Tag Archives: infectious diseases

German Merkel draft bill for national lockdown rules, curfew | National | Instant News

BERLIN – German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s coalition has drafted a bill that would divert the power to impose restrictions on COVID-19 on the federal government away from regional leaders to combat a spike in infections.

Merkel’s government plans to impose a curfew from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. in areas where the seven-day infection rate exceeds 100 cases per 100,000 people for three consecutive days. All non-essential shops must close and companies will be required to test employees twice a week, according to a 13-page bill seen by Bloomberg. Schools will be closed again in areas with an incidence rate of more than 200.

Merkel moved forward with the controversial initiative after it became clear that the country’s 16 states could not agree on common ground. While the country’s leaders may try to soften a few steps before Tuesday’s cabinet approval, parliament could pass new laws as early as next Friday.

The proposal’s biggest hurdle is likely to be a vote in the upper house, where the state government is represented and Merkel’s Christian Democrat-led coalition government does not have a majority.

Merkel and regional prime ministers have clashed over lockdown restrictions since the start of the pandemic, and several failed to enforce the rules agreed with the chancellor. Regular meetings to set policies sometimes drag on, leaving citizens confused about which measures apply to their states.

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Charles: The royal family is ‘very grateful’ for the world’s support | Instant News

“My dad is a very special person who I think, above all, will be amazed by the reactions and touching things that have been said about him,” said Charles, speaking from his home in Highgrove in southwest England. “And from that point of view we, my family, are very grateful for all of that. It will sustain us in this special loss and in these very sad times. ”

Philip’s royal ceremonial funeral will take place April 17 at Windsor Castle – a leaner service amid the COVID-19 pandemic that is completely closed to the public. The palace insists the royals will strictly adhere to national virus guidelines, steps that would in theory require the use of masks in confined spaces and social distancing. The palace declined to comment specifically.

Philip, the husband of the 73-year-old queen who is also known as the Duke of Edinburgh, co-planned her own funeral and focused on family according to her wishes. Duke also took part in designing a modified Land Rover that would carry his coffin.

“Despite the reduced ceremonial arrangements, the occasion will still celebrate and acknowledge the life of the duke and more than 70 years of service to the Queen, England and the Commonwealth,” a palace spokesman said Saturday while speaking on condition of anonymity. with policy.

Prince Harry, Philip’s grandson who resigned from royal duties last year and now lives in California, will attend services in Windsor along with other members of the royal family. His wife Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, who is pregnant, has been advised by her doctors not to travel far.

The palace urged the public not to gather in Windsor and for those who wish to pay tribute to Philips to stay at home.

The announcement comes after military teams across Britain and on ships at sea fired 41 guns on Saturday to mark Philip’s death, honoring a former naval officer they consider to be one of them.

Batteries in London, Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast – the capitals of the four nations that make up Great Britain – as well as other cities around Great Britain and the Mediterranean outpost at Gibraltar open fire at one-minute intervals starting at noon. The ships including HMS Montrose, a frigate that patrolled the Persian Gulf, paid their respects of their own.

“The Duke of Edinburgh served among us during the Second World War, and he remains in the service of the Royal Navy and the Armed Forces as a whole,” General Nick Carter, chief of defense staff, said in a statement. “A life well lived. His Majesty left us with a legacy of unshakable passion, fortitude and an unshakable sense of responsibility. “

Members of the Commonwealth, a group of 54 nations ruled by the king, were also invited to honor Philip. The Australian Defense Force began saluting at 5pm local time outside Parliament House in Canberra, and New Zealand plans to pay its respects on Sunday.

Philip joined the Royal Navy as a cadet in 1939 and had a promising military career. In 1941, he was honored for his services during the battle of Cape Matapan off the coast of Greece, when control of spotlights aboard the HMS Valiant allowed warships to pinpoint enemy ships in darkness. Philip rose to the rank of commander before he retired from active duty.

Two years after the war ended, Philip married Elizabeth at Westminster Abbey when he was 21 and she was 26. Philip’s naval career came to an abrupt end when King George VI died in 1952 and his wife became queen.

At the queen’s coronation in 1953, Philip vowed to become his wife’s “living and limb” and remain in the life of supporting the king. The couple has four children – Charles, heir to the throne, Anne, Andrew and Edward.

Prior to retiring from official duties in 2017, the prince conducted more than 22,000 solo public meetings and supported more than 780 organizations, including the Duke of Edinburgh Award for youth.

Members of the public continued to honor Philip’s devoted life on Saturdays, leaving flowers outside Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle despite requests from authorities and the royal family not to gather.

“I think everyone wants to pay their respects,” said Maureen Field, 67, outside Windsor Castle. “Because of the virus, a lot of people have to stay away. He didn’t want a big funeral. He wanted some very private time with his family to say goodbye. So, we all have to respect that. “

Mike Williams, 50, traveled from his home in Surrey, southwest London, to Buckingham Palace in honor of the prince.

“He’s been a huge loss for the country and the world, I think, so we want to come and pay our respects,” said Williams. “I don’t know what was accomplished, but it feels like the right thing to do.”


Associated Press writers James Brooks and Tom Rayner contributed.


For full AP coverage of Prince Philip’s death, go to https://apnews.com/hub/prince-philip


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Italy reported 344 coronavirus deaths as of Saturday, 17,567 new cases | Instant News

ROME (Reuters) – Italy reported 344 coronavirus-related deaths on Saturday compared to 718 the previous day, the health ministry said, while the daily tally of new infections fell to 17,567 from 18,938 the previous day.

Italy has recorded 113,923 deaths related to COVID-19 since its outbreak emerged in February last year, the second highest death toll in Europe after Britain and seventh highest in the world. The country has 3.75 million cases to date.

Hospital patients with COVID-19 – excluding those in intensive care – totaled 27,654 on Saturday, down from 28,146 the day before.

There were 186 new admissions to the intensive care unit, down slightly from 192 on Friday. The number of intensive care patients decreased to 3,588 from 3,603 previously.

About 320,892 COVID-19 tests were carried out in the past day, compared with 362,973 previously, the health ministry said.

Reporting by Giulia Segreti, edited by


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UPDATE 1-WHO warns of Brazil’s COVID-19 outbreak as Bolsonaro denounces the Senate probe | Instant News

(Added information on Rio de Janeiro restrictions, the Sputnik V vaccine)

SAO PAULO, April 9 (Reuters) – Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro on Friday denounced a Senate pending investigation into its handling of the record-breaking COVID-19 outbreak, which global health officials have compared to a “raging hell”.

Supreme Court Judge Luis Roberto Barroso ruled late Thursday that enough senators had signed up to the proposed investigation into the government’s pandemic response to launch an inquiry despite being stalled by the Senate leadership.

“This is a stitch between Barroso and the left in the Senate to weaken the government,” Bolsonaro told supporters outside his residence, accusing the judge of “politics.”

The Senate investigation represents the most severe political consequence to date for Bolsonaro’s approach to the coronavirus, which he compared to last year’s “mild flu” because he ignored health experts calling for masks and social distancing.

Bolsonaro has supported his criticism of the COVID-19 vaccine, but he has continued to attack governors who are trying to impose lockdowns and even lighter measures, accusing them of killing more with those restrictions than the virus itself.

COVID-19 has claimed more than 345,000 lives in Brazil, second only to the United States. One in four deaths from this week’s pandemic occurred in Brazil, where a brutal wave has swept through hospitals and recorded more than 4,000 deaths per day.

“What you have here is a raging epidemic,” said Bruce Aylward, senior adviser to the World Health Organization’s director general, in a public briefing.

But political exhaustion and pressure from Bolsonaro has prompted some governors to relax restrictions despite record deaths.

The state of Sao Paulo, whose governor was once a critic of the president, announced it was relaxing some restrictions next week even as its hospital struggled to handle the caseload.

Sao Paulo officials said the drop in hospitalizations had justified the decision to restart football matches without spectators, reopen shops selling building materials and resume take-out services at restaurants.

Meanwhile, the city of Rio de Janeiro, the country’s second largest city, let a series of restrictions imposed in late March expire on Friday. As a result, bars, restaurants and malls are now able to resume live services.

Brazil’s vaccination efforts, although faster than most countries in Latin America, have been slow compared to many developed countries and have so far relied heavily on one vaccine – Coronavac – developed by China Sinovac Biotech Ltd and has been frequently criticized by Bolsonaro.

On Friday afternoon, the national health agency Anvisa announced it was sending inspectors to two factories in Russia where the Sputnik V vaccine was produced to evaluate the safety of the jabs. (Reporting by Eduardo Simoes in Sao Paulo; Additional reporting by Tatiana Bautzer in Sao Paulo and Rodrigo Viga Gaier in Rio de Janeiro; Editing by Brad Haynes, Dan Grebler and David Gregorio)


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Italian Prosecutors: WHO executives lied about reports of spiky virus | World | Instant News

ROME (AP) – Italian prosecutors have formally accused a top World Health Organization official of lying to them about a UN report that surged into Italy’s coronavirus response, disclosing personal communications on Friday that would likely embarrass the UN agency.

The prosecutor in Bergamo put Dr. Ranieri Guerra, assistant director general of the WHO, is under investigation for allegedly making false statements to them when he voluntarily agreed to be questioned in November. Guerra was the WHO liaison with the Italian government after Italy became the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak in Europe last year.

Prosecutors are investigating the large number of deaths from COVID-19 in Bergamo and whether Italy’s lack of pandemic preparedness plays a role. Their investigation was expanded to include a related scandal over the WHO report surging into Italy’s viral response because it revealed it The Italian government has not updated its pandemic preparedness plan since 2006.

The UN health agency withdrew the report from its website on May 14, the day after it was published, and has never republished it. The disappearance shows that the WHO removed it to avoid criticism, shame and responsibility of the Italian government.

When asked at the time whether Guerra or the Italian government had intervened to increase the report, the WHO said it had been removed by its regional office in Copenhagen. because it contains “factual inaccuracies”.

But documents issued by the Bergamo prosecutor, which were first reported by the state-run RAI Report, indicate that Guerra was maneuvering to remove the report because the Italian government was annoyed by it. The documents include a private WhatsApp chat between Guerra and Italian public health official Dr. Silvio Brusaferro.

Prosecutors quoted Guerra’s comments to them, which they said contradicted the facts, and concluded that “Guerra is personally working to remove the report from the WHO website.”

Guerra was the top official in Italy’s health ministry from 2014-2017 when the pandemic preparedness plan was supposed to be updated.

The email indicates he’s trying to have one of the report’s lead authors, Francesco Zambon, change the data in the report to that Italy has “updated” its pandemic plans in 2016 when it hasn’t. Zambon refused and filed a whistleblower complaint with WHO alleging that Guerra had tried to pressure him to change the data. Zambon recently resigned.

Guerra appeared to be ignoring WHO legal advice in November telling WHO officials they were under no obligation to respond to Italian prosecutors’ requests for questioning, given their diplomatic immunity as UN officials.

Guerra had left in his personal capacity and was questioned as someone who was told the facts, not as a suspect. But prosecutors ended up placing him under investigation because “he made a false statement.”

Neither Guerra nor the WHO responded to emails on Friday seeking comment on the matter.


Follow AP pandemic coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic and https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-vaccine

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