Italy Authorizes Vaccines for Elderly; Continued spike in the US

ROME – Italy makes vaccinations mandatory for older adults, adopting some of the harshest vaccine requirements in the West to limit the spread of Covid-19 and Omicron, as figures from New York show This new variant produces fewer severe cases.

The US registered 643,660 cases on Wednesday, down from the record level seen at the start of the week when more than a million cases was recorded after the holiday backlog. However, the seven-day average of daily case reports in the country continued to rise, reaching 574,725 on Wednesday, up from 303,476 the previous week, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis of data from Johns Hopkins University.

As cases increase, President Biden and his administration prepare Americans to accept the virus as part of everyday life, in the span of time since he took office a year ago, pledging to contain the pandemic.

According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, the number of hospitalizations due to confirmed or suspected Covid-19 in the US has increased by 58% over the past two weeks, with a seven-day average of 110,334 on Wednesday. according to the US Department of Health and Human Services. However, the number of deaths from the disease has remained relatively flat over the past week in the US, with a seven-day average of daily reported deaths of 1,223 as of Wednesday, according to JHU data. Doctors in New York say they see fewer patients being admitted to the ICU in this wave compared with previous waves of the virus, suggesting that Omicron may cause a wave of milder cases.

The Italian government issued a decree late Wednesday allowing authorities to fine anyone aged 50 or older who remained unvaccinated after February 1.

The measures come amid a surge in Covid-19 infections, hospitalizations and deaths across Europe’s largest economies. Over the past week, the number of new infections in Italy has doubled to 900,000 from the previous week. The number of deaths increased by 17%.

For some Italian workers, such as teachers, doctors and policemen, vaccination is mandatory. However, under the new decree, unvaccinated workers of any kind who are 50 years or older will be barred from leaving their workplace from 15 February unless they have recently recovered. after the virus. Workers who violate these regulations will be suspended from unpaid work and face fines of up to €1,500, or US$1,700.

A child is vaccinated against Covid-19 in Iserlohn, western Germany, on Wednesday.


ina fassbender / Agence France-Presse / Getty Images

The Italian government has also banned unvaccinated people from entering government buildings, banks, post offices, hair salons and non-essential shops unless they have had a new negative test or have recently tested positive. cured.

“We are choosing to limit as much as possible the group of unvaccinated people, because they are the people who carry the weight of our health system,” Italian Health Minister Roberto Speranza told reporters. reporters late on Wednesday. Italian authorities are also pushing companies and public services to allow employees to work remotely as much as possible in the coming weeks.

Italy is not the only country to increase pressure on the unvaccinated. President Emmanuel Macron of France has said that he aims to make life miserable for the unvaccinated that they will feel obligated to be implanted.

Scientists are using automation, real-time analytics, and aggregating data from around the world to quickly identify and understand novel coronavirus variants before the next one spreads widely. Photo illustration: Sharon Shi

The French parliament passed a bill on Thursday banning unvaccinated people from entering restaurants, cafes and other public places. That would revoke provisions that currently allow unvaccinated people to gain access by showing a negative test result. The bill is currently moving to the Senate, where it will face a vote next week, close to Mr Macron’s January 15 deadline for new legislation.

In December, Greece made vaccination mandatory for people over 60 years old. A fine of €100 will be imposed starting January 16 for those who have not received at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine or made an appointment before that date for the first shot.


Medical workers conduct Covid-19 tests in Athens, on Monday.



The German federal government will meet with leaders of 16 states on Friday to discuss possible new measures to limit the spread of Omicron. Health Minister Karl Lauterbach said new restrictions, including more social distancing, would be needed to mitigate a new wave of the pandemic.

The German parliament will debate later this month a possible universal vaccination mandate, which would put additional pressure on unvaccinated people who have had to come up with negative test results to use of non-essential shops and public transport, as well as other services. The push for the vaccination mandate is controversial within the governing coalition, with some lawmakers questioning the wisdom of the proposal, which they say could divide society and discriminate against an individual. number of citizens.

A series of protests — some of them violent — against these restrictions took place across Germany. On Wednesday night, protesters tried to break through a police blockade in Munich, prompting officers to use batons and pepper spray to disperse them, a police spokesman said. .

Germany has seen a sharp increase in new coronavirus cases, with more than 64,000 new cases reported on Thursday in the last 24 hours – a 50% increase from the same period last week and the highest number ever. for more than a month. The daily death toll rose to 443, 16% more than last week, but still well below the numbers seen last winter. The seven-day rotational average of cases has now risen to more than 36,000.


Riot police blocked off a popular shopping street in Munich on Wednesday during a protest against government measures to limit the spread of the virus.



However, German authorities want to shorten the isolation and isolation period for Covid-19 patients and those who have been in contact with infected people, at least for some important workers, for example. as a member of the fire brigade. Under the proposed new regulations, both infected people and those who have been exposed to them can return to their lives if the test results are negative after seven days.

In Hong Kong, the organizers of the annual Asian Financial Forum said the meeting to be held next week in the city will be held entirely online after the Hong Kong government announced tightening of restrictions. to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

The meeting typically attracts thousands of participants and features speakers such as heads of global banks and government agencies. “This decision has been made with public safety as the primary concern,” organizers said on Wednesday.

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