Status: 03/26/2021 6:47 a.m.
The RKI reported 21,573 new infections in the morning. BioNtech and Pfizer are now testing their corona vaccine on younger children. Vaccinations started at NATO headquarters before the summit. All developments in the live blog.
Classification of France as a high incidence area is apparently imminent
The federal government apparently wants to declare all of France to be a high incidence area. After consulting the cabinet, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) could make such a classification today, reported the “Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung”. Chancellor Angela Merkel said that such a classification does not automatically mean border controls.
The co-chairs of the Franco-German Parliamentary Assembly, Christophe Arend and Andreas Jung, called on their respective governments to adopt a coordinated approach. In her press conference at the EU summit on the possible classification of the whole of France as a high incidence area, Merkel said that it was “not about political declarations of will, but rather looking at the long-lasting incidences”. If the seven-day incidence is “sustainable” at more than 200 new corona infections per 100,000 inhabitants, “it is classified as a risk area”. In the case of France, this appears “de facto necessary”, but does not mean that there are automatic border controls.
France in part again in lockdown
Sabine Rau, ARD Paris, daily news 8 p.m., March 20, 2021
USA pledges million aid for Palestinians
The US wants to support the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip in their anti-corona fight with the equivalent of 12.6 million euros. This was announced by the UN Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield at the monthly Middle East meeting of the Security Council in New York. The money is flowing from the US development aid agency USAID to corona control measures by Catholic aid services in medical facilities and in their use for vulnerable families in the Palestinian territories.
The funds would also be put into an emergency food supply for communities that are in need as a result of the pandemic. The US announcement marked a sharp departure from the line of the previous administration under Donald Trump, which severed relations with the Palestinians and nearly stopped financial aid for them. However, shortly after taking office on January 20, his successor Joe Biden declared that his government was reviving relations with the Palestinians and providing assistance again. The American UN Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield said the urgently needed US support in the amount of 15 million dollars was a “piece of our renewed commitment to the Palestinian people”. It brings both the “Israelis and the Palestinians more stability and security”.
High job losses in the catering industry
In the hotel and catering industry, around 200,000 jobs were lost after the first wave of the corona pandemic, despite massive short-time work. The hardest hit were marginally employed, the federal government said in response to a small request from the Greens in a preliminary report by the “Augsburger Allgemeine”. In the tourism industry, up to 70 percent of employees are on short-time work.
Corona crisis is changing mobility behavior
As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, the use of one’s own car, as well as buses and trains, has changed significantly, according to a survey. In a survey by the opinion research institute “forsa” among 1011 drivers, a good third of those questioned (36 percent) stated that they were driving less often than before the crisis. Even almost half (45 percent) used buses and trains less often. The survey was carried out on behalf of Targobank. However, only 37 percent of those surveyed believe that the pandemic will have a lasting effect on mobility behavior in Germany. The majority (58) expect a return to the situation before the crisis sooner or later.
Roaming data volume is falling significantly
Due to travel restrictions and other measures in the corona pandemic, the roaming data volume has decreased significantly. The data traffic generated in other EU countries, which is accounted for by users with German mobile phone contracts, plummeted by 11 percent to 88.3 million gigabytes in 2020. This is based on figures from the Federal Network Agency that are available to the dpa news agency.
A year earlier, the increase was around 50 percent – at that time more and more travelers in other European countries took out their smartphones without hesitation because, thanks to EU rules, they did not have to fear any extra costs. However, the pandemic halted volume growth. The reason: There were far fewer travelers than before. The number of outgoing connection minutes in other EU countries fell by a quarter to 2.9 billion.
The number of SMS sent even fell by half to 110 million. Due to the trend towards chat apps and other digital applications, interest in SMS communication has been falling for years, Corona has now accelerated the trend – in 2019, the minus for short messages was only a fifth.
Corona long-term effects: Increase in the number of cases among adolescents expected
With the increase in corona infections in children and adolescents, according to a pediatric infectiologist, more long-term consequences are to be expected in these groups. “Due to the relaxation of the measures, we expect more people to be affected with mostly diffuse, longer-lasting health problems,” said Markus Hufnagel from the Center for Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine at the Freiburg University Hospital of the dpa news agency. “Compared to the care situation in adults after surviving an infection, pediatrics is not yet prepared for this.”
In the technical language, the phenomenon of Long Covid (Long Covid-19) or Post Covid (After Covid-19) is mentioned. Since Covid-19 vaccines have not yet been approved for children and adolescents, they are among the groups that will be susceptible to the virus for a few more months. According to data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), the number of recorded corona infections in children and adolescents has been increasing for weeks. “The clinical picture is very variable,” explains Hufnagel. These include chronic exhaustion, general reduced performance and joint and muscle pain, but also skin changes. Such persistent health restrictions are also known from other viral infections such as glandular fever.
Gibraltar partially lifts corona requirements
Gibraltar has no more Covid 19 patients in the hospital, only reported one Corona case in a week and is therefore cautiously letting go. On Thursday, an exit restriction from 0 a.m. to 5 a.m., imposed three months ago, ended, which means that bars and restaurants can stay up until 2 a.m. From Saturday midnight there is no longer a mask requirement in all outdoor areas. “We are finally leaving our deadliest winter behind us and entering our most hopeful spring,” declared the Prime Minister of Gibraltar, Fabian Picardo.
However, some gathering restrictions remain in place. And the recent surge in the number of corona cases in most of Europe is of concern to authorities in the UK overseas territory. The southern Spanish region of Andalusia provides most of the workforce in Gibraltar – and only reported more than 1000 new infections on Thursday for the second day in a row.
Gibraltar was still massively affected by the pandemic around Christmas. The wave that is responsible for most of the 4271 infections and 94 deaths to date comes from this time. Only in mid-February did the number of cases decline thanks to a strict lockdown and the successful vaccination campaign, which is based on constant deliveries of cans from Great Britain.
More than 24,000 people have now been vaccinated in Gibraltar, 70 percent of the population of the British overseas territory. It also has the more than 10,000 workers from Spain who cross the border every day vaccinated.
Mexico reports more than 200,000 corona deaths
In Mexico, more than 200,000 people have been proven to have died after being infected with the coronavirus. It is commonly believed that the death toll is much higher as the testing rate in the country is considered extremely low. In late 2020, the Mexican government stopped publishing excess mortality data. President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has described the intensified vaccination campaign as a race against time.
RKI reports 21,573 new infections – the incidence rises to 119.1
The Robert Koch Institute reported 21,573 new infections in the morning. The seven-day incidence increases to 119.1 (previous day: 113.3). The value indicates how many people per 100,000 inhabitants have been infected with the corona virus in the past seven days. 183 people have died in connection with Covid-19 in the past 24 hours. This brings the number of reported deaths to 75,623. In total, more than 2.73 million people in Germany have tested positive for the corona virus so far.
BioNtech and Pfizer are now also testing the corona vaccine on younger children
After its competitors Moderna and AstraZeneca, the Mainz-based company BioNtech and its US partner Pfizer have also started testing their corona vaccine on younger children. “Together with our partner Biontech, we have administered a dose to the first healthy children in a global ongoing phase 1/2/3 study,” Pfizer told the AFP news agency. The clinical tests are intended to examine the safety, tolerability and effectiveness of the vaccine in children between six months and eleven years, it said.
NATO starts early corona vaccinations
In order to enable a smooth organization of the first NATO summit with the new US President Biden, around 3,500 employees in the Brussels alliance headquarters are being vaccinated against corona prematurely. According to information from the German Press Agency, medical staff started injecting the vaccine on Thursday. The first round of vaccinations should be completed this Saturday evening. June 14 is currently being considered as the date for the first NATO summit with Biden. The immunization of NATO personnel can take place because Poland, despite the shortage of vaccines in its own country, declares itself ready to provide the total of around 7,000 necessary doses. The NATO host country Belgium did not want to deviate from the normal vaccination sequence. According to her, the vaccinations at NATO headquarters would not have been vaccinated until next month at the earliest
The live blog from Thursday to read