New measures in France, reduced isolation in the United States … an update on the coronavirus

New measures, new reports and highlights: update on the latest developments in the Covid-19 pandemic around the world.

The situation in France

The number of Covid-19 patients continued to increase on Monday and the rate of contamination remains high, while the government has taken new measures to try to stem the strong spread of the virus. The number of people hospitalized stands at 16,921, against 16,365 on Sunday, with 1,634 new admissions, according to data from Public Health France.

The increase also concerns the number of people treated in critical care services, with 3,333 patients, against 3,299 the day before and 328 new admissions. The number of new cases of contamination stands at 30,383 new cases, after 27,697 Sunday and a record of more than 100,000 Saturday, with also records of tests carried out that day. Many pharmacies and testing centers were closed on Christmas Day and Sunday, which may explain the drop in the number of cases detected since.

The total number of deaths since the start of the epidemic is 122,898. Since the start of vaccination, 52,752,284 people have received at least one injection (78.2% of the population) and 51,640,772 people are fully vaccinated (76.6% of the total population). « 22,446,191 people received a booster dose, » said the Directorate General of Health.

Prime Minister Jean Castex and Minister of Health Olivier Véran have announced a reduction to three months of the time to receive a booster dose of anti-Covid vaccine, often referred to as a third dose, against four so far. The government has also decided to return the gauges, set at 2,000 people maximum indoors and 5,000 outdoors, a compulsory use of telework in certain cases or the ban on consumption standing in bars and cafes. .

US health authorities cut isolation time in half for Covid-19 infection

People positive for Covid-19 can now reduce their isolation period from ten to five days, provided they are asymptomatic, US health authorities announced on Monday, which also reduced this period for contact cases. The Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC), the main health agency in the United States, said in a statement that the change was « justified by science », according to which the majority of infections occur within two days. before and three days after the onset of symptoms.

« These updates allow everyone to continue their daily lives in a safe manner, » Rochelle Walensky, director of CDC, said in a statement. The Omicron variant, much more transmissible, is now the majority in the United States, and the number of cases is rising sharply in the country, to more than 200,000 daily cases over the last two days, approaching the record of last January . Officials are worried about the paralysis of certain economic sectors due to a lack of manpower.

While halving the insulation for asymptomatic people, health authorities advise them to wear the mask within five days. The quarantine period for unvaccinated contact cases is also reduced from 14 to 5 days, with the advice also to wear a mask strictly within the following five days. According to these recommendations, fully vaccinated contact cases do not need to self-isolate.

On December 23, these authorities had already reduced the duration of isolation for caregivers. The CDC recommendations serve as a benchmark and are widely followed in the United States, but they do not constitute a federal obligation. The sharp rise in the number of cases in the country, and the periods of isolation that go with it, have in recent days led airlines to cancel flights by the hundreds. On Monday morning, President Joe Biden acknowledged that hospitals across the country some hospitals across the country were « overwhelmed in terms of equipment and staff » but called on Americans not to « panic ».

The balance sheet in the world

The Covid-19 pandemic has killed nearly 5.4 million people, according to a report established by AFP from official sources on Monday at 11:00 GMT.

In absolute terms, the United States is the most affected country with 816,610 deaths, followed by Brazil (618,534), India (479,997) and Russia (305,155).

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates, taking into account the excess mortality directly and indirectly linked to Covid-19, that the toll of the pandemic could be two to three times higher than that officially recorded.

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