Ten million people from India to Argentina have been re-locked and curfew as COVID-19 infections rose again and vaccine adoption was hampered by shortages and fears of side effects.
In India, the worst-hit state of Maharashtra ran out of vaccines as its health system collapsed under the weight of the contagion that killed 2.9 million people worldwide.
The world’s second most populous nation has added more than a million new infections since late March after disappointing itself at mass religious festivals, political rallies and bystanders at cricket games.
Every weekend, from Saturday to late April, the 125 million people in Maharashtra will be locked in their homes unless they travel or buy food or medicine.
For Bogota’s eight million residents, stay-at-home orders should also come into effect as the Colombian capital battled a third wave of infections and increased the curfew for seven million in four other major cities.
Argentina entered a nightly curfew on Friday, which lasted from midnight to 6 a.m. every day until April 30.
It will be in effect in the highest risk areas in the country, mainly in urban centers where bars and restaurants close at 11pm.
Argentina and Colombia have recorded roughly 2.5 million coronavirus cases, only surpassed by Brazil in the region.
All of France is constrained in some form, while attempts by the federal government to curb movement and trade have been curbed by several states that refused to act.
Now Berlin is changing the rules to centralize power, making adjustments that can lead to nightly curfews, and some school closings in particularly affected areas.
However, some countries were opening up.
Italy should end lockdowns on Lombardy, the epicenter of its coronavirus pandemic, and several other regions with improved contagion statistics starting next week.
Neighboring Slovenia announced that it would ease coronavirus restrictions and suspend a six-month curfew from Monday.
As in India, the rollout of stuttering vaccines in Europe faced several hurdles on Friday as European Union regulators said they were looking at the side effects of the Johnson & Johnson shot and France further restricted use of the AstraZeneca sting.
France has repeatedly changed the rules for AstraZeneca’s vaccine, first over doubts about its effectiveness, then over fears that it could be linked to blood clots.
The World Health Organization said there was “insufficient data” to support switching COVID-19 vaccines between doses.
Regarding the J&J shot, the European Medicines Agency said there were four “serious cases” of unusual blood clots reported – one fatal – with the vaccine, which uses technology similar to the AstraZeneca vaccine.
The US Food and Drug Administration said it had not found a causal link between the bite and the blood clots, but noted that “some people” in the country had blood clots and low platelet levels after receiving the vaccine and the investigation was continued.
Both jabs are approved for use in the EU, but the J&J vaccine has not yet been launched and various EU countries have stopped or restricted the use of AstraZeneca.
An AstraZeneca spokesman said half of its vaccine shipments to the EU would be delayed this week.
In Brazil, the Senate said it would open an investigation into the government’s handling of the pandemic as President Jair Bolsonaro continued to oppose lockdown measures despite recent COVID-19 deaths.
But on Friday, Rio de Janeiro lifted the current restrictions and reopened restaurants and bars for two weeks, although the city’s famous beaches remained closed.