Coronavirus worldwide: U.S. defense secretary tested positive, cruise ships of German shipping companies cancel trips

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More than 290 million people have tested positive for the virus worldwide, according to John Hopkins University. More than 5.4 million infected people have died. More than 9.1 billion vaccine doses have been administered.

U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin tested positive for the corona virus Sunday (Jan. 2). The Pentagon said Austin was showing only mild symptoms, but he would follow guidelines from the CDC health agency and spend the next five days at home in quarantine. He retains all command authority and will continue to work virtually and attend all meetings, he said. Austin has already received the full Corona vaccination and a booster. The Corona vaccination is mandatory for the U.S. military. He has not seen President Joe Biden in person since Dec. 21, which was more than a week before the first symptoms, Austin said.

Cruise ships operated by German shipping companies are canceling trips because of Corona cases on board. The cruise ship “Mein Schiff 6” of the shipping company Tui Cruises has prematurely ended its current voyage in Dubai. The background is said to be isolated cases of Covid-19 on board. As a purely precautionary measure and to protect the 2,000 passengers and crew, Tui Cruises decided to take a short break, the Hamburg-based company said Monday night (Jan. 3). For the cruise ship “Aida Nova” and its more than 4000 people on board, the trip had already ended prematurely in Lisbon. 52 crew members had fallen ill. Although the sick crew members had only mild symptoms, but due to the current situation, the trip with ‘Aida Nova’ can not be continued as planned until January 5, 2022 to the Canary Islands, it was said by Aida Cruises on Sunday (2. 1.) in Rostock. The German shipping company asked the approximately 3000 passengers for understanding. The termination of the trip was taken in the interest of safety and health of crew and tourists, it said.

Some 10,000 people protested in Amsterdam on Sunday (Jan. 2) against the Dutch government’s Corona policy. Police broke up a banned rally. According to media reports, there were some violent clashes between demonstrators and police. Several people were injured, the public broadcaster NOS reported. There was initially no information on the exact number. In the evening, the situation calmed down, according to authorities. The Netherlands is in a harsh lockdown due to the rapid spread of the highly contagious Omikron variant of the coronavirus, which is expected to last until at least mid-January.

Airlines canceled more than 4,000 flights worldwide on Sunday (Jan. 2), more than half of them in the United States. The reason was severe weather but also the coronavirus. According to the FlightAware.com website, more than 2400 flights to or from the Americas had been canceled by 9 p.m. Central European Time on Sunday. Worldwide, more than 11,200 flights had been delayed. The Christmas and New Year’s holidays are normally a peak time for air travel, but the rapid spread of the highly contagious Omikron variant has led to numerous cases of illness and quarantine among airline pilots and cabin crew.

Israel now plans to vaccinate those over 60 and medical personnel against the coronavirus for the fourth time. Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett told reporters Sunday evening (Jan. 2) that the Health Ministry had approved the move. It was following the recommendation of a panel of experts in light of the rapid spread of the Omicron variant. On Friday, the fourth vaccinations for people with immune deficiencies had initially begun in Israel. The second booster had also already been allowed in care facilities for seniors.

Regardless of a record number of new infections, France is shortening its quarantine periods. The seven-day incidence was last at 1456. Fully vaccinated people will have to be quarantined for only seven days from Monday (Jan. 3) in case of infection, which can be shortened to five days with a negative test. For not or not completely vaccinated it remains with ten days, with a negative test with seven days. Contacts who are not vaccinated or not fully vaccinated will continue to be quarantined for seven days. Fully vaccinated contacts will not have to be quarantined starting Monday. To be considered fully vaccinated in France, people must have received their booster vaccination no later than seven months after their immunization. This deadline will be shortened to four months starting Feb. 15. Full vaccination status is also to become a requirement for the Corona digital passport from January 15. This 2-G proof is an access requirement for events, cafés and restaurants and is needed for long-distance travel by train or plane.

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