Coronavirus worldwide: Austria nears critical ICU utilization, several countries accelerate booster vaccinations

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More than 251 million people have tested positive for the virus worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University. More than 5 million infected people have died. About 7.3 billion vaccine doses have been administered worldwide.

Austria’s intensive care units could reach a critical limit in as little as two weeks because of rising Corona numbers. That’s according to a scientific model calculation commissioned by the Ministry of Health that became public Wednesday (Nov. 10). It assumes that the seven-day incidence will rise to 1000 by Nov. 24. It currently stands at just over 700. According to the forecast, there is a 65 percent probability that one-third of all intensive care beds will be occupied by Corona cases by then. At this occupancy rate, the ministry believes a competitive situation is occurring between covid patients and other ICU patients. The country set a record Wednesday with nearly 11,400 new infections within 24 hours. The government had only introduced the 3G (Vaccinated, Tested or Convalescent) rule in the workplace in early November to control the situation. In addition, the 2G rule has been in effect for venues and events since Monday. Unvaccinated people no longer have access.

Italy plans to offer booster vaccinations against Covid-19 to people between the ages of 40 and 60 starting Dec. 1. “The third dose is absolutely strategic for moving forward in the vaccination campaign,” Health Minister Roberto Speranza said Wednesday (Nov. 10) during a question and answer session at the Chamber of Deputies in Rome. The booster is for those whose full vaccination was at least six months ago, according to his ministry. The booster vaccination had already been offered to about 2.5 million people as of Wednesday, Speranza said. In Italy, booster vaccinations have begun among vulnerable groups, people over 60, health workers and those who had previously received the single Johnson & Johnson vaccine. The more countries advanced in boosting, the better the pandemic could be controlled in the fall and winter, Speranza explained. As of Wednesday, nearly 84 percent of people over the age of 12 had been fully vaccinated, according to the Italian Health Ministry.

The European Union may buy up to 60 million doses of a possible Corona vaccine from French company Valneva. The EU Commission on Wednesday (Nov. 10) formally approved a contract for 27 million doses next year. A further 33 million doses can be bought if desired in 2023, subject to approval by the European Medicines Agency (EMA). Valneva said it expects to deliver the vaccine by April 2022. The company has developed a vaccine based on inactivated viruses. It is “a classic vaccine technology that has been used for 60 to 70 years, with proven processes and very high safety,” the EU Commission writes. It is also used in most influenza vaccines and many vaccines for childhood diseases. It is currently the only Covid-19 vaccine candidate based on inactivated viruses currently being tested in clinical trials in Europe, it said.

Belgium’s health ministers on Wednesday (Nov. 10) agreed on a decision in principle for booster vaccinations for all citizens. Several media report this unanimously. According to the report, details are to be clarified at the end of the month – such as the questions after which period and with which vaccine will be refreshed. The Corona situation in Belgium is tense, despite a fairly high vaccination rate. According to official figures, 75 percent of the total population has been fully vaccinated. Nevertheless, the infection figures have been rising dramatically for weeks. The 14-day incidence – the number of new infections per 100,000 inhabitants in the past two weeks – is close to 960.

Russia on Wednesday (10/11) recorded a record 1239 Covid-19-related deaths in the past 24 hours. The state coronavirus task force also reported 38,058 new infections, nearly 4,000 of them in the capital Moscow. Health Minister Mikhail Murashko told parliament Wednesday that oxygen reserves in hospitals in 12 regions of Russia would last only two days or less. At the same time, some regions were already reporting a decrease in infections. The vaccination campaign is bearing fruit, he said, as only 3 to 4% of vaccinated Russians have been infected. More than 62 million Russians have received at least one dose, Murashko said.

In France, booster vaccinations are being accelerated. Starting next month, people who have just reached the age of 50 will also receive a booster vaccination against Covid-19. President Emmanuel Macron made the announcement in a televised address Tuesday evening (Nov. 9). Previously, the age limit was 65. For people 65 and older, such booster vaccination will then become mandatory for a Corona passport in mid-December. Only with this proof of vaccination, recovery or negative test can one visit restaurants and events or travel by plane or long-distance train in France. “Get vaccinated,” Macron appealed to the population. The pandemic is not over yet, he said. There is an alarming increase in the number of infections, he said.

— source: nzz.ch/picture:pixabay.com

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