Sebastian Kurz predicts relaxation. “I believe that tests will be an absolute normality in the coming months, like brushing your teeth every day,” said the Austrian Chancellor to ORF. He expects a third wave of infections across Europe in early 2021. Thanks to the vaccinations and tests, relaxation can be expected afterwards, he said. “I expect that we can largely return to normal in the summer.” The number of new infections – calculated per 100,000 inhabitants – recently fell below the values in Germany.
The third lockdown began in Austria on Saturday. Except for grocery stores, pharmacies and drug stores, shops will be closed for the next three weeks. Banks and bicycle repair shops are also allowed to stay up, hairdressers are not. Houses and apartments can only be left around the clock with good reason – but this also includes sports or going for a walk. cable cars have halved the number of guests that can be transported per gondola and tickets must be purchased online in advance.
First case of UK variant of coronavirus in France
A first case of the variant of the coronavirus that occurred in Great Britain has been detected in France. A Frenchman who lives in Great Britain was infected, the AFP news agency reported on Saturday night, citing the Ministry of Health. The man had traveled from London to Tours in western France a week ago. He has no symptoms and is isolated.
A mutated variant of the corona virus recently appeared in Great Britain. It is possibly significantly more contagious than the previously known form.
Thousands of truck drivers had been stuck in England since last Sunday after France completely closed its border to travelers from the island because of a new variant of the coronavirus.
An agreement was reached between London and Paris on Wednesday: truck drivers and other travelers must undergo a rapid corona test before they are allowed to cross the English Channel towards France. France wants to start vaccinations in two places on Sunday.
The Netherlands and Turkey require a negative corona test from travelers
Turkey will require a negative corona test for all entries in the future. For air passengers, this already applies from this Monday, for all other travelers from Wednesday, as Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said on Friday evening. The PCR test must not be older than 72 hours. Passengers who do not have a test should not even board, he said. And those who come from Great Britain, South Africa or Denmark will be put into quarantine separately after entry. In the United States, mutated viruses were recently detected, which are alleged to be significantly more contagious.
Turkey also expects a first shipment of a Chinese vaccine on Monday, Koca said. An order has also been placed with the manufacturers Biontech / Pfizer. Since March, a good 2.1 million infections have been registered in Turkey, which has around 82 million inhabitants. On Friday, the authorities reported 17 543 new infections with the corona virus and 256 fatalities.
If you want to fly to the Netherlands, you need a negative PCR corona test when you check in from December 29th. This also applies to travelers by train, bus or ship, as the Foreign Office announced on Friday evening. The test must not be older than 72 hours.
According to the Foreign Office, the Netherlands has declared Germany a risk area. Anyone who has arrived in the Netherlands is strongly advised to go into a ten-day home quarantine. The negative test that is required for entry into the Netherlands is no substitute for quarantine.
Queen: “You are not alone”
In her traditional Christmas address, the British Queen Elizabeth II encouraged grieving and grieving people. “You are not alone,” said the monarch in the address broadcast on Friday.
For many, the Christmas season is tinged with misery and mourning for loved ones, other missing friends and family who could not be with them because of the coronavirus pandemic, said the 94-year-old. The only thing they really want at Christmas is a hug or a handshake. “If you are one of these people, then you are not alone and you are sure of my thoughts and prayers,” said the Queen. She praised the work of volunteers during the pandemic. “Good Samaritans have appeared across society and shown care and respect for everyone.”
The Queen and Prince Philip, 99, are spending Christmas without their family members at Windsor Castle, as a palace spokesman confirmed at the request of the German Press Agency.
This year, the royal couple had not traveled to Sandringham in eastern England for the first time in decades. Usually the British royals gather there over the Christmas period. Hundreds of onlookers gather every year on Christmas Day to watch the Queen and her relatives go to church. But this year everything is different because of the pandemic, the palace spokesman confirmed: No visits, no public church attendance. The deeply religious Queen will instead attend a small private service in a chapel on the grounds of Windsor Castle, it said.
All reports on the current situation in Germany and worldwide as well as the most important news of the day – twice a day with SZ Espresso. Our Newsletter brings you up to date in the morning and in the evening. Free registration: sz.de/espresso. In our News app (download here) you can also subscribe to the espresso or breaking news as a push message.
Contagious virus variant is driving up infections in South Africa
A new variant of the coronavirus has driven the number of infections in South Africa up. 14,305 new cases have been confirmed within 24 hours, more than ever before in the country. The South African variant 501.V2 is more contagious than the original Covid-19 virus and dominates the country.
The seven-day average rose from 8.65 new cases per 100,000 inhabitants per day on December 10th to 18.25 on Christmas Eve, more than doubling within two weeks.
Mali’s opposition leader dies after infection
The Malian opposition leader Soumaila Cissé died in Paris, according to his family. The 71-year-old died after being infected with the corona virus, his eldest son Bocar told the AP news agency. Interim President Sem Ba N’Daw expressed his condolences to the family and supporters of Cissé and said that millions of Malians were in shock.
Cissé’s death leads to uncertainty in Mali’s politics. He came second in the past three presidential elections and, according to many, had the best chance of winning the election the year after next.
In March, jihadists captured Cissé while traveling to his home town of Niafunké in northern Mali for the parliamentary election campaign. Under public pressure, the government obtained the release of Cissé and hostages from France and Italy in exchange for the release of around 200 jihadists from state prisons.
British virus mutation also discovered in Japan and Ireland
The coronavirus mutation, which appeared in Great Britain, was also detected for the first time in Japan. Health Minister Norihisa Tamura announced that the much more infectious virus form was discovered in five passengers who came from Great Britain by plane. The mutated virus was also detected in Germany for the first time on Thursday. It was a woman who had come from the UK to visit relatives.
The highly infectious variant of the coronavirus is also detected in Ireland. More tests would be done in the coming days and weeks to clarify the spread of the mutation, announced health director Tony Holohan.
Isolation obligation in Russia due to British virus mutation
According to a media report, Russia is imposing a two-week self-isolation for travelers from Great Britain because of the virus mutation there. This is reported by the Interfax news agency, citing the health authorities. Flights to and from Great Britain have been suspended for a week in Russia since Tuesday.