That a new corona virus variant circulating in Brazil was detected for the first time in Germany.
Hesse state’s social affairs minister, Kai Klose, said on Friday that a patient in the western German state had tested positive for the Brazilian variant. According to Klose, the infected person flew to Frankfurt Airport, Germany’s busiest hub, from Brazil on Thursday.
According to Ciesek and Klose, the infected person does not show any symptoms. Ciesek said that the PCR test appeared to confirm that the man had the strain first identified in Brazil, but the results of the confirmation sequence were still pending. The variant is thought to spread more easily, and may carry a higher risk of reinfection than the regular COVID-19 variant – but Ciesek said there was no indication it was causing worse symptoms in patients yet.
Germany’s Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases said the variant detected in Brazil was similar to the variant from South Africa and that “increased transmission was thought possible.” The agency said it was continuing to monitor the variant in Germany.
The total number of German coronavirus pandemic deaths also passed the 50,000 mark on Friday, the RKI added.
The country hit a bleak milestone when health authorities recorded 859 deaths from the new coronavirus in 24 hours. In Germany, the authorities count all deaths of people who have died with a possible COVID-19 connection as coronavirus-related deaths. That means people who are recorded as having been infected with COVID-19 along with a pre-existing disease, but whose death cannot be conclusively attributed to the condition, also count as deaths from COVID-19.
The country has been in isolation since mid-December. Extensive restrictions which has seen most areas of public life closed will remain in effect until February 14th.
The new lockdown appears to have had an effect. Germany has recorded a consistent drop in cases, according to the seven-day case incidence metric.
Authorities hope to lower the seven-day incident rate to below 50, to allow the resumption of contact tracing.
In China, Beijing launched mass COVID-19 testing in several areas, while Shanghai has imposed a lockdown on two of the city’s top hospitals. China is currently battling an increase in cases which appears mostly in the north of the country.
South Korea has reported the smallest daily increase in coronavirus infections in two months. The country’s new infections number only 346, bringing the total caseload to over 74,000. Officials believe the country is emerging from a second wave of infections.
Japan has said no truthfor a claim published in the newspaper that the Tokyo Olympics would be canceled this year in the middle of a pandemic. Report on Time said the government had privately concluded that the Olympics would not go ahead.
The postponed 2020 Summer Olympics are scheduled to take place from 23 July to 8 August 2021.
The Tokyo Olympics, due to resume in 2020, were postponed due to the pandemic
Mexico has posted new daily highs for pandemic cases and deaths. The Latin American country has confirmed 22,339 newly confirmed coronavirus infections and 1,803 deaths in the past 24 hours.
Mexico City is the epicenter of the pandemic in the country. The hospital has a capacity of 89%.
Brazil is awaiting 2 million doses of vaccine from AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford from India.
Brazilian public health experts are concerned there will not be an adequate dose, even with delivery. The Brazilian city of Manaus has temporarily suspended its vaccine program because of a vaccine shortage.
Carnival celebrations in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil have been completely canceled this year due to the pandemic.
Organizers originally only planned to postpone the festival from February to July. However, the mayor of Rio, Eduardo Paes, said that was not possible.
Brazil is awaiting delivery of 2 million doses of the coronavirus vaccine from India
Hungary has become the first European Union country to purchase Russia’s Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine, Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said at a briefing during talks in Moscow on Friday.
In a video posted on his Facebook page, he said the vaccine would arrive in three stages, and details about the size of the shipment would be revealed later.
The announcement comes as Pfizer has cut the volume of the COVID-19 vaccine that will be shipped to several EU countries this week amid growing frustration over the US drugmaker’s unexpected supply cuts.
Denmark suspended all flights arriving from Dubai for five days due to potential problems with a fake coronavirus test in Dubai, the country’s Ministry of Transport announced.
Universities, schools, and child care centers at Portugal could close from Friday morning, local press reported. Calls were also made to postpone presidential elections currently set for Sunday.
Portugal has recorded what it called “very dramatic” figures this week. Authorities think this was partly driven by the arrival of the highly contagious British variant of COVID-19.
kmm, mvb / msh (Reuters, dpa, AFP, AP)