Pope Francis criticizes people who refuse to wear masks


Pedestrians walk on a street in Sittingbourne, in the district of Swale in Kent, England, which has become a hotspot for coronavirus, on November 24. Ben Stansall / AFP / Getty Images

Countries in Europe are still grappling with the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic. Here is the latest news from the continent.


Holidays: Germany’s top executives have agreed on a draft proposal to describe the Christmas and New Year celebrations, according to CNN affiliate NTV. German Chancellor Angela Merkel will meet state prime ministers on Wednesday to agree on the framework. The draft proposal says that:

  • Up to 10 people can celebrate Christmas and New Years together, children up to 14 years old being excluded from this count
  • The deadline for these rules would be from December 23 to January 1
  • Fireworks should be banned in popular public spaces to avoid crowds.

ICUs are packaged: Patients treated in intensive care units have reached an all-time high, according to data released Monday by the German Interdisciplinary Association for Intensive and Emergency Medicine.

  • 3,742 Covid-19 patients are treated in intensive care units
  • About 57% of intensive care patients require ventilation
  • 21,333 intensive care facilities in the country are currently occupied for other diseases
  • 6,616 ICU beds are still vacant

Cases and deaths: Germany has recorded 13,554 new daily coronavirus infections in 24 hours – 865 fewer than Tuesday a week ago – according to data from the country’s infectious disease agency, the Robert Koch Institute.

The reported death toll increased from 249 to 14,361. The total number of coronavirus cases in Germany now stands at 942,687. Its positivity rate stands at 9.6%, up from 9.2% last week .


The cases fall: The number of new cases of Covid-19 in Belgium continues to fall, but it is declining more slowly than in the first half of November.

Over the past week, an average of 3,672 new cases daily were recorded in the country, either a decrease of 28% or a halving of the number of infections every 15 days.

“This makes this drop less pronounced than in the first half of November, when it saw a drop of almost 50% on a weekly basis or a halving every 7 days,” said Steven van Gucht, virologist in head of the Belgian health authority, Sciensano. . He added that if this trend continues, they expect an average of 500 new cases per day by the end of the year.

Belgium has so far recorded 559,902 cases of Covid-19, with a total of 15,755 deaths.

Confinement: Strict lockdown measures were put in place on November 2 and are expected to last until December 13, with a review next Friday. Local media are reporting that strict measures may well be maintained for the Christmas holidays to avoid another wave.

Belgium has so far recorded 559,902 cases of Covid-19, with a total of 15,755 deaths.


Vaccines: Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte announces vaccine distribution will start at the end of January. He said that for now, the vaccine will be voluntary and will not be administered on a mandatory basis.

Conte said he would “definitely get” the vaccine because it will be “absolutely safe”, adding that he however would not be among the first to be vaccinated since “the frail and most at risk must first. to have “.

Christmas: Hopes of skiing over the Christmas holidays are fading, after Conte stressed that allowing an “indiscriminate holiday in the snow” would cause a third wave.

In an interview with Italian television on Monday evening, Conte said coordination between EU countries aimed at limiting “ski-related” activities was necessary because if Italy bans skiing, but neighboring countries allow it, so Italian tourists return home after hitting the tracks abroad. would risk bringing the contagion back to Italy.

At the moment, there is no specific government decree banning skiing.


Exit lock: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced plans to return to a three tier system when England ends the lockdown on December 2. Under the previous level system, regions were previously classified as follows: “medium” alert level level 1, “high” alert level 2 alert level and level 3 “very high”.

The British Medical Association (BMA) warned its strategy was “fraught with risk” and “threatened to reverse progress and undermine difficult sacrifices” the public has already made.

Chaand Nagpaul, chairman of the BMA, said it was “of great concern that outdoor events with crowds of up to 4,000 people were allowed to take place and that groups of 1,000 people were allowed to gather in the interior because most of the new proposals are more relaxed than previous measures. ”

He added that the government should not “repeat the same mistakes” of the “failures of the first three-tier system” which led to another nationwide lockdown.

Last week the BMA called for tough new measures to end lockdown in England to avoid a “collapse” of health services this winter. Among the measures the BMA wants to see imposed is the ban on travel between or between the various local lockdown levels.

Ministers will announce and vote on which areas will be placed in which level on Thursday.


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