- Biden’s victory was approved & Trump admitted defeat: the results of the protests in the USA.
- China locks down Shijiazhuang to contain a coronavirus flare-up.
- Germany, following Britain, introduces severe restrictions due to a new strain.
Biden’s Victory was Approved & Trump Admitted Defeat: the Results of the Protests in the USA
The Senate and the House of Representatives of the US Congress at a joint meeting approved the victory of Joe Biden in the presidential elections. Prior to that, supporters of President Donald Trump came to the building of Congress in Washington and tried to take it by storm.
On the night of January 7, four people died near the Capitol during clashes. One of the dead was U.S. Air Force veteran Ashley Babbitt. She was allegedly injured by a senior Capitol police officer. Three more people died from their injuries in medical facilities. Police arrested more than 50 people who stormed parliament. In clashes with supporters of Donald Trump, 14 police officers were injured.
Former US presidents Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Jimmy Carter condemned the storming of the Capitol.
In particular, Obama called the incident an example of “the greatest dishonor and shame” for the country. Clinton believes that Trump and his supporters have heated up the situation “to overturn the results of an election he lost.” He called the riots “an unprecedented attack” on US political institutions. And Carter condemned the violence and called on the rioters to disperse.
In turn, ex-President George W. Bush said that he and his wife watched what was happening with horror and disgust.
“I was shocked by the reckless behavior of some political leaders after the elections, as well as the disrespect shown today towards our institutions, traditions, and law enforcement agencies,” he said.
Despite protests and objections from Trump supporters, the Senate and House of Representatives confirmed Biden’s victory in the presidential election.
The congressional meeting rejected objections to the exclusion of the Georgia and Pennsylvania vote for Biden.
“Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are President and Vice President of the United States,” officially announced at the meeting.
After Biden’s victory was officially confirmed, Donald Trump promised an “orderly” transfer of power.
“Despite the fact that I completely disagree with the election results and the facts justify me, an orderly transition will take place on January 20,” he said in a statement.
China Locks Down Shijiazhuang to Contain a Coronavirus Flare-up
China has locked down Shijiazhuang, a city of 11 million people, in order to contain the country’s worst coronavirus flare-up in months.
Shijiazhuang reported 31 new confirmed coronavirus cases and 35 asymptomatic ones for Thursday. The increase brought the provincial total to 123 current confirmed cases and 181 asymptomatic cases.
Municipal officials declared a ban on outbound travel for all residents and vehicles from Shijiazhuang, except for emergencies, at a press conference held on Thursday.
Within the city, gatherings are banned, all schools have been suspended, and residential communities and villages are also closed off.
The authorities announced last week in Shijiazhuang that the city was entering a “wartime mode” to stop the spread of the virus. For all its 11 million people, a city-wide coronavirus testing program was soon carried out. To carry out the mass test drive, more than 3,000 health care personnel have been transported from other areas of the province.
Some public health experts in China claimed that the Shijiazhuang re-emergence of the virus was identified too late, with a poor link in disease prevention and control in rural areas.
Feng Zijian, deputy director of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, stated that the virus had been “spreading quietly for a while.” Villagers tended to take part in gatherings as the virus spread silently. Local health authorities also found that funerals, weddings, and other social events have been related to several infections, as the report said.
According to the state-run Health Times, religious gatherings may have attributed to the spread of the virus, too.
“Apart from wedding banquets, some villagers also held religious activities at home every Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday, or at least twice a week, participated by dozens of people, mainly the elderly,” a local official from the epicenter village of Shijiazhuang’s outbreak was quoted as saying.
Chinese officials are urging people to stay in the cities where they work during next month’s forthcoming Lunar New Year holiday. Typically, hundreds of thousands of citizens typically return to their hometowns or travel during the extended holiday, which falls this year in mid-February.
Germany, Following Britain, Introduces Severe Restrictions due to a New Strain
Germany is extending the nationwide lockdown until the end of January and imposing tough restrictions. Other European states are also trying to curb the spread of the new strain of coronavirus.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced new measures after Britain imposed its third lockdown since the pandemic began. The UK is battling a new, more contagious strain of coronavirus known as B.1.1.7, which was initially reported in south-east England.
The new virus strain and another strain, first discovered in South Africa, have already been found in dozens of countries, threatening “a new pandemic within a pandemic,” warned Virginia Masserey, Switzerland’s chief infection control officer.
Merkel said that the extension of the isolation regime in Germany implies “drastic” measures. These include restrictions on the movement of residents in regions with high levels of coronavirus infection. People can drive within a radius of only 15 kilometers from their homes. The new measures also include tight restrictions on meetings and appointments.
In early November, Germany introduced a “lightweight lockdown” and then tightened restrictions ahead of Catholic Christmas after measures failed to prevent a sharp increase in the incidence.
Merkel said the number of new infections in Germany is still too high, and the new variant of the coronavirus identified in the UK was a source of great concern.
“We have to be especially careful now. This is a new and extraordinary situation,” she said and called on the citizens to keep social contacts at a minimum and stay at home as much as possible in the next three weeks.
According to the decisions taken in the meeting, schools, daycares, and all non-essential shops will remain closed until at least Jan. 31 nationwide.
Despite lockdown measures, Germany reported more than 1,000 coronavirus-related deaths, as the second wave of Covid-19 continues to hit the country hard.
The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) registered 1,019 deaths and 21,237 new infections in the past 24 hours, above the seven-day average of cases and fatalities. These brought Germany’s total number of fatalities to 36,537 and confirmed infections to over 1.8 million since the start of the pandemic.