Coronavirus: What's Happening in Canada and Around the World on Saturday? | MCU Times

Coronavirus: What’s Happening in Canada and Around the World on Saturday?

The latest:

This was to be Christmas in Europe, where family and friends could once again embrace the festivities of the holiday and each other. Instead, the continent is the global epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic, as cases rise to record levels in many countries.

With infections rising again despite almost two years of restrictions, the health crisis is increasingly pitting citizen against citizen – the vaccinated against the unvaccinated.

Governments desperate to protect overburdened health systems are introducing rules restricting options for the unvaccinated in the hope that it will drive up the vaccination rate.

Austria went a step further on Friday, making vaccinations mandatory from 1 February.

“For a long time, perhaps too long, I and others have been thinking that it must be possible to convince people in Austria to persuade them to be vaccinated voluntarily,” said Austrian Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg.

Police officers check the vaccination status of visitors during a patrol at a Christmas market in Vienna on Friday. Austria has ordered a nationwide lockdown to begin on Monday and also makes vaccinations mandatory from 1 February. (Lisa Leutner / The Associated Press)

He called the move “our only way to break out of this vicious circle of viral waves and lockdown discussions forever.”

Governments strike down

While Austria so far stands alone in the EU on making vaccinations mandatory, more and more governments are cracking down.

As of Monday, Slovakia is banning people who have not been vaccinated from all unnecessary shops and malls. They will also not be allowed to attend any public event or gathering and will be required to test twice a week just to go to work.

“A merry Christmas does not mean a Christmas without COVID-19,” warned Prime Minister Eduard Heger. “For that to happen, Slovakia must have a completely different vaccination rate.”

He called the measures “a lockdown for the unvaccinated.”

problems throughout Europe

Slovakia, where only 45.3 percent of the 5.5 million inhabitants are fully vaccinated, reported 8,342 new virus cases on Tuesday.

It is not just the nations of Central and Eastern Europe that are suffering again. Wealthy nations in the West are also being hit hard and are once again imposing restrictions on their populations.

A COVID-19 patient receives treatment in the intensive care unit at the Asklepios Clinic in Gauting, Germany, on Friday. The head of Germany’s disease control agency said that regular medical care can no longer be guaranteed in parts of the country as hospitals and intensive care units are overloaded. (Matthias Balk / dpa / The Associated Press)

“It is really, absolutely, time to intervene,” German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Thursday. With a vaccination rate of 67.5 percent, her nation is now considering mandatory vaccinations for many health professionals.

Greece is also targeting the unvaccinated with new measures. Late Thursday, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis announced a battery of new restrictions for the unvaccinated, keeping them away from venues including bars, restaurants, cinemas, theaters, museums and gyms, even though they have tested negative.

“It’s an immediate act of protection and, of course, an indirect urge to be vaccinated,” Mitsotakis said.

– From The Associated Press, last updated at 7.00 ET

What’s happening in Canada

SE | Your questions about vaccines and children answered:

COVID-19: Your questions about vaccines and children answered

Pediatric Infectious Diseases Specialists Fatima Kakkar and Dr. Jacqueline Wong answers parents’ questions about COVID-19 vaccines for children, including what to expect and the occurrence of “long COVID” in children. 8:03

What’s going on around the world

Burnt bicycles were seen in the Dutch port city of Rotterdam on Saturday after a protest against COVID-19 restrictions became violent the night before. (Jeffrey Groeneweg / ANP / AFP / Getty Images)

As of early Saturday, more than 256.8 million cases of COVID-19 had been reported worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University’s COVID-19 tracker. The reported global death toll was more than 5.1 million.

IN Europe, police opened fire on protesters and seven people were injured in riots that broke out in the center of Rotterdam around a demonstration against COVID-19 restrictions. Rebels tumbled through the Dutch port city’s central shopping district, setting fire and throwing stones and fireworks at officers, the mayor said early Saturday.

IN Asia, 200 vaccinated foreign tourists arrived on Saturday on Vietnam’s beach-lined island of Phu Quoc, the first wave of visitors to the country in nearly two years as it seeks to revive its pandemic-ravaged tourism economy.

A health worker takes a nasal swab sample from a South Korean tourist for a COVID-19 test upon their arrival on Vietnam’s Phu Quoc island on Saturday. (Vinpearl / Handout / Reuters)

IN Africa, Nigerian authorities on Friday launched a campaign to significantly expand the country’s coronavirus vaccination. Officials aim to vaccinate half of the population by February, a goal they believe will help them achieve herd immunity.

IN America, The United States on Friday opened COVID-19 booster shots to all adults and took the extra step of urging those 50 and older to seek one, with the aim of averting a winter rise as coronavirus cases rise, even before millions of Americans traveling on vacation.

– From Reuters, The Associated Press and CBC News, last updated at 7.00 ET

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