More than 800,000 dead worldwide, restrictions multiply

PARIS | The toll from the pandemic caused by the novel coronavirus exceeded 800,000 on Saturday, according to an AFP count, as many countries face a surge in new cases and multiply restrictions.

• Read also: All the developments of the pandemic

In this context, the World Health Organization (WHO) has recommended the wearing of masks for “children aged 12 and over under the same conditions as adults”.

And this “especially when they cannot guarantee a distance of at least one meter from others and if the transmission is generalized in the affected area”.

The WHO has also declared, through the voice of its boss Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, to hope “to end this pandemic in less than two years”.

“Especially if we can unite our efforts (…) and using the tools available to the maximum and hoping that we can have additional tools like vaccines, I think we can put an end to it in a shorter period of time than (for) the (Spanish) flu of 1918 ”, which had decimated 50 million people until 1920, he added.

“In the current situation (…) the virus is more likely to spread,” said the head of the WHO. “But we have the advantage of having better technology (…) and we know how to stop it.”

Over a thousand new cases in Italy

But, in the meantime, the death toll and the sick continue to rise around the world.

A total of 800,004 deaths have been recorded out of 23,003,079 reported cases, according to an AFP count from official sources on Saturday at 11 a.m. GMT.

Latin America and the Caribbean is the most bereaved region with 254,897 dead and more than half of the deaths from Covid-19 on the planet have been recorded in four countries: the United States (175,416), Brazil (113,358), Mexico (59,610) and India (55,794).

The death toll from the disease has doubled since June 6 and more than 100,000 new deaths have been recorded in 17 days since August 5.

Often cited as an example for its management of the epidemic, Germany recorded more than 2,000 additional cases in 24 hours.

The number of new infections there has risen sharply in recent days due, say the authorities, to the massive return of German tourists who have spent their holidays in risk areas abroad.

Elsewhere in Europe, the 24-hour figures are even worse in France and Spain, illustrating a rebound in the pandemic.

4,586 new cases were thus announced on Friday on French territory. As the start of the school year approaches, the government has made the wearing of masks compulsory in schools for those over 11. It is already in whole districts of Paris and other big cities, like Lyon, Toulouse and Nice.

Spain, despite some of the strictest containment in the world, the wearing of widespread masks and millions of tests, is once again one of the most affected countries, with more than 8,000 additional cases in one day.

As for Italy, it announced on Saturday that it had recorded 1,071 new daily infections, crossing the symbolic threshold of one thousand per day for the first time since May 12.

Simple recommendation until then, wearing a mask is now mandatory in public transport in Denmark.

Tightening screws also in England where containment is tightened in several areas of the north-west and where the second most populous city, Birmingham, has been placed under surveillance.

Rebound in South Korea

In Asia, South Korea, which had so far succeeded in curbing the epidemic through a very extensive strategy of testing and tracing the contacts of infected people, recorded more than 300 new cases of COVID-19 over two days consecutive, including 332 Saturday, a record since March.

The authorities have therefore announced the extension to the whole territory, from Sunday, of the tightening of restrictions applied in the Seoul area.

India, for its part, has imposed severe measures to reduce the risk of contamination during the religious holiday of Ganesh, one of the most important in this country. Lasting 10 days, it is the occasion for immense processions for the immersion in the Arabian Sea of ​​imposing effigies of the Hindu god Ganesh, half-man, half-elephant. Access to the beaches has been reduced, as has the size of the statues.

In Argentina, the north is in dire straits: Jujuy province, one of the poorest, faces an exponential increase in the number of cases and doctors are bracing for a risk of “collapse” of the health system. 30% of nursing staff have been infected.

A return to normal therefore seems a long way off.

Going to the museum, attending a match or a concert is still complicated, even prohibited, in many countries.

Even though women’s football returned to Italy on Saturday after a six-month hiatus.

In Germany, where large gatherings remain prohibited until the end of October at least, the University of Halle began a life-size experiment on Saturday, with 4,000 participants, to determine what could be the best possible organization to avoid contamination during concerts.

A famous pop singer in this country, Tim Bendzko, agreed to take part in this test by giving three concerts in different configurations in Leipzig during the day.

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