In the UK, more people tested positive for the coronavirus in one day than ever since the pandemic began. There were 41,385 confirmed cases as of Monday morning, the government said. The number is probably even higher, as no new figures were reported for the province of Northern Ireland over the holidays.
The previous high was 39,237 and was reported on December 23. In total, there have been more than 2.3 million positive corona tests in the United Kingdom so far.
“This very high level of infection is increasingly worrying at a time when our hospitals are most vulnerable and admissions are increasing in many regions,” said Yvonne Doyle of Public Health England.
Great Britain is one of the countries hardest hit by the pandemic in Europe. A new, more contagious variant of the virus is currently spreading across the island. The government has imposed a shutdown with far-reaching exit and travel restrictions over large parts of the country. The hope lies in a mass vaccination started three weeks ago and the early approval of a second vaccine.
China condemns blogger for critical Wuhan reports
China has sentenced a citizen journalist to four years in prison for her critical reports on the corona outbreak in Wuhan. A court in Shanghai justified the punishment for the blogger Zhang Zhan on Monday by saying that she had “started quarrels and provoked anger”.
In spring, at the height of the pandemic in China, the 37-year-old reported in videos on YouTube, among others, about the situation in the central Chinese city of Wuhan, where the virus first broke out. In addition to Zhang Zhan, a number of other citizen journalists were arrested for reporting on the experiences of the people in Wuhan on social media.
Like the Hong Kong newspaper South China Morning Post citing her lawyer, Zhang Zhan was in poor health on Monday and had to be taken to the courtroom in a wheelchair. She had been in custody since May and, according to reports, had temporarily refused to eat in protest.
According to the organization Reporters Without Borders, China is one of the countries with the highest number of journalists and bloggers jailed. In the ranking of global press freedom, the country is one of the lowest places. Time and again there were cases in which foreign journalists were expelled for critical reporting or had to fear that their visas would be extended.
More than 60,000 corona checks in Greece
The Greek police again cracked down on corona violations across the country at the weekend. As the authorities announced, more than 62,000 controls were carried out on Saturday alone and more than 1,200 violations were punished. Around 1000 people were caught staying outside their homes for no good reason and each received a fine of 300 euros. Several hundred people were found without a mask and now also have to pay 300 euros.
In addition, a number of cafes, restaurants and bars that had illegally started operating were discovered. For example, a 53-year-old in the port city of Volos had converted a storage room into a tavern, including a grill and bar.
The man now has to pay a fine of 3000 euros, like the daily newspaper Kathimerini reported on Monday. Of the ten guests present, only three were caught, but they now pay 600 euros – 300 euros each because they did not wear a mask, 300 euros because they were outside their home without permission. Some owners of illegally opened businesses even received a fine of up to 5000 euros, among other things for quarantine violations.
In Greece, only those who have previously sent a corresponding SMS to the civil protection are allowed out of the house – among other things, going to work, visiting the doctor, shopping for groceries, exercising or walking the dog are allowed. The country has been in lockdown since the beginning of November, which should initially apply until January 7th. The number of cases has since declined, but a large part of the intensive care beds in the country are still occupied. The first vaccinations started at the weekend.
UK mutant virus confirmed in South Korea
Cases of the coronavirus mutation discovered in Great Britain have now also been detected in South Korea. According to information from the disease protection agency on Monday, these are three South Korean citizens who flew back to South Korea from Great Britain last week. The new variant of the coronavirus may be significantly more contagious than the previously known form. Most EU states decided last week to largely restrict travel to and from Great Britain temporarily.
The South Korean government also announced on December 23 that it would stop all air traffic to and from Great Britain until the end of the year. In addition, the authorities obliged travelers from Great Britain to a 14-day quarantine and an additional virus test shortly before the end of the quarantine.
South Korea has so far got through the pandemic relatively successfully, but is currently in the middle of a third wave of Covid. On Monday, the authorities registered 808 new infections within the past 24 hours. For the second time in a row, the figure fell below 1,000 infections per day. By January 3, the government tightened epidemiological measures. Among other things, meetings of more than four people are prohibited in the greater Seoul area.
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