Continued Coronavirus Updates on Thursday, January 21, 2021
2:50 p.m.: IOC boss Bach rules out Olympic cancellation
Despite the corona emergency in Japan and the majority of the polls against the Olympics in the summer, IOC boss Thomas Bach sees no reason to cancel the Tokyo Games. "At the moment we have absolutely no reason to believe that the Tokyo Olympics will not open in the Tokyo Olympic Stadium on July 23," said the president of the International Olympic Committee of the Japanese news agency Kyodo in an interview published on Thursday. Bach affirmed that there was "no plan B" for hosting the games. "We want to make these games safe and successful," said the 67-year-old. Due to the significantly increased number of coronavirus cases, Japan’s Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga had expanded the state of emergency beyond the Tokyo area to seven other prefectures in the previous week. There is an extensive entry ban until February 7th. In the most recent polls, a clear majority of the Japanese were in favor of canceling or relocating the Olympics.
2.40 p.m.: Merkel: border controls as a last resort
Chancellor Angela Merkel wants to prevent new border controls in the corona pandemic, but does not rule them out. Germany is looking for a "cooperative effort", but does not rule out controls as an "ultima ratio", said the CDU politician before consultations with the European heads of state and government. Merkel assured that there would be no long traffic jams at the borders, such as the first closings in spring. "The free movement of goods is not an issue here at all". Rather, it is about the question of what is happening in border regions with many commuters. Germany will help ensure that commuters can be tested. In addition, one is also in discussion with the countries of origin.
2.35 p.m.: Abi and final exams should take place
According to the current plans of the state ministers of education, the final exams at schools and vocational schools should also take place as planned in this Corona school year. In addition, all qualifications in the countries should be mutually recognized and classified as equivalent to those of other years. The ministers agreed on this in a switching conference on Thursday. There is also a common recommendation on the subject of “staying seated”. "The Standing Conference confirms that the Abitur exams will also take place in 2021," the joint decision said. The common Abitur task pool should also be used for this, "if there are no compelling reasons to the contrary". Countries also commit to ensure that lower secondary qualifications, thus, for example, secondary and secondary school qualifications can be obtained. Restricting it says here: "depending on the infection rate" and "while maintaining the regular standards and observing the country's own regulations". Regarding professional qualifications, it says: "At vocational schools, examinations are to be carried out as far as the infection process allows."
2.15 p.m.: BeWü Prime Minister Kretschmann confirms "little enthusiasm" for the Chancellor via a special route
Baden-Württemberg's Prime Minister Winfried Kretschmann defended his country's special approach in education policy. "Of course, the Chancellor was not happy with what we are doing now in Baden-Württemberg," said the Green politician on Thursday at a special session of the state parliament with a view to the planned gradual opening of elementary schools and daycare centers from February 1st in the southwest. Politically, this is not the best time to do it, said Kretschmann. But in the matter the gradual school opening is justifiable. Kretschmann sees this approach also covered by the resolution of the federal and state governments, which gives the states leeway in classroom teaching. Dealing with the schools had caused a long dispute during the discussions between the Prime Minister and Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) on Tuesday.
1.45 p.m.: China wants to donate half a million vaccine doses to Pakistan
China wants to donate half a million doses of vaccine against the coronavirus to its neighboring country and economic partner, Pakistan. This was announced by Pakistan's Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Thursday after a phone call with his counterpart Wang Yi. The vaccine doses from the Chinese company Sinopharm are supposed to be flown in January. Pakistan had already planned to buy more than a million vaccine doses from Sinopharm. In the past few days, the country had issued emergency approvals for two vaccines to fight against the corona pandemic. Sinopharm and AstraZeneca, which developed a vaccine together with Oxford University, received approval for the South Asian country with more than 200 million. Both vaccines are not approved in the EU. Healthcare workers,
1.35 p.m.: India gives Nepal a million Corona vaccination doses
India is supplying its neighboring country Nepal with a million doses of vaccine against the coronavirus. Nepalese Health Minister Hridayesh Tripathi said the vaccine, manufactured under license by the Serum Institute of India by Astrazeneca and Oxford University, would be administered to health care workers and members of other exposed professionals within ten days at the latest. Nepal is also interested in buying four million more cans, the minister said and asked the Indian government for help. India did not initially comment on this. Last week, Nepal's Foreign Minister Pradeep Gyawali flew to India to lodge a formal request for the vaccine. India started delivering vaccines to neighboring countries this week. Observers expect that the gift could lead to a rapprochement between the two countries again. India accuses Nepal of being too close to China.
1:25 p.m.: France extends health emergency until June 1
The health emergency in France is to be extended until June 1: The French National Assembly approved continued special powers for the government in the corona pandemic on Wednesday evening. The currently valid protective measures such as the nationwide night curfew from 6 p.m. and the continued closure of all ski lifts in the Alps and the Pyrenees are based on them. The National Assembly approved the bill by a government majority of 113 to 43 votes. Health Minister Olivier Véran called the emergency an important "tool to fight the virus." Conservative and left-wing MPs criticized that the restriction of civil liberties was damaging democracy. The proposal now goes to the Senate.
1:20 p.m.: Exit restrictions: Germans less mobile
The Germans were much less on the road in the first half of January. In the first week of the year, mobility fell by 19.7 percent compared to the mobility in January of the previous year 2019, as a special evaluation of mobile phone data published by the Federal Statistical Office shows. In the second calendar week, the decline was somewhat weaker at 14.3 percent. Above all, there were noticeably fewer trips over longer distances than before the pandemic. In the first week of January, 37 percent fewer trips were made with a distance of more than 30 kilometers than in January 2019. In the second calendar week, the decrease was 34 percent, with no significant differences between circles with a seven-day incidence of 200 or more and those of a lower value.
1:11 p.m.: Immunologist doubts third-party infection protection after corona vaccination
Immunologists doubt that all people vaccinated against corona are reliably protected from infecting other people with the virus. Especially with the vaccine from AstraZeneca, which is already approved in Great Britain, both animal experiments and studies with clinical staff indicate that there is no so-called third-party protection, said the Secretary-General of the German Society for Immunology, Carsten Watzl, of the "Augsburger Allgemeine" according to the announcement.
There is a risk that someone who has been vaccinated could pass the virus on to others. The question is whether a vaccinated person will pass on the virus in the same way as a non-vaccinated person or, to a lesser extent, said Watzl. With the so-called mRNA vaccines, as they are currently approved in Germany by Biontech and Moderna, the virus was no longer detected in vaccinated and later deliberately infected monkeys a day later. But it is open whether this also applies to people. "When asked whether the vaccination offers third-party protection, we have to say clearly: We don't know," said the expert.
13:05: Survey - six out of ten municipalities want to increase taxes and fees
Cities and municipalities run out of money in the Corona