air France for the two Congos. “We will see how we could improve the service in order to reassure the Congolese government”he said, adding that “Since the start of the pandemic (…) there is no contamination on board planes”.

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To the UNITED STATESagain due to the rapid spread of the Delta variant, the authorities “maintain, at this stage, the existing restrictions” international travel, despite requests for reciprocity from the European Union in particular, White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said during a regular press briefing.

  • In New York, vaccine or weekly screening compulsory for all civil servants

A sign encouraging people to keep a safe distance, on Governors Island, in New York (United States), in April 2021.

The city of New York, in the United States, will require that all its civil servants be vaccinated against Covid-19 or that they undergo, each week, a screening test, announced on Monday, the mayor of the city. city, Bill de Blasio. The measure will come into effect on September 13 and is expected to apply to more than 300,000 people, including police officers, firefighters and teachers in the largest city in the United States.

“The goal is our recovery. The goal is to protect people”, justified Mr. de Blasio in a press conference. Last week, the mayor had already warned that the thousands of employees of New York public hospitals should comply with the same rules.

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In New York, 59% of residents have received at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine, but the pace of vaccination is slowing. Nationally, 57% of all Americans have received at least one dose, and 49% are fully vaccinated.

  • Australia lifts lockdown in Melbourne, keeps it in Sydney

The containment intended to fight the Covid-19 pandemic will be lifted on Tuesday in Melbourne, where authorities in Australia’s second city say the spread of the Delta variant has been contained. The neighboring state of South Australia will also lift exit restrictions for its population. The country’s largest city, Sydney, on the other hand, will probably reinforce its confinement, which has been in force for five weeks.

Schools, restaurants and shops will reopen but certain restrictions, such as wearing a mask, will remain in force. For at least another two weeks, the population will not be able to invite other people to their homes and a gauge will remain in effect for outdoor activities.

  • Greece vaccinates its teenagers, the World Bank and Covax to vaccinate people in poor countries

The Greece will extend its vaccination campaign against Covid-19 to adolescents aged 12 to 15 in August, announced the Minister of Health, Vassilis Kikilias. The United States, United Kingdom, Germany, France and Italy have already approved vaccination for this age group. The decision to vaccinate minors over the age of 12 was taken as Greece experiences a further rise in the number of Covid-19 cases, mainly due to the Delta variant.

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Teens “everyone should go and get vaccinated, even in the middle of summer”urged Mr. Kikilias, pointing out that the percentage of people vaccinated “hospitalized in critical condition” was “less than 10%”. About 5.5 million people, out of about 10.7 million inhabitants in Greece, have been fully vaccinated, according to official data.

A Kenyan receives a dose of the vaccine from AstraZeneca, supplied by the Covax system, in Nairobi in April 2021.

While vaccination appears to be the key to getting out of the health crisis, the World Bank and the Covax system set up a new funding mechanism to help the poorest countries vaccinate their populations. This system should allow them to vaccinate an additional 250 million people by mid-2022, according to a joint statement issued on Monday.

Disadvantaged countries, which already have vaccine projects approved by the World Bank, will be able to confirm their wish to purchase additional doses from Covax, the type of vaccine and the delivery schedule. Once the World Bank has informed the country of its plan, it can provide Covax with a payment guarantee.

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“Access to vaccines is the greatest challenge facing developing countries to protect their population from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic from a health, social and economic point of view”, underlined the boss of the World Bank, David Malpass. As of July 26, the 29 poorest countries have only been able to administer 1.5 doses per 100 inhabitants, while the rich countries are at 95.4 doses per 100 inhabitants, according to an AFP count.

Le Monde with AFP and Reuters

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