The United Kingdom recorded Saturday, January 8, 313 new deaths due to Covid-19, bringing to 150,057 the total number of people who have died since the start of the pandemic in this country, one of the most bereaved in Europe. In Mexico, officially 300,000 deaths have been counted.
More than 2 million daily cases of Covid-19 were recorded on average worldwide during the week of 1is as of January 7, a figure that has doubled in ten days, according to an AFP count. The vast majority of new cases are currently detected in Europe and the United States and Canada, but these numbers vary greatly depending on the testing policies of each country. On the other hand, the wave of contaminations is not accompanied by an increase in deaths. Over the past seven days, an average of 6,237 deaths has been recorded every day around the world, the lowest since the end of October 2020.
Strong pressure on the UK healthcare system
According to official figures, the United Kingdom has recorded 150,057 deaths since the start of the pandemic. The number of contaminations remains high, with 146,390 cases recorded in twenty-four hours, but it has been falling since the peak reached on Tuesday.
Even if the number of people in the hospital is for the moment lower than in previous waves (18,454 people on Saturday), the pressure on the health system remains very strong. On Friday, the British government announced that several hundred soldiers would be deployed as reinforcements to British hospitals and ambulance services to replace the many members of care staff absent due to Covid or because they are contact cases. The English health service recorded 39,000 absences on January 2. Around 1,800 soldiers are already mobilized across the United Kingdom, in particular to support the vaccination effort and ambulance services.
Apart from teleworking or wearing a mask, already in place, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has chosen not to impose new restrictions in order to limit the spread of the virus, focusing on screening and the vaccination campaign. This has already made it possible to administer two doses to 82% of those over 12 years old, and the booster campaign, carried out with vigor, has benefited 35 million people (approximately 60% of those over 12).
More than 300,000 dead in Mexico
The symbolic figure of 300,000 deaths from Covid-19 was crossed on Friday in Mexico, the fifth most affected country in absolute terms in the world, according to the report of the Ministry of Health. The United States is the most bereaved country with more than 830,000 dead, followed by Brazil, India and Russia, whose figures are probably underestimated. This is also the case in Mexico, since the national population register puts forward a figure of more than 450,000 deaths associated with Covid.
In addition, around sixty flights were canceled in Mexico on Thursday and Friday because 87 pilots caught the Covid-19, according to sources in the aviation sector.
Iranian writer dies of Covid-19 in prison
Iranian poet, filmmaker and dissident Baktash Abtin died in prison after contracting Covid-19, several human rights organizations announced on Saturday, accusing Tehran of being responsible for the death. Reporters Without Borders (RSF) confirmed his death on Twitter, claiming that he “Had been unjustly sentenced to six years in prison and was detained in hospital, sick with Covid-19 and deprived of necessary care”. The NGO accompanied its message with a photo of the writer in a prisoner’s uniform, chained by the leg to a hospital bed.
Baktash Abtin, 47, was sentenced in 2019 for “Assembly and collusion against national security” and for “Propaganda against the system”. Along with his co-defendants Keyvan Bajan and Reza Khandan Mahabadi, Mr. Abtin received in September 2021 the PEN / Barbey Freedom to write prize, awarded by the writers’ rights group PEN America.
In recent months, the deaths of prisoners in custody have sparked growing concern in Iran, with human rights defenders fearing the Covid-19 pandemic could rage in the country’s prisons.
In Italy, a tonnage of 5,000 spectators in the stadiums
The Italian Serie A football league, under pressure from the government, decided on Saturday to limit stadium capacity to 5,000 spectators from January 15 until at least January 23. The day before, Prime Minister Mario Draghi called on the league president to take action.
This decision prevents the government from imposing matches behind closed doors, as in Germany or the Netherlands. On the other hand, the matches scheduled for Sunday, Roma-Juventus and Inter-Lazio, will be played at a capacity reduced to only 50%, as will the Inter-Juve Supercopa match scheduled for Wednesday at San Siro.
The Italian government, faced with sharply rising SARS-CoV-2 contaminations, decided on Wednesday to introduce compulsory vaccination for all people over the age of 50. The first European country hard hit by the pandemic, Italy has recorded more than 138,000 deaths since the start of 2020.
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Covid in the world: the United Kingdom deplores more than 150,000 deaths since the start of the epidemic