World Coronavirus Dispatch: Europe's woes continue as France renews curbs

Health workers wheel a Covid-19 patient into an ambulance in Paris
Macron puts France into a third national lockdown

French President Emannuel Macron announced new restrictions, effectively putting the country under a third national lockdown to check the new wave of infections. Schools and non-essential businesses will be closed across the country, travel between regions will be banned, and outdoor activities will be limited to places within six miles of home. University students will still be allowed to attend classes one day a week. For the past one week, France has reported 37,000 cases on an average and for the first time since April last year, more than 5,000 people are currently in intensive care units. Read more here

Let's look at the global statistics

Global infections: 128,922,941

Global deaths: 2,816,081

Nations with most cases: US (30,460,342), Brazil (12,748,747), India (12,221,665), France (4,705,068), Russia (4,494,234).

Human error: J&J vaccine is delayed as factory workers spoil 15 million doses

Workers at a factory producing Johnson & Johnson vaccine have conflated the ingredients, effectively contaminating up to 15 million doses and forcing regulators to delay authorisation of the plant’s production lines. The plant is run by Emergent BioSolutions, a manufacturing partner to both Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca. Federal officials attributed the mistake to human error. The mistake is a major embarrassment for Johnson & Johnson, whose one-dose vaccine has been credited with speeding up the national immunisation programme. Officials say that vaccine making is a tricky science and human errors are invetiable. However, the mix-up went uncovered for weeks, and thereby putting millions of doses at risk. Read more here

Outdoor mask decree met with dismay by Spain's tourism industry

The Spanish tourist industry has expressed dismay to the government’s order that made face masks mandatory in all outdoor spaces, including beaches and swimming pools, even when it is possible to maintain social distancing. Industry representatives complain that they were not consulted over the decision. Reacting to the flak, the Spanish government said that the decree is open to interpretation and that details of its implementation would be worked out between the central government and the country's autonomous regions. Read more here

Pandemic will weigh heaviest on tourism-dependent economies, warns IMF

The Internation Monetary Fund (IMF) has warned that scars from the pandemic will prevent the global economy from making a full recovery, though the impact over the rest of the decade will not be as severe as that of the 2008 financial crisis. Tourism-dependent countries in the Pacific Islands and in the Caribbean – such as Barbados – would be among those to suffer the most, the Washington-based organisation said. It expected global output to be about 3 per cent lower in 2024 than projected before the Covid-19 pandemic. Read more here

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