Sunday, October 24, 2021

Latest: Spain’s Catalan region faces new infection peak

by Associated Press

MADRID – The head of the Catalan regional health service says a new peak of COVID-19 infections later this month could put severe pressure on hospitals, as some workers go on their summer vacation.

Gemma Craywinckel told RAC1 radio in an interview on Sunday that the northeastern Spanish region could see more than 500 people in intensive care within two weeks, up from around 300 currently.

She said the Catalan public health system is already “under great stress” due to the rise in infections attributed to the Delta variant.

Krewinkel said officials had failed to make local people aware of the danger the Delta version represented. He also criticized those who have faced police officers enforcing the curfew during the night.


More on the pandemic:

Vaccine disparity: Inside the stranglehold race for safe doses

– In U-turn, Boris Johnson to quarantine after COVID-19 contact

– Tunisia puts army on vaccination duty as cases rise

– Vietnam puts southern region in lockdown as escalation grows

Nightclubs upbeat, but skeptical of England’s ‘Independence Day’


– Get more AP coverage at and


Here’s what else is happening:

PARIS – The European Union’s vaccination campaign is gaining momentum with that of the United States.

European authorities’ data from Our World in Data showed 55.6% of EU citizens took at least one dose, compared to 55.4% in the US, the first time EU figures were across the Atlantic.

The data in Our World says that America still has a high proportion of people who are fully vaccinated. The figures are 48% in the US versus 42% in the EU. The UK and few other countries are moving faster than both.

The EU initially took a more cautious approach to vaccines and got off to a slower start than the US

EU Markets Commissioner Thierry Breton noted that half of the vaccines made in the bloc have been exported to more than 100 countries in total. But extreme global vaccine disparities remain. Only a small fraction of vaccines reach the poorest populations in Africa and elsewhere.

Rome – Daily new caseloads of confirmed COVID-19 infections are rising in Italy.

Health experts say it is clear that nationwide celebrations by Italian fans after European Championship football matches are an important factor.

Thousands of fans jammed the streets of Rome on 12 July to cheer for an open-top bus tour by the Italy national team, which won Euro 2020 by defeating England the night before.

The number of new confirmed cases in the Lazio region, including Rome, in the past three days. The region had the highest daily new caseload on Saturday.

A pediatrician who advises Italy’s government on anti-epidemic health measures told La Repubblica in an interview on Sunday that “the gatherings and crowds favored the viral circulation.”

Dr. Franco Locatelli said that the average age of infected people in Italy is now 28 years.


LONDON – British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will spend 10 days in self-isolation after contact with a confirmed coronavirus case.

The announcement by his office on Sunday reverses an earlier statement that unlike most people, he will not face quarantine. Johnson on Friday met Health Secretary Sajid Javid, who later tested positive for COVID-19. Contacts of positive cases usually have to self-isolate for 10 days.

Johnson’s office initially said the prime minister would instead conduct daily coronavirus tests as part of a pilot project. And the same would apply to Treasury chief Rishi Sunak, who was also approached. But Johnson’s office later said after an uproar that both men would self-isolate and “will not participate in the test pilot.”


LONDON – Thousands of young people across England are planning to dance the night away at “Independence Day” parties on Monday.

The country’s nightclubs are reopening for the first time in 17 months as almost all coronavirus rules prepare to be scrapped. Expect sparkling wine and a full dance floor. But not proof of a mask or a COVID-19 vaccine, a negative test or a recent recovery from the disease.

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The business and ravers are happy. But many others are deeply concerned by the UK government’s decision to shelve social distancing at a time when cases of the virus continue to rise again.

Many health experts fear that the government is overly confident about its vaccine rollout.


BARGNY, Senegal – Health officials have warned that COVID-19 cases are on the rise in Senegal as millions of people in the West African nation prepare for the Tabaski holiday.

New confirmed cases have risen from dozens in a day in a few weeks to a record 738 on Friday. And the health ministry says they nearly doubled overnight to 1,366 on Saturday.

President Mackie Sall and his cabinet are limiting public gatherings and travel and urging the public to continue wearing masks and sanitizing their hands frequently.

Tabasqui is celebrated in Senegal on 21 July and thousands of people come together to celebrate in large family gatherings. Many health officials are worried. People crowd markets and gather at auctions to buy sheep for the holidays.


KESRA, Tunisia – Tunisian authorities have deployed military personnel to vaccinate remote populations as coronavirus infections mount and hospitals struggle to cope.

The North African country is facing its worst coronavirus outbreak of the pandemic. The infection forced some regions back into lockdown and prompted calls for vaccines or medical aid from China, France, the United Arab Emirates and other countries.

The government of Tunisia decided to deploy armed forces to vaccinate people in areas with the worst infection rates, and especially in areas with low vaccination rates.

Tunisia is currently recording one of the world’s highest daily per capita infection rates and has reported Africa’s highest per capita epidemic death rate.


Paris – Global health experts say they expect the distribution of vaccines to be uneven between rich countries and poor countries.

But no one thought it would reach this far. Less than 1% of the world’s poorest citizens have received a dose.

And experts say it could be as long as 2023 until vaccines are widely available everywhere. This is promoting more infections and variants that can make the epidemic last longer.

The African Union’s envoy for vaccine acquisition likened the distribution disparity to a famine in which “the richest people grab the baker.”


HONOLULU — Advocates in Hawaii say the pandemic has underscored the importance of collecting and reporting racial data.

Honolulu City Councilwoman Esther Kiana says the pandemic’s toll on Pacific Islanders prompted her to present a proposal urging Hawaii government agencies to collect more specific data about Pacific Islanders.

Kiana worked at the federal level in the 1990s to separate the original Hawaiian data from the Asian data. This was motivated by concerns that Native Hawaiian students were considered over-represented in colleges when they counted as Asian.

But all other Pacific Islanders have remained in the same category since then.


HANOI, Vietnam – The Vietnamese government has put the entire southern region into a two-week lockdown starting at midnight.

Confirmed COVID-19 cases crossed 3,000 for the third day in a row. The lockdown order includes the cities of the Mekong Delta and Ho Chi Minh City. The financial and economic hub of the country houses more than 35 million people. This is about a third of the population of Vietnam.

Officials say they will have to act as the number of infections reached nearly 50,000 since the outbreak re-emerged in late April after several months of no cases. Ho Chi Minh City is the epicenter of the boom.

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