Australia and Israel impose new limits as Delta threatens


A particle transmission electron micrograph of the SARS-CoV-2 virus (variant B.1.1.7 from the United Kingdom), isolated from a patient sample and cultured in cell culture. Credit: NIAID

Australia and Israel, which had managed to defend COVID-19, re-imposed restrictions on Friday as cases of the highly contagious variant of the Delta, which is also threatening Africa, Central Asia and Southeast Asia, increased.

Large parts of Sydney went into blockade, a shock to a population that had returned to relative normalcy after months with very few local cases, while the success of Israeli vaccination again imposed the mask suit. inside less than two weeks after lifting the measure.

Although vaccination campaigns have helped reduce infections in many countries, most of them rich, the rise of the Delta variant, which first appeared in India, sparked fears of new waves of a virus that has already killed about 3.9 million people.

India’s richest state, Maharashtra, tightened restrictions on Friday and warned of a “third more severe wave” after the country recorded a third death caused by a new variant dubbed Delta Plus by the health ministry. .

In Australia, one of the most successful countries to contain the coronavirus after closing borders, it was ordered that around one million people in four eastern and central districts of Sydney stay at home for at least a week.

Sixty-five infections have been linked to an infected driver about two weeks ago when he took a flight crew from Sydney airport to a quarantine hotel.

Israeli masks are back

It was a dramatic development for a city that had been largely enjoying a resumption of normal life.

Bondi local Alana Trepper said “to be honest, I probably think it should have happened a couple of days ago.”

Israel, which has one of the most successful vaccination campaigns in the world, has seen an increase in infections since it stopped making the requirement to wear masks in public places closed 10 days ago.

After four days of more than 100 new cases a day — including 227 on Thursday — the reversed the decision.

The head of the Israeli pandemic response task force, Nachman Ash, said the increase in cases has not yet been matched by a parallel increase in hospitalizations or deaths.

Russia, Uzbekistan and Fiji have reported increasing infections caused by the Delta variant.

Meanwhile, Indonesia is battling a wave of highly infectious cases that have killed more than a dozen fully inoculated doctors, a Southeast Asian medical association said on Friday, with 270 million people.

As a sign of growing uncertainty about the level of threat, residents of the Portuguese capital, Lisbon, were facing stricter restrictions, while in other European cities measures were being moderated.

“Measures change all the time! It’s hard to keep track,” said Isabel Goncalves, a worker at the Lisbon store.

In Spain, a trip of end-of-year students to the holiday island of Mallorca has caused a significant accumulation of infections by alpha variants, another highly infectious strain that first appeared in the United Kingdom.

More than 2,000 people in the Madrid region have been told to isolate themselves after the outbreak.

‘Open our economy’

But in Rekyavik, Health Minister Svandis Svavarsdottir announced that Iceland would become the first nation in Europe to remove all virus restrictions.

“We are re-establishing the society we are used to living in,” he said.

Iceland was able to make the decision after 88% of the country’s 365,000 people were vaccinated.

Elsewhere, hesitant or slow inoculation programs and slow regulatory approval of new vaccines are an obstacle to efforts to reopen economies.

Thousands of South African opposition activists rallied in Pretoria to demand regulators approve more vaccines and speed up the pace of inoculations to get people back to work and start the economy.

“Our agenda is simple, give vaccines to our people, we want to open up our economy,” said Julius Malema, leader of the left-wing economic freedom fighters.

Third ‘brutal’ wave in Africa

Although Africa has so far saved the worst from the pandemic, infections are rising at an alarming rate in at least 12 countries.

The director of the African Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, John Nkengasong, described the third wave that hit the continent as “extremely brutal” and “very devastating”.

The Delta variant has been reported in 14 African countries, with unprecedented hospital admissions and fatalities pushing health facilities to the limit, the agency said.

According to the WHO, about one percent of the continent’s population is fully vaccinated, the lowest ratio in the world.

WHO director in Africa Matshidiso Moeti said the cases “exceeded vaccinations”.

“Africa urgently needs a million more vaccines. We need a sprint.”

Israel resumes the requirement of inner mask in the midst of the rise of the virus

© 2021 AFP

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