Corona up-to-date – Australia allows tourists to enter – politics


Almost two years after the Corona-related closure of the Australian borders, tourists will be allowed to enter again for the first time from February 21st. “You have to be double vaccinated to come to Australia. That is the rule. And everyone is expected to comply,” said Prime Minister Scott Morrison. An exception is the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which is also approved but only requires a syringe, the broadcaster ABC reported, citing the authorities.

A booster vaccination is not necessary and will not be in the future as things stand, Morrison emphasized. Unvaccinated people, on the other hand, would have to apply for an exemption and after their arrival they would first have to be in hotel quarantine, it said. However, different states and territories in the country have different rules, such as caps on international arrivals. These would remain in force, Morrison emphasized. For example, in the state of New South Wales, with the metropolis of Sydney, there is no upper limit at all, and Western Australia, with the city of Perth, is currently only allowed to enter 265 international guests per week.

Australia had long followed a zero-Covid strategy and largely closed its external borders to international travel in March 2020. Ultimately, however, the government had to admit that even this drastic strategy did not have the desired effect in the long term. (07.02.2022)

Israel largely eliminates the obligation to have a green passport

Despite record numbers of seriously ill people in the Omicron wave, the so-called Green Passport is largely no longer mandatory in Israel. Since Monday, people have only had to show proof of vaccinated and recovered people at large events such as celebrations and weddings. It is now possible to visit restaurants, cinemas and hotels without a green pass and without a negative corona test. Even when leaving Israel, unvaccinated people no longer have to present a negative corona test.

The number of seriously ill corona patients in the country of 9.4 million inhabitants exceeded 1200 for the first time since the beginning of the pandemic. On Sunday evening, the Ministry of Health reported 1255 people affected. According to the current status, however, Israel passed the peak of the omicron wave about two weeks ago. After more than 85,000 new infections in one day, 33,394 new cases were reported on Sunday. (07.02.2022)

Obligation to test for vaccinated persons entering Greece abolished

Traveling to Greece has become easier. Since Monday morning, Athens has no longer required a negative PCR or rapid test from vaccinated people to enter the country. The authorities said that a valid EU vaccination certificate issued in the respective country was sufficient. Greece introduced the additional test requirement for vaccinated travelers last December to curb the spread of corona infections. This solo effort by Athens was criticized by other EU countries at the time.

However, unvaccinated people still need a negative PCR test on entry, which must not be older than 72 hours, or a negative rapid antigen test that is no more than 24 hours old. This also applies to travelers whose vaccination certificate is no longer valid in their own country because they did not have the booster vaccination. (07.02.2022)

Nationwide incidence rises to 1426

The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) reports 95,267 positive tests within 24 hours. That is 16,849 more cases than on Monday a week ago, when 78,318 new infections were reported. The nationwide seven-day incidence rises to a new high of 1426. The day before it was 1400. 49 people died in connection with the virus. This increases the number of reported deaths to 118,766. So far, more than 11.1 million corona tests have been positive in Germany. (07.02.2022)

Lauterbach expects easing “well before Easter”

Health Minister Karl Lauterbach says he is firmly convinced that the measures can be relaxed before mid-April. “I think we will relax well before Easter,” he said image-Newspaper. Easter Sunday falls on April 17 this year. A gradual elimination of the measures could already be discussed at the Corona summit on February 16. Lauterbach spoke out against immediate easing. “We are before the peak of the wave. To loosen up to the maximum number of cases now means: I’m pouring oil on the fire.” “The spook could be over” in the fall if vaccination was compulsory by then.

Lauterbach also said he expects other virus variants to follow Omicron. “I don’t think that Omikron is the last option,” said Lauterbach when asked when the end of the pandemic and the protective measures could be expected. (06.02.2022)

State of emergency in Ottawa after protests against corona measures

After more than a week of protests against corona measures and vaccination regulations in the Canadian capital Ottawa, Mayor Jim Watson declared a state of emergency. This measure was necessary because of the “serious danger and threat to the safety of local residents” from the ongoing protests, it said in a statement. The city needs more support from other municipalities and from the government.

The police again called on the demonstrators on Sunday to leave the city center. There was a disturbance of the peace overnight. Since Saturday, they have issued more than 450 fines, including for dangerous driving and noise pollution. Several people were taken into custody and almost 100 cases, including allegations of hate crimes, are being investigated, the police said.

According to Police Commissioner Peter Sloly, an estimated 5,000 people took part in the protests on Saturday. Around 1,000 trucks and other vehicles blocked parts of the city center. Residents were asked to stay away from downtown.

The protest in Ottawa began a week ago with the arrival of a convoy of hundreds of trucks. The so-called Freedom Convoy (translated: “Convoy of Freedom”) and demonstrators have been holding out in the city near Parliament ever since. The protests were triggered by vaccination requirements for truck drivers returning from the United States that were introduced in January. The protests are now directed against government pandemic restrictions as a whole. A majority of the Canadian population supports the pandemic measures, according to a recently published poll. In Canada, more than 77 percent of the population is fully vaccinated. (07.02.2022)

Immunologist calls for equality of omicron infection with booster vaccination

The immunologist Carsten Watzl calls on the federal government to legally equate proven omicron infections with a booster vaccination. “A clearly documented infection should be equated with a single vaccine dose for each person affected,” says the Secretary General of the German Society for Immunology Augsburg General. The fact that vaccinated people are not considered boosted after an infection is scientifically untenable. “There is very good data that those who have recovered should also be given equal treatment here.” However, one infection is not enough for full vaccination protection. “Anyone who has never been vaccinated receives the protection of a single vaccination if they have had an omicron infection. Three doses are important, regardless of whether they are due to an infection or a vaccination.” (07.02.2022)

Scholz has confidence in Wieler despite criticism from the FDP

Chancellor Olaf Scholz backed the virologists in the traffic light dispute over RKI boss Lothar Wieler. When asked whether Wieler still enjoyed the chancellor’s trust, a government spokeswoman said “yes” on Saturday. The designated FDP General Secretary Bijan Djir-Sarai had previously said that Wieler could “no longer be sure of the FDP’s trust”. The trigger was the annoyance at the reduction in the convalescent status. Green politicians and intensive care physicians also defended Wieler.

The RKI reduced the period “almost incidentally with the stroke of a pen and without any announcement”, criticized the FDP politician in the Spiegel. This is not an isolated case, but a “recent misconduct”. The surprising shortening of the recovered status from six to three months meant that people without a full vaccination status were suddenly unable to go to restaurants, bars or gyms. Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD) had spoken of communication problems with the RKI.

The RKI President received demonstrative support from the green coalition partner. “Lothar Wieler has done an incredible amount during the pandemic. His expertise, professionalism, steadfastness in the face of attacks by enemies of science deserve respect,” wrote Bundestag Vice President Katrin Göring-Eckardt on Twitter.

Green health expert Janosch Dahmen tweeted: “His expertise is invaluable. Without him we would be in a much worse position today,” he wrote on Twitter. Christian Karagiannidis, President of the German Society for Internal Intensive Care Medicine and Emergency Medicine, made a similar statement, emphasizing that Wieler’s expertise was “invaluable”.

The background to the dispute with the FDP is a deeper conflict in the coalition over the further Corona course. There is a dispute between the SPD, FDP and Greens as to when there should be opening steps, which the Liberals in particular are pushing for. FDP leader Christian Lindner had called for easing this week, such as the abolition of the 2-G rule in retail. “The time for opening debates is now,” tweeted Parliamentary State Secretary in the Ministry for Digital Affairs and Transport, Michael Theurer (FDP), on Saturday.

Government spokesman Steffen Hebestreit had said in view of the sharp increase in the number of new corona infections that it was too early to present a timetable for openings. Lower Saxony’s Prime Minister Stephan Weil (SPD) made a similar statement on Friday. During the pandemic, Wieler advocates a tougher course in the fight against the pandemic.

According to model calculations, the RKI expects the omicron wave to peak in mid-February. Then the number of daily new corona infections could be at least 400,000. The number of corona patients in hospitals is also expected to increase. However, the number of very severe disease courses in omicron-infected people has not increased so far. (06.02.2022)


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