Free vaccination for asylum seekers in Israel
Asylum seekers in the Israeli coastal city of Tel Aviv have been able to get vaccinated against the corona virus free of charge since Tuesday. According to the city administration, a long line of people formed in front of a new vaccination center for foreigners. The service will initially be offered to asylum seekers and migrants over the age of 16. A visa or ID card is sufficient to use them.
The number of new infections remains at a very high level despite a lockdown lasting several weeks. The number of seriously ill remains high and is a burden on the health system. The Israeli government blames coronavirus mutations in particular for the high number of infections. However, lockdown rules were often disregarded or not enforced.
Greater Athens in lockdown from Thursday
The Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis calls for a complete lockdown for the greater Athens area in view of the increasing number of cases. With around four million people, more than a third of the entire Greek population lives in the Attica region.
“I can feel the nervousness after all these months, but there is no economy without health,” says the prime minister. He promised that if possible it would be the last sacrifice that society would have to make.
In the capital, schools and many shops are to remain closed from Thursday until the end of the month. The Greek government has been taking tough measures since the beginning of the pandemic. An extensive lockdown already applied in March 2020 and then again from the beginning of November. In addition, citizens must report to civil protection every time they go to the front door with an SMS, for example when they go shopping, to the doctor or to work.
Health emergency in France extended
France’s parliament has approved an extension of the health emergency until June. The National Assembly gave the green light with 278 votes in favor and 193 against. The state of emergency in the health sector was introduced in March last year because of the corona pandemic.
It provides a legal framework for restrictions, which include the 6 p.m. evening curfew. The health emergency was in place until summer 2020 and then reintroduced in October due to developments in France.
US President: Teachers should be vaccinated as a priority
US President Joe Biden advocates giving teachers priority vaccination. However, Biden wants to rely on the advice of scientists for a comprehensive reopening of the schools on the issue, the US Presidential Office announced. It is expected that the CDC will publish guidelines for the resumption of classroom teaching later this week.
Merkel against any corona easing before March 1st
According to various German media, there are signs of an extension of the lockdown beyond February 14th in Germany ahead of the meeting between Prime Minister Angela Merkel and the Prime Minister of the federal states on Wednesday. Merkel advocates an extension until March 1.
The media also refer to a preliminary decision paper from the Prime Minister’s Conference. However, this is only a draft. A date until which the lockdown should be extended is therefore not given.
Mask refusers cause a scandal in the Czech parliament
Two right-wing MPs caused a mask scandal in the Czech parliament: Because they refused to wear a mouth and nose cover, Lubomir Volny and Marian Bojko were initially admonished, as the CTK agency reported on Tuesday.
When they did not respond, Parliament President Radek Vondracek expelled the two opposition politicians from the room. “If you came especially for this,” he said to her address, accusing them of deliberately provoking. Stewards accompanied them to the door.
Three PCR tests required in the UK
The British government is tightening its travel regulations again in the coronavirus pandemic: In the future, people who travel to England will have to present two other tests during a ten-day quarantine in addition to a negative corona test on arrival, according to British Health Minister Matt Hancock. Similar regulations are to be introduced in the other parts of the country, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, the Minister said.
PCR tests are therefore planned on day two and day eight of the quarantine and must be booked via an online platform before starting the trip. Travelers have to pay for the costs themselves. The new rules should come into force next Monday.
St. Gallen does not carry out mass tests in schools
After the federal government has adjusted its test strategy, various cantons are already doing large-scale corona tests in schools or they have planned such. For this reason, the own test strategy was checked, said the St. Gallen canton doctor Danuta Zemp in front of the media.
One now comes to the conclusion that one wants to continue to pursue the “targeted testing approach”. Preventive and repeated testing of entire school buildings is dispensed with. “The efficiency of this measure has not yet been proven,” says Zemp. There should also be no mass tests in the general population in St. Gallen. Testing is still recommended as soon as someone has symptoms.
Zurich: Relaxation in hospitals and homes
For once, there is good news in connection with Corona: The burden in the Zurich city hospital Triemli and Waid has decreased noticeably, reports the health department. 31 COVID patients are currently being cared for. And the number of infected residents in old people’s homes has also fallen. Nevertheless, the Head of Health, Andreas Hauri, warns that the situation could change quickly due to the spread of the corona mutation.
Departure from Tyrol only with a negative PCR test
Austria is now imposing stricter measures in Tyrol in the fight against the spread of the corona mutations. With the exception of East Tyrol, it will only be possible to leave the state for ten days with a negative corona test from next Friday, said Chancellor Sebastian Kurz in Vienna.
The outbreak of the South African variant is currently the largest known such case in the EU. If such a mutation spreads rapidly and strongly, it would cost many lives again, said Kurz. “And the road to normality will be delayed again for months.”
Media conference ended
Today’s media conference ends with the words of Virginie Masserey. We thank you for your attention. We will keep you up to date on the corona crisis here in the live ticker.
Vaccine theft in Switzerland too?
Apparently vaccines have been stolen in certain countries, notes a journalist. In Switzerland too? “We know the deliveries in good time and we have handled them with the necessary attention,” said Bock from the FCA. He couldn’t and wouldn’t say more about it.
Ackermann: “There is no choice between healthy people and a healthy economy”
“There is no choice between healthy people and healthy business,” says Ackermann. The whole thing must go hand in hand. The purpose of the task force’s models is to show that in a few weeks there is a risk of exponential growth.
Masserey: “Are dependent on the pharmaceutical company”
A question about vaccinations. Earlier you heard about the problems that the cantons have with vaccinations. What is the BAG doing? Masserey says that the cantons would like to be given clarity. But you are dependent on the pharmaceutical company. Therefore, sometimes you don’t know when exactly how many doses of vaccine will be delivered.
Masserey: “The measures are currently well understood and accepted”
Does the federal government worry about whether the population will continue to support the measures? “The measures are currently well understood and accepted,” said Masserey. You know that the whole thing shouldn’t last forever. You have enough elements to make the situation clear and explain the situation to the population.
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How can the falling number of cases in the UK be explained?
Ackermann says that one cannot answer that now from a scientific point of view. But he knows that the government in Great Britain has been very strict and has established many measures. We also know that if there are high numbers of cases, people are more willing to adhere to the rules.
Characteristics of the Brazilian variant
A journalist wants to know what the characteristics of the Brazilian virus variant are. “It is more contagious – people who have already been infected by the original virus can be infected again,” explains Virginie Masserey.
Austria imposes compulsory tests when leaving Tyrol
In view of the spread of the South African virus mutation, Austria is tightening the corona measures for Tyrol. The country has now announced that. A journalist therefore wants to know whether the Swiss border should not also be closed. Christian Bock, director of the Federal Customs Administration, says he doesn’t know the exact numbers, but there are few people in this area who would cross the border.
Is there enough sequencing in Switzerland?
Switzerland has been sequencing much more than before since the end of 2020, and in an international comparison there is a good understanding, said Ackermann. “As soon as the number of cases of mutations is high enough, you can better say where they occur.”
In some places, for example schools, hotspots have already been identified in Switzerland, according to Masserey. Masserey explains the sequencing procedure. There are two tools for that. With these two monitoring measures, it can be determined that there is an increase in mutations and which cantons are more affected.
Ill no longer an issue?
Boubaker is asked whether the sick are no longer an issue. He didn’t mention her in his part. Boubaker says that is of course an issue. But now it is important to look at the new variants, because without them the situation would be better. He says that the number of people treated in the hospitals is currently about the same. Loosening the measures now would mean that many more people would have to be admitted again, said Boubaker.
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