Coronavirus worldwide: Last masks drop in Denmark, USA and Israel extend booster vaccinations

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About 205 million people have tested positive for the virus worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University. More than 4.3 million infected people have died. About 4.5 billion vaccine doses have been administered worldwide.

In Denmark, the last masks are also coming off. As of Saturday, people nationwide no longer have to wear mouth-nose protection when on buses, trains or ferries. A mask obligation exists practically only in the air traffic: If one flies, the requirement of a mouth nose protection applies namely still, since the air traffic falls according to data of the Ministry of Transport under international rules.

In the U.S., people with weakened immune systems should be able to get a booster vaccination against coronavirus. This was announced by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Thursday (Aug. 12). In particular, it is intended for recipients of a donor organ and people who have been diagnosed with a comparable degree of immune deficiency. For now, the booster vaccination involves less than three percent of the population. In the U.S., 50.3 percent of the population of about 330 million people are fully vaccinated.

Faced with rising numbers of Corona infections, Israel wants to offer a third vaccination to those over 50. The team of experts concluded that such a vaccination was the right thing to do for people over 50, as well as for people in medical professions, a statement from Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said late Thursday night (Aug. 12). Israel’s campaign so far to become the first country in the world to offer a third vaccination to those over 60 has been a resounding success, he said.

Dane Peter Ben Embarek, who led the WHO mission to Wuhan in January, now thinks a laboratory accident is plausible for the spread of the virus after all. It is quite possible that the spread of the pathogen Sars-CoV-2 is due to a human error, he told Danish broadcaster “TV2” on Thursday. He said it was possible that a laboratory worker from Wuhan had become infected while taking samples, for example in a bat cave, and that the virus had thus been transmitted from bats to humans. Shortly after the WHO mission, Embarek and his colleagues had still classified such a theory as “extremely unlikely.” Embarek now says that the WHO team was under extreme pressure from China. China had insisted that the laboratory theory was not realistic, as the Washington Post reports. China refuses to release raw data that could shed light on the origin of the virus.

In the Australian state of New South Wales, with Sydney a metropolis of over a million people, Corona numbers continue to rise despite a lockdown that has lasted for nearly seven weeks. Within 24 hours, 390 new infections had been recorded, the most since the pandemic began, health authorities said Friday. Two people had died in connection with Covid-19, they said. Sydney and large parts of New South Wales have been in lockdown since the Delta variant outbreak in late June. People are now only allowed to leave their homes in exceptional circumstances. The measures are to apply until at least the end of August. Restrictions on the population are also currently in place in Melbourne and the capital Canberra.

In at least three major U.S. cities, people who want to visit restaurants, gyms or major events will have to show proof of vaccination in the future. San Francisco and New Orleans joined New York City with the regulations on Thursday (Aug. 12). New Orleans wants to allow proof of a negative Corona test, which must be no older than 72 hours, in addition to proof of vaccination. At the same time, the Republican governors of Texas and Florida have ordered a mask ban for schoolchildren. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is threatening to take away funding from schools that oppose the ban. In southern states such as Florida, Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi, new infections and covid deaths are currently rising particularly dramatically because of the highly contagious delta variant.

Russia has seen a peak in Corona deaths since the beginning of the pandemic, with more than 800 deaths per day. 808 people died within one day in connection with the virus, the authorities announced on Thursday (Aug. 12). They have been reporting high death tolls on many days for weeks – despite a drop in the number of new infections. On Thursday, nearly 22000 new cases were reported nationwide. At times in July, there were nearly 7000 more new infections. In Russia, with its population of about 146 million, the delta variant, which is considered particularly contagious, is spreading rapidly.

The Brazilian parliament wants to temporarily lift patent protection for key vaccines in urgent medical emergencies such as the Corona pandemic. The bill, also approved by the Senate on Wednesday (Aug. 11), must still be signed by President Jair Bolsonaro. He has so far opposed it, saying such a law could affect cooperation with vaccine producers. In addition, Brazil does not have the technological capabilities to produce the vaccine itself.

  • source: nzz.ch/picture: pixabay.com

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