Easter shutdown in the east of Austria
In Vienna and other eastern regions of Austria, the corona measures are tightened around the Easter holidays. An “Easter rest” was necessary to avert the threat of overloading the hospitals in the capital and in Lower Austria and Burgenland, said Health Minister Rudolf Anschober (Greens). The seven-day incidence in the eastern federal states is almost 300, well above the Austrian average of around 247.
The retail trade, hairdressers and masseurs close from Maundy Thursday until the Tuesday after Easter. An exception to this is everyday business, announced Anschober after long negotiations with the heads of government of the three regions. In contrast to Germany, shops and companies in Austria are usually open on Good Friday. Furthermore, people should only go outside for walks, sports and urgent trips over the holidays.
Schools will switch to online teaching for a week after Easter. In addition, the mask requirement will be tightened and a stricter test requirement will be introduced for commuters from neighboring countries to the east.
Belgium tightened the corona measures
Prime Minister Alexander De Croo announced a four-week “Easter break” after government consultations. Businesses that are not systemically relevant are only allowed to receive customers by appointment. Contact professions such as hairdressers have to close. Only four people wearing masks are allowed to meet outdoors.
With a view to the schools, De Croo said that from Monday there should only be distance teaching. Kindergartens remained open. The goal remains to fully reopen the schools on April 19 after the Easter break. In Belgium there is already a night curfew, social contacts indoors are largely forbidden, as is unnecessary entry and exit.
France also vaccinates in sports stadiums
France is setting up so-called mega vaccination centers to accelerate the fight against the corona pandemic. Government spokesman Gabriel Attal named the huge Stade de France stadium in Saint-Denis north of Paris in this context. It is the motto of Head of State Emmanuel Macron, which should be vaccinated in the morning, at noon and in the evening.
So far, around six and a half million French people have received at least one vaccination, as Attal reported on Wednesday after a cabinet meeting in Paris. Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin said on BFMTV that around 25,000 fire brigade members should be trained in vaccinations.
Ruth Humbel irritated by the opinion of the BAG
We can’t help it if a private foundation like Meineimpfungen.ch doesn’t handle highly sensitive health data carefully enough: That was the message from BAG Director Anne Lévy at today’s media conference.
The federal government is making things a little too easy for itself, criticizes the President of the National Council’s Health Policy Commission, Ruth Humbel from the Mitte parliamentary group. “The federal government has supported the foundation with subsidies for years and apparently did not pay enough attention to whether the data is secure.”
Humbel is also irritated by the fact that the vaccination certificate announced by Lévy is currently only to be used for travel, but not for events, for example: After all, the federal government promises openings thanks to vaccinations and tests. On the other hand, the BAG emphasizes whether the proof should also apply to open air events, club visits or sporting events.
Rising number of cases in Europe
The corona situation is worsening again in the majority of EU countries. In 19 of the 27 member states, the number of cases is increasing, said EU Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides in Brussels today. In 15 countries, more people are returning to hospitals and intensive care units, and the number of deaths is increasing faster again in eight countries.
“To bring this situation under control, you need not only measures for public health,” said Kyriakides. “We need access to safe and effective vaccines.” That is the background of the tightened EU export controls for corona vaccines.
EU tightens controls on vaccine exports
The export of corona vaccines from the EU should be more strictly controlled. This was decided by the EU Commission. Deliveries to Switzerland must now also be reported to the authorities. New criteria should make it possible to withhold vaccines if proportionality and reciprocity are not maintained.
Since February 1st, vaccine exports from EU countries to many countries have to be registered and approved. However, 17 partner countries were exempted from this, including Israel and Switzerland – these exemptions are now being deleted. Only deliveries to 92 poorer countries should be excluded.
The EU remains open to exports, stressed Commission President Ursula von der Leyen. But the EU states were in the third wave of pandemics, and not all manufacturing companies were delivering to the EU in accordance with their contract. «We have to ensure fast and sufficient deliveries to EU citizens. Every day counts.”
Should vaccinated people regain freedoms?
Should corona-vaccinated people get their freedom back when traveling, going to concerts and restaurants? Opinions are divided on this question. How do you feel about the subject? Write your thoughts in the comments of the following article:
59 army members in Spiez tested positive for Corona
In the recruiting school in Spiez BE, 59 members of the army tested positive for the corona virus, and a further 87 people were quarantined. The army has interrupted the training of the affected group.
The corona cases were found in the NBC Defense School 77, as the army reports. The recruits were routinely tested for the corona virus. The protection concept provides for this before a general vacation in order to be able to prevent a possible procrastination into civilian life. According to the notification, there have been no difficult developments so far.
The analyzes have so far only found cases of the British virus variant B.1.1.7, which is likely to have favored the course of the outbreak.
Lucerne corona scammer has to go to jail
A 35-year-old building contractor from Lucerne has to go to jail for wrongly drawing a Covid 19 loan of CHF 110,000. This was decided by the Lucerne criminal court and convicted of fraud.
The man had submitted the form for corona emergency aid to the commercial bank of his dry construction company in March 2020. According to his information, he feared a construction freeze as a result of the pandemic at this time. The loan application was a precautionary measure.
The public prosecutor, however, saw it as proven that he applied for the money with fraudulent intent and that he had also misused it. The court sentenced the man to two years and two months’ imprisonment for fraud, forgery and multiple unfaithful business management. He has to serve ten months of this, with a trial period of 4 years for the rest.
The judgment is the first of its kind in German-speaking Switzerland. It is not yet final.
End of the BAG media conference
This ends the point de press of the Federal Office of Public Health. We will keep you up to date on news about the coronavirus here in the live ticker.
What about the side effects of the vaccinations?
What about the side effects of the vaccination? In general, the vaccinations are well tolerated and the side effects are monitored by Swissmedic. People who have already had a corona infection have somewhat more severe side effects such as fever and redness, says Virginie Masserey. These people are advised not to have a second vaccination, as the first vaccination along with the infection should be sufficient to protect them.
Is the FOPH overwhelmed with the situation?
“It is certainly an extraordinary situation, new questions arise every day in this pandemic. But that is also the case abroad. It is learning by doing and we are constantly trying to improve ”, BAG director Anne Lévy answered the question.
Should Swiss people use their own or the EU vaccination certificate?
“The European solution for a vaccination certificate does not yet exist either. So let’s move forward with our own Swiss solution and hope that one or even two solutions will be available in the summer, ”replies Masserey.
Lévy: “Contact tracing in the responsibility of the cantons”
The Bernese government councilor Pierre Alain Schnegg calls for a national system for recording contact data in clubs, bars and restaurants in the NZZ so that contact tracing does not collapse again when the restaurant is allowed to open. What does the BAG think of it?
The SwissCovid app already exists, answers Anne Lévy. “Contact tracing is the responsibility of the cantons. Accordingly, we would be happy if digital solutions were found by the cantons. ”
How is the connection between the FOPH and meinimpfungen.ch?
Virginie Masserey apparently has a mandate on the board of trustees of the foundation that operates meinimpfungen.ch. She says she did not take part in decision-making meetings on cooperation with the BAG. However, she will give up her mandate entirely in order to draw an even clearer line between the BAG and the foundation.
Whether the cooperation with the foundation will be continued is currently completely open. First of all, the foundation now has to secure the data leak, then we will see further.
Is the FOPH responsible for the debacle at Meineimpfungen.ch?
“We subsidize this company, but we’re not the only ones. It is a very broad foundation that is supported by many sides. It is the only tool so far that offers a digital overview for vaccinations. The responsibility lies with the private foundation, so if you have any further questions, you have to contact my vaccinations, ”Lévy evades.
Why does the vaccination certificate only come out in the summer?
At the end of April, the vaccination should be increased significantly, but according to the BAG, the vaccination certificate will be available in June at the earliest. Why is that so? Asks a journalist.
Lévy replies: “You will only need the vaccination certificate when you can travel or go to events again – if at all. It is not yet clear what it will be specifically used for. Our goal is for the certificate to be available by summer. There are still many technical questions to be clarified. ”
Do we need a national vaccination register now?
Wouldn’t it be nice to have a national vaccination registry? “There is no legal basis for this. It is not up to us to demand this basis, we are now working with the basis that we have, »says Lévy.
Pharmacies should be able to test more easily
Anne Lévy says that asymptomatic testing does not require a separate entrance and exit in pharmacies. They are in contact with the cantons and the pharmacists’ association to simplify these regulations. This regulation does not come from the BAG.
Are opening steps now conceivable?
Now the question and answer session starts. A journalist wants to know why opening steps are not possible despite stable numbers of deaths and hospitalizations.
“There are still many people at risk, especially those who have to go to hospital. These are not necessarily old people or people with previous illnesses. Everyone over the age of 50 is at higher risk. In absolute numbers there are still many, so we have to be careful, ”replies Virginie Masserey.
The opening steps would also be looked at depending on the success of the vaccination, currently it is still too early, adds BAG director Anne Lévy.