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European Countries Enter New Lockdowns as Vaccine Campaigns Lag

Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson receives the first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine administered by nurse and Clinical Pod Lead, Lily Harrington at St.Thomas' Hospital in London, March 19, 2021.
Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson receives the first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine administered by nurse and Clinical Pod Lead, Lily Harrington at St.Thomas' Hospital in London, March 19, 2021.

Germany will likely institute another lockdown to contain the spread of the coronavirus, which would make it the latest European country enacting fresh restrictions.

A draft of recommendations to be presented to German Chancellor Angela Merkel will push for lockdowns to be extended until April 18, Reuters reported Sunday.

In Poland, which is seeing the highest number of daily cases since November, new measures have forced nonessential shops and other facilities to close for three weeks. Poland recorded more than 26,000 new cases Sunday and more than 350 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Nonessential stores have also been closed in Ukraine’s capital of Kyiv, where only food markets are allowed to stay open. It recorded more than 15,000 new cases Sunday and nearly 270 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data.

About one-third of France’s population is under lockdown after measures were imposed Friday in Paris and several regions in northern and southern parts of the country. More than 4,300 people were in intensive care units in France Saturday, the health ministry said, the most this year.

About 6.1 million people in France have received their first COVID-19 shot, or just less than 12% of the adult population.

But in Marseille, in the south of France, thousands of people took to the streets Sunday to celebrate carnival in defiance of pandemic restrictions.

In the United States, officials in the popular Florida tourist destination of Miami Beach extended an emergency curfew of 8 p.m. for up to three weeks after dozens were arrested Saturday. Officials say 1,000 people have been arrested in the beach town since March 1.

On Saturday, crowds of Spring Break partiers were met with pepper spray balls and SWAT teams in the beachfront city as they defied the highly unusual 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew. On February 26, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, a Republican, said the state is an "oasis of freedom" from coronavirus restrictions.

Meanwhile, the world’s largest vaccine producer has told at least three countries that their COVID vaccine shipments will be delayed.

The Serum Institute of India has informed Brazil, Morocco and Saudi Arabia that India’s overwhelming need for the vaccine is the cause of the delay.

India is experiencing a surge in infections. The South Asian nation has the third-highest number of coronavirus cases, with 11.6 million. Only the United States and Brazil have more, at 28.7 million and 11.9, respectively.

India’s Serum Institute has come under criticism for selling or donating more vaccines than putting shots into arms in India.

Meanwhile, Brazil is in talks with the United States to import excess doses of coronavirus vaccines, its Foreign Ministry tweeted Saturday.

On Sunday, Brazil reversed a decision that required local authorities to save half their COVID-19 vaccine stockpiles for second doses, instead opting to get the first shots in as many Brazilians as possible.

The South American country’s vaccine campaign has lagged, as it recorded 79,069 new cases of coronavirus infections in a 24-hour period, its Health Ministry said Saturday, and reported more than 2,400 COVID-19 deaths.

The U.S. has millions of doses of vaccine developed by Britain’s University of Oxford and the pharmaceutical giant that have been approved by the World Health Organization and the European Medicines Agency but not for use in the U.S. yet.

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, who famously told his country to “stop whining” about the country's death from “a little flu,” has signed three measures to speed the purchase of vaccines, including those from Pfizer-BioNTech and Johnson & Johnson.

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