Corona up-to-date: Austria gradually relaxes rules – politics


Despite a high number of new infections, Austria is gradually relaxing its corona measures. Chancellor Karl Nehammer (ÖVP) announced that the curfew would be pushed from 10 p.m. to midnight on February 5. From February 12th, the 2-G rule will apply in retail. However, the obligation to wear an FFP2 mask remains. From February 19th, the 3-G rule will apply in gastronomy and tourism instead of the 2-G rule, it said. This makes it possible for those who have not been vaccinated to visit bars – with a negative corona test.

The basis for the decisions is therefore the foreseeable further low burden on the clinics. “These numbers are stable and at a really predictable level,” said Nehammer about the situation in the normal and intensive care units. Health Minister Wolfgang Mückstein (Greens) said there was no longer any risk of overloading, especially in the intensive care units. Tourism Minister Elisabeth Köstinger (ÖVP) was pleased with the development. Above all, the 10 p.m. curfew was a major challenge for the companies and the guests. She also hopes for a perspective for night gastronomy and for the big events in the next few weeks.

The seven-day incidence in Austria is around 2,400 per 100,000 inhabitants. According to the government, the peak of the current corona wave is expected at the end of the first week of February. (29.01.2022)

Incidence value increases to 1128

According to the Robert Koch Institute, the nationwide seven-day incidence has risen to 1127.7. The day before the value was 1073.0 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants and week, a week ago it was 772.7. Officially, the health authorities in Germany reported 189,166 new corona infections to the RKI within one day.

However, experts assume that there will be a high and increasing number of cases that are not recorded in the RKI data, also because the test capacities in the laboratories and the health authorities are at the limit in many places. In addition, some cities and districts have been reporting problems with the transmission of the number of corona cases for days. According to the new information, 182 corona deaths were recorded across Germany within 24 hours.

The number of corona-infected patients who came to clinics per 100,000 inhabitants within seven days was 4.72 (Thursday 4.64) according to the RKI. These may also include people with a positive corona test who have another main illness. (29.01.2022)

CDU on compulsory vaccination: “Only with a clear, narrow time limit”

The health policy spokesman for the Union faction, Tino Sorge, believes that compulsory corona vaccination is only helpful under certain conditions. “It would only make sense “if particularly dangerous virus variants threaten – and if there are suitable vaccines at the same time,” said the CDU politician world on Sunday. “If one of the two does not apply, compulsory vaccination would not be very effective.” The clear signal to the population must also be: “If vaccination comes, then only with a clear, narrow time limit.”

The previously known initiatives of various members of the Bundestag for a general vaccination requirement criticized concern: “The differentiation according to virus variants and temporal component is missing from all group applications – as well as ideas for improving the database.” The Union will submit a proposal on these three points, he said.

On Wednesday, the Bundestag discussed the socially explosive topic in an orientation debate. So far there have essentially been three approaches: A draft for compulsory vaccination from the age of 18 is currently being prepared by parliamentarians from all three traffic light groups. A group led by the FDP MP Andrew Ullmann concreted a push for a “middle way”: With a mandatory, professional and personal consultation for all unvaccinated adults. And if after a certain time the necessary vaccination rate is not achieved, proof of vaccination from the age of 50 is mandatory. A group led by FDP Vice Wolfgang Kubicki wants to prevent compulsory vaccination in general.

The SPD, the Greens and the FDP had agreed that the deputies should deliberate and decide freely without the usual group guidelines. SPD parliamentary group leader Rolf Mützenich believes it is possible that there could be a majority for compulsory vaccination from the age of 18 in the first ballot, as he told the editorial network Germany. He also spoke out in favor of this option. (01/29/2022)

Doctors disagree on length of recovery status

Medical President Klaus Reinhardt described the controversial shortening of the convalescent status as sensible from a medical point of view. “The previous scientific evidence indicates that unvaccinated people can contract the omicron variant much earlier than after six months after undergoing a delta infection,” said Reinhardt Rheinische Post. The President of the German Medical Association jumped to the side of Federal Minister of Health Karl Lauterbach (SPD), who had defended the reduction to three months.

The recovered status was surprisingly shortened to a period of 28 to 90 days after a positive PCR test two weeks ago based on new guidelines from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI). It is only during this time that one is considered to have recovered, previously this period lasted six months. The decision sparked some fierce criticism. In other EU countries, people who have been infected with the corona virus are considered recovered for a period of six months. The rule also affects people who want to travel from one EU country to another, for example.

The chairwoman of the medical organization Marburger Bund, Susanne Johna, expects a retreat in Germany: “I don’t think that the 90-day rule in Germany can be maintained permanently,” she said Rheinische Post. “Only a few days ago, the member states of the EU set the validity of the convalescent status to six months.” Going it alone by Germany does not make sense. In principle, it is true that the number of antibodies in most people drops about 90 days after an infection. “Of course, this is not a fixed deadline and varies greatly from patient to patient,” said Johna. (29.01.2022)

Spain’s government sees their country “over the hill”

According to the government, Spain has passed the peak of the omicron wave. “Everything indicates that the curve of infections is going down. The decline in the numbers is solidifying day by day,” said Health Minister Carolina Darias. The seven-day incidence has fallen more than 300 points to 1,306 since peaking on Monday last week. The utilization of the intensive care units also decreased somewhat. A total of 1.48 million infections have been registered in the past two weeks. Of these, only 266,000 developed clear signs of illness, the newspaper wrote The vanguard.

The country has a comparatively high vaccination rate. More than 80 percent of people have been vaccinated twice and are therefore basic immunized. 44 percent received a third vaccination. Some of the autonomous communities in Spain, which roughly correspond to German federal states, are now easing the corona measures. For example, Catalonia lifted the 3G rule for entering many indoor public spaces and limits on the occupancy of restaurants and other venues or the maximum number of participants in gatherings. However, nightlife remains prohibited for the time being.

In France and Italy, too, the omicron wave is slowly losing momentum. In France, the authorities registered just over 350,000 new infections. At the beginning of the week there were more than 500,000 new corona cases per day. In Italy, the Ministry of Health registered almost 144,000 new infections within one day. That’s almost 12,000 fewer than the day before. (28.01.2022)

Lauterbach: “Don’t wait for vaccines that aren’t here yet”

Against the background of the rapidly increasing number of new infections in the omicron wave, Minister of Health Karl Lauterbach (SPD) has again called for vaccination. “Let yourself be boosted,” Lauterbach appealed at the federal press conference, “don’t wait for vaccines that aren’t available yet.”

The vaccines that are currently available would reduce the risk of dying from a corona infection by 99 percent compared to unvaccinated people. Lauterbach referred to figures from the US agency Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. He again advocated introducing compulsory vaccination in the coming months. The vaccination gap of twelve percent for over 60-year-olds cannot be closed by appeals and persuasion alone.

Lauterbach drew a positive interim balance as far as the protection of the elderly is concerned. On average, the incidence in Germany is currently 1000, and in younger people it is significantly higher at around 2000. In comparison, it is particularly low at 200 to 300 among older people. However, the zenith of the omicron wave has not yet been reached. He expects this around mid-February. “After that, the number of cases will decrease significantly.” He announced that the corona measures would then be relaxed.

There was cautiously positive news from RKI boss Lothar Wieler: “The number of cases continues to increase massively, but in fact they are not increasing as much as it would be possible under Omikron.” This is due to the discipline of the citizens. This is crucial to keep the number of hospital admissions as low as possible. “Even if the courses at Omikron are milder, the sheer number of cases will increase the number of admissions in the next two weeks,” he warned.

The seven-day hospitalization incidence is currently around 7.5 and rising. That affects the younger ones in particular, said Wieler. Nevertheless, he expects a growing number of older people who will have to be hospitalized in the coming days due to a corona infection.

Lauterbach announced, among other things, a new test strategy for the coming week. He is in exchange with the countries for this. Two groups have priority in the test prioritization: people who work in care and vulnerable groups, such as older people or those with previous illnesses. However, prioritization does not mean that other people are no longer offered PCR tests. (28.01.2022)


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