Former French president dies of Covid complications
The former French president Valery Giscard d’Estaing has died from complications linked to Covid-19, his foundation said on Wednesday.
Giscard, who was 94 and served as France’s leader from 1974 to 1981, had recently been hospitalised in Tours with respiratory problems. He recovered but was re-admitted in mid-November.
“His state of health had worsened and he died as a consequence of Covid-19,” his family said in a statement to AFP.
The Foundation Valery Giscard d’Estaing said on Twitter that: “In accordance with his wishes, his funeral will take place in the strictest family intimacy.”
He was known for steering the modernisation of French society during his presidency, including allowing divorce by mutual consent and legalising abortion, and was one of the architects of European integration:
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Former French president Valery Giscard d’Estaing died on Wednesday from complications linked to Covid-19, his foundation said. Giscard was admitted to hospital in September with respiratory problems. He recovered but was re-admitted in mid-November. He was 94.
Meanwhile the global Covid death toll is nearing 1.5m, with 1,488,992. Currently, the world is regularly suffering more than 10,000 deaths per day, according to Johns Hopkins University. There are 64.3m cases worldwide.
Here are the other key developments from the last few hours.
- Germany will extend restrictive measures designed to stem a tide of new Covid-19 infections until 10 January, the chancellor Angela Merkel said on Wednesday after talks with German state leaders. The measures, which had been due to expire on 20 December, include keeping restaurants and hotels shut and limiting private gatherings to five people from two households.
- Spain caps end-of-year parties to 10 and restricts domestic travel. The Spanish government agreed with regional authorities on Wednesday that a maximum of 10 people per household will be allowed to gather for the Christmas and New Year holidays to avoid spreading the coronavirus, the health minister Salvador Illa said.
- Vaccines won’t prevent short-term coronavirus surge – WHO expert. The World Health Organization does not believe there will be enough supplies of coronavirus vaccines in the next three to six months to prevent a surge in the number of infections, its top emergency expert said.
- UK put speed before public confidence in vaccine, says EU agency. The European Medicines Agency has suggested British regulators prioritised speed over winning public confidence to enable the UK to become the first western country to license a coronavirus vaccine.
- France to carry out border checks to stop skiers spreading Covid. France will carry out random border checks over the holiday season targeting French skiers on their way to and from foreign resorts – particularly Switzerland and Spain – where slopes stay open, the prime minister, Jean Castex, said.
- Beware fake coronavirus vaccines, says Interpol. Interpol has issued a global alert to law enforcement agencies around the world warning them that organised crime networks may try to sell fake Covid-19 vaccines or steal real supplies.
- Putin orders Russia to begin mass Covid-19 vaccinations. President Vladimir Putin has ordered Russian authorities to begin mass voluntary vaccinations against Covid-19 next week, as Russia recorded 589 new daily deaths from the coronavirus.
- North America seeing record-setting daily Covid-19 cases. Covid-19 deaths in the Americas have increased nearly 30% in November compared to the end of October, while North America is seeing record-setting daily cases registered, the WHO regional director, Carissa Etienne, said.