New lockdowns and curfews have been imposed on tens of millions of people from India to Argentina as COVID-19 infections have again increased and vaccine rollout has been hampered by shortages and fears of side effects.
In India, the most affected state of Maharashtra was run out of vaccines as the health system has faltered under the weight of contagion, which has killed 2.9 million people worldwide.
After lowering their guard with mass religious festivals, political rallies and spectators at cricket matches, the world’s second most populous nation has added more than a million new infections since the end of March.
Every weekend, from Saturday to the end of April, Maharashtra’s 125 million people will be confined to their homes unless they travel or buy food or medicine.
Stay-at-home orders were also due to go into effect for Bogota’s eight million residents, as the Colombian capital battles a third wave of infections, adding to curfews already covering seven million residents in four. other large cities.
Argentina entered a nighttime curfew on Fridays, running from midnight to 6 a.m. every day until April 30.
It will be in effect in the most risky areas of the country, mainly urban centers, where bars and restaurants will close at 11 p.m.
Argentina and Colombia have recorded around 2.5 million cases of the coronavirus, numbers surpassed only by Brazil in the region.
All of France is subject to restrictions in one form or another, while attempts by the German government to curb movement and trade have been thwarted by several states refusing to accept the proposals.
Today, Berlin is changing the rules to centralize power, with adjustments likely to result in nighttime curfews and school closures in particularly hard-hit areas.
But some countries were opening up.
Italy was set to end lockdowns from next week for Lombardy, the epicenter of its coronavirus pandemic, and several other regions with improved contagion statistics.
Neighboring Slovenia has announced that it will ease coronavirus restrictions and lift a six-month curfew from Monday.
As in India, the deployment of the stuttering vaccine in Europe encountered multiple hurdles on Friday as European Union regulators said they were reviewing the side effects of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine and France has further limited its use of the AstraZeneca vaccine.
France has repeatedly changed the rules on AstraZeneca’s vaccine, first out of doubts about its effectiveness and then over fears that it could be linked to blood clots.
The World Health Organization said there was “no adequate data” to support switching COVID-19 vaccines between doses.
Regarding the J&J vaccine, the European Medicines Agency said four “serious cases” of unusual blood clots have been reported – including one fatal – with the vaccine, which uses technology similar to that of AstraZeneca. .
The United States Food and Drug Administration said it had found no causal link between jab and clots, but noted that “a few people” in the country had clots and low platelet counts in blood after receiving the vaccine, and his investigation was continuing.
Both jabs are approved for use in the EU, but the J&J vaccine has not yet been rolled out and various EU countries have stopped or restricted the use of AstraZeneca.
A spokesperson for AstraZeneca said half of its vaccine shipments to the EU would be delayed this week.
In Brazil, the Senate has said it will open an investigation into the government’s handling of the pandemic, with President Jair Bolsonaro continuing to resist lockdown measures, even with COVID-19 deaths at new records.
Yet, on Friday, Rio de Janeiro rolled back restrictions in place for two weeks, reopening restaurants and bars, though the city’s famous beaches remained closed.