With the identification of cases of a new strain of coronavirus – from Britain and South Africa – German Chancellor Angela Merkel has alerted locals over the coming weeks, claiming it may be the “toughest” week to date.
Merkel’s warning comes as the European nation passes 40,000 deaths from the deadly virus after 465 new deaths were reported on Saturday, bringing the death toll to 40,343.
During her weekly video message to the country, Merkel warned locals that “the coming winter weeks will be the most difficult phase of the pandemic”. He also warned local residents that the majority of doctors and other health workers were already working to their full capacity.
He also reported that the full impact of the increase in coronavirus cases and deaths during the Christmas and New Year holiday seasons has not been added to the statistics.
Currently, more than 5,000 COVID-19 patients are being treated in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and the ICU is filled to 8 percent capacity, with a huge increase in demand. Hospitals, in general too, are struggling to provide beds for coronavirus patients after the spike in COVID-19 cases.
Germany has recorded more than 1.9 million coronavirus cases, with an increase of nearly 17,000 cases recorded as of Saturday. Following the increase, the government ordered the closure of all non-essential shops, cultural and recreational facilities until January 31.
European countries start mass vaccination driving towards the end of December after the European Union (EU) approved the emergency use of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine against the coronavirus. To date, more than half a million people have been vaccinated. Germany will also begin using the vaccine by US company Moderna soon.
Merkel, in her speech, assured people that although the initial speed of the vaccination push was slow, it would soon pick up. “What’s important is that we can say: we will have enough vaccines available to everyone in Germany,” he said. “Month after month we will be injecting more people and eventually we will be able to offer the vaccine to anyone who wants it.”
Russia and Germany are studying the possibility of producing a vaccine together against Covid-19, according to the agenda of a phone call Tuesday between Russian President Vladimir Putin and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
“The issue of cooperation in fighting the Corona virus pandemic was discussed with an emphasis on the possible prospect of co-production of a vaccine,” the Kremlin said in a statement. statement issued on Tuesday.
Discussions between the two leaders followed a statement by German Health Minister Jens Spahn in mid-December when he was have a voice German readiness is working with the Russian Ministry of Health to “find production facilities for joint production of Russian vaccines.”
Putin and Merkel agreed to maintain health ministry-level contacts about the co-production of the Covid-19 vaccine, according to a Kremlin statement.
Both Russia and Germany recently launched large-scale voluntary vaccination programs against Covid-19 to curb the spread of the coronavirus and avoid re-imposing national lockdowns.
Vaccination against the coronavirus has been going on in Germany for almost two weeks, with the first injection given to a 101-year-old woman in a nursing home on Dec 27. Meanwhile, Russia started a mass vaccination campaign in early December, making its vaccine first available to high-risk groups including medical workers, teachers and the elderly.
Germany is using a vaccine jointly developed by Pfizer and Mainz-based company BioNTech, while Russia has put its jab – Sputnik V – into mass circulation.
Russia was the first country to register a coronavirus vaccine in August despite an incomplete Sputnik V clinical trial, raising concerns over the fast-tracked procedure. Developed by the Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology under the Russian Ministry of Health, Russia’s first vaccine, named Sputnik-V, has the same name as the world’s first satellite launched in 1957 by the Soviet Union during the space race.
So far, 1.3 million doses of BioNTech vaccine have been shipped to Germany. According to Alexander Gintsburg, director of the state-run Gamaleya research center, more than one million people in Russia had received the vaccine as of Tuesday.
Moscow also shipped batches of its vaccine to Belarus, Serbia and Argentina and announced that 2.6 million doses would be supplied to Bolivia, but later admitted it struggled with production capacity.
Although some critics describe it as a tool to increase Russia’s geopolitical influence, Russia’s first Covid-19 vaccine has received another mark of recognition when the British-Swedish multinational pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical company AstraZeneca announced in December a clinical trial program that would use a combination of its vaccine and a Russian one.
Both AZD1222, which was co-discovered by the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca, and Sputnik V are based on the adenovirus that causes the common cold, but while AstraZeneca injections contain genetic material from viruses that infect chimpanzees, Russian jab uses two types of human adenovirus to trigger an immune response.
The deadly virus, first identified in Wuhan, the capital of China’s Hubei province, in December, has spread exponentially around the world. After cases of human-to-human transmission were confirmed, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the coronavirus outbreak an international public health emergency, but due to the sharp spike in cases, was immediately forced to create new ones. statement, declared the plague a pandemic.
According to the latest data, the global number of coronavirus cases has reached a grim milestone of 89 million cases and the death toll is 1.9 million.
All serious virologists agree that to bring the pandemic under control, a complete lockdown across Europe is needed to reduce infections to a fraction of current levels. But even though deaths increased, the political leaders were unwilling to continue this. That was made clear by yesterday’s conference between the federal and state governments of Germany.
Chancellor Angela Merkel once again met with ministers from Germany’s 16 states via video conference. The result is just a continuation of inadequate steps to the end of January, combined with some new restrictions that can only be described as cosmetic.
This includes restrictions on free movement to a radius of 15 kilometers around a person’s residence in areas with an incidence of more than 200 infections per 100,000 population over the previous seven days. It remains unclear what such measures will achieve in megacities such as Berlin, Munich and Cologne.
To ensure an uninterrupted flow of profits, workplaces and production sites will be allowed to continue operating. Only hotels, restaurants, shopping centers, certain service providers, museums and cultural institutions will remain closed.
Even the choice to work from home depends on the employer’s good intentions. The official conference agreement states: “Employers are urgently required to create generous opportunities to work from home to implement the ‘we stay at home’ principle nationally.”
As a result, schools and child care facilities will remain open. To keep production going, the large number of exemptions and emergency care offers in schools and child care facilities will ensure that hundreds of thousands of teachers, children and youth are forced to attend face-to-face classes and take packed buses and trains to leave. there.
Classes started this week in the states of Berlin and Hamburg, governed by a coalition of Social Democrats, Left and Green Parties, and Social Democrats and Greens, respectively. Even though infections were at record highs, the educational facilities were full.
In Hamburg, 700 infections were registered within 24 hours. Nonetheless, according to media reports, the daycare center in Hamburg was “relatively well attended for the start of the new year”. About a third of child care age children and 20 percent of primary school children attended Monday morning because their parents had to work.
In Berlin, the Senate notifies parents in writing of emergency care options at the childcare center and all requested that they send their children there. In its letter dated December 30, the Senate noted that it did not bother “to compile a specific list of jobs relevant to the system.” It continues: “We explicitly suggest that avoiding loss of income represents an extraordinary need for care.” In this way, parents and teachers are pressured to comply with their duty to go to work.
Under these conditions, it is not surprising that teachers and childcare workers must be present at educational institutions every day, regardless of the risk of the coronavirus. Yet even nine months after the start of the pandemic, there is still a shortage of FFP2 masks, air filtration devices and mass rapid testing. The transition to online learning and smaller groups is also not as expected, and there is a lack of equipment, technical expertise and teachers.
The sentence in the government agreement which states that “child care facilities and schools have the most important meaning for children’s education,” is changed to the opposite. Schools and child care centers were turned into mere cages, pandemic drivers, and death centers.
Germany’s education minister agreed on Monday that primary schools and child care facilities must be the first to fully open, and the so-called lockdown will not apply to older students in their final years. The chancellor’s meeting with the president’s ministers confirmed this on Tuesday.
The government continues to pursue a death policy to protect the profits of big businesses and banks, and justifies it with long-exposed lies, such as claims that younger children are not contagious. In Baden-Württemberg, Education Minister Susanne Eisenmann (Christian Democratic Union – CDU) has firmly demanded that primary schools and child care centers open from 11 January.
Amid all this, coronavirus infections and deaths remain very high. The Robert Koch Institute, Germany’s federal agency for infectious diseases, reported nearly 11,900 new infections and 944 deaths as of Tuesday. The holiday period, in which the figure is somewhat lower because some local health offices do not report new infections and fewer tests being carried out, has definitely ended. The daily deaths are approaching 1,000, which is the equivalent of two jumbo jets crashing every day.
More than 1,000 European scientists have signed the statement “Scientists demand a European strategy for the rapid and sustainable reduction of COVID-19 cases,” which appears in Lancet medical journal on December 18th. They called for a tight and coordinated lockdown across Europe.
On Saturday, January 2, DIVI President Uwe Jansens, Professor Melanie Brinkmann of the Helmholtz Infectious Disease Research Center in Braunschweig, and Viola Priesemann, head of the research group at the Max Planck Institute in Göttingen, outlined the statement in a webinar.
“We are not an island,” Viola Priesemann said, confirming calls for a “real reset”. Coordinated steps across Europe to fight the pandemic are urgent. How high the number is in one country depends on how high it is in all countries. “
As is evident from social media, this demand has received wide support from the community.
According to Dr. Priesemann, one can speak of a “low number of cases” only if there were about 10 infections per 100,000 population over a seven day period. With significantly higher infection rates, local health agencies are losing control and can no longer trace all contacts, test surrounding areas, and send any new cases into isolation. The virus then spreads unhindered and exponentially. And this led to the mutation seen in Britain, which is now spreading across Europe.
But the chancellors and heads of state governments completely ignore this. In their agreement from January 5, they wrote that the goal is “to reduce the seven-day incidence to under 50 cases per 100,000 population,” a goal that cannot be achieved without the complete closure of all non-essential businesses, schools and child care facilities.
Incidents are currently two, three and in some areas 20 times greater than this target. The current seven-day incidence for Germany as a whole is 135 per 100,000; three-quarters of Germany’s 410 local districts had an incidence of over 100, as the government itself admits, and 70 had incidents over 200.The Vogtland district in Saxony had an incidence of 929 per 100,000 population, meaning that over the past week, nearly one percent of the population has been infected with the corona virus.
Like every government across Europe, Merkel’s government, along with state presidents and education ministers, ignored all scientifically based advice and pursued a policy of killing mass infections.
This is shown in the vaccination policy. The government prides itself on the agreement, “By mobilizing all the power of science and research, it will be possible to develop, test and deploy vaccinations with good tolerance and high effectiveness in a short period of time.” However, the vaccination strategy is a prime example of government criminal neglect.
The vaccination program started on December 27, and the Robert Koch Institute reports that only 265,000 people were vaccinated during the first week, less than 40,000 per day. Vaccines are in short supply everywhere, and large vaccine centers that are inaugurated with great fanfare in halls, airports and sports centers cannot operate at full capacity. Many doctors and nurses who volunteered to complain that they had done nothing.
If adequate vaccine supplies are available, it may be possible to immunize up to 60 percent of the population. However, it is clear that the government is failing to order enough vaccines. This applies not only to Germany, but also throughout the European Union.
Even the government-sided National Academy of Sciences, “Leopoldina,” sharply criticized Merkel and federal Health Minister Jens Spahn. “Currently there are still official warnings for the dead,” said Leopoldina employee Frauke Zipp World newspaper. “Now, it seems, every day that lives can be saved doesn’t count.” If the vaccine strategy is to be successful, it must be implemented quickly to ensure that new virus mutations don’t destroy it, he added.
BERLIN (Reuters) – Germany extended its national lockdown until the end of the month and introduced new, stricter restrictions in a bid to contain the surging coronavirus infection, Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Tuesday.
“We need to limit contact more strictly … We ask all citizens to limit contact to a minimum,” he told reporters after a meeting with the leaders of Germany’s 16 states.
Reporting by Joseph Nasr, Madeline Chambers and Sabine Siebold; Written by Maria Sheahan
BERLIN, Jan 5 (Reuters) – Tourists arriving in Germany from risky areas will have to take a coronavirus test twice, Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Tuesday after announcing an extension of the existing lockdown as well as some tougher measures.
Even if the first test is negative, travelers from future risk areas will have to enter quarantine for five days and take the second test, Merkel said. (Reporting by Joseph Nasr and Sabine Siebold; Written by Madeline Chambers; Editing by Maria Sheahan)