The coronavirus continues to hold the world in its grip. Vaccination is delayed due to problems with AstraZeneca, while entrepreneurs still sigh under the lockdown measures. Uncertainty about the variants — and the impact on protection — is the subject of debate. Elections for the Dutch House of Representatives are also taking part in the Netherlands.
02.00 – Brazil records record number of corona infections in 24 hours
The Brazilian health authorities have again recorded a record number of coronavirus infections in the last 24 hours. Over the past 24 hours, more than 90,000 cases have been increased in the South American country. On Tuesday Brazil already set a new grim day record with 2841 deaths in a 24 hour.
On Wednesday, the Brazilian authorities reported a further 2648 deaths due to the coronavirus. That brings the total death toll in the country with 212 million inhabitants to almost 285,000. In total, around 11.7 million infections with the lung virus have already been detected. Both the Brazilian death toll and the number of infections are the second highest in the world, in both cases behind the United States.
Partly due to mutated variants, it continues to go the wrong direction with the epidemic in Brazil. On Wednesday, President Bolsonaro said he was glad that his supporters are demonstrating against rules about keeping distance and closing shops. The president is known for wanting to keep society running as much as possible, despite the virus going around. “Of course I was happy,” said the president, who previously disregarded the coronavirus as “a flu.” “They show that people are alive. We want our freedom. We want the world to respect our constitution.”
22.15 – Number of corona infections continues to rise in Curaçao
The number of coronavirus infections continues to rise in Curaçao. On Wednesday, 147 new infections were added. This brings the number of active infections to 611 active infections. Last week, there were 154 active infections. Two weeks ago, that was 60.
Of the 147 new infections, only eleven could be directly linked to already known infections. According to the government, the rapid increase is mainly due to the British variant of the coronavirus.
There were eight people in the hospital on Wednesday with coronainfection, three patients were in intensive care. The number of coronadodes has been 22 for a long time.
19.15 – Number of reports of thrombosis following AstraZenica prick in Belgium is at
The number of reports in Belgium of blood clotting problems or thrombosis following vaccination with the Astrazeneca vaccine has increased to eleven. Two serious cases are further investigated, reports the Federal Agency for Medicines and Health Products (FAMHP). They were passed on to the European Medicines Agency (EMA), which is investigating a possible relationship between blood clots and the Astrazeneca vaccine.
Of the eleven reports, six are classified as non-serious and five as serious side effects, according to the FAMHP on its website. On Tuesday, there were still six reports. Of the cases that are further studied, there is a decrease in platelets. The other case involves thrombosis and an acute decrease in the number of platelets requiring hospitalization.
17.55 – Austria binds in after anger over distribution coronavaccins
Austria swallows its anger at the country‘s alleged unfair distribution of coronavaccines among EU countries. “There is a solution in sight,” says Chancellor Sebastian Kurz.
Last week, Kurz and his colleagues from the Czech Republic, Slovenia, Croatia, Latvia and Bulgaria complained about the distribution of vaccines in the European Union. Some Member States would receive much more doses than others with secret agreements. They demanded a “correction.”
But these differences are due to the fact that some Member States thank for their share, which others can claim, the European Commission rejected. Austria also appeared to have bought less than it was offered. The Netherlands, among others, acquired more.
17.45 – Half British adults vaccinated against corona
In Britain, nearly half of the adults have been pricked against corona, exactly 100 days after a British woman had received the first coronav vaccine worldwide.
According to the latest figures, 25,273,226 people had their first dose of PFIZER/Biontech or AstraZeneca vaccine. Of all the people over 65 years old, 95 percent have been vaccinated.
Nearly 1.8 million people received a second prick and are now considered to be optimally protected, British media report.
“This final milestone is an incredible achievement and represents 25 million reasons to trust in the future while wesociety gently reopen,” said Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Again he thanked the “brilliant” national health system, scientists, armed forces, volunteers and all the others who helped.
17.20 Gelderland-Midden risk level falls again to ‘serious‘
The risk level of Gelderland-Midden, which includes Arnhem and Ede, has been lowered from ‘very seriou‘ to ‘seriou‘ in terms of coronavirus on Wednesday. The number of positive tests there has fallen to 150 per 100,000 inhabitants per week. The number of hospitalizations is 33 per 1 million inhabitants per week.
The other 24 regions maintain the highest level ‘very serious‘, reports the coronadashboard that there are four levels of risk. It is the second time this year that Gelderland-Midden has fallen to ‘serious‘. Last time was a month ago. Then the region of IJsselland (Zwolle and surroundings) fell to the second lowest step, ‘zorve‘. Both regions returned to the highest level at the beginning of this month.
The reduction has no consequences for the corona measures in Gelderland-Midden, because the national lockdown will last at least until 30 March. In some areas, the highest level of risk has been in place since 13 October.
16.15 – British Prime Minister Johnson goes for AstraZeneca
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson goes for the coronavaccin of the British-Swedish company AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford. He will soon receive a shot of the drug, which has been controversial in several countries for safety concerns.
“It will certainly be Oxford and AstraZeneca”, said Johnson during the weekly Question Time in the British Parliament in London. The Prime Minister did not comment on the unrest about possible side effects such as blood clots. In recent days, a number of European countries have interrupted the use of the Astrazeneca vaccine.
Johnson threw it over a personal bow. “I finally got the news that I will get my shot very soon,” said the 56-year-old. It’s his turn, like other people over 50. However, the British are not normally allowed to choose which vaccine they are vaccinated with.
The Prime Minister, who himself became infected with the coronavirus almost a year ago and had to be treated in intensive care before that, repeatedly called the Astrazeneca vaccine safe and extremely effective.
15.30 – Brussels threatens to further restrict export coronavaccins
The EU will block the export of coronavaccins if the countries of destination continue to keep coronavaccines or ingredients for themselves. The European Commission warns that exports to countries that have already been vaccinated may also be reduced. She expressly mentions the United Kingdom.
The EU has been arguing with the UK over the export of coronavaccins for some time. Tens of millions of vaccines from the EU went around the world, primarily to the British, but vice versa, the EU did not receive any vaccine from British soil. Not even when the supply of the British-Swedish AstraZeneca started to falter.
The European Commission wants‘ reciprocity ‘, says President Ursula von der Leyen. If a country makes vaccines but keeps them for itself, Brussels “makes exports dependent on their degree of openness.” In addition, the question is whether it is still ‘proportionate’ to supply vaccines to countries that have already vaccinated many more people. “All options are on the table.”
14.50 WHO: Do not stop vaccinating with AstraZeneca
The World Health Organization advises countries to continue to vaccinate citizens with the AstraZeneca vaccine for the time being. The benefits outweigh the risks, says the WHO. Several European countries, including the Netherlands, have temporarily stopped vaccination due to concerns about possible side effects.
14.00 – RIVM sees infestations among nursing home residents continue to decrease
The decrease in the number of infections among nursing homes continues, reports the National Institute for Public Health and Environment (RIVM). According to the Institute, the number of infections in nursing homes has now fallen below the national average contamination level per 100,000 inhabitants.
Previously, the health institute already reported that the decline among residents of nursing homes indicates a beneficial effect of vaccination against the coronavirus. “Eight weeks after the first vaccination, the effect of vaccination in nursing homes is clearly visible. In the meantime, almost all nursing homes have had a first vaccination, some of the residents have also received the second vaccination,” says RIVM.
At the end of March, all nursing homes who were not covered in the first round, for example due to illness, will still be offered a vaccination.
13.40 – Misery with AstraZeneca adheres to
Thedelivery problems with AstraZeneca only persist. The EU cannot count on the promised 180 million doses for the second quarter, but only 70 million vaccines from the British-Swedish company.
12.50 – Brussels wants free “coronac certificate” for free travel in the EU
A free “coronac certificate”, either digitally or on paper and with a QR code, should open the door for free travel in the EU this summer. The certificate, commonly known as vaccination passport and coronapas, proves that the carrier has been vaccinated against Covid-19, has recently been tested negative or has sufficient antibodies in the body.
The European Commission proposes to use the certificate in Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. It leaves it up to European countries themselves to decide whether to allow people who have been vaccinated with non-EU approved vaccines, such as Russian Sputnik or Chinese vaccines.
According to the plan, EU countries continue to be responsible for restrictive measures imposed on tourists and other visitors, such as compulsory quarantine from countries where there is a very high risk of infection. However, such measures should apply to all carriers of the card, according to the day-to-day EU administration. The standardised pass must be recognised by all EU countries. They, like the European Parliament, must therefore first agree to it before the suitcases can be packed.
The traditional southern holiday countries in particular hope that the EU certificate can be introduced quickly so that they can revisit tourists without fuss. They are crucial to their economy. “The main objective is to offer an easy-to-use, non-discriminatory and secure tool, with respect for data protection,” said Vice President Věra Jourová.
12.00 – Ensuring new EEK mutant: more contagious, deadly and more resistant to vaccines
American virologists found the so-called EEK mutant in the British variant of the coronavirus in the state of Oregon last week. This creates a combination of the virus that spreads faster and is more deadly and is more resistant to vaccines.
11.00 – Minister reassures British people: Astrazeneca vaccine is safe
The British Health Minister stressed in an opinion paper that his compatriots should not worry about the Astrazeneca vaccine. Several European countries have suspended the use of this drug due to reports of blood clots in vaccinated people. The United Kingdom is one of the countries which do continue to vaccinate.
Minister Matt Hancock writes that the vaccine of the British-Swedish company has been used more than 11 million times in his country. According to him, the number of cases of blood clots among vaccinated people is no higher than among the population in general. “I want to reassure readers of The Sun. There is no evidence that vaccines have caused these blood clots,” emphasises the politician in that newspaper.
The latter, according to Hancock, is also the view of the UK regulator MHRA, the European Medicines Agency, the World Health Organisation and ‘countless doctors and clinical experts’. He promises in the newspaper that safety has always been paramount when vaccinating.
10.10 – ‘Give vaccine Janssen first to the elderly and vulnerable
The Coronavaccin developed by the Dutch company Janssen should be the first to be administered to the elderly over 60 years of age and to people with specific medical conditions, according to the Health Council. These include people with Down syndrome, severe overweight and neurological disorders that can lead to breathing problems.
“This approach prevents most serious illness and mortality from Covid-19,” writes the advice to the demissionary Minister of Health Hugo de Jonge. Who previously announced the first delivery in April to expect.
The European Commission approved the vaccine of Janssen, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, USA, last week. It is effective in adults from all age groups, clinical studies have shown. The large-scale studies showed that with one shot it protects 66% against disease and 85% against more severe forms of Covid-19. “It is also sufficiently safe: only side effects have been found that have disappeared within two days,” said the Health Council. This advises that the vaccine should be used in the current vaccination strategy.
If all elderly people and people from high-risk groups have been vaccinated, the vaccine can also be administered to other groups. The Council will give further advice on this later.
08.35 – Patient with poor immune system gets invitation to prick
Patients whoseimmune system is not working properly, and people with neurological disorders causing them to have respiratory problems will be invited to a coronavaccination as of this week. It concerns about one hundred thousand people, made public health institute RIVM.
These include patients with certain blood cancers, patients with severe renal failure, people who have undergone stem cell transplantation and patients with severe congenital immune disorders. They have an extra high risk of getting seriously ill or dying from Covid-19.
Patients are vaccinated with Moderna’s vaccine. They receive the invitation through the hospital where they are under treatment.
The Health Council has advised that people whose immune system is not working properly should prioritise vaccination.
08.00 – Australia asks EU for million vaccines for crisis in neighbouring country
Australia is going to ask the European Union to release one million coronavaccines. They must be used in Papua New Guinea to combat a serious outbreak. “We paid for it and we want those vaccines to be delivered here so that we can support our closest neighbour,” said Prime Minister Scott Morrison.
The government of Papua New Guinea sounded the alarm earlier this week about the rapidly growing number of coronavirus infections. Chief of government James Marape said the coronavirus has “broken loose.” Observers fear that local hospitals may not be able to cope with the growing number of patients.
This situation is being monitored with growing concern in Australia. Morrison expressed the fear that during an uncontrolled outbreak, a new virus variant may develop. It could then spread across the region.
Australia is now coming to the aid of its neighbour and donates 8000 coronavaccins. Prime Minister Morrison promised that one million vaccines will be made available as soon as they arrive from Europe. There, Italy blocked a delivery of 250,000 coronavaccines to Australia this month.
06.50 – European Commission presents proposal for “coronapas gate”
A digital certificate proving that the owner has been vaccinated against Covid-19, or has recently tested negative, or has antibodies due to a previous corona infection should make it possible to travel freely through the EU this summer. The European Commission is presenting a proposal on Wednesday for a ‘coronapas’, which must be approved by the Member States and the European Parliament.
The uniform, standardised digital ‘vaccination pasport’ must be recognised by all EU countries and contain the same information. The traditional southern holiday countries in particular hope that the EU certificate can be introduced quickly so that they can revisit tourists without fuss. They are crucial to their economy.
Demissionary Prime Minister Mark Rutte said last month to find it “too early” for decisions on a coronapas gate. But in principle the Netherlands has no objection to a vaccination certificate that would allow travel or other outings, he said.
According to Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, the EU should now start setting up a digital travel pass system to prevent a large proportion of the population being vaccinated during the summer but the EU is technically and politically incapable of throwing its doors open. At the same time, there are still many questions, for example, whether people can still be contagious after vaccination. Then only evidence of vaccination might be insufficient. However, Von der Leyen is counting on much to become clear over the next three or four months, including whether sufficient vaccines are being supplied.