United States to invest $ 1.7 billion to fight covid variants ~ #AFP:

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More than three million people have died worldwide from Covid-19 since its appearance at the end of 2019, according to a count made by AFP on Saturday, and the race for immunization continues.

In total, 3,000,955 deaths from Covid-19 have been officially recorded, according to this count carried out at 10:00 GMT from reports provided by the health authorities, which is already much more than most viral epidemics of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, with the notable exceptions of the terrible “Spanish flu” and AIDS.

After a slight lull in March, the number of daily deaths is on the rise again, with an average of more than 12,000 deaths per day last week around the world, approaching the 14,500 daily deaths recorded at the end of January, at the height of the epidemic .

More than 139 million cases of contamination have been identified, including about 730,000 per day currently, a figure also steadily increasing since the end of February. On Friday alone, more than 829,000 cases were recorded in 24 hours, a record.

In Brazil, the second most bereaved country in the world, some 3,000 deaths are announced every day. This figure has more than doubled since mid-February.

The rise in deaths is also extremely rapid in India, facing a virulent third wave. More than 1,000 daily deaths are recorded in this country, nine times more than in early March.

India’s effort to immunize its 1.3 billion people faces hurdles, with just 117 million vaccines given so far and stocks dwindling, some local officials say.

The vaccination race, which is very uneven depending on the country, has reached nearly 863 million injected doses worldwide, according to a report established by AFP on Friday.

Main weapon against the pandemic, it suffers from the setbacks of the Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca vaccines and is caught up by the proliferation of more contagious variants which are becoming dominant forces in the pandemic.

One of the most advanced countries in the world in terms of vaccination, Chile has published a study indicating that the Chinese Coronavac vaccine has been shown to be 67% effective in preventing symptomatic cases of Covid-19 and 80% in preventing deaths .

Delhi weekend confinement

In India, a weekend lockdown went into effect on Saturday in New Delhi. The capital has ordered the closure of all non-essential services. Historic sites were deserted on Saturday, restaurants, shopping malls and gyms closed, and streets empty.

The state of Maharashtra, which includes Bombay, Gujarat and Karnataka, where the Bangalore computer center is located, have also imposed traffic restrictions.

The state of Uttar Pradesh, which has some 240 million people, ordered a one-day lockdown on Sunday.

Similarly, the state of Uttarakhand (north) has limited gatherings to 200 people, but exempted the huge Hindu festival Kumbh Mela, which has been taking place since January, and has drawn 25 million people without masks or distancing including 4.6 million this week.

In Thailand, where the epidemic is on the rise, new restrictions will be imposed from Sunday, including the ban on the sale of alcohol in restaurants and bars in Bangkok, the epicenter of the third wave of Covid-19.

Entertainment venues will be closed across the country for two weeks.

Authorities have already imposed restrictions on travel between provinces just ahead of Songkran festivities this week, marking the Thai New Year, a time when holiday departures are usually plentiful.

In the past ten days, the total number of infections has risen from 29,900 to over 40,500 in Thailand.

Quarantine extension in Spain

In Europe, the waltz-hesitation between additional restrictions to curb the spread and easing to support the economy and calm discontent is in full swing.

Spain extended the obligation to quarantine itself on Saturday until early May for all passengers arriving on its territory from twelve countries – Brazil, Peru, Colombia and nine African countries – due to fears related to variants of the coronavirus .

Several countries have announced relaxations.

Denmark will thus accelerate its reopening from April 21, with spectators in the stadiums and customers in the restaurant.

Italy is expected to begin reopening restaurants and schools from Monday April 26.

In France, “reopening will be able to start around mid-May,” the government spokesman said, recalling that it was a matter of reopening “certain terraces and certain places of culture.”

The government is moving cautiously, however, in the face of an epidemic that has already claimed 100,000 lives and whose indicators are stabilizing at a high level.

In Brazil, the government of the State of Sao Paulo announced on Friday the reopening of shops and the authorization of face-to-face religious services from Sunday, even if the number of daily deaths from Covid-19 remains very high in all the countries.

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Source: VOA-AFP.

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About AFP - Agence France Presse.

AGENCE PRANCE-PRESSE (AFP): is an international news agency headquartered in Paris, France. Founded in 1835 as Agence Havas, it is the world's oldest news agency. AFP has regional headquarters in Nicosia, Montevideo, Hong Kong, and Washington, D.C., and news bureaux in 151 countries in 201 locations.

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