The official number of cases of covid-19, underestimated, surpassed the 300 million mark this Friday (7), as all countries fight the spread of the omicron variant and expand their vaccination campaigns.
According to AFP calculations based on official balance sheets, at least 300,042,439 cases of infection have been diagnosed since the WHO China office registered the onset of the disease in late December 2019.
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The world, where cases have increased since mid-December, two weeks after the discovery of the omicron variant in Botswana and South Africa, is currently facing a fourth wave of contamination records.
The increase in contamination for the time being is not accompanied by a global increase in deaths.
In the United States, the Supreme Court on Friday heard challenges to President Joe Biden’s attempt to force millions of workers in the country to be vaccinated against covid-19 to prevent the spread of the pandemic.
“This is a pandemic in which nearly a million people have died,” Judge Elena Kagan recalled.
“It is by far the greatest danger to public health that this country has faced in the last century. And this is the policy that most seeks to prevent all this,” he added.
Scott Keller, a former Texas attorney general who represents business associations, said the rule requiring employees at companies with more than 100 people to be vaccinated would prompt many workers to resign.
“That would cause permanent displacement of workers, which would affect our national economy,” Keller said.
After months of public appeals to people who are hesitant or reluctant to get the injections, Biden ramped up the pressure in September.
“We have been patient, but our patience is wearing thin,” he said.
The Democratic president made vaccination mandatory for companies with 100 or more employees and for healthcare workers at institutions that receive federal funds.
– Mass vaccination in Bolivia –
The new variant also wreaks havoc in Latin America. The Ministry of Health of Bolivia confirmed the presence of the onomicron in the country, whose citizens turn up en masse to receive the vaccine, indispensable for access to public and private offices.
Peru has delayed the start of its football league due to outbreaks recorded at different clubs, and Mexico has canceled dozens of flights after 87 pilots tested positive for Covid.
In Germany, in the face of the omnipresent variant, access to restaurants and cafes will be restricted again, but quarantine periods will be relaxed to avoid a possible stoppage of the country, announced Chancellor Olaf Scholz.
No later than 15 January, customers of restaurants, cafes and bars must, in addition to the certificate of vaccination or cure, present a negative test taken on the day. Those who have already received the third dose will not need to be tested.
In Austria, the head of government, Karl Nehammer, tested positive for covid-19 despite three doses of the vaccine, but did not develop symptoms, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced.
In France, President Emmanuel Macron “fully” reaffirmed his controversial statements on Tuesday about the unvaccinated, whom he wants to “annoy”, at a press conference at the Élysée with the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen.
– Great Hindu festival –
In India, a court has rejected a request to cancel a major Hindu festival, despite fears that the crowd could spread the epidemic, in a country marked by a surge in cases due to the omicron variant.
Hundreds of thousands of people will gather at the confluence of the Ganges and the Bay of Bengal from Saturday, during the Gangasagar Mela festival, to bathe on the occasion of Makar Sankranti, the holy day of the Hindu calendar.
A doctor from Kolkata has asked for a court order to ban the festival due to the sanitary situation.
The number of new cases surpassed 100,000 on Friday and authorities in several major cities have imposed restrictions to slow the spread of the virus.
In Australia, Serbian tennis player Novak Djokovic spent Friday, Orthodox Christmas Day, confined in Melbourne. The number one in the world, who was not vaccinated, was held back after his visa was canceled in the early hours of Thursday, for not complying with the strict conditions of entry into Australian territory due to the pandemic.
Djokovic will not be deported until Monday, following a new hearing with a Melbourne judge.
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