About 358 million people have tested positive for the virus worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University. More than 5.6 million infected people have died. About 9.8 billion vaccine doses have been administered so far.
Even when vaccinated people contract coronavirus, hospitalization numbers show vaccination protects well against severe symptoms and severe courses.
The latest developments
EU agrees on six-month convalescent status. EU countries agreed on Tuesday (Jan. 25) that Corona infected persons will be considered recovered for six months across the EU – and will be allowed to move and travel freely within the EU. The vaccination status is valid for nine months. However, the agreement is likely to cause some unrest: only a week ago, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) changed the rule and shortened the validity of the convalescent status to only three months. It is still unclear whether Germany will have to reverse the nationally adopted shortening.
Biontech and Pfizer have started their first clinical trial to investigate a vaccine specifically tailored to the Omicron variant. It will test the safety, tolerability and efficacy of the vaccine candidate, the two companies announced Tuesday (Jan. 25). The study is expected to enroll up to 1420 test subjects, who will be divided into three groups. The first group includes just over 600 participants who have already received two doses of the previous vaccine between 90 and 180 days before the start of the study and will now receive one or two doses of the Omicron vaccine. The second group, almost as large, consists of boosted individuals who will receive another dose of the conventional vaccine or one dose of the Omicron vaccine. The third group, with just over 200 subjects, is made up of unvaccinated people who have not previously contracted Covid-19, who will then receive three doses of the Omicron vaccine.
An Israeli expert advisory recommends a fourth vaccination against coronavirus for people over 18. The recommendation applies to adults who received the booster vaccination more than five months ago or who recovered before that period, the Health Ministry announced Tuesday (Jan. 25). Protection against coronavirus infection is two times higher in those vaccinated four times than in those vaccinated three times, it said. The recommendation must still be approved by the Health Ministry’s director general, Nachman Asch.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced changes to the testing regime on entry to England. Mandatory Corona testing will be dropped without replacement for vaccinated people, Johnson said Monday (Jan. 24). The change is scheduled to take effect at 5 a.m. (CET) on Feb. 11. For the unvaccinated, however, mandatory testing will remain – as will further testing before entry and on Day 8 of quarantine. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland decide independently on their Corona policies, but often follow England in travel rules, as many international travelers enter the country via London anyway.
Despite a massive omicron wave, the Netherlands plans to reopen restaurants, theaters, museums and cinemas. That was the government’s decision in The Hague on Monday (Jan. 24), according to consistent media reports. Cafes and restaurants as well as cultural venues are to be allowed to stay open until 10 p.m. again, but with restrictions such as mandatory masks and proof of vaccination. Prime Minister Mark Rutte plans to announce the decision on Tuesday evening. Just under ten days ago, the closure of stores was already lifted. Although the number of new infections continues to rise rapidly: the incidence is almost 2000 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants in seven days. However, the number of patients in hospitals is stable.
Around 50 000 people demonstrated in Brussels city center, sometimes violently, against the Corona requirements. A total of 239 people were taken into custody, he said. Eleven of them had been arrested, the Brussels police announced on Monday (Jan. 24). They would probably have to answer before the justice, among other things for possession of weapons and rebellion against the forces of order. Three police officers and 12 protesters were taken to hospital with injuries. According to the Belga news agency, protesters threw objects at police officers and damaged buildings, and police used tear gas and water cannons. On signs were slogans against the Corona vaccination and calls to “protect” children.
- source: nzz.ch/picture:pixabay.com
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