While many countries are facing a new wave of contamination due to the spread of the Delta variant, the pandemic has already killed at least 4,004,966 worldwide since the end of December 2019.
The United States remains the most affected country in terms of both deaths and cases, with 606,218 deaths for 33,770,459 recorded cases, according to the Johns Hopkins University count. After the United States, the countries most affected are Brazil, India, Mexico, and Peru.
“Catastrophic” situation in Tunisia
The health situation is “Catastrophic” in Tunisia, which has recorded a record number of Covid-19 contaminations in recent weeks, the spokesperson for the Ministry of Health announced on Thursday, referring to the“Collapse” health system. According to Ben Alya, it is now difficult to find an available bed or to have the necessary amount of oxygen in hospitals across the country. “If we do not unite our efforts, the disaster will get worse”, she warned.
Hospitals in Tunisia have known for two weeks a large influx of patients during this wave of the spread of Covid-19, which is reaching unprecedented levels. Tuesday, Tunisia recorded 9,823 cases including 134 deaths in one day, figures not reached since March 2020. In total, the country has experienced 464,914 cases including 15,735 deaths, for about 12 million inhabitants.
Negative test or compulsory vaccination to stay in Portugal
Against the backdrop of difficulties in stemming a new outbreak of the coronavirus epidemic, Portugal on Thursday put in place stricter health restrictions for tourists, asking holidaymakers – whether Portuguese or foreign – to test negative, proof of vaccination against Covid-19 or proof of recovery to be able to stay in hotels across the country.
The daily number of new infections in Portugal has continued to rise in recent weeks, reaching levels last seen in February, when the country faced the world’s worst outbreak and imposed strict containment. Nearly 90% of new infections are due to the Delta variant, which appeared for the first time in India, considered more contagious than the original strain of the coronavirus.
A negative test, proof of vaccination or cure will also be requested at the weekend at the entrance to restaurants, for room service, in 60 high-risk municipalities including the capital Lisbon, and Porto.
“For a long time, the only measure we had available was to limit economic activity. With the digital certificate, and the more frequent availability of tests, we have other ways to guarantee security ”, said Secretary of State Mariana Vieira da Silva. The new provisions, which come into force on Saturday, also concern other types of temporary accommodation such as Airbnb.
No unvaccinated tourists to Canada “for a good while”
Canada has started easing travel restrictions for its citizens, but Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Thursday unvaccinated foreign travelers will not be allowed to return home until ” a good moment “. “I can tell you now that it won’t be in effect for a while”, replied Justin Trudeau to a question from the press. “We must continue to ensure the safety of Canadians and that the sacrifices of so many people in recent months have not been made for nothing”, he said.
Without providing details, the Prime Minister said changes to the rules would be presented ” in the next weeks “ about the entry into the country of fully vaccinated tourists. Pressure is mounting on the Canadian government, especially from the tourism industry, to relax border rules between Canada and the United States, which share the longest border in the world. The latter has been closed to non-essential travel since March 2020.
Covid: Pfizer to seek authorization for a 3e vaccine dose
The Pfizer / BioNTech alliance plans to request “In the coming weeks” the authorization for a third dose of its vaccine against Covid-19, in the United States and in Europe in particular, announced the companies in a press release. This booster dose is intended to provide enhanced immune protection to people already vaccinated with the first two doses.
“Pfizer and BioNTech have seen encouraging results from ongoing trials for a third dose of the current vaccine.”, they explained. They “Plan to submit this data to the FDA, EMA and other regulatory authorities in the coming weeks”, they added with reference to the American and European Medicines Agencies.
“Preliminary data from the study show that a booster dose given 6 months after the second dose has a consistent safety profile, while eliciting high levels of neutralizing antibodies” against the virus, including the Beta variant, which appeared in South Africa. These levels are “5 to 10 times higher” to those observed after the initial two doses.