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Biden will create crisis cell to address Covid pandemic


The president-elect of the United States, Joe Biden, announced this Saturday that from Monday he will create a crisis cell to address the coronavirus pandemic, while the country breaks record of infections and restrictions multiply in Europe where there were protests.

“On Monday I will establish a group of leading scientists and experts as advisers” to work “on a plan that will take effect on January 20, 2021,” the day of the presidential inauguration, Biden said in his victory speech to a crowd of supporters. gathered in Wilmington, Delaware, after being declared the winner of Tuesday’s elections by the major US media.

This week the country has recorded record numbers of new infections for several days. On Saturday, more than 122,000 new positive cases of Covid-19 were registered, according to Johns Hopkins University, and 991 people died of the virus in the country most affected by this disease on the planet.

The main world power surpassed 237 thousand deaths and 9.8 million cases of coronavirus on Saturday night.

In Europe, the German city of Leipzig (east) was the scene of violence between security forces and protesters against the use of masks.

The police, who were deployed en masse in the center of the city where some 20,000 people demonstrated, told AFP that they had made “arrests” without further details.

In Madrid, hundreds of anti-vaccine activists demonstrated on Saturday against the “dictatorship” of the coronavirus and the restrictions imposed by the authorities to try to stop the pandemic.

“Fear brings as a consequence the lowering of our immune defenses”, said one of the protesters, Maribel García, who does not wear a mask unless her interlocutor “is afraid.”

New measures came into force on Saturday in Poland, which registers half a million cases: cinemas and theaters closed their doors. In shopping malls, only stores considered essential are open. Virtual teaching was also extended to children.

Portugal also joined countries that decreed a curfew to curb the virus’s outbreak, Prime Minister Antonio Costa announced on Saturday.

Greece began a second lockdown on Saturday, following France, England, Ireland and part of Italy.

On Friday night a curfew entered into force in Italy for at least three weeks. In addition, Lombardy, Piedmont, Valle d’Aosta and Calabria were declared “red” and “high risk” regions and 16 million Italians will have to respect a new confinement.

The Italian government decided to approve new financial measures to support families and sectors most affected by the pandemic, for an amount of about 2.5 billion euros (2.96 billion dollars) to alleviate a recession unprecedented since the Second World War, published the local press this Saturday.

France surpassed 40,000 deaths from coronavirus on Saturday, according to data from the French Public Health agency (SpF).

Europe is clearly the place where the virus is spreading the fastest right now. The continent has already exceeded 300,000 deaths, a quarter of the world total.

Worldwide, infections exceed 49 million; 9.7 million of those infections occurred in the United States.

Worrying mutation

This week, Denmark announced that it will euthanize all its minks, between 15 and 17 million, after discovering in these animals a mutation of the coronavirus transmissible to man.

According to the Danish Prime Minister, Mette Frederiksen, this mutant version of SARS-Cov-2 could threaten the efficacy of a future vaccine, after this virus was transmitted by those animals to 12 people.

The mutation of a virus is something banal and often without consequences, according to the scientific community. Cases of Covid-19 have already been registered in mink farms in countries such as Spain, the Netherlands or the United States.

The fear is that “it will emerge as a second dominant virus in the population. (…) Making a vaccine for one strain is already complicated, if it has to be done against two, four or six strains it is even more complicated,” he explained to the AFP Gilles Salvat, expert from the French health agency Anses.

This Saturday, the United Kingdom already prohibited, as a precaution, the entry of travelers from Denmark, except the British or permanent residents.

Mourning in Latin American cinema

The pandemic seems to give a break to the inhabitants of Latin America and the Caribbean, despite the region of the world most mourned, with more than 410 thousand deaths.

However, the world of cinema had to mourn this Saturday the death of Fernando “Pino” Solanas, an emblematic Argentine filmmaker, politician and militant on the left who died at 84 in Paris, days after being admitted to a hospital for coronavirus .

Solanas was his country’s ambassador to Unesco.