Coronavirus: What’s happening in Canada and around the world on Saturday

The latest:

Thousands marched Saturday in cities across France to protest the COVID-19 health pass that is now required to access restaurants and cafés, cultural venues, sports arenas and long-distance travel.

For a sixth straight Saturday, opponents denounced what they see as a restriction of their freedom. Many criticized the measure, claiming the French government was implicitly making vaccines obligatory.

In Paris, four demonstrations were organized by different groups, and more than 200 protests were taking place elsewhere in French cities and towns. Last week, more than 200,000 marchers turned out.

The pass shows that someone is fully vaccinated, has had a recent negative test or has proof of a recent COVID-19 recovery. The law authorizing it also made vaccinations mandatory for French health workers by Sept. 15.

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Demonstrators march during a rally against the health pass in Paris on Saturday. (Adrienne Surprenant/The Associated Press)

Despite the protests, polls have shown that the majority of French people support the health pass. Millions have received their first vaccine shot since French President Emmanuel Macron announced the measure on July 12.

Since last month, France is registering a high number of infections — about 22,000 each day, a figure that has remained stable over the past week.

More than 47 million people in France, or 70.2 per cent of the population, have received at least one vaccine shot, and more than 40.5 million, or 60.5 per cent, are fully vaccinated.

What’s happening across Canada

A sign directs people to a COVID-19 vaccination site in Montreal on Saturday. (Jean-Claude Taliana/Radio-Canada)

What’s happening around the world

As of Saturday morning, more than 210.9 million cases of COVID-19 had been reported worldwide. According to the Johns Hopkins University tracking database, more than 4.4 million deaths had been reported worldwide.

In Asia, Vietnam’s government says it is sending troops to Ho Chi Minh City to help deliver food and aid to households as it further tightens restrictions on people’s movements amid a worsening surge of the coronavirus. Army personnel will be deployed to help with logistics as the city of 10 million people asks residents to “stay put” for two weeks starting Monday, a report on the government website said Friday.

People are tested for COVID-19 in Vung Tau city, Vietnam, on Saturday. (Hau Dinh/The Associated Press)

In Europe, new COVID-19 infections in Germany have reached their highest level in nearly three months amid a steady rise powered by the delta variant. The national disease control centre, the Robert Koch Institute, said on Saturday that 51.6 new cases per 100,000 residents were reported over the last seven days. It’s the first time since May 25 that the infection rate has been above 50, but it has been increasing since hitting a low of 4.9 in early July.

In the Americas, Cuba’s drug regulator has granted emergency approval for the country’s second homegrown vaccine. The Soberana 2 vaccine, which Cuba says has an efficacy rate of 91.2 per cent, has already been used to vaccinate some health workers and ordinary citizens in areas with high rates of transmission as part of early intervention studies.

In Africa, South Africans formed queues hundreds of metres long after the government made vaccinations available to all adults in order to hasten a rollout beset by challenges and delays. South Africa’s campaign got off to a slow start, owing to bureaucratic hiccups, a failure to start early talks with pharmaceutical companies and bad luck — it ditched a million AstraZeneca-Oxford shots on evidence they may not work against its dominant variant, only for that evidence to be later overturned.

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