Today, Thursday, European health authorities warned that Europe must prepare for more aggressive steps to confront the outbreak of new mutated versions of the Coronavirus, coinciding with the 27-member state holding a summit to coordinate a joint response against Covid-19.
This comes as the United States announced that it will resume financing the World Health Organization, which it has joined again, to launch an international response to the epidemic.
The European Agency for Disease Control and Prevention warned of the seriousness of the health situation.
The Stockholm-based agency said the essence of the message was a readiness to rapidly tighten response measures in the coming weeks to ensure the capacity of health care systems and speed up vaccination campaigns.
The center, which includes the 27 countries of the Union, the United Kingdom, Norway and Iceland, raised the level of health risks associated with the new mutated versions to “very high / very high”.
This call comes as the 27 countries hold a video summit dedicated to coordinating the epidemic response, through measures such as limiting cross-border movements, speeding up vaccination campaigns, and developing a unified certificate to prove receipt of the vaccine.
In the latest measures taken to date at the European level, the Dutch parliament approved a curfew, while Portugal, concerned about the “rapid spread” of the English-modified version of the virus, announced the closure of schools, nurseries and universities for a period of 15 days.
In France, the Minister of Health announced that a new lockdown “will be inevitable” in the event that the outbreak of the English mutant “significantly” increases.
The English mutated version of the virus continues to spread, affecting at least 60 countries and raising concerns in many countries.
Africa also faces the second wave of the epidemic.
Today, Thursday, the African Union’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention announced that the second wave of the Covid-19 epidemic appears to be more deadly in Africa, as the death rate on the continent exceeds the global average.
The death rate from the emerging corona virus is 2.5% of the infections recorded in Africa, higher than the global rate of 2.2%, as explained by John Nkengasung, director of this specialized agency, during a press conference.
Meanwhile, the United States’ return to the World Health Organization caused a world of relief.
Infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci said via video to the World Health Organization meeting in Geneva that the United States will resume paying its dues to the organization.
He also announced that the United States will join the Kovacs mechanism set up by the organization to secure a fair distribution of COVID-19 vaccines to the poorest countries.
“This is a big day for the World Health Organization and a big day for global health,” WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said.
Biden had predicted on Wednesday during his assumption of office that his country would enter the “most deadly phase” of the epidemic, while the number of deaths in the United States exceeded the number of soldiers killed during World War II.
The number of deaths in the first force in the world has reached 405,400 since the start of the epidemic. The United States is the country with the largest number of deaths due to the epidemic in the world and the largest number of injuries as well (more than 24.4 million).
On Thursday, China evacuated a residential neighborhood in central Shanghai after discovering at least 3 cases of Covid-19, the first recorded by the city since the beginning of November.
On Wednesday, the Chinese authorities announced the discovery of the first cases of the British mutated version in Beijing, and a strict closure of five neighborhoods in the southern suburbs of the capital.
The South African version is also spreading, but at a slower rate and has become present in 23 countries and regions, according to the World Health Organization.
The organization confirmed that it is also following the outbreak of two other versions of the virus, which were discovered in the Amazon state and also detected in Japan by four people coming from Brazil, in addition to another copy as well.
Amidst the continuing situation out of control, the massive vaccination process continues in a number of countries of the world.
So far, more than 54 million doses of vaccine have been given in at least 63 countries, according to a count prepared by AFP according to official sources, Thursday at 12:00 GMT.
But access to vaccines is uneven, with 90% of the doses administered so far in 12 countries.
In India, five people were killed in a fire that broke out in a building in the largest vaccine factory in the world in the west of the country on Thursday, but the company stressed that the production of vaccines against the Covid-19 epidemic was not affected.
So far, at least 2,075,698 Covid-19 deaths have been recorded in the world, according to a toll prepared by AFP based on official sources.
Economically, the impact of the epidemic is still strong. The Dutch company “KLM” announced its intention to cut 800 to 1,000 additional jobs.
And European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde warned Thursday that the outbreak poses a “danger” to the path to return to growth in the eurozone. Lagarde said, during a press conference held after a meeting in which the board of governors of the financial institution decided to maintain the financial support program for the economy affected by the health crisis, that “the intensification of the epidemic poses risks to the economic prospects in the near term.”
And athletically, the President of the German International Olympic Committee, Thomas Bach, announced in a press interview Thursday that the Tokyo Olympics 2020, postponed until next summer, will be held on its date, “and there is no alternative plan.”
“We have no reason at this moment to believe that the Tokyo Olympics will not start on July 23,” Bach told Japan’s Kyodo News. And he continued, six months before the start of the Summer Olympics, “This is why there is no alternative plan and we are fully committed to making these games successful and safe.”