With hospitals on the verge of saturation, England upped its anti-Covid measures a notch on Monday, as authorities in China launched a massive screening campaign in a major port city.
Faced with the worrying resurgence of the pandemic, especially in the North West, the British government has decided in particular to close pubs in Liverpool and to reactivate three field hospitals set up in the spring and since put on hiatus.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has presented a new three-tier warning system, “medium”, “high” and “very high”, which is supposed to simplify from Wednesday the current patchwork of restrictions for England. The other nations of the United Kingdom are competent to apply their own device.
– “Narrow path”
“I know how difficult it is but we cannot let down the national health service when lives are at stake,” pleaded the conservative prime minister.
“This is not how we want to live, but it is the narrow path that we must draw between the socio-economic damage of a complete containment and the economic cost of an epidemic out of control”, a- he justified.
The number of people hospitalized with Covid-19 in England is now higher than it was when confinement was declared at the end of March. In the most affected regions, in the North-West, the hospital services that are not directly responsible for the epidemic are starting to see their functioning affected.
To help the health system cope, three of the large field hospitals set up in disaster in the spring have been instructed “to mobilize over the next few weeks to be ready to receive patients if necessary,” the government said. Medical Director of the Health Service for England Stephen Powis.
In China, where the pandemic had largely ebbed after being born there at the end of last year, the discovery of six cases in the city of Quingdao (East) prompted the authorities to declare a massive screening campaign.
The nine million inhabitants of the metropolis will be subjected to these tests within five days.
According to local health authorities, all of the infected people seem to have a connection with a hospital in the city that treats Covid-19 patients. But the focus of infection is not yet known.
In Malaysia, significant new restrictions were announced on Monday. They will be applied from Wednesday in the capital Kuala Lumpur, the neighboring state of Selangor and the administrative capital Putrajaya, as well as in the whole of the state of Sabah, on the island of Borneo.
Schools and places of worship will be closed and citizens will be allowed to leave their homes only for essential tasks such as shopping.
Since its appearance in China, the pandemic has killed at least 1,075,493 people around the world, according to an AFP report on Monday.
– “Maximum alert” –
In France, two new large cities, Toulouse and Montpellier, in the South, will be placed on “maximum alert” from Tuesday.
The country is “in a second strong wave” of the epidemic and “there can be no more relaxation”, declared Monday the Prime Minister, without excluding if necessary localized reconfinements. “A general re-containment”, of which “the consequences are absolutely dramatic”, “must be avoided by all means,” said Jean Castex.
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New contaminations (more than 16,000 in the last 24 hours) continue to increase, as well as intensive care admissions (1,483 patients on Sunday, a record since May).
On the other hand, Italy, the first affected country in Europe, plans to lighten its anti-Covid-19 health protocol by reducing the quarantine to ten days in particular.
In total, more than 37.4 million cases of infection have been officially diagnosed, of which at least 25,827,919 have been cured, according to a report established by AFP on Monday.
India crossed the threshold of 7 million cases on Sunday, a figure that is close to that reached by the United States.
Faced with a pandemic of such magnitude, the World Health Organization (WHO) deemed it unthinkable to let the virus circulate freely in society so that the population has access, as some have suggested, to collective immunity. .
“Never in the history of public health has herd immunity been used as a strategy to respond to an epidemic, let alone a pandemic. It is scientifically and ethically problematic,” said its director, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
“Giving free rein to a dangerous virus which we do not understand everything is simply unethical. It is not an option,” he insisted.
In the United States, the most bereaved country in the world with more than 214,000 deaths and 7.7 million cases, President Donald Trump, 74, declared himself “immune” on Sunday after being hospitalized last week.
He begins a marathon of meetings on Monday with the hope of catching up on Joe Biden by the November 3 election.