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First deaths in North Korea, reinfections in France … Update on the pandemic

As the prospect of a radiant summer approaches in France, two studies by Public Health France recall the still ubiquitous consequences of Covid-19 in our territory. Re-infections are now a known reality: the average time for a new infection is more than seven months after being diagnosed positive. In addition, mental health is still upset by the pandemic, especially among 18-24 year olds. Suicidal ideation is at a worrying level.

In the rest of the world, Rwanda follows the majority of the world in the policy of abandoning the last restrictions which weigh on the populations. In Asia, on the other hand, China and North Korea, which have chosen to adopt a total containment approach to the virus, are facing a rebound. China renounces hosting the Asian Football Cup when Pyongyang decreed general confinement.

While North Korea has long prided itself on not having any cases of Covid-19 on its soil, a first case was identified on Thursday May 12, officially paving the way for generalized confinement. Two days after the official announcement, “the number of people with fever between the end of April and May 13 is over 524,440”, announced the state news agency, KCNA. And 27 people have died from the coronavirus since Thursday.

In this country of 25 million inhabitants where no one is vaccinated, the public services are not able to test massively, which makes traceability very delicate. The sick could be many more than the shared figures. On Friday May 13 alone, “more than 174,440 people presented with fever and at least 81,430 have fully recovered and 21 have died,” KCNA said. A saber stroke for the Kim Jong-un regime, which was one of the first countries in the world to close its borders in January 2020 and kept the Covid-19 at bay until then.

According to Public Health France, France is approaching one million cases of possible reinfections with Covid-19, with the outbreak of contamination linked to the Omicron variant. “The results obtained on the samples between March 2, 2021 and April 24, 2022 show 961,550 possible cases of reinfection identified, including 96.7% since December 6, 2021”, indicates the health agency. Two categories are the most affected by this type of phenomenon: adults aged 18 to 40 and health professionals. This seems to be explained by a greater exposure to the transmission of the Covid of the two public.

The overwhelming majority of second episodes occurred during the fifth wave of the pandemic, the health body continues. The highly contagious Omicron variant is involved in 93% of these reinfections. The average time between the two episodes of infection is just over seven months. However, these conclusions have limits, reminded Public Health France in accordance with the lack of clinical, virological or epidemiological data.

More than two years after the introduction into the lives of citizens of the rules of social distancing and confinement, the mental health of the French remains “degraded”, according to Public Health France. “The health crisis has had a lasting and significant effect on the mental health of the population,” notes the health agency.

One point of the survey on the evolution of the behavior of the French during the epidemic published on Friday is worrying: the proportion of suicidal thoughts, which is higher than that observed during the first work of the organization, in February 2021. Indeed , 10% of French people have had suicidal thoughts during the year. That’s twice the level before the pandemic.

The other mental health indicators in the country remain relatively stable: 30% of those questioned show signs of anxiety or depression. Sleep problems are still at a very high level (69%). It is the young people (18-24 years old) who remain the most in difficulty as well as people in a difficult financial situation or who have declared that they have already had symptoms of Covid-19.

Scheduled for 2023, the high mass of Asian football was to be held on Chinese soil. Due to the “exceptional circumstances caused by the Covid-19 pandemic”, the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) announced the renunciation of the country led by Xi Jinping.

In the grip of an epidemic rebound pushing the megalopolises of Shanghai or Beijing under the curfew regime, China is giving up the arrival of thousands of spectators in the summer of 2023. China is therefore continuing its “zero covid” strategy, leaving to refrain from hosting international events on the scale of sports competitions.

After France which announced the end of wearing a mask in public transport or South Africa which authorized children to remove the face mask, it is Rwanda which abolishes the obligation in space audience. “The wearing of face masks is no longer compulsory. However, people are encouraged to wear masks indoors,” said a statement issued Friday evening by the Prime Minister’s Office.

This measure is part of a more global policy of easing the constraints weighing on the Rwandan population in the context of the fight against Covid-19. The country was among the fastest in Africa to vaccinate its population against Covid-19. About a third of the 13 million inhabitants have already received booster doses. Thanks to this wide vaccination coverage and a rigorous testing regime, the country has recorded 1,459 deaths from Covid-19 since the start of the pandemic.

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