Coronavirus Updates on January 20, 2021

The British variant of the new coronavirus continues to spread around the world and was present last week in 60 countries and territories, 10 more than on January 12, the World Health Organization has announced. The South African variant, which, like the English one, is much more contagious than the original SARS-CoV-2 virus, spreads more slowly and is present in 23 countries and territories, 3 more than on January 12, WHO specifies in its weekly epidemiological report.

Von der Leyen: "We will overcome the difficulties of the pandemic together"

"We will only get out of this pandemic together. I am determined that the EU is on the right side of history". Thus the President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen speaking at the plenary of the European Parliament. "It is a race against time, we have moved forward with exemplary speed, what we have managed to do in ten months by developing vaccines takes an average of ten years - he added -. Obviously, all countries face difficulties for production and logistics and distribution, but we will overcome these difficulties and we will do it quickly, but here too the same principle applies, we will only succeed if we are together ".

Von der Leyen: "Now the US will join the EU's efforts against Covid"

"We expect the new American government to join our effort" in the fight against Covid-19 and "we will propose to the United States to relaunch our work to strengthen preparedness and response to the" pandemic "at the G20 health summit in Rome. in May". This was stated by the president of the EU Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, speaking at the plenary of the European Parliament.

The US will re-enter the WHO

As leaked in recent days, Joe Biden will sign an executive decree for the return of the US to the WHO. This was reported by the advisers of the elected president, who takes office today in the White House.

Antony Blinken: "The US will also join Covax to guarantee the vaccine for everyone"

US Secretary of State-designate Antony Blinken announced that the Biden administration will join Covax, the international program designed to ensure access to the future Covid-19 vaccine in low- and middle-income countries. The program is led by the WHO with which the outgoing president, Donald Trump, had wanted to cut ties; Under the Trump administration, the US had not even wanted to join the Covax protocol. "We strongly believe that we can get every American vaccinated while helping to ensure that those around the world who want to have access to vaccines," Blinken said in his confirmation hearing in Congress. At the moment, the countries not participating in the protocol are, in addition to the US, Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, and some tiny or island states.

China: Beijing in lockdown. Confined 1.7 million people

Beijing has imposed the lockdown on 1.7 million people in the district of Daxing, south of the capital where the new airport is located, after six cases of Covid-19 were found for a total in the city that rose to 15. " The cases detected in Daxing have raised the alarm, the epidemic situation is tough and complex ", said Xu Hejian, spokesman for the municipality, at a press conference. Beijing has also extended the period of restrictions to 28 days for anyone arriving from abroad, including 14 days in centralized quarantine.

Portugal, home polls for the elections

Portuguese authorities have taken exceptional measures to ensure Sunday voting is possible, even with the country in full pandemic. For 48 hours, a series of teams in protective clothing and accompanied by a police officer collected the votes of those in quarantine and the elderly in nursing homes who had registered for the service. Voters were given a ballot paper to mark their choice. In a nursing home for the elderly in Montijo, a city 30 kilometers from Lisbon, the electoral team set up a makeshift booth for eight people on Tuesday.