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Berlin is calling for a ban on ski trips in Europe and will maintain its restrictions against the coronavirus until early January, while other countries, France in the lead, are gradually easing them as Christmas approaches.

Angela Merkel has been firm in the face of the Covid-19 in Germany, Wednesday 25 November. “We still have to make efforts (…) the number of daily infections is still at a much too high level,” said the Chancellor after more than seven hours of discussions with the leaders of the 16 states regions of his country.

The restrictions decided at a previous session in November will therefore continue to apply “until the beginning of January, unless we have an unexpected decrease in the infection rate but this is unlikely at this stage”, explained the manager.

Bars, restaurants, cultural venues and sports clubs should therefore remain closed for more than a month. Access to stores will also be restricted.

Germany had 961,320 officially declared cases of Covid-19 (+ 18,633 in 24 hours) and 14,771 deaths (+ 410, new record) on Wednesday, according to the Robert Koch institute. And the symbolic mark of one million cases should be crossed in the next few days.

Angela Merkel urged Germans not to go abroad during the Christmas holidays, especially skiing. The federal government and the regions will therefore ask the European Union to ban ski stays until January 10 to prevent the spread of the virus. Bavaria, very popular with German skiers, announced Tuesday the closure of its stations for Christmas. But neighboring Austria is on another line and plans to open its tracks.

“Not” a “normal Christmas”

Western Europe is starting to reap the benefits of severe containment, and France announced on Tuesday evening an easing of restrictions in small steps as Christmas approaches. If the health situation continues to improve, the confinement will be lifted on December 15 to be replaced by a national curfew from 9 p.m. to 7 a.m., with an exception for the evenings of December 24 and 31, announced Tuesday evening. President Emmanuel Macron.

Small shops will be able to reopen on Saturday, and travel allowed within a radius of 20 km and for three hours. On the other hand, bars, restaurants and sports halls will keep their doors closed, at least until January 20.

England, after four weeks of confinement, will also reopen non-essential stores in early December and carry out a massive screening program. “It cannot be a normal Christmas and there is a long way to go until spring,” warned British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

In the United Kingdom, the most bereaved country in Europe with more than 55,000 dead, the pandemic has devastated the sectors of aviation, tourism, distribution, catering, nightlife venues and even meeting rooms. gym. GDP is expected to experience an unprecedented drop of 11.3% in 2020, the worst contraction of the British economy in more than 300 years, as the government unveiled its budget plan on Wednesday in the face of “the economic emergency”.

The Thanksgiving Challenge

In the United States, the Los Angeles authorities have decided to close restaurants, brasseries and bars from Wednesday evening and for at least three weeks. And California Health Secretary Mark Ghaly called for avoiding large traditional family gatherings on Thanksgiving, saying he banned his own mother from joining him to celebrate the holiday on Thursday. “It’s important to say no even when it comes to the people closest to our family,” he said.

But the country’s airports are crowded like never before since the start of the pandemic and the queues to get tested are endless. However, the epidemic is not weakening in the United States, with Wednesday nearly 200,000 contaminations and more than 2,400 deaths in 24 hours. The last time the daily death toll exceeded 2,400 in one day was in early May.

Vaccinations on the horizon

American officials, however, wanted to reassure the population, indicating that the vaccination campaigns would begin soon. The immense logistics necessary for the distribution of millions of doses of the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine are ready, they assured, specifying that they plan to distribute 6.4 million doses as soon as the green light from the Medicines Agency is received. three weeks.

And “40 million before the end of the year,” said General Gus Perna, chief of operations for Operation Warp Speed, set up by Donald Trump’s government to support the development and distribution of vaccines.

The European Commission was due to approve a new contract with the American company Moderna on Wednesday for the supply of up to 160 million doses of vaccine. This is the sixth contract concluded by the EU with a pharmaceutical company.

Spain and Austria have announced that they will start a vaccination campaign in January. It will be from the end of December-beginning of January in France.

In Japan, hitherto relatively spared, Tokyo is urging residents to avoid non-essential outings and is asking shops serving alcohol to close earlier as the number of coronavirus infections increases in the country, said on Wednesday. local media.

In Pakistan, hospitals are close to saturation and the authorities fear a second wave more deadly than the first.

More than 60 million cases of Covid-19 have been officially detected worldwide since the start of the pandemic, and nearly 1.4 million people have died from it. The United States is the most bereaved country with 262,080 dead, followed by Brazil (170,769), India (134,699) and Mexico (102,739).

With AFP

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