RKI registers 3943 new corona infections and 358 new deaths +++ WHO considers the end of the corona pandemic this year to be unrealistic +++ British study confirms: Corona vaccines very effective +++ The news about the coronavirus pandemic in stern-Ticker.
Lockdown extension until Easter
The so-called lockdown to cope with the coronavirus pandemic is to be extended until shortly before Easter according to the will of the federal government – but with more exceptions. According to reports from the “Bild” newspaper, “Spiegel” and “Focus Online”, which were in agreement, this emerges from a leaked draft resolution. Accordingly, there should be an opening perspective for other areas as early as this month, for example for restaurants with outdoor areas or shopping with an appointment in previously closed retail stores. The contact restrictions should also be less strict. According to the paper, meetings should be possible for up to five people from two households, not counting children. This means that small-scale visits to relatives would be permitted over Easter. Sports in groups should again be allowed under conditions outdoors. The easing could take effect from March 8th.
On Wednesday, Chancellor Angela Merkel and the prime ministers of the federal states will meet again to discuss how to proceed in the pandemic. As usual, the draft resolution of the federal government does not yet represent the final result of the federal-state talks. In the past, the states had often passed different resolutions.
WHO considers the end of the corona pandemic this year to be unrealistic
The World Health Organization does not expect the corona pandemic to end anytime soon. “It would be very premature and unrealistic to believe that we will be able to deal with this virus by the end of the year,” said WHO emergency aid coordinator Michael Ryan on Monday evening in Geneva. However, if acted wisely, it could “end the hospitalizations, deaths and tragedy that have come with this pandemic.”
Stricter entry rules for the French area of Moselle
With the classification of the French border region Moselle as a so-called virus variant area, stricter rules apply when entering Germany. In future, people from the department will have to show a negative corona test that is no older than 48 hours when entering the neighboring Rhineland-Palatinate and Saarland. A quick test is sufficient. This also applies to commuters.
British study confirms: Corona vaccines are very effective
Astrazeneca’s vaccines, as well as Biontech and Pfizer, are shown to be effective according to another UK analysis. Four weeks after the first dose, vaccinated people aged 70 and over had around 57 to 73 percent fewer Covid 19 diseases than unvaccinated people, the health authority Public Health England said. The data is preliminary and has not yet been verified by independent experts. How well the vaccines prevent infection and thus slow down the pandemic could not be concluded from the data taken into account.
According to the analysis, the effect of hospital stays is even better than with Covid-19, at around 80 percent. Mortality has also dropped significantly after vaccination – by around 85 percent for those who were vaccinated over the age of 70 compared to those who were not vaccinated in this age group. For the latter value, data were initially only available for the vaccine from Biontech and Pfizer.
Lockdown hits retail hard at the start of the year
The corona lockdown weighed on the businesses of many retailers in Germany at the beginning of 2021. Adjusted for price increases (in real terms), the companies generated 4.5 percent and nominal 3.9 percent less in January than in December 2020, according to the Federal Statistical Office. Public life had been restricted to combat the pandemic. Aside from everyday stores, retail stores have been closed since December 16, 2020. Compared to the same month last year, sales fell by 8.7 percent in real terms and by 7.4 percent in nominal terms.
Almost 4,000 new corona infections in Germany
The health authorities in Germany reported 3943 new corona infections to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) within one day. In addition, 358 additional deaths were recorded within 24 hours. That comes from the numbers of the RKI from Tuesday. Exactly one week ago, the RKI had recorded 3883 new infections and 415 new deaths within one day. The data reflect the status of the RKI dashboard from 5.25 a.m. According to the RKI, the number of new infections reported within seven days per 100,000 inhabitants (seven-day incidence) was 65.4 nationwide in the morning – and thus slightly lower than the day before (65.8). Four weeks ago, on February 2, the incidence had been 90. Its previous high was reached on December 22nd at 197.6. The high of 1,244 newly reported deaths was reached on January 14th. Among the new infections registered within 24 hours, the highest value was reached on December 18 with 33,777 – but it contained 3500 late reports.
SPD parliamentary group against moving away from vaccination sequence
The SPD in the Bundestag warns against generally moving away from the intended sequence when vaccinating against the corona virus. Instead, outpatient practices should vaccinate the chronically ill and other patients in vaccination groups two and three, suggested health politician Sabine Dittmar. “If vaccine is stored because vaccination appointments are not kept and reserve lists have been worked through, then it must be ensured that the next priority group is quickly switched and the waiting patient groups are offered a vaccination,” she told the DPA news agency. She expects the Stiko standing vaccination commission to adapt the vaccination recommendations for the Astrazeneca vaccine to the latest scientific findings. So far, this vaccine has only been given to people under 65 in Germany because insufficient scientific data was available for older people.
FDP calls for Merkel’s declaration on corona policy in front of the Bundestag
Before the federal-state consultations on corona policy, the FDP asked Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) to involve the Bundestag in the upcoming decisions. Merkel “is ignoring Parliament’s wish to publicly discuss the important steps to be taken to combat the pandemic in advance,” said FDP parliamentary director Marco Buschmann of the AFP news agency. Merkel is not even planning a government statement in front of parliament after the federal-state round on Wednesday. “If confidence in politics wanes, the Chancellor must step up her efforts to gain legitimacy all the more,” said Buschmann. A further loss of confidence will cause resistance to the Corona measures to grow, “which we cannot afford either epidemiologically or politically”. Buschmann warned: “The dominance of the executive is no longer acceptable and is obviously no longer socially accepted.”
Doctors warn against uncoordinated loosening
Medical associations have warned against premature and uncoordinated loosening of the lockdown and called for an expansion of corona tests. “It would be wrong to simply open some areas because people are tired of lockdown,” said the chairwoman of the Federal Association of German Medical Officials, Ute Teichert, of the “Rheinische Post”. Openings should only be made in conjunction with a targeted testing and tracking strategy, she warned. “Under no circumstances should we roll out the red carpet for the virus.” It is now a matter of regaining control of the infection process. “The virus is currently still faster than our measures, we are just reacting. That has to change.” Teichert therefore called for more tests in schools, in companies “and also at the hairdresser”. In addition, much more must be tested for variants of the coronavirus in order to get a better overview of their spread.
Entry restrictions for the French department of Moselle come into force
For the French administrative area of Moselle, which borders the Saarland and Rhineland-Palatinate, strict entry restrictions come into force to contain the corona pandemic. The Robert Koch Institute in Berlin announced on Sunday that the department would be classified as a virus variant area. These are regions or countries in which more contagious mutants of the coronavirus occur particularly frequently. From Moselle, where the South African virus variant in particular is spreading strongly, only Germans and foreigners with a residence and residence permit in Germany are allowed to enter. There are exceptions for commuters and the movement of goods. French people who travel to Germany from the Moselle district now have to show “a negative test and a digital entry registration”. Rail, bus, ship and air traffic from Moselle to Germany is suspended. Systematic border controls are not planned, but according to the Federal Ministry of the Interior, compliance with the restrictions should be monitored by means of “veil searches in the back room”.
Real estate association calls for an early opening to trade
In the corona pandemic, the real estate industry is demanding that trade be opened promptly from the federal and state governments. “The move away from a unilateral determination of the incidence of 35 is more than overdue,” said the President of the Central Real Estate Committee (ZIA), Andreas Mattner, of the DPA news agency before the consultation of Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) and planned for Wednesday the state heads of government. Trade and the hotel industry have no influence on the development of infections. If they remained closed, companies and jobs would be destroyed for no reason. He suggested that retailers reserve one hour of opening hours from Monday to Friday mornings for people over 60, until Easter to dispense with large discount campaigns and reopening advertising and promote test options “operationally”. “Today’s much more extensive test options and the progress of the vaccination campaign create the space for openings without us losing control of the infection process,” said Mattner.
Medical associations against nationwide rapid tests for schoolchildren
Political considerations regarding regular corona tests for schoolchildren have met with criticism from medical associations. “The expected high number of false negative and false positive results would, from our point of view, do far more damage than good,” said the president of the professional association of paediatricians (BVKJ), Thomas Fischbach, of the “Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung”. There is “a considerable risk” that the hygiene measures will no longer be observed after negative test results, because the pupils are lulled into a false sense of security. “Given the many false negative results, this could lead to more infections than if not tested; that would be devastating.” On the other hand, children would have to be unnecessarily quarantined if the results were false. His association has drawn up a corresponding statement with the societies for pediatric infectious diseases, for children and adolescents’ medicine and for hospital hygiene, which is available to the newspaper. In a discussion paper that the DPA news agency has received, the Federal Ministry of Health considers one or two tests per week for schoolchildren to be sensible.