A day after the French stopped using the mask outdoors, the head of the Spanish government, Pedro Sanchez, announced that its citizens would be able to do the same from Saturday, June 26.
“This will be the last weekend with outdoor masks, because on June 26 we will not use them in public,” Sanchez said at a business event in Barcelona.
“Our streets and faces will regain their normal appearance in the next few days,” he added.
Outdoor use of the mask was imposed in Spain in May 2020, initially only when it was not possible to maintain a safe distance. After that, it ended up being mandatory generalization of use.
The improvement in the health situation and the approaching arrival of the northern summer (winter in Brazil), where Spain hopes to begin to recover the millions of tourists lost by the pandemic, has increased pressure to lift the measure, as France and Belgium have already done.
– Delta dynasty annihilates Moscow –
In contrast to this optimism, there is also growing concern about the spread of the delta variant, which was first discovered in India and considered to be more contagious. This alternative has already caused a devastating wave in this great country in South Asia.
Now, this alternative is wreaking havoc in Moscow, where it accounts for nearly 90 percent of new COVID-19 cases, according to Mayor Sergei Sobyanin.
The epidemic broke out in the Russian capital, where 9,056 new infections were recorded within 24 hours. It is a record number since the beginning of the pandemic and three times that was discovered two weeks ago.
This prompted the mayor, who imposed a few days ago compulsory vaccinations on workers in the service sector, to issue orders to suspend mass entertainment events, as well as to close concert halls and the cheering area in the European Football Cup matches.
“I didn’t want to do it, but we have to,” Sobyanin said.
The delta variant is also thought to be responsible for an unexpected outbreak of cases in the UK, which delayed the disengagement by four weeks and extends for the second year in a row without the famous Caribbean carnival in the Notting Hill borough.
The organizers of this colorful and lively party have justified the postponement with “the permanent uncertainty and dangers posed by the coronavirus.”
It is also worrying in Germany, where the health minister announced on Friday that half of its population – 41.5 million out of 82 million – had already received at least the first dose of the vaccine.
As for this, not ‘if’, said Minister Jens Spahn, ‘but when ‘delta type’ was dominant.
– Uneven vaccination –
The pandemic affects the world very unevenly. The planet recorded 9,750 new deaths within 24 hours, bringing the global tally of injuries to 3,844,390 people.
Almost half of that number came from three countries: Brazil (2,311), India (1,587) and Colombia (596).
And access to vaccines is uneven, with 2.5 billion doses given worldwide, according to an AFP tally based on official data.
According to these figures, 72 out of every 100 residents of rich countries received one or two doses of the vaccine, a proportion that drops to 1 in 100 people in poor countries.
One of the more significant discrepancies is between Israel, where 5.1 million people have been fully vaccinated (55% of its population), and Palestine, which has a population of only 260,000, with the two doses in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
To alleviate this situation, the new Israeli government announced on Friday that it will give the Palestinian Authority, whose government is based in the occupied West Bank, one million doses “which are about to expire.”
In addition, thousands of volunteers and those responsible for the Olympic Games in Tokyo have begun to receive the vaccine. The question remains whether the health situation will allow the local audience to access the competitions.