Corona worldwide: concern about new dangerous variant – politics

by time news

The SPD health expert Karl Lauterbach has warned of a newly discovered variant of the virus from South Africa. The variant B.1.1.529 is classified as “very dangerous” by British specialists, Lauterbach writes on Twitter. In South Africa, the variant has displaced the delta variant of the virus, which is actually already considered to be strong. The mechanism of the variant is “completely unclear”, there are “very many mutations”.

Experts from South Africa had already presented their latest findings to the press before Lauterbach’s tweet. Accordingly, the variant does indeed bring with it a large number of mutations and differs significantly from previous manifestations of the virus. It is considered “of particular concern,” said Health Secretary Joe Phaahla.

The variant has already been detected in Botswana. In South Africa, the health authorities have so far identified around a hundred cases that they attribute to the variant. The World Health Organization is also dealing with the issue. The effectiveness of the vaccine against the new variant could be less than that of others.

Israel was already responding to the news from Africa. South Africa, Lesotho, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Namibia and Eswatini have been classified as “red countries” after a special consultation, said the office of Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett. Foreigners are no longer allowed to enter Israel from these countries, the statement said. Israelis who returned from these countries would have to be in quarantine in a Corona hotel for up to 14 days. Britain also imposed travel restrictions. (25.11.2021)

France announces increased border controls

France announces increased border controls to contain the virus. “We will strengthen it with several measures,” said Minister of Health Olivier Veran, the TF1 channel. Details on this would be determined in the next 24 to 48 hours. The government had previously taken tightened measures to counter a fifth wave of infections. (25.11.2021)

Portugal is reintroducing restrictions

Despite the high vaccination rate, Portugal is also reintroducing corona restrictions in view of the increasing number of infections. All air travelers who want to come into the country and are already fully vaccinated must show a negative test upon arrival, said Prime Minister Antonio Costa at a press conference.

Completely immunized people would also have to show a negative corona test for visits to nightclubs, bars, major events and nursing homes. Inside, it is again mandatory to wear masks. The start of school after Christmas will be postponed by a week, work in the home office will be compulsory in the first week of January. Portugal is one of the countries with the highest vaccination rate in the world. (25.11.2021)

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Czech President after a positive Covid test in the clinic

In the Czech Republic, President Milos Zeman is taken to hospital after a positive corona test. The 77-year-old will be treated there, his work program has been suspended, his office said. Zeman was supposed to appoint the previous opposition leader Petr Fiala as the new prime minister on Friday (tomorrow). Zeman had been released from the hospital just hours earlier for other treatment. (25.11.2021)

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EMA approves vaccine for children

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) allows the Covid-19 vaccine from Biontech and Pfizer to be used in children aged five to eleven. The responsible EMA committee recommended an extension of the approval on Thursday. The final decision still has to be made by the European Commission, but this is a matter of form. So far, the vaccine has been approved in the European Union from the age of twelve. So far, there has been no approved preparation for younger children.

Federal Health Minister Jens Spahn announced on Monday that the entire EU would receive delivery of the children’s vaccine on December 20, and that Germany would then receive 2.4 million doses in one fell swoop. Biontech confirmed the schedule. “With the delivery to Germany, about half of the children between the ages of five and under twelve living in Germany can be vaccinated,” said a spokeswoman for the Mainz-based manufacturer. The schedule was discussed repeatedly with representatives of the EU Commission and was finally confirmed last week. An earlier delivery is not to be expected: “All upstream processes were aligned to this deadline.”

The Standing Vaccination Commission (Stiko) prepares a recommendation for vaccinating children at the start of the first delivery. “Our goal is to have this recommendation ready by the end of December, if possible by the start of delivery of the children’s vaccine to the federal states,” said Stiko boss Thomas Mertens recently. When the vaccine was approved by the EU for those aged twelve and over in May, Stiko initially only recommended vaccinations for adolescents with previous illnesses. It was only in August that she recommended this to everyone aged twelve and over and referred to a broader database, in particular from the American vaccination program with millions of vaccinated young people.

After approval by the American FDA at the end of October, around three million children from the age of five were vaccinated with Biontech in the USA, and vaccinations started this week in Israel and Canada. (25.11.2021)

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Violence against women is increasing

In the corona pandemic, according to a report by the Oxfam aid organization, an increase in violence against women can be observed around the world. During the first lockdown in 2020, the number of calls to help hotlines “increased significantly” in ten countries examined, Oxfam Germany announced on Thursday in Berlin. Malaysia is the front runner with 111 percent more calls. There were 79 percent more calls in Colombia, 73 percent in Italy and 69 percent in South Africa. In Argentina and Great Britain, the hotlines recorded a quarter more calls.

In addition, many women’s rights organizations have less funding available, it said. Governments would have to provide more financial support for such organizations, demanded Oxfam. A “coordinated, comprehensive and cross-sectoral response” to the crisis is also needed so that victims of gender-based violence can be supported.

“The progress that has been made in empowering women over the past 30 years is in jeopardy,” said Oxfam Germany development policy expert Sandra Dworack. Millions of women and girls as well as people from the queer community experienced a “double pandemic” of violence and Covid-19.

Thursday is International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. According to Oxfam, it kicks off the “16 days of activism against gender-based violence” days of action, which will end on Human Rights Day on December 10th. (25.11.2021)

WHO once again sees Europe as the epicenter of the pandemic

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Europe has once again become the epicenter of the corona pandemic. The reason for this is a “false sense of security” with regard to protection through vaccines, said WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus at a press conference.

He pointed out that more than 60 percent of all new corona infections and deaths in Europe had been recorded in the past week. People in Europe would have the impression that they would not need to take any further precautionary measures after vaccination. Vaccination, wearing a mask and distance are still important to stop the transmission of the virus.

According to WHO estimates, another 700,000 people in Europe could die of Covid 19 disease by March 2022. Based on the current trend, the number of corona deaths would then rise to a total of more than 2.2 million. So far, more than 1.5 million people infected with corona have died in Europe. Covid-19 is now the leading cause of death in the region, to which the WHO counts 53 countries, including Russia and Turkey. (24.11.2021)

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Italy tightened measures for unvaccinated people and expanded compulsory vaccination

Italy tightened the corona measures for unvaccinated people. As of December 15, they will no longer be allowed to visit restaurants, cinemas, theaters, discos and sporting events, as the government in Rome has decided. In addition, the 3-G rule will apply to local and long-distance public transport from December 6th. These measures should initially remain in force until January 15th.

In addition, the cabinet expanded the compulsory vaccination for government employees to include all school staff, the police and the military. In addition, health care workers who are already required to be vaccinated must be boosted. (24.11.2021)

Ischgl: Public prosecutor’s office stops investigations

The Innsbruck public prosecutor has stopped the investigation into the spread of corona in Ischgl winter sports. The authorities said that no charges were being brought because there was no evidence that “someone culpably did or failed to do something,” which has increased the risk of infection.

In March 2020, Ischgl was also considered a hotspot for the spread of the virus because of its après-ski scene. The place and the entire Paznaun Valley were finally quarantined under sometimes chaotic circumstances. The investigations focused on five people in charge from several authorities. They were accused of reacting too late and insufficiently. An expert report that has already been presented saw no failure in office, but misjudgments by some of those responsible. Pressure from the tourism industry on decision-makers was not found. Numerous civil proceedings are pending before the Vienna Regional Court, in which, among other things, the relatives of German victims are suing for damages.

Meanwhile, Austria reports the second highest daily value for new corona infections since the beginning of the pandemic. After a significant decrease the day before, a particularly high number of new corona infections have now been recorded, namely 15 365 within 24 hours. The number of patients in the intensive care units remained stable within a day, but has roughly doubled since the beginning of the month. The seven-day incidence is around 1100. The infection rate is particularly strong among five- to 14-year-olds. In this group, the incidence is 2300. In view of this, it is being discussed whether the schools that have previously been open despite the lockdown should be closed. (24.11.2021)

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