Third Covid wave hits Europe: Lockdowns imposed and vaccines remain a problem

Members of the medical employees verify info of a affected person on the pneumology unit of the AP-HP Cochin hospital, in Paris on March 18, 2021 because the variety of folks hospitalized with the Covid-19 is on the rise within the French capital.


More than a 12 months after the coronavirus outbreak was declared a pandemic, Europe is continuous to battle with the virus amid a third wave of infections and ramping up of lockdown measures.

At the identical time, the bloc’s vaccination rollout stays sluggish, hit by manufacturing points and provide snags, to the extent that European Union leaders are assembly this week to debate — as soon as once more — the introduction of potential vaccine export bans.

It comes as a handful of nations re-introduce lockdowns to curb a third wave of infections, with France, Poland and Ukraine all implementing stricter measures on the weekend which are set to final a number of weeks at the least.

A month-long partial lockdown was reintroduced in Paris Saturday, in addition to in 15 different areas in France, in an effort to get on prime of rising case numbers, largely attributed to new, extra infectious Covid variants.

The newest partial lockdown is much less stringent than earlier ones, nevertheless, prompting some to query the purpose of such a transfer, whereas others have mentioned that the brand new measures are complicated. A curfew continues to be in place and inter-regional journey stays successfully banned. Around 21 million folks in France are affected by the brand new guidelines.

The nation reported over 30,000 new day by day circumstances on Sunday, bringing the nation’s complete variety of infections to over 4.2 million. Over 92,000 folks have died as a result of virus in France up to now.

Meanwhile, Europe’s largest economic system Germany might be set to increase a nationwide lockdown into April because the nation additionally battles a third wave of Covid-19 circumstances. Several states have reportedly referred to as for an extension to present restrictions because the Covid incidence fee handed 100 circumstances per 100,000 folks, a stage the federal government beforehand mentioned would immediate it to implement an “emergency brake” — a stalling of the lifting of lockdown measures — to forestall additional unfold.

The transfer can be a blow for Germany that had began to ease lockdown measures, permitting colleges to reopen in February and some non-essential outlets to confess prospects once more earlier this month.

Vaccine struggles

The EU was criticized for bulk-ordering coronavirus vaccines later than the U.Ok. and U.S., and has subsequently needed to cope with provide points, regardless of two of the vaccines it has approved to be used — the Pfizer-BioNTech and AstraZeneca-University of Oxford photographs — being manufactured within the EU.

There are reviews that the EU may block exports of the AstraZeneca vaccine being made at a Dutch plant — a transfer that might additionally jeopardize the U.Ok.’s so-far profitable vaccine rollout. U.Ok. Prime Minister Boris Johnson is predicted to succeed in out to his European counterparts to attempt to resolve the deadlock over vaccines.

The rollout of the AstraZeneca-Oxford University vaccine has confronted a number of hurdles in latest weeks, with a handful of European international locations suspending use of the shot as a consequence of issues over a potential hyperlink to reviews of blood clots.

The World Health Organization and European Medicines Agency carried out security opinions into the vaccine with the latter ruling final Thursday that it’s protected and efficient and the advantages outweigh any dangers.

The conclusion prompted a reversal of the vaccine’s suspension from most (however not all) of the European international locations that had stopped its use, however the transfer may harm public confidence within the vaccine, which was already shaky as a consequence of misplaced questions over the efficacy of the shot within the over-65s.

Real-world information has since confirmed the vaccine is extremely efficient at lowering extreme Covid circumstances, hospitalizations and deaths in adults. The vaccine acquired one other increase on Monday when the outcomes of a giant U.S. trial have been printed displaying that the AstraZeneca vaccine is 79% efficient in stopping symptomatic sickness and 100% efficient towards extreme illness and hospitalization.

However, a YouGov ballot printed on Monday confirmed that the choice of some European nations to droop use of the AstraZeneca vaccine has “hugely damaged public perceptions of the vaccine’s safety in Europe.”

The ballot, carried out in seven European international locations (the U.Ok., Germany, Italy, France, Spain, Denmark and Sweden) between March 15-18 discovered that individuals have been extra prone to see the vaccine as unsafe than protected in France, Germany, Spain and Italy. It ought to be famous that the survey was carried out through the week when the vaccine’s security credentials have been being questioned and largely earlier than the EMA printed its security ruling on the shot.

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AstraZeneca vaccine found to be 79% effective in U.S. trial, ‘no increased danger’ of blood clots

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