Covid-19 in the world: Moscow isolates itself again, Russia wants to avoid national reconfinement

The pandemic has killed nearly 5 million people worldwide since the end of December 2019, according to a report established by Agence France-Presse from official sources on Wednesday, October 27, in the middle of the day. These figures are based on the daily official balance sheets of each country, so they exclude upward revisions carried out a posteriori by some statistical organizations. By taking into account the excess mortality directly and indirectly linked to Covid-19, the WHO estimates that the toll of the pandemic could be two to three times higher.

  • As Moscow isolates itself again, Russia wants to avoid national reconfinement

In the streets of Moscow, Thursday, October 28, 2021.

The epidemic wave is growing in Russia, where more than 1,159 people have died and 40,096 others have been infected in twenty-four hours, according to the latest official report, released Thursday, October 28. This is a new record, after several days when the number of daily deaths caused by Covid-19 hovered around 1,000.

Officially, the death toll in Russia now exceeds 235,000 deaths, which is the highest absolute figure in Europe. The national statistics agency, which has a broader definition of the causes of death, even reported, at the end of August, more than 400,000 deaths.

The capital, Moscow, by far the most affected city in the country, is in the process of partially reconfiguring itself in an attempt to contain the contaminations. From Thursday, all restaurants, schools, nurseries, nightclubs and other services or stores deemed “non-essential”, as well as most businesses and administrations, will close until November 7. Access to cultural venues will be on presentation of a health pass, a measure that will remain in place after November 7. Only places selling medicines, food products, especially take-out, and basic necessities were allowed to remain open.

The more contagious Delta variant of the virus has done far more damage in Russia, as well as in most Eastern European countries, than in Western countries, due to poor compliance with the wearing of masks and distancing measures, but above all too little vaccination of the population.

According to the specialized site Gogov, only a third of the 146 million inhabitants have received a double vaccination with one of the four vaccines authorized in Russia. The Kremlin admitted the failure of its vaccination campaign in comparison with those of Western Europe, but blamed this setback on the lack of “Citizen awareness”. “There are only two options for everyone: get sick or get vaccinated”, summed up Russian President Vladimir Putin.

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If Moscow closes its doors for at least ten days, the Russian government refuses for the moment to extend these measures to the whole of the territory, so as not to wipe out a still very fragile economic recovery. Vladimir Putin preferred to declare a non-working period throughout the country, from October 30 to November 7, a measure already taken three times in the past year and a half.

  • Rio drops the mask outside

In the Rocinha slum, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on October 22, 2021.

Wearing a mask will no longer be compulsory outdoors from Thursday, October 28 in the state of Rio de Janeiro, announced its governor, Claudio Castro. This measure is made possible by the progress of vaccination against Covid-19. “More than a year and a half after the declaration of a state of emergency due to the pandemic, it is an important victory for all”, rejoiced the governor on Twitter.

More than 68,000 people have died from Covid-19 in the state, with a death rate of 394 per 100,000 inhabitants, well above the national average of 288. However, the daily number of deaths has fallen these last few weeks thanks to the advance of vaccination.

Masks will only be compulsory in closed places open to the public, “Thanks to the progress of vaccination and the low rate of transmission” of the coronavirus. In the city of Rio, nightclubs and concert halls will be authorized to reopen, with a gauge of 50% of their capacity. In Brasilia, the lifting of the obligation to wear a mask outdoors must come into force from November 3. Authorities in Sao Paulo, the country’s largest metropolis, are considering doing the same, but no date has yet been announced.

  • Israel reopens its doors to vaccinated travelers

At Ben-Gurion International Airport, near Tel Aviv, on May 27, 2021.

The Israeli government has confirmed the reopening of its borders to foreign tourists vaccinated against Covid-19 from 1is November. Travelers from ” all countries “ will be able to travel to Israel without having to first apply for an entry permit, provided they present a vaccination certificate not older than six months, authorities said.

People entering the territory will also have to present a PCR test dating back to seventy-two hours before their departure at most, and take a second test on their arrival. Israel will recognize the vaccines of Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, Sinovac and Sinopharm, but also, from November 15, Sputnik V. The press interprets the validation of the latter as a gesture “Diplomatic” of Israel vis-à-vis its Russian ally.

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  • A third city confined to China

After Ejin commune, on the border with Mongolia, Heihe, on the Russian border, on Thursday ordered its residents to stay at home except in an emergency, according to a statement from the town hall. The vast municipality, which faces the Russian city of Blagoveshchensk, has started screening its 1.6 million inhabitants. Public transport is suspended and no vehicle can leave the city. Nearly 6 million Chinese are now subject to containment measures, two days after a similar decision decreed in the large city of Lanzhou (4 million inhabitants), 1,700 kilometers west of Beijing.

The communist regime faces very limited sporadic outbreaks of Covid-19, such as the one that has been spreading since last week in northern China. At least eleven Chinese provinces are now concerned out of the thirty that the Asian giant has. Across the country, 23 new contaminations were reported Thursday for the last twenty-four hours, half less than the day before. Tens of thousands of other residents are under house arrest in large residential areas where cases have been reported, including in Beijing.

Le Monde with AP and AFP

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Covid-19 in the world: Moscow isolates itself again, Russia wants to avoid national reconfinement

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