Britain plans to work with the World Health Organization to develop an „epidemic radar” system. The system should enable it to recognize new coronavirus variants faster and better track emerging diseases globally. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: „The world should not be surprised again by the virus that is spreading among us uncontrollably. We need to build a disease surveillance system that is fit for the 21st century.” The Director-General of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said he is pleased with this collaboration as the UK is seen as a strong example of pathogen monitoring and sequencing. (21.05.2021)
Second Corona wave: Argentina’s government orders strict lockdown
In light of the second wave of the Corona pandemic, the Argentine government has issued strict exit restrictions. President Alberto Fernandez announced in a video message posted on Thursday in particularly affected areas of the South American country that a curfew will be imposed between 6 pm and 6 am until the end of the month. Even during the day, Argentines are only permitted to commute near their place of residence. Only essential stores can be opened. Social, religious and sporting activities are prohibited. Schools and kindergartens remain closed.
„We are currently going through the worst moment since the epidemic began,” said Fernandez. „Regardless of everyone’s opinion, we must acknowledge the gravity of the situation and unite our forces to survive this disaster.” The government has also expanded a number of assistance programs for workers, families, and companies.
In fact, Argentina was hit hard by the second Corona wave. On Thursday, the South American country recorded 35,884 new infections every day – one of the highest levels since the epidemic began more than a year ago. In the past few weeks, the number of daily new infections has repeatedly exceeded 25,000. So far, about 3.4 million people in Argentina have been tested positive for coronavirus, and more than 72,000 patients have died in connection with Covid-19. The utilization rate of ICUs is over 70 percent. (21.05.2021)
The countries of the European Union and the European Union Parliament agree on the Covid-19 certification
In time before the summer season, European Union countries and the European Union Parliament have agreed details of a European-wide certification for the detection of coronavirus vaccines, tests, and surviving Covid-19 diseases. This was announced by the Portuguese presidency in Brussels on Thursday evening. This increases the chance of making travel easier in the European Union. Portugal currently holds the rotating presidency of the European Union.
Until recently, there was disagreement over the extent to which EU countries could define travel facilities and restrictions on their own. The compromise now states that the sovereignty of member states will not be interfered with, but additional restrictions should be imposed such as quarantine for those who are tested negative, vaccinated, or recovered only if the contagion situation requires it. It is still unclear when exactly the European certification will be offered in individual countries. The Federal Ministry of Health said at the beginning of the week that it is currently assumed that the electronic vaccination certificate could be available „in the second half of the second quarter,” that is, by June 30 at the latest.
In many countries, it is already possible to enter the country without the need for quarantine. In Greece, for example, all that is required is a full vaccination or a PCR test that is 72 hours old or less. As of Wednesday, the Germans no longer apply to a quarantine requirement to enter Austria, but at least one test with a negative result must be taken. In Italy, there is no longer any obligation to self-isolate – but the authorities continue to require a negative result for the Corona test upon arrival. (20.05.21)
Austria is raising the priority of vaccinations for general practitioners
In Austria, giving priority to age groups for vaccination against Corona in doctors’ clinics has been canceled, as announced by the government in Vienna. Health Minister Wolfgang Mokstein said Thursday in Vienna that general practitioners can now freely decide at their discretion who they want to vaccinate. However, the minister made it clear that there would still be a recommendation to proceed according to the age groups. The priority should fall into vaccination centers soon, but this is at the discretion of the federal states. In Austria, about 40 percent of the population 16 years of age and older received the vaccination first, which is about 34 percent of the total population.
Counselor Sebastian Curtis also announced that the government will decide within a week of a possible removal of the muzzle. In Austria, almost all branches have reopened since Wednesday. Accessibility checks and well-known hygiene rules play a major role in this.
In Germany, as of June 7, there should be no prioritization groups for Coronavirus vaccines, regardless of the type of vaccine. In some federal states such as Baden-Württemberg and Bavaria, this should apply earlier. (20.05.2021)
The European Union signs a contract with Biontech for 1.8 billion doses of vaccine
The announced European Union contract has been signed with Biontech / Pfizer to purchase up to 1.8 billion additional doses of the Corona vaccine, and is thus valid. This was announced by Commission President Ursula von der Leyen in Brussels on Thursday. Almost two weeks ago, I announced that the negotiations were over. After that, there were still appeal deadlines, which are now over.
The contract will run until 2023. 900 million cans are strictly ordered, and another 900 million are options. 70 to 80 million children in the European Union will be protected from Covid-19 and vaccinations for adults must be updated. The contract size is estimated at 35 billion euros. For the current vaccination campaign, the European Union has already signed two framework agreements with Biontech / Pfizer for 600 million vaccine doses, which have been delivered since the end of 2020. (20.05.2021)
The Parliament of the European Union supports the suspension of patents on the Corona vaccine
The European Parliament has spoken in favor of temporarily suspending patents on Corona vaccines. And according to a decision that the European Union should support such demands. The same applies to patents on Covid treatments and devices. On Thursday, the Presidium of the House of Representatives announced that the majority of MPs voted in favor of the resolution. Parliament’s decision is not the official position of the European Union. The European Union Commission is responsible for the corresponding negotiations at the level of the World Trade Organization, which require authorization from the states.
With the temporary lifting of patent protection for Covid-19 vaccines, manufacturers around the world can produce vaccines without licensing fees. Critics object that the obstacle is not patents, but production capacity, knowledge and supply of raw materials. While poorer countries and US President Joe Biden support the patent suspension, the European Union is skeptical. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said that the launch of the patents will not bring an additional dose of the vaccine in the short and medium term.(20.05.2020)
The European Court of Human Rights rejects a case against the curfew
The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled that the Corona curfew that lasts for several weeks is permitted. On Thursday, the Court of Strasbourg ruled in a Romanian case that the curfew does not mean the house arrest of the plaintiff, Representative Christian Vasily Terhesh. The ban is compatible with the right to freedom. The judges unanimously rejected the lawsuit as inadmissible.
Romania imposed a curfew from late March to mid-May 2020 to contain the spread of the virus. However, leaving the apartment was permitted in exceptional cases, as explained by the European Court of Human Rights. Thus, the plaintiff was able to leave his home at any time of the day for various reasons. It was also not monitored individually, but was a general measure of the entire population. Additionally, the plaintiff did not have to give up all his social contacts or spend in cramped quarters.
The procedures relate to the right to liberty, as documented in Article 5 (1) of the European Convention on Human Rights. This is determined above all in the definition of prison and imprisonment. On the contrary, Article 2 of the Fourth Additional Protocol to the Convention guarantees the right to freedom of movement, that is, to move freely within a country. However, the man did not resort to this freedom, which may reduce the obstacles to a successful lawsuit.
280 thousand new infections in India
India reported 276,110 new infections in one day. This means that the number has remained nearly stable after falling below the 300,000 threshold for the first time since April 21 on Monday. Meanwhile, more than 400,000 new infections were recorded daily in India in the second wave. The number of virus-related deaths in 24 hours increased by 3,874 to more than 287,000, according to the Ministry of Health. Just the day before, a world high was recorded with 4,529 deaths. With more than 25.7 million confirmed infections, the South Asian country has the largest number of infections worldwide after the United States of America. However, experts fear a rise in the number of unreported cases. The health system in the South Asian country is overburdened and supported by international aid.
According to the RKI report, the B.1.617 variant detected in India is increasingly being detected in Germany, but at a low level: RKI writes at a low of 2%, compared to 1.5% in the previous week. It is divided into several sub-variants. Overall, the proportion of B.1.617 is lower than in Great Britain, where the variant is currently found in about six percent of the samples examined, it is said. (20.05.2021)