Italian men like Chinese women
The latest on the corona crisis - Ten million Italians in shutdown as of today
More vaccine for the EU from April
EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen expects significantly more vaccines from next month. "From April the quantities could double again according to the plans of the manufacturers, also because more vaccines are about to be approved," she told two German newspapers. She reckons EU-wide "in the second quarter with an average of around 100 million doses per month, a total of 300 million by the end of June".
According to the newspapers, this would mean around 20 million doses a month for Germany, which would require significantly higher vaccination capacities. According to figures from the Robert Koch Institute on Friday, around 7.3 million vaccine doses have been administered in Germany since vaccinations began at the end of December. So far, vaccines from the three manufacturers Pfizer / Biontech, Moderna and Astrazeneca have been approved in the EU. Johnson & Johnson could join on March 11th.
Strict measures since midnight in Italy
Italy has been expanding its anti-corona measures since midnight. Large parts of southern Italy, but also several cities in the north of the country, are now so-called red zones. As of Monday, almost ten million Italians are in the shutdown. Almost all shops in the red zones are closed and visits from relatives and friends are largely prohibited. As of today, all bars and restaurants, hairdressing and beauty salons in the risk regions must also close.
Schools in Italy are hit particularly hard. They are now not only closed in the red zones. Also in the orange zones, in which, for example, shops are allowed to open further, numerous regional presidents have imposed school closings - due to the increasing number of young people infected with the British virus variant.
Pandemic: Norway's government sees "another mountain peak"
Norway's Prime Minister Erna Solberg has praised the citizens of her country for their cohesion in the Corona crisis and sworn to another show of strength. In a televised address on the occasion of the anniversary of the corona measures in Norway, Solberg warned that the pandemic was not over yet. "There is another mountain peak (to be climbed), possibly with tougher measures," said the head of government. In the coming months, it will be a matter of keeping infection rates low while vaccinating.
Solberg should inform parliament on Tuesday about the pandemic situation and possibly new measures.
There is another mountain peak (to be climbed), possibly with tougher measures.Author: Erna SolbergNorwegian Prime Minister
USA: More than 90 million people vaccinated
In the United States, the number of people vaccinated at least once exceeds 90 million. This is announced by the CDC disease center. Of these, just under 58.9 million have received one of two required vaccinations and more than 30.7 million both. About 328 million people live in the United States.
According to a survey, vaccination readiness has increased significantly in the USA since last September. The United States has the highest rates of infection and death in the world.
Corona aid from the EU: 540 billion package so far little used
The aid package of 540 billion euros agreed by the EU states at the beginning of the corona crisis has so far only been used to a small extent. For example, the European guarantee fund, which had been announced for rapid aid to small and medium-sized enterprises and was supposed to mobilize 200 billion euros, had only signed a financing contract for 100 million euros by the end of January.
For the corona credit lines of the euro rescue fund ESM in the amount of up to 240 billion euros - the second major element of the aid package - there is still not a single application, as the ESM confirmed in Luxembourg. Above all, the smallest part of the package was used: loans from the Sure program for short-time work assistance. According to the EU Commission, 90.3 billion of a possible 100 billion euros had been pledged by the beginning of February.
Corona crisis reverses the trend towards professional equality
The corona pandemic is undoing progress in professional equality. This is the conclusion of a study by the management consultancy PwC. In most OECD countries, women were more affected by unemployment than men.
On the one hand, women are more often employed in the hotel and restaurant industry or in retail - in other words, industries in which many jobs have been lost as a result of the lockdowns. On the other hand, women have already worked “around six hours a week more than men for unpaid care work. Since the outbreak of the pandemic, this trench has grown to just under eight hours. "
The crisis with school and daycare closings affects women particularly, explained a PwC expert. Many women are currently forced to reduce their workload or quit temporarily - with long-term consequences: "Women run the risk of returning to a lower salary and in a less qualified position," said the expert.
Netanyahu: "Israel is about to end restrictions"
Israel is on the way to an end to most corona restrictions, according to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. "We still have to take care of ourselves, we have to wear masks, keep our distances," said Netanyahu during a visit to a café in Jerusalem on the occasion of the nationwide reopening of restaurants. "But we're getting out of there and not much is missing," he adds.
Israel got out of the third lockdown in February. Since 53 percent of citizens have received at least one dose of vaccine, according to the Ministry of Health, the government has gradually reopened shops, schools and also the country's main airport with capacity limits.
Czech government warns of critical week
A further increase in the number of Covid 19 intensive care patients is expected in the Czech Republic. "The next week will be the most critical," said Health Minister Jan Blatny on the TV channel CT. He assumes that up to 300 doctors and 1000 nurses from the outpatient sector will have to be required to work in the hospitals.
The EU member state is fighting a dramatic corona wave. Almost 7,900 people are currently in inpatient treatment. Of these, more than 1,700 are in severe condition or require ventilation.
For study purposes: First British volunteer infected with Corona
In the UK, the first volunteers were infected with corona as part of a study. The so-called human challenge analyzes began on Saturday, confirmed the British Ministry of Health of the German Press Agency. According to earlier information from the British government, this is the first study worldwide in which people are specifically infected with Sars-CoV-2.
"The Human Challenge program will improve and accelerate the development of vaccines and treatments against Covid-19," said a spokeswoman for the ministry. "The first group of volunteers has now started the virus characterization study at the Royal Free Hospital in London." The subjects would be "exposed to the virus in a safe and controlled environment, monitored around the clock by doctors and scientists," it said.
The British project selected young, healthy people who have a comparatively low risk of developing serious Covid-19. You should first be given the lowest possible dose of virus that is necessary for an infection. Up to 90 volunteers could be infected in a targeted manner.
Human challenge studies are not without controversy. In Germany, for example, the Association of Research-Based Pharmaceutical Manufacturers (vfa) rejects them as unethical. There are also medical reservations: "Challenge studies may show a falsified picture, as findings that were only obtained with young, healthy people may not be transferable to the elderly and the chronically ill," says the association.
Such a study would hardly be imaginable in Switzerland either, the protection of the individual is rated much higher. The federal law on human research states: "The rights, safety and well-being of the test participants have top priority and take precedence over the interests of science and society."
Bucharest is closing restaurants again
Five weeks after their reopening, restaurants and theaters in Romania's capital Bucharest have to close again. Because the incidence of new infections with the coronavirus in the last 14 days has exceeded the critical mark of 3 per 1000 inhabitants, the Bucharest authorities decreed on Sunday that from Monday indoor catering would only be allowed for hotel guests.
Theaters, cinemas and gambling halls also have to close. In schools, compulsory attendance has been reduced to primary and final classes.
At the end of January, indoor catering and theater and cinema operations were allowed again in Bucharest. The condition was that the audience's access to the rooms was limited to 30 percent of the reception capacity.
Paris theater Odéon still occupied
The occupation of the Paris theater Odéon, which has been going on for days in protest against the corona-related closure of the cultural sites, continues. The action will continue until there are concrete answers, said the actors and theater technicians after the visit of the French Minister of Culture Roselyne Bachelot on Saturday evening. They have been occupying the Odéon since Thursday and are demanding the opening of the cultural sites, which have been closed since the end of October, as well as financial aid, as reported by the French news agency AFP.
The Odéon Theater is an emblematic place. In May 1968 the theater was occupied by students for several weeks in the wake of the May Revolution. In April 2016, protesters blocked the site in protest of the unemployment insurance reform.
Even if the Minister of Culture Bachelot has signaled understanding, there has not yet been any prospect of opening up for museums and theaters in France. In the country with around 67 million inhabitants, more than 88,400 people have died after being infected with the Sars-CoV-2 virus.
Rising corona values: Italy's government experts are calling for tightening
The Scientific and Technical Committee, which supports Prime Minister Mario Draghi's cabinet, advises Rome to take increased protective measures, as the Ansa news agency wrote on Saturday evening. The committee had previously warned in its weekly report that the corona risk had worsened for the fifth time in a row.
In Italy, a new decree had only come into force on Saturday, in which domestic travel bans had been extended until March 27. A night curfew still applies. Italian media assumed on Sunday that Prime Minister Draghi should tighten the rules shortly.
British health service employee angry about meager wage increase
"Slap in the face", "pathetic", "worst possible insult": Associations, unions and opposition in Great Britain have been stunned and offended since it became known that the highly acclaimed nurses of the National Health Service NHS were only receiving a wage increase of 1 percent.
Unions warn of an “exodus” of skilled workers. In view of the expected inflation of 1.5 percent, the opposition party Labor stressed that it would be a real wage cut. The bottom line is that newly hired nurses would have a good 300 pounds (around 350 euros) less in their wallets in the coming years. NHS workers wanted to demonstrate in London and Manchester on Sunday.
The government had defended the decision to raise wages for public health workers by 1 percent. More than 1 percent is not possible in view of record debt and spending hundreds of billions of pounds because of the corona pandemic. Other public sector employees did not receive a wage increase.
Crisis over: China's foreign trade is booming again
Regardless of the global corona crisis, China's economy is showing unusually strong growth. In the first two months of the year, Chinese exports, calculated in US dollars, jumped 60.6 percent year-on-year, according to the customs administration in Beijing. The imports of the second largest economy also increased strongly by 22.2 percent. Foreign trade climbed 41.2 percent year-on-year and exceeded the expectations of experts.
Economists see the low comparative basis at the beginning of the previous year as one of the reasons for the unusually strong growth, when China took strict control measures and closed factories after the outbreak of the corona virus in the central Chinese metropolis of Wuhan. However, foreign trade has been developing vigorously again since the second half of 2020 and is making a greater than expected contribution to the recovery of the Chinese economy.
In the past Corona year, China was the only major economy that recorded growth. China has largely got the virus under control with strict measures such as curfews and mass tests for millions, as well as contact tracing, quarantine and exceptionally strict entry restrictions. As a result, everyday life and the economy have largely returned to normal since last summer.
In England, 56-year-olds can be vaccinated
In England, people between the ages of 56 and 59 are now said to be vaccinated against Covid-19. The national health service NHS announced that corresponding offers to book an appointment would be sent in the next week.
The step is possible because 80 percent of people between the ages of 65 and 69 have now accepted these offers and been vaccinated. In total, more than 18 million people in England have now been vaccinated, which is more than a third of the adult population.
Day of the Sick is dedicated to Corona victims
Federal President Guy Parmelin has dedicated this day of the sick, among others, to people who are sick with Covid-19 or who still suffer from long-term effects. Parmelin expresses his condolences to the families of the victims.
The pandemic is the greatest social challenge since the Second World War, said the Federal President in his televised address on Sunday according to the speech. It has claimed numerous victims and has a major impact on everyone's life.
The current situation requires a lot of strength and perseverance, especially from the risk groups, but also from the young people, from whom a lot is demanded. At the same time, the pandemic endangers professional and private projects and pushes people into isolation, which is very stressful.
This year's Day of the Sick is rightly under the motto “Vulnerable, but strong”. Because the pandemic has shown that society is vulnerable. But Switzerland can draw on the strengths it has built up over the years. In this context, Parmelin also thanked the health staff, who were extremely challenged because of Covid-19, for their continuous work.
Parmelin’s address will air at 7:25 p.m. tonight. The text of the speech is online beforehand, link opens in a new window on the Federal Council's website.
For Switzerland, as for many other countries, the Covid-19 pandemic represents the greatest social challenge since the Second World War.Author: Guy ParmelinFederal President
Chile is helping Ecuador and Paraguay with vaccines
Chile donated 40,000 doses of the Chinese Sinovac vaccine to Ecuador and Paraguay. This is what the governments of the two South American countries report.
The donation underscores the strong differences between the countries of Latin America in fighting the pandemic: the richer Chile has already vaccinated a quarter of its population with at least one dose. In Ecuador and Paraguay, on the other hand, vaccinations are progressing very slowly.
Vice President Manuel Battegay resigns from Corona task force
The head of the Clinic for Infectious Diseases and Hospital Hygiene at the University Hospital Basel, Manuel Battegay, announced on Twitter on Saturday evening that he would “resign as planned as a member of the management team and Vice President of the Swiss National Covid 19 Science Taskforce”. The committee, which consists of around 70 scientists, advises the Federal Council and the authorities on the current Corona crisis.
Battegay emphasizes that his resignation "has nothing to do with the discussion about the possibility of expressions in / outside of the task force". He wants to “concentrate more on the management of the clinic and the direct care of patients” and will “continue to work in committees on a cantonal and national level”. Working in the task force was “a privilege”, and he thanked the Federal Council and his colleagues “for the good cooperation”.
On February 27, the Economic Commission of the National Council (WAK-N) demanded that the task force should no longer comment on measures to be taken in the fight against the coronavirus. The public should only be informed by the Federal Council and Parliament. Six days later, however, the commission specified its demand to the effect that external communication should only be carried out via President Martin Ackermann.
Not until 21.February, the resignation of another prominent member of the task force became known: The epidemiologist Marcel Salathé took his hat to devote himself to the establishment of an association that wants to strengthen the scientific and technological competences of politics, authorities and society.
New Zealand lifts restrictions
One week after the start of another shutdown, the corona restrictions in the New Zealand city of Auckland have been relaxed again. In the largest city in the country, schools and shops are opening again and gatherings of up to 100 people are allowed again. In the rest of the country, most of the restrictions will be lifted altogether.
In Auckland, the New Zealand government tightened the corona measures last Sunday after a person tested positive there. New Zealand has a strict elimination strategy in its fight against the coronavirus.
SBB -spitze waives part of the wages
The Corona year 2020 brings SBB deep red numbers. In view of the deficit, the SBB top now waives part of their wages. According to the “NZZ am Sonntag”, the seven-member management team with CEO Vincent Ducrot does not receive at least ten percent of the variable salary, while it is five percent for around 100 members of the highest management.
The employees have already been informed that the SBB spokesman has now confirmed the wage waiver. Should the annual result turn out to be even worse than expected, the wage waiver could even increase somewhat. Because of the Corona crisis, SBB boss Ducrot assumed an annual loss of around 600 million francs for 2020 in December.
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