British Prime Minister Boris Johnson wants to present a plan for the end of the week-long corona lockdown in England this Monday. Johnson has announced a “cautious but irrevocable” exit. It is already known that residents of retirement and nursing homes will be able to receive visits from selected relatives or friends again from March 8th.
It is expected that the schools will open on the same date. In addition, meetings between two households outdoors and outdoor activities such as golf or tennis might initially be possible. “Our priority has always been to get children back to school as it is vital to their education and their mental and physical health,” Johnson said in a statement. “We will also create ways in which people can safely meet their loved ones.”
For retail and hospitality, it will be even longer before they are allowed to reopen. All further easing steps should depend on the successful further progress of the vaccinations, a manageable infection situation and that dangerous corona variants do not spread any further.
Since health is the responsibility of the regional governments, Johnson can only decide for most of England. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland determine their corona measures independently.
The third lockdown with extensive exit and contact restrictions has been in effect in England since January 5th. Great Britain is one of the countries hardest hit by the pandemic in Europe. The government is relying on mass vaccinations. To date, more than 17 million people nationwide have received a first dose – one in three adults.
The curve of new infections has been falling quite continuously since the beginning of January. Most recently, the country counted 124 new cases per 100,000 inhabitants in the past seven days. In Germany, this seven-day incidence on Sunday was just over 60.
The statistician David Spiegelhalter from Cambridge University, who is also on the government’s scientific advisory body, emphasized that it was important to allow sufficient time to pass between loosening steps in order to be able to recognize the effects on the infection situation. “Things can change and we have seen that they can change very quickly, and that is very worrying,” Spiegelhalter told Times Radio.
On Monday, the cabinet should finally decide on the easing before Johnson wants to present his plan to parliament and the public later in the day.
Biontech vaccine aims to prevent infections
New data from Israel suggest that the vaccine from Biontech and its partner Pfizer works very reliably even under real conditions. Scientists from the US company and the Israeli Ministry of Health had evaluated the data from around 1.7 million people who had been vaccinated. It showed that the vaccine protects fully vaccinated people 93 better than unvaccinated people from Covid diseases, hospital admissions and deaths.
The Israeli Internet portal “ynet” reported about it first.
The manuscript that the SZ is available also suggests that the vaccine prevents 90 percent infections – including asymptomatic infections. However, there was no systematic search for asymptomatic infections.
The study authors admit that their work is not designed to reliably assess the protection of the vaccine against contagion.
So far, there is only reliable data on how well the available vaccines prevent diseases, but not how many of those vaccinated can still get infected and then possibly pass the virus on to others. A vaccine that also stops infections would be very helpful in fighting the pandemic. With sufficient vaccination rates, it could theoretically slow down the circulation of the virus and thus delay the formation of new mutants. A more comprehensive immunity could be achieved in the population, which would also protect the unvaccinated.
Israel, which has a population of around 9.3 million people, runs one of the most ambitious vaccination programs in the world. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expects 95 percent of citizens over the age of 50 to be vaccinated in two weeks.
Against this background, Israel introduced relief on Sunday for citizens who have been vaccinated against the coronavirus or have recovered from illness. With a Green Pass you can visit fitness studios, hotels, theaters or sporting events, among other things. Health Minister Juli Edelstein wrote on Twitter that more than 3.2 million Israelis could now enjoy these benefits.
The Green Pass is gradually reopening the country,” said Netanyahu.
Ireland does not want to open gastronomy again until midsummer
In view of the high number of corona infections, Ireland does not want to open the hospitality industry before midsummer. This is what the prime minister of the country, Michael Martin, tells the broadcaster RTE. Bars, restaurants, cafes and hotels in Ireland have been closed for most of the past twelve months.
The government wants to be cautious when opening it, as around 90 percent of new infections were the British coronavirus mutation.
Russia releases third corona vaccine
The active ingredient was developed at the Chumakov Research Center for Immunobiological Preparations of the Russian Academy of Sciences. By the end of the year, 20 million doses are to be produced, and according to the researchers, the effectiveness is 90 percent. So far, however, this is only based on interim results; extensive clinical studies on effectiveness are not yet available.
The active ingredient is now registered in around 30 countries. It is not yet approved in the European Union.
The re are also 80,000 doses of the second Russian vaccine Epivac Corona, which is to be used from March.
Brazilian Corona variant detected in Sweden
The regional council of Gävleborg announced on Saturday that the variant has been identified for the first time in the country. Those affected are fine, they do not need any medical care. Accordingly, none of them had previously been in Brazil.
The variants from Great Britain and South Africa had previously been detected in the country. According to the World Health Organization, the variant initially discovered in Brazil has already spread to more than 20 countries.
Argentina’s health minister fired after vaccination scandal
After a scandal over preferential treatment of political allies in the case of corona vaccinations, Argentina’s President Alberto Fernández has fired his health minister Ginés González García.
The scandal was triggered by the pro-government journalist Horacio Verbitsky, who told a radio broadcast that after a phone call with González García he had been summoned to the Ministry of Health to be vaccinated. Due to his age, job and personal risk, it would not have been his turn yet. In total, the ex-minister is said to have reserved 3,000 vaccine doses for personal use.
The powerful union boss Hugo Moyano with excellent connections in government circles and the demimond is said to have been vaccinated together with his wife and 20-year-old son.
In Argentina, the Russian vaccine Sputnik V is mainly used, and the first doses from the pharmaceutical company Astrazeneca have recently arrived. So far, just 390,000 of the 45 million Argentines have been vaccinated. Since the beginning of the corona pandemic, a good two million people in the South American country have been shown to have been infected with the virus. 51,000 patients have died in connection with Covid-19.
World Bank wants to quickly secure vaccine supplies for poor countries
The World Bank Group is helping poor countries buy and distribute vaccines, tests and treatments with $ 12 billion.
Czech request for help to Germany is getting closer
The y want to be prepared in the event that there are no longer enough beds in the Czech Republic to care for all Covid-19 intensive care patients.
Prime Minister Andrej Babiš initially resisted a request for help, but has now agreed to the preparations. A few days ago, Deputy Health Minister Vladimir Cerny also affirmed that the neighboring countries will only be asked for help when 90 percent of the capacities in the hospitals have been exhausted. This threshold has now almost been reached at 86 percent. Patients are already being transferred within the Czech Republic every day.
The y are sometimes transported over long distances by ambulance and rescue helicopter.
In the Czech Republic, there is a stricter mask requirement in shops, public transport and hospitals from Monday. Either an FFP2 mask or two surgical masks must be worn there.