Is there ever an end to the corona crisis? After a tough year and a half, full of lockdowns and freedom restriction measures, people are ready for a party or holiday. Whats happening today? Follow the latest COVID news here.
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16.52 – Tens of thousands of French protests against coronapas, agents injured
Again massive protests in Paris, Nice, Nantes and other major cities. The French went back to the streets with tens of thousands of thousands this Saturday to demonstrate against corona measures such as the sanitary pass and compulsory vaccination of healthcare personnel. Authorities expect about 150,000 participants during demonstrations in numerous cities. Last week, more than 160,000 people argued, 110,000 the week before.
There are several major protests in the capital Paris alone. One of the marches leads to the Ministry of Health. Some 3,000 police officers were deployed. When rioters blocked streets with waste containers, units grabbed tear gas and water cannons. Multiple agents were injured, French media report. Images show how some agents are bulged with fireworks or catch flame by burning containers on the street. At least seven people were arrested in Toulouse, including a man with a gun just before the start of the demonstration there.
The French news agency AFP interrupted its coverage with images of the protests in Paris after two journalists were attacked, scolded and spat. In previous demonstrations, reporters were also targeted by violent protesters.
The coronapass allows French people to demonstrate that they have been vaccinated, negatively tested, or cured. Evidence is compulsory in more and more places, including cafes and restaurants, large malls, hospitals, healthcare facilities and long-distance trains from 9 August. The government wants to stimulate vaccination.
In Lucerne, Switzerland, an estimated 5,000 people participated in a demonstration against Swiss corona restrictions and the vaccination campaign. Police said a cop was injured. Two people were arrested.
14.39 – Port of Rotterdam starts vaccinating seafarers on Monday
The Port of Rotterdam starts vaccinating all seafarers on Monday. This includes cooperation with the KNVR industry association.
It is currently a trial in the Rotterdam region, with 10,000 vaccines available to all seagoing vessels for a period of two months. The measure is in line with the KVNR programme for vaccination of seafarers flying the Dutch flag or for a Dutch shipping company.
From the start of the pandemic, the port of Rotterdam has always worked for seafarers, including by receiving seagoing vessels that were refused in other places around the world. In addition, the port contributed to facilitating crew changes that could not take place anywhere else.
14.10 — English people can now get vaccinated in the circus
English who want to get vaccinated against the coronavirus can now also visit circuses, sports and festival grounds. Authorities are deploying pop-up puncture sites on a large scale to reach more people, British media reports.
Among other things, passers-by and spectators can be invented at a tent full of jugglers and acrobats at Circus Extreme in Halifax. Circus director John Haze said he didnt hesitate for a moment when health service NHS indicated that he wanted to set up a vaccination site at his circus. “We hope a lot of people make use of it.”
Festival visitors sometimes dont have to walk far to get pricking. A vaccination site is located on a bus at the Summer of Love Festival in London. Sports enthusiasts can report to Burnley FC Stadium in Lancashire for a vaccination. The Premier League Twitter page shows how footballer Dwight McNeil of that club is getting inoculated with thumb picked up there.
Driver Nikki Kanani from the vaccination program in England said that vaccination sites are being placed in a variety of places where many people come to. “From festivals to farm shops, circus tents to sports stadiums.” She also said that the coronavirus vaccination campaign is the fastest in the history of the NHS.
In England, approximately 87 percent of adults have had at least one shot. However, young adults are lagging behind. Almost a third of the English in the 18-29 age group would not have been vaccinated at all. Health Minister Sajid Javid recently acknowledged that more needs to be done to reach that group.
12.44 – “German politicians want to get rid of free speed testing”
Unvaccinated Germans will probably have to pay for their quick tests later this year. They are still free now, but government parties CDU/CSU and SPD want Bilds sources to change if all Germans have had the chance to get fully vaccinated.
This means that unvaccinated citizens may have to pay for themselves in September or October when they go to a test site. Bild says that could save billions on the treasury. For unvaccinated Germans the result is that some trips are more expensive. For example, they may need a test result for restaurant visits.
The authorities have not formally confirmed that the tests will have to be paid later. “Health Minister Jens Spahn said weeks ago that he considers it conceivable that tests are no longer free at any point for unvaccinated people,” the Ministry of Spahn informed news agency DPA. “The exact date has yet to be set.”
6.45 – Experts: Set up taskforce ventilation for corona control
The Cabinet should set up a taskforce ventilation that provides advice in addition to OMT on the correct rules for indoor air change. To this end, several professors call on Trouw. According to the experts, current ventilation advice does not go far enough. A letter to the Ministry of Health has remained unanswered for the time being.
The government came up with a tighter advice on ventilation earlier this month. “Get plenty of fresh air inside and talk about home, work, school, shops and hospitality,” demissionary Prime Minister Mark Rutte said in a coronapers conference. “And at home means, for example, make sure that fresh air flows through the house at least 15 minutes a day.”
The experts in Trouw dont agree with the latter. Professor of indoor environment Philomena Bluyssen at TU Delft calls that advice “a laugh” and wonders what Rutte bases it on. “A fifteen minutes of airing isnt enough. Imagine someone smokes several cigarettes inside, that air does not disappear after fifteen minutes of airing.” Professor of Aerodynamics Bert Blocken states that a quarter of an hour of airing would be much more useful.
“I see restrictions immediately,” says virologist Louis Kroes about ventilation advice. “In winter, we go in more and the possibilities for ventilation are more limited. When its freezing, we have to close windows and doors anyway.” However, he thinks the advice is a good way to underline the importance of ventilation.
As far as Bluyssen and Blocken are concerned, the current ventilation plan is being expanded. More attention should be paid to the proper air change, for example by turning off the air conditioning at home when there is a visit. “Because air conditioning cools and reuses only existing air,” explains Bluyssen. The professor believes that more attention should be paid to good ventilation in the hospitality industry as well. “In Belgium, every café has a CO2 meter. If it exceeds 900 parts per million, a number of people have to leave the restaurant.”
Recently it turned out that the cabinet had decided to ease the ventilation rules for the hospitality industry. With the amendment of the Drinks and Catering Act, the ventilation standard for the hospitality industry has been five times lower than it was, since 1 July. Experts expressed their surprise about that in NRC. The Cabinet is now looking at how it can restore the old, stricter ventilation standards for the hospitality industry.
6.30 — Two more areas in China report COVID outbreaks
Chinas worst corona infection outbreak in months has spread to two other parts of the country, local health authorities reported Saturday. It concerns 55 new infections in Fujian Province and Chongqing Region. Outbreaks of the Delta variant have been reported earlier in four other provinces and capital Beijing.
The country does not take half measures to smashing outbreaks in the bud. In Nanjing, where more than 200 infections have been detected since July 20, all tourist attractions and cultural sites are closed on Saturday. In addition, the city has tested all 9.2 million inhabitants twice in the past week.
Jiangsu Province has hundreds of thousands of peoplein lockdown. The 1.5 million residents of the tourist town of Zhangjiajie, in Hunan Province, have been in lockdown since Friday after it became clear that some infected persons had attended a theater performance. In Beijings Changping district, where two locally transmitted infections were detected, 41,000 people went in lockdown Thursday.
China has recorded 92,930 infections and 4636 deaths since the pandemic outbreak. According to the National Health Commission, more than 1.6 billion vaccinations have been administered across the country so far, on an estimated population of 1.4 billion. China strives for 80% of the population to be fully vaccinated by the end of the year.