Nations introduce lockdowns, curfews and school closures to fight Covid-19 resurgence
Sunday - 03/01/2021 07:36
Countries across the world tightened restrictions on their populations Saturday to fight a resurgence in the coronavirus, as the European Union offered to help drug companies expand vaccine production to improve distribution "bottlenecks".
From local curfews to alcohol bans and complete lockdowns, governments are trying to tackle a surge in cases.
The coronavirus has killed more than 1.8 million people globally since emerging in China in December 2019, according to a tally from official sources compiled by AFP.
But experts fear the worst is yet to come, predicting a sharp rise in infections and deaths after weeks of holiday gatherings.
The US has seen a worrying surge in coronavirus infections in recent months and on Saturday saw its highest number yet recorded in one day, with more than 277,000.
In Russia, health minister Mikhail Murashko said more than 800,000 people had received the domestically produced Sputnik V vaccine and that 1.5 million doses had been distributed throughout the country of around 147 million.
The Kremlin has held back on imposing nationwide virus restrictions, instead placing its hopes on the mass vaccination drive to end the pandemic and save its struggling economy.
The French government, facing the threat of a new wave of Covid-19 infections, lengthened an overnight curfew by two hours in parts of the country to help combat the virus.
The curfew will start at 6:00 pm, rather than 8:00 pm in parts of France, mainly in the country's east. Paris has, for now, been spared the additional restriction.
'We had to party'
The new French restrictions came as police booked more than 1,200 revellers Saturday when an illegal rave in northwestern France finally ended after more than two days of partying that saw clashes with police.
Around 800 of them were booked for flouting anti-virus measures, and the regional health authority in Brittany noted a "high risk of the spread of Covid-19" at the event.
"We knew what we were risking... we had to party, for a year everything has been stuck," said a 20-year-old waitress.
Spanish police broke up another gathering Saturday near Barcelona, where 300 people had been partying for more than 40 hours.
And footballers were also among those caught breaking the rules, with Tottenham's Erik Lamela, Sergio Reguilon and Giovani Lo Celso to be disciplined after a picture emerged of them attending a large party.