Coronavirus Updates from the UK, US and Europe among others

Coronavirus Updates from the UK, US and Europe among others

The World Health Organization (WHO) fears that poorer countries could be disadvantaged by the vaccinations against the coronavirus. There is no single poor country among the 42 states that injected safe and effective vaccines, WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in Geneva on Friday.

He appealed to the rich countries, which had secured many vaccination doses, to distribute them to the 92 affiliated countries via the international Corona vaccination initiative Covax. The reorders threatened to drive up the prices for the vaccines, criticized Tedros. "I urge states and manufacturers to stop these bilateral deals at Covax's expense." The WHO experts drew attention to the fact that the current number of vaccine doses delivered did not affect the pandemic. It is important to continue to comply with the usual hygiene rules.

In London, the so-called seven-day incidence is now more than 1,000 - this figure relates to new infections within one week per 100,000 inhabitants. Because of these unprecedented numbers of infections, Mayor Sadiq Khan has declared a major incident. The threat that the coronavirus poses to the city is at a critical point. "If we do not act immediately, our NHS (health service) could be overwhelmed, and more people will die," Khan said in a statement.

According to the mayor's announcement, the number of Covid 19 patients treated in the hospital in London rose by almost a third in the first week of January alone, and the number of intensive care patients rose by more than 40 percent.

Great Britain recorded very high numbers of infections overall in the past few days. London is particularly badly affected. The hospitals are already largely full. The government and experts also blame a new, possibly more contagious virus variant.

Coronavirus in the USA

In the USA, the number of jobs fell in December for the first time in eight months - mainly due to the corona pandemic, i.e., due to the high number of infections, the countermeasures, but also due to the cold weather. This is shown by a report from the Ministry of Labor. On the other hand, the increase in November jobs was stronger than previously assumed: instead of the originally stated 245,000 jobs, it was 336,000. The unemployment rate remains unchanged at around 6.7 percent.

The decline in December jobs mainly affected the leisure and hospitality industries, while new jobs were even created in other areas. The number of employees in retail increased by 120,500. In services, there were 161,000 jobs, in construction 51,000 and in manufacturing 38,000.

In total, more than 22 million jobs were lost in the USA during the Corona crisis, around half of which have been won back so far.

The rapid increase in new infections in the USA

In the past 24 hours, more than 250,000 new infections with the coronavirus have been reported in the US, reports the Reuters news agency. At least 4008 people died in connection with the coronavirus during this period. This increases the total number of US citizens infected with the coronavirus to 21.22 million; more than 361,000 Americans have died from or with the coronavirus.

EU orders another 300 million vaccine doses from BioNTech

The EU Commission has signed a contract for a further 300 million doses of the corona vaccine from the Mainz company Biontech and its US partner Pfizer. 75 million cans should already be available in the second quarter of 2021, said EU Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen in Brussels. Around 450 million people live in the EU, and the vaccination has to be administered twice.

"We ensure that Europeans have sufficient doses of safe and effective corona vaccines," wrote von der Leyen on Twitter. So far, the EU had secured 300 million doses of the vaccine. The current contract doubles the possible purchase volume, said the commission chief in a press conference. The Brussels authority had proposed to the 27 member states to first order a further 200 million cans with the option of ordering another 100 million afterward. The vaccine is known and approved. The EU states know how to store and transport it, said von der Leyen.

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) also announced on Friday that it had allowed six instead of five doses to be drawn from an ampoule of the vaccine from Biontech and Pfizer. A lot of vaccines are supplied in the ampoules, enough for more than five doses. Since the approval had so far only been granted for the removal of five doses, the remaining amount had to be disposed of with the bottles, as the head of the central vaccination center in the Hamburg exhibition halls, Dirk Heinrich, told the DPA. He spoke of "wonderful news." "That means we can vaccinate 20 percent more people," he said.

Von der Leyen said, along with the recently approved vaccine from US manufacturer Moderna, the EU had secured enough approved vaccine to vaccinate 380 million people. That is more than 80 percent of the European population, said von der Leyen. Around 450 million people live in the EU, and the vaccination has to be administered twice. Vaccines from other manufacturers would be added "in the coming weeks and months." "And so it remains: Europe will have more than enough vaccine in a reliable time frame," said von der Leyen. This shows that the common path that has been taken in Europe for the procurement of vaccines is the right one - also because of the "common market power."

Von der Leyen also defended the strategy that the EU relied on several manufacturers for procurement. Nobody knew in the summer which vaccine would win the race. Europe can only get out of the crisis if the vaccine is available to all regions and we work together, said the Commission head.

Moderna vaccine also approved in the UK

After the EU and the USA, Great Britain has also approved the corona vaccine from the US manufacturer Moderna. The British government announced on Friday in London. After the vaccine from Biontech / Pfizer and the domestic vaccine from Oxford University and the Astrazeneca group, it is the third preparation to be vaccinated in the country. Britain has ordered 17 million doses of the Moderna drug.

The Moderna vaccine is considered to be just as effective, but a little less complicated to use, than the Biontech / Pfizer product. Like the vaccine from Biontech / Pfizer, Moderna is also a so-called mRNA vaccine but does not have to be cooled to minus 70 degrees. It contains genetic information about the pathogen from which the body produces a virus protein. Vaccination aims to stimulate the body to produce antibodies against this protein to intercept the viruses before they penetrate the cells and multiply.

According to the government, around 1.5 million people in Great Britain have been vaccinated against Corona. However, the vaccination campaign's pace is to be accelerated significantly to get the virus out of control under control. The aim is to offer the 15 million British people who are particularly at risk the first vaccination by mid-February.

The Moderna vaccine is also to be used in Germany, and the first vaccinations with it can apparently begin in the coming week. The states should receive the first delivery of the preparation on Tuesday, said a spokesman for the German press agency's Federal Ministry of Health.

Australia and England introduce compulsory testing for travelers

A negative corona test is required for entry into England from next week. All travelers arriving by flight, train, or ship must present appropriate proof, which must not be older than 72 hours, said British Transport Minister Grant Shapps on Friday night. This measure is intended to prevent the spread of new corona variants. Those who cannot prove a test have to pay a fine of 500 pounds, a good 550 euros, on the spot. There are exceptions for truck drivers, children under the age of eleven, and people traveling from Ireland. The announcement only affects England, but similar measures are to follow for the rest of Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland.

To contain the virus variant that first appeared in Great Britain, Australia tightened its entry and lockdown regulations. Before taking a flight to Australia, travelers would now have to show a negative corona test, explains Prime Minister Scott Morrison. In some states, the upper limit for travelers will be halved by February 15. In Australia's third-largest city, Brisbane, there will be a three-day curfew from 6 p.m. on Friday, announced the Prime Minister of Queensland, Annastacia Palaszczuk. An employee in quarantine at a hotel in Brisbane tested positive for the British variant.

EU approved the Moderna vaccine.

As a second corona vaccine, the US manufacturer Moderna's drug is now also approved in the European Union. The EU Commission decided this on Wednesday on the recommendation of the drug authority EMA. This means that additional quantities of the vaccine will soon be available in Europe. According t