New measures, new reports and highlights: an update on the latest developments in the Covid-19 pandemic around the world.
The situation in France
The average number of positive cases for Covid-19, calculated over a week, is increasing without curbing the drop in hospitalizations for the moment, according to data from Public Health France published on Friday. The laboratories recorded 97,579 cases of contamination in 24 hours. The daily average over seven days, which smooths the daily jolts, is increasing, it stood at 82,356 on Friday against 78,759 the day before. Despite this rise in contamination, hospital pressure continues to decline slightly, with 20,519 people hospitalized due to Covid on Friday, against 20,609 on Thursday and 21,024 a week earlier.
Hospitals welcomed 1,182 new Covid patients on Friday. The pressure is also easing a little in the intensive care units, which have 1,674 patients on Friday, against 1,695 on Thursday and 1,875 last Friday.
The disease claimed 112 people in 24 hours in hospitals for a total assessment of 140,841 deaths in France since the start of the pandemic more than two years ago.
Vaccination is struggling to progress: 54.27 million people in total have received at least one injection (80.5% of the total population), 53.34 have a complete vaccination schedule (79.1%) and 39.38 million received a booster dose.
China: partial lifting of restrictions in Shenzhen
The technological metropolis of Shenzhen (southern China) ordered the partial lifting of epidemic restrictions on Friday, in particular in its vital port for the national economy.
The decision by the mayor of the city of 17.5 million people, located at the gates of Hong Kong, comes as President Xi Jinping called on Thursday to “minimize” the impact of anti-Covid measures on the economy Chinese.
The southern city, which brings together thousands of factories of big names in technology, had been placed in total confinement on Sunday following the detection of Covid cases linked to the ongoing epidemic in Hong Kong.
Public transport can now resume, as well as administrations and economic activity in five districts of the city, the town hall announced on Thursday evening.
The transmission of the coronavirus has been stopped in these five districts, which represent almost half of the vast territory of the municipality, argued the municipality.
Among the districts concerned is that of Yantian, where one of the largest ports in the world is located, providing alone 10.5% of the containers used by Chinese foreign trade.
Italy eases measures but keeps the mask
The Italian government decided on Thursday to ease certain restrictive measures taken in the context of the fight against Covid, but maintains the wearing of a mask compulsory in closed places until April 30. “We maintain the obligation to wear a mask in closed places until April 30. Then the government will decide according to the epidemiological situation”, declared the Minister of Health Roberto Speranza during a press conference.
On the easing of restrictions, the use of tests and health passes will be gradually reduced in different sectors of activity to be abandoned on May 1, according to the minister. Mandatory quarantine for contact cases is also eliminated and now only people who test positive will have to go into isolation. “These are measures that eliminate certain restrictions, almost all restrictions. They plan to gradually abandon instruments such as the vaccination pass”, commented the head of government Mario Draghi during the same press conference. He welcomed the fact that the vaccination campaign in the peninsula had made it possible to have “nearly 80,000 fewer deaths for the year 2021 alone”. Nearly 90% of the population over 12 years old has completed the vaccination cycle, and around 33% for 5-12 year olds. Italy has paid a very heavy price with more than 157,000 dead since the start of the pandemic.
Xi orders continuation of zero Covid and stopping contagion
Chinese President Xi Jinping on Thursday ordered to continue the policy of zero Covid and to curb the coronavirus epidemic “as soon as possible”, national television reported. China has been facing its worst epidemic resurgence since the first wave of 2020 for the past few days, with tens of millions of people confined across the country. Several confinements have already been decreed, in particular in the province of Jilin (northeast), where a large part of the cases have been identified, and in the technological metropolis of Shenzhen (south), populated by 17.5 million inhabitants.
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