Russia reported its fifth record for consecutive daily deaths from Covid-19 on Saturday, as countries around the world rush to contain the rapid spread of the highly contagious variant of the Delta.
The variant has propelled a resurgence of the virus that has already killed nearly four million people, forcing many countries to reimpose restrictions well over a year after the pandemic first swept the world.
Indonesia imposed a partial lockdown on Saturday, a day after reporting more than 25,000 cases and 539 deaths, two new daily records.
Mosques, restaurants and shopping malls have been closed in the capital Jakarta, the main island of Java and Bali after the country’s daily case count quadrupled in less than a month.
The Delta variant accounts for more than 80% of new cases in some areas, the Indonesian health ministry said.
# photo1 “The stricter restrictions came too late,” said Maya Puspita Sari, a resident of Jakarta.
“Before, the people who contracted Covid-19 were strangers, but now it’s also the people closest to me who are infected… The virus is getting so close and it’s terrifying. “
Elsewhere in Southeast Asia, Myanmar on Friday ordered two million people in the second city of Mandalay to stay at home as the coup-stricken country works to contain coronavirus cases.
Russia has so far ruled out a new lockdown to tackle the surge in Delta infections, even as it reported 697 deaths on Saturday – setting a new record for the fifth day in a row.
# photo2St. Petersburg’s second-largest city on Friday night hosted a Euro 2020 quarter-final between Spain and Switzerland, with concerns after hundreds of cases were detected among spectators attending matches across the continent .
Russia had hoped its vaccination campaign would stem a new wave, but it has encountered widespread skepticism and slow deployment, with just 16% of Russia’s 146 million people being bitten.
AFP journalists saw hundreds of people waiting at vaccination points in Moscow on Friday.
“I’ve been in line for about two hours already,” said Svetlana Stepereva, a 21-year-old student in northeast Moscow.
“I want to get a jab and feel safe. “
This week, President Vladimir Putin urged Russians to “listen to the experts” rather than rumors about the virus and vaccines.
– Iran fears a fifth wave –
Iran, which is battling the deadliest coronavirus epidemic in the Middle East, has warned it could be on the verge of a new wave of infections.
“There is concern that we are on the way to a fifth wave across the country,” President Hassan Rouhani said at a meeting of Iran’s anti-virus task force, warning the public to be careful because ” the Delta variant has spread “in the southern provinces.
The Delta variant, first identified in India and now present in at least 85 countries, has caused outbreaks in places that had previously been able to largely avert the ravages of the pandemic.
Fiji, which went an entire year without recording coronavirus cases in the community until Delta arrived in April, recorded the largest increase in infections on Saturday.
Authorities have reported two deaths and warned of more to come as the virus threatens to overwhelm the South Pacific nation’s healthcare system.
Africa has also been largely untouched by the worst of the pandemic, but the number of infections has increased on the continent for six consecutive weeks, driven by the Delta variant.
Deaths rose 15% in 38 African countries to nearly 3,000 during the same period.
“We are indeed… in the eye of the third wave storm,” Deputy Health Minister Joe Phaahla said.
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© 2021 AFP