January 26, 2022

Germany imposes heavy restrictions on unvaccinated people

As the variant of the novel coronavirus Omicron continues to spread across the world, Germany has decided to impose a “Confinement, so to speak, of unvaccinated persons”, in the words of Minister of Health Jens Spahn.

The pandemic has killed at least more than 5.2 million people since the end of 2019, according to a report established by Agence France-Presse (AFP), from official sources, Thursday, December 2, at midday . The United States is the most bereaved country with more than 780,000 dead, ahead of Brazil (nearly 615,000) and India (nearly 470,000).

The World Health Organization (WHO), however, estimates that by taking into account the excess mortality directly and indirectly linked to Covid-19, the toll of the pandemic in the world could be two to three times higher than that calculated from official figures.

  • “Containment of unvaccinated persons” in Germany

Germany decided Thursday on a drastic turn of the screw against people not vaccinated against Covid-19. Already subject to restrictions for a few weeks, the latter will no longer have access, throughout the territory, to bars, restaurants, theaters, cinemas, theaters or sports. They will also not be able to enter non-essential businesses and Christmas markets. Finally, they will have to limit their contact – at home or outside – to a maximum of two other people from another household.

These new measures were taken after a meeting between outgoing Chancellor Angela Merckel, her successor, Olaf Scholz, and the leaders of the country’s 16 regions. The latter also confirmed that a bill on compulsory vaccination, to which Mr. Scholz and Mr.me Merkel are in favor, would be submitted to Parliament for entry into force in February or March. Before the meeting, the outgoing Minister of Health, Jens Spahn, had called the device “Confinement, so to speak, of unvaccinated persons”, while Germany vaccinated 68.7% of its population and 80% of adults.

New restrictions will also affect the entire population: attendance at large gatherings, such as Bundesliga football matches, must be capped at 30% of the total capacity. Clubs and nightclubs will close again in areas where the weekly incidence rate exceeds 350 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, or in nine out of sixteen regions, including the capital Berlin, where nightlife is struggling to recover from the previous ones. lockdowns linked to the pandemic.

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“The workload in hospitals sometimes reaches its limits”, described Mme Merkel presenting the measures. She called to “An act of national solidarity, in order to reduce the number of infections”. Speaking of a health situation “Very, very difficult”, Olaf Scholz, who is to be elected to the Bundestag next Wednesday, considered that “The first thing to do is to convince those who have not yet done so to get vaccinated”.

  • Tight control of international travelers in the United States

Travelers wait at Los Angeles airport on November 24, 2021.

From “From the beginning of next week”, international travelers wanting to enter the United States will, in addition to being vaccinated, present a negative test carried out the day before departure, according to the new plan to fight against Covid-19 presented Thursday by President Joe Biden. Until now, the test could be carried out within three days before flight.

A senior White House official, however, clarified that there was currently no question of imposing a quarantine on arrivals. As for domestic flights, they remain exempt from these health requirements for the moment.

In addition to this obligation for international travelers, the Biden administration is extending until March 18 the obligation to wear the mask in public transport, which was due to expire on January 18. The White House is also announcing measures to increase screening: tests performed at home will be reimbursed by private health insurance, and the number of tests distributed free of charge will be doubled to 50 million.

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A first case of the Omicron variant was confirmed in California in a fully vaccinated person returning from South Africa: tested positive, she “Showed mild symptoms that were improving”the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) said in a statement.

With less than 60% of Americans of all ages fully immunized, the White House must convince those who aren’t to take the plunge, but also persuade those who are to receive a booster dose., while encouraging parents to have their children vaccinated from the age of 5.

  • Japan eases restrictions to allow return of its citizens

At Narita Airport, east of Tokyo, on December 2.

Conversely, the Japanese government has announced that it has partially reversed its request to airlines to suspend new bookings to Japan, explaining that it wants to ensure that its nationals can return to their country.

Faced with fears about the Omicron variant, Tokyo on Wednesday asked airlines to suspend all new bookings to its territory for a period of one month – a move that affected both Japanese citizens and foreign residents.

“This request caused confusion among those concerned and the Prime Minister therefore asked the Ministry of Transport to review the matter in order to take into account the requests of Japanese citizens” who want to return to the archipelago, said government spokesman Hirokazu Matsuno.

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The new restrictions come as a second case of the Omicron variant of Covid-19 on Japanese soil was confirmed on Wednesday. The government said it was a traveler who arrived from Peru last week. The first case, announced Tuesday, involved a man from Namibia.

The World with AFP