50.000 demonstrate in Brussels – protest turns to violence
The Bundestag is set to debate a general Corona vaccination requirement. For whom exactly should a vaccination obligation apply, what sanctions are planned and with how many vaccinations is the obligation fulfilled? These questions still need to be answered. Now there are concrete proposals on this.
Source: WORLD / Thomas Laeber
P rotest against Corona restrictions in Brussels with about 50.000 participants from home and abroad turned into violence on Sunday. Some participants threw stones and fireworks, police used tear gas and water cannon. About 70 protesters were arrested. Three officers and twelve protesters were hospitalized with injuries, according to the police. EU foreign affairs representative Josep Borrell condemned the violence.
Clashes between protesters and police broke out in the EU district of the Belgian capital. Because some protesters threw paving stones and fireworks at police, officers used water cannon and tear gas to push the crowd back. In the meantime, the forces were forced to take shelter in a subway station.
Of the three officers and 12 protesters who were taken to hospital with injuries, police said no one’s life was in danger. The glass entrance door to the headquarters of the EU foreign affairs envoy was smashed during the riots. Borrell condemned the "destruction and senseless violence".
All developments in the live ticker:
22.53 am – Again peak in new infections in Russia
For the third day in a row, Russia has recorded a new high in new corona infections. On Sunday, the government’s Corona working group reported a good 63.200 cases within 24 hours. That’s up 25 percent from Friday’s record 49.500 were counted. On Saturday there were 57.200.
The task force reported 679 new deaths on Sunday, similar to the number in previous days.
Only about half of Russia’s 146 million inhabitants are fully vaccinated. According to an estimate by the independent website Gogov.ru, 8.8 million Russians have received booster vaccinations.
21.36 h – Israel: Fourth Corona vaccination significantly increases resistance in over 60s
A fourth Corona vaccination significantly increases resistance to severe Covid 19 disease in people over 60, according to Israeli data. According to the Ministry of Health of Israel, after the second booster vaccination, the resistance to a severe course of the disease was three times higher in people over 60 years of age than in people of the same age who were only triple immunized.
The fourth dose also doubled resistance to infection compared with peers with three vaccinations. Israel offers fourth vaccination to over 60s since early January.
20.05 a.m. – Lauterbach wants to continue cautious course
German Health Minister Karl Lauterbach has defended the fact that there are no transitional arrangements in the shortening of the convalescent status from the previous six months to now three months. "I can’t say now there’s a transition if that’s not medically tenable," the SPD politician said Sunday evening on the ZDF program "Berlin direkt". Corona convalescents would unfortunately have lost their vaccination protection after three months in view of the omicron variant now prevailing and could become infected. "If you want safety there and you want to control the number of cases and you want to give special protection to the vulnerable, then you have to act quickly."
The SPD politician advocated a continued cautious approach. "We’re sticking to that," he said, pointing out that unlike other looser countries, Germany has the second oldest population in Europe. He expects the peak of the wave with several hundred thousand newly infected per day for mid-February. But: "Once we have that behind us, then of course the restrictions can’t stop there. And then, step by step, openings would be made again. To envisage that right now is correct."
He believes there will be more variants because there are still too many people worldwide who could become infected. This is how virus combinations could emerge. He fears, "We’ll have problems again in the fall," Lauterbach said.
19.26 o’clock – Federal and state governments do not plan any relaxation
Given the rapid spread of the omicron variant, the federal and state governments do not plan to relax existing corona measures. According to information from the AFP news agency, there is agreement "that the rules for social contacts and events that have applied so far will continue to apply," according to the proposed resolution for a video conference of government leaders on Monday. Due to bottlenecks in PCR tests, these will also be made available to certain groups as a matter of priority.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) and the heads of government of the federal states will again discuss the Corona situation on Monday afternoon. The Omikron variant of the coronavirus is spreading "very rapidly" and could lead to "a great many hospital admissions," according to the draft resolution issued Sunday afternoon. The federal and state governments therefore agreed "that the current course will be continued and the measures in place will be consistently pursued".
17.55 a.m. – WHO says pandemic end in Europe would be ‘plausible’ after omicron wave
The World Health Organization (WHO) believes an end to the Corona pandemic in Europe is possible following the current Omikron wave. "It is plausible that the region is moving towards a final phase of the pandemic," WHO European chief Hans Kluge told the AFP news agency on Sunday. At the same time, however, he urged caution because of possible further mutations of the coronavirus. According to WHO estimates, 60 percent of all people in Greater Europe could be infected with the omicron variant by March. The variant is highly contagious, but appears to generally cause illness with a milder course than earlier viral variants.
17.44 o’clock – Great Britain observes Omikron sub-variant BA.2
A potentially even more easily transmitted sub-variant of omicron will be watched more closely in the U.K. in the future. The British health authority classified the variant, called BA.2, a special expression of the Omikron mutant, as a "variant under observation" a. Usually, variants that may eventually be called "variants of concern" are first observed and further analyzed. The reason is the suspicion that BA.2 could be even more easily transmitted than the original form of the omicron variant, which also BA.1 is called.
So far, 426 cases of BA have been reported in the UK.2 known, authorities said Friday evening. Initial analysts suggested that the sub-variant might be even more transmissible than BA.1 – but further analysis was still needed, they said. It is also unclear where the variant may have first emerged. Cases also reported from Denmark, India, Sweden and Singapore – the bulk of them in Denmark, with more than 6400 cases, he said.
17.30 Clock – Tough restrictions for unvaccinated in France
Drastic restrictions come into force in France for those not vaccinated against Corona. As of Monday, unvaccinated and unrecovered people will no longer have access to restaurants, bars, cultural institutions, sporting events, and long-distance trains, for example. The reason is the introduction of the "pass vaccinal" (vaccination pass) in France. This proof of recovery or vaccination must be presented in the future for participation in public life. Until now, evidence of a negative Corona test was also sufficient.
The "pass vaccinal" roughly corresponds to the 2G scheme in Germany. But exemptions are initially expected to apply to people who decide to get their first vaccination on short notice. They are to be allowed to continue presenting a negative test result for the time being. French Constitutional Council ruling says restrictions on unvaccinated may remain in place only as long as pandemic requires.
17.24 a.m. – Violence at protests in Brussels
Protesters and police clashed violently on Sunday during protests against Corona restrictions in Brussels. Protesters threw stones and firecrackers, police used tear gas and water cannon. According to the RTL channel, masked protesters threw in the glass entrance door to the headquarters of the EU foreign representative.
According to police, about 50 participated.000 people at the protest march. Organizers, including the World Wide Demonstration for Freedom and Europeans United for Freedom movements, had called on demonstrators from other EU countries to join the protest. Participants waved Polish, Dutch and Romanian flags, among others. The demonstrators carried banners with slogans against the head of the Belgian government, Alexander De Croo. They also criticized the Corona passport, which is required to show proof of Corona vaccination or a negative test in many public places in Belgium.
16.47 p.m. – Intensive care bed occupancy rises for first time since December
For the first time since mid-December, there has been an increase in the number of Covid 19 patients treated in intensive care units. According to the daily report of the Divi Intensive Care Registry, 2426 Covid 19 patients were recorded in intensive care on Sunday – 28 more than on the previous day. An increase was last reported in the daily report of 13. December had been reported, by 21 to 4926 patients. Thereafter, the number had steadily declined.
So far, the wave of the new corona virus variant Omikron did not seem to affect intensive care units, this may now change. Experts had always warned that in the wake of rapidly rising case numbers, the number of Covid 19 patients in intensive care was also likely to rise again, even if Omikron leads to severe courses less frequently than the previously dominant variant Delta.
The number of Corona patients admitted to hospitals nationwide per 100.000 inhabitants within seven days had already noticeably increased again in recent days. On Monday it was still at 3.14 – on Friday at 3.77. There are large regional differences.
16.2 p.m. – Omicron and Olympia put China’s zero-covid strategy to the test
Omicron variant of coronavirus and preparations for Beijing Winter Olympics put China’s rigorous zero-covid strategy to the test. On Sunday, less than two weeks before the start of the Olympics, authorities ordered mass testing near the venue. All two million residents of Fengtai County are to be tested for Corona because of a flare-up of infection there. According to Olympic organizers, there are also numerous Corona cases in the specially set up "Olympic bubble," an area closed to the public.
Across the country, there had recently been several small outbreaks of infection. In Beijing, 46 infections had been detected in recent weeks, according to official figures. Fengtai, in the south of the capital, is said to be the center of the outbreak, with six new infections reported in the district recently, according to the report. The mass testing was to begin on Sunday.
15.24 hrs – Only one of 77 hamsters tested positive in culling operation in Hong Kong
Following the call to kill hundreds of hamsters in Hong Kong for Corona pandemic control reasons, 77 rodents have been surrendered by pet owners. Among the animals killed, only one hamster tested positive, authorities in China’s special administrative region said Sunday. The culling of the cute rodents had caused a stir and called into question Hong Kong’s strict zero-covid strategy. Following the discovery of several hamsters infected with the corona virus in a pet shop, authorities had ordered the killing of hundreds of hamsters and other rodents such as rabbits and guinea pigs, and around 2,000 animals from pet shops were culled.
14.10 p.m. – Easing at federal-state leaders’ meeting?
A relaxation of Corona measures is being discussed ahead of the next federal-state summit on the Corona situation on Monday. Although the seven-day incidence rose again to a high on Sunday, the hospitalization rate is still comparatively low.
Bavaria’s Prime Minister Markus Soder (CSU) told the "Augsburger Allgemeine" newspaper: "We want to enable more participation in culture, sports and youth work again." Bavaria will not support any tightening in the conference, but will adjust the rules in individual places.
Soder stressed, "Omikron is not Delta, so we cannot transfer the measures 1:1 from one mutation to the other either."The decisive yardstick would be the burden on the health system. Thanks to the consistent measures taken in recent weeks, as well as the milder courses of omicron, the overall figures for occupied intensive care beds have fortunately dropped, he said.
North Rhine-Westphalia’s head of government Hendrik Wust (CDU) and his SPD colleagues Manuela Schwesig from Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania and Stefan Weil from Lower Saxony spoke out against easing the Corona measures. "A signal to large-scale, blanket relaxations would be too early at the moment," Wust told the "Tagesspiegel".
Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD) assumes that there could soon be 400,000 new infections per day. "Around 1500 people a week are still dying from Corona, the staff in the hospitals are completely exhausted," Wust said.
14.8 p.m. – 39 Corona cases found during entry checks ahead of Winter Games
During the first wave of arrivals to the Winter Games in Beijing, 39 cases of corona were detected in Olympic participants. None of the 171 athletes and team officials were affected by the positive tests at the airport, Chinese organizers said. According to the report, the cases are distributed among the 2415 other accredited between the 4. and 22. January had arrived in Beijing.
Strict corona guidelines apply at the Winter Games. Before arrival, all Olympic participants must prove two negative PCR tests. Only with proof of vaccination can a three-week quarantine be avoided when entering Beijing. Organizers aim to prevent spread of infection and prevent contact with Chinese population with closed bubble and daily testing. China pursues a zero-covid policy in pandemic.
13.10 a.m.-Thousands demonstrate
Once again, thousands of people demonstrated nationwide over the weekend against the state’s Corona measures. There were numerous unannounced protests in several eastern German cities on Saturday. In Dresden, police tried to stop an announced mass march by Corona deniers and right-wing extremists. More than 1.000 demonstrators marched in Stuttgart in front of the SWR broadcasting house. There were also Corona protests in Frankfurt am Main and Freiburg. Incidents also occurred in some places during the demonstrations.
Thousands of people also demonstrate in Brussels. According to initial estimates, tens of thousands gathered in downtown Brussels on Sunday. Six people had already been arrested before the demonstration began for possession of dangerous or prohibited objects, a spokeswoman said.
12.7 p.m.-Greens call for priority for nurses on Novavax vaccine
In the new Corona vaccine from Novavax should be given priority according to the will of Green Party caucus leader Franziska Schubert employees in care and health services. Many people were waiting for this vaccine to be delivered, she explained on Sunday. Therefore, members of professions subject to mandatory vaccination from mid-March should receive "an exclusive vaccination offer" in cooperation with the respective institutions. The vaccine is based on a different technology than the mRNA vaccines from Biontech and Moderna. Experts hope that this will enable many people to be vaccinated who are skeptical about previous vaccines or reject them altogether.
11.10 am – Dahmen: Mandatory vaccination could be in place by August
For the health policy spokesman of the Green Party’s parliamentary group in the Bundestag, Janosch Dahmen, the introduction of compulsory vaccination against the corona virus is possible by August. By the end of March, the law could be decided, said the co-initiator of the resolution motion for a general vaccination obligation of the "Bild am Sonntag". The second quarter of 2022 is needed to vaccinate very intensively. "Then the vaccination requirement may be in effect in July or August."
Dahmen sees the age limit for mandatory vaccination at 18 years. "The virus has changed. ‘It no longer puts only the elderly at risk, but increasingly young people,’ he said. To comply with the vaccination requirement, every adult in Germany would have to be vaccinated three times.
Those who do not get vaccinated despite mandatory vaccination should face a fine, Dahmen said. He proposed a fine "in the middle three-digit range. "Before this becomes due, however, unvaccinated persons should be given a period of about six weeks to catch up on the vaccination."
Dahmen rejected imprisonment for persistent vaccination refusers: "I would be in favor of excluding compulsory imprisonment for vaccinations. Other sanctions will do."The compulsory vaccination should be monitored by the regulatory authorities on an ad hoc basis "in places where there are particular safety risks, wherever large numbers of people gather, for example at concerts". Beyond that, however, there is also a need for "controls from the employer, for example in the case of new hires".
09.39 Clock – Berlin has second highest incidence of corona nationwide
The Corona case numbers in Berlin are among the highest nationwide. The incidence was 1483.8 on Sunday, according to data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI). Berlin thus had the second-highest number after Hamburg and before Bremen. The previous day ranked at 1473.1. For all of Germany, the incidence is around 800. The number indicates how many people per 100,000 population have been shown to be infected with the coronavirus in the past seven days.
09.10 a.m. – Nursing homes in Saxony sound alarm over unvaccinated employees
In just over eight weeks, the occupational immunization requirement for health care and nursing will begin. There is considerable concern at many nursing facilities in Saxony. Should there be a shortage of nursing staff after the 15. March actually come to activity prohibitions, it will be difficult with view of the already strained personnel market in the care to replace missing personnel, communicated the Caritasverband for the diocese Dresden Meissen.
Compared to the previous year, about one-third fewer nursing staff are available nationwide, the Workers’ Welfare Association (AWO) Saxony reported. Accordingly, facility managers are very concerned that additional staff will be absent as a result of the facility-based vaccination requirement and the omicron wave.
The extent to which the Corona pandemic has exacerbated the nursing staff shortage is suggested by data from the job portal Stepstone. There, the number of job advertisements for nursing professions in December 2021 was 85 percent higher than before the start of the pandemic in January 2020. By comparison, job postings overall have increased 40 percent on the portal during the same period. The Dusseldorf-based company did not give absolute figures.
08.08 am – Authorities in Beijing test two million people
Less than two weeks before the start of the Winter Olympics, Chinese authorities have ordered mass Corona testing in the Beijing venue. All two million residents of the Fengtai district of the Chinese capital would be tested for the coronavirus because of an infection outbreak there, authorities announced Sunday. A total of about 30 Corona infections had been detected in Beijing in the past week.
05.05 Clock – Incidence at 800 in Germany
Incidence value in new corona infections in Germany has exceeded the threshold of 800 for the first time. The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) gave the seven-day incidence on Sunday morning as 806.8. The figure had been 772.7 on Saturday and 515.7 on Sunday last week.
The number of new infections within 24 hours, according to data from health offices on Sunday, was 85.440 – according to 135.461 the day before and 52.504 on Sunday last week.
The RKI further reported, citing data from public health departments, that 54 new deaths related to the coronavirus were counted on Sunday.