EU extends corona entry freeze to Japan – decision on opening schools and daycare centers in the southwest postponed

The British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announces the government will decide on stricter border rules to contain the corona pandemic on Wednesday. The interior minister will take tougher measures for countries that are on the red list because of the spread of the corona mutations, says Johnson in parliament. Permanent border closings are not a solution. In the UK, the number of people who died from COVID 19 has risen to over 100,000.

Opposition leader Keir Starmer accused the British Prime Minister of not having learned from his mistakes in the pandemic. “The problem is that the important lessons have not been learned,” Starmer said during the traditional questioning of the Prime Minister in the London House of Commons. “Why does the UK have the highest death toll in Europe? Why does Britain have almost the highest death rate in the world? “asked the head of the Labor Party. Whether testing, imposing lockdowns or the rules for Christmas – Boris Johnson hesitated too long about everything and made important decisions too late.

Johnson defended himself with reference to the particularly contagious corona variant B.1.1.7 discovered in Great Britain, which had made the fight against the pandemic even more difficult.

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Decision on opening schools and daycare centers in the southwest postponed – Prime Minister Johnson announces stricter border rules

The British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announces the government will decide on stricter border rules to contain the corona pandemic on Wednesday. The interior minister will take tougher measures for countries that are on the red list because of the spread of the corona mutations, says Johnson in parliament. Permanent border closings are not a solution. In the UK, the number of people who died from COVID 19 has risen to over 100,000.

Opposition leader Keir Starmer therefore accused the British Prime Minister of not having learned from his mistakes in the pandemic. “The problem is that the important lessons have not been learned,” Starmer said during the traditional questioning of the prime minister in the London House of Commons. “Why does the UK have the highest death toll in Europe? Why does Britain have almost the highest death rate in the world?asked the head of the Labor Party. Whether it’s testing, imposing lockdowns or the rules for Christmas – Boris Johnson hesitated too long about everything and made important decisions too late.

Johnson defended himself with reference to the particularly contagious corona variant B.1.1.7 discovered in Great Britain, which had made the fight against the pandemic even more difficult.

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Corona pandemic: Biontech vaccine approved in Hong Kong

Lockdown in Hongkong

The first batch of roughly one million doses of the Biontech vaccine will arrive in February.

(Foto: action press)

Beijing, Düsseldorf The German vaccine manufacturer Biontech and its Chinese cooperation partner Fosun Pharma announced a milestone in the distribution of the company’s vaccine on Tuesday: The vaccine is approved in Hong Kong.

The first batch of around one million cans is expected to arrive in the second half of February, the Hong Kong government said. This is a great success for Biontech, but also for the cooperation between the companies. The cooperation with Fosun is the company’s first in Asia.

The mood at the joint press conference on Tuesday was correspondingly festive. “We have to join hands,” said Hui Aimin, president of global research and development and chief medical officer of Fosun Pharma. “We are very interested in making our vaccine available worldwide,” emphasized Biontech boss Ugur Sahin. So far, the vaccine has been approved in more than 45 countries.

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+++ Corona-News +++: Seehofer checks restriction of air traffic “to almost zero” – Sanofi helps Biontech with vaccine production

+++ Netherlands expect another riot night +++ Two percent of Germans are vaccinated +++ Bavarian administrative judges overturn the 15-kilometer rule +++ The news blog. .

Now is the time to act in the corona pandemic

BIn her speech at the virtual world economic forum, und-Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) warned that we should now enter a time of action – and criticized China for dealing with the pandemic. “Talking and discussing is important,” said Merkel: “but now it’s about where something is done, according to the same, jointly discussed principles.” The pandemic has clearly shown the strengths and weaknesses in the individual countries. It is important to learn from this.

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“In the beginning we reflexively withdrew to ourselves, also in Germany,” she said. The pandemic, however, has made it clear how globally linked the world is – and also that the attempt at permanent isolation would fail in such an existential case. A multilateral approach is needed. Everything that has been discussed at the World Economic Forum in recent years is correct in this respect.

But what counts now is action. And multilateralism also means transparency: “At the beginning that was not enough from China.” This also applies to the transfer of data to and by the World Health Organization. One also had to learn that some global supply chains have not proven themselves or have even broken: “These chains have to withstand great stress during this time – otherwise regional protectionism will arise, and that is a great danger.”

Europe’s vulnerability has shown itself in the crisis

It is therefore important to better secure supply chains if you want to rely on them even in difficult situations. With a view to the vaccine supply, Merkel said: “Our vulnerability has been shown here.” Certain ingredients would also have to be manufactured in Europe in the future. According to her, the speed in Germany leaves a lot to be desired, “our processes take too long.”

On the foundation of solid finances, however, it was possible to launch an unprecedented economic program with a volume of more than 100 billion euros. The lack of digitization must now be remedied with these means. According to Merkel, this involves the supra-regional networking of health authorities, digital administration and the education system. “We know there that we have to rework,” said Merkel.

The transmission of the Covd-19 virus from animals to humans was a reminder that humans lived in their natural environment. “We remain dependent on nature”. All of the major global conventions on sustainability have proven to be absolutely correct: “We have to be more decisive and courageous here,” said Merkel. The goals that Europe has set could lead to Europe becoming the first continent to become climate neutral by 2050.

Along the way there will always be “tough measures” “in which we have to take people with us”. As examples, she cited the exit from coal and the switch to electric and hydrogen mobility. After the pandemic, it is always important to escape the danger of concentrating too much on yourself. This also applies to a wider extent with developing and emerging countries: “We will not save on development cooperation.”

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Antibodies stopped saving from coronavirus

The general state of the human immune system turned out to be much more important.

The more the immunity to SARS-CoV-2 is studied, the more mysteries become. If at first scientists assumed that re-infection with coronavirus was impossible, now they do not surprise anyone. Moreover: there were cases of repeated infections against the background of antibodies.

Biologists never tired of repeating that not all antibodies play the most important role in immunity, but only neutralizing ones. However, now this defense has also fallen. The world’s first scientific work on re-infection of patients with neutralizing antibodies with a new coronavirus has appeared.

A year after the start of the pandemic, the SARS-CoV-2 virus continues to spread throughout the world, infecting 300 thousand people daily. And today, the cases of re-infections are no longer surprising. Although the debate about whether immunity in those who have been ill has a protective character does not subside.

Doctors from a Beijing hospital reported in a publication in the National Science Review of several patients who re-infected with SARS-CoV-2 despite having neutralizing antibodies. At the same time, antibodies did not save patients not only from reinfection, but even from the onset of symptoms of the disease.

So, to protect against secondary infections, strong and long-term immunity is needed. However, studies have highlighted the potential inadequacy of antibodies against coronavirus in some recovering patients, raising serious concerns about reinfection.

Chinese doctors said that of the 273 patients with COVID-19 they followed, 6 people (five adults and one child 2 years old) re-infected within 19-57 days, which is confirmed by data and various analyzes, including genome sequencing. virus (infection occurred with different strains of the virus), and the clinical picture. It is emphasized that in the interval between reinfections, these people had negative PCR and no symptoms. In addition, five out of six people contracted the “European” strain of the virus, which was simply not present in China at the time of their first infection. The interval between the two episodes indicates the possibility of reinfection with COVID-19 after a short recovery period in convalescent patients.

Repeated episodes in patients were accompanied by new lung lesions, fever, cough, sputum, nasal congestion, increased viral load, etc. But most importantly, not only patients with insufficient immunity after primary infection, but also patients with high levels of neutralizing antibodies.

This raises new questions not only for doctors, but also for the developers of vaccines, and also makes the very idea of ​​introducing “immune passports”, which has recently become widely discussed, questionable. After all, it turns out that the presence of antibodies to SARS-CoV-2, and what is there – even neutralizing antibodies – is not a guarantee that a person is invulnerable to the virus, and that he can continue not to comply with social distancing measures and have some additional freedoms in case of lockdowns. “These findings have serious and important implications for health policy decisions and for evaluating vaccine efficacy and development,” the Chinese scientists write.

Why the antibodies were ineffective is not yet clear, but the authors of the work suspect that T-cell immunity could “sink” in these patients. As the therapist Igor Sokolov notes, the intensity of the immune response is now really determined by neutralizing antibodies: “But they fall within 3-6-8 months, because all antibodies cannot be constantly present in huge quantities. And yet it is already clear that the body is doing everything possible to enable cellular immunity for a long (6-11 years) period. I sincerely hope that even without vaccination the epidemic will go away in two, maximum three years. But this is a long and thorny path. “

As medical expert Olga Shuppo told the MK columnist, antibodies can be protective, weakly neutralizing, or have no neutralizing effect at all: “After a coronavirus infection, people can develop different antibodies.

We really do not know today what antibodies are produced, and how much they will protect a person in the future. But the main thing is still not the presence of antibodies by themselves, but the strength of immunity. A person who has had a coronavirus infection has a weakened immune defense and needs anti-inflammatory therapy and recovery.

The coronavirus primarily affects the mitochondria and microbiota, which, by the way, is 70% responsible for human immunity. COVID-19 also causes inflammation, which will continue in the blood vessels for some time after recovery. Human resources will be spent to cope with such foci of the consequences of the disease. If a person during this period, having not completely recovered, again encounters an infection, then the risk of re-infection will be determined not by the presence of antibodies, but by the state of his immune system. “

Published in the newspaper “Moskovsky Komsomolets” No. 28466 of January 27, 2021

Newspaper headline:
Very strange antibodies

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China’s head of state repeats old promises

Berlin, Beijing It was like something out of the textbook of multilateralism: Chinese President Xi Jinping used his speech at the virtual World Economic Forum (WEF) to use his country and especially the dictatorial leadership by himself and the Communist Party (KP) as guarantors and To represent promoters of international cooperation.

Xi called on the world community to respect international law and to stand up for the “common values ​​of peace, development, justice, democracy and freedom”. Turning to the US, he warned of a new cold war that would harm everyone involved.

Xi’s plea for free trade does not stand up to reality either. The second largest economy in the world has not fulfilled its promise to ensure open markets in its own country to this day.

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“China will continue to open up,” the president promised again and pledged to “protect” intellectual property worldwide. The US and other states have been accusing Beijing for years of tolerating technology theft by Chinese companies and hackers.

The praises of free trade contain many discordant notes

Xi’s speech was reminiscent of his appearance at the World Economic Forum in 2017, when he broke away from the then-elected US President Donald Trump with an almost passionate plea for free trade and globalization. However, Beijing has not corrected its nationalist course in economic and trade policy.

The government continues to support selected industries and companies with high subsidies and thus distorts international competition. In the investment protection agreement just concluded with the EU, Beijing only repeats a series of commitments that China made when it joined the World Trade Organization in 2001, but never fully implemented.

Nevertheless, Xi’s appearance is of great geopolitical importance. With the new US President Joe Biden not attending this year’s WEF and preferring to deal with the pandemic at home, China’s strong man has the world stage of the forum almost to himself. It was the first time since Biden’s inauguration that China’s head of state and party addressed an international public in a speech.

It should not have been a coincidence that Xi began his hymn of praise for free trade on the very day when Biden in the USA issued a protectionist decree obliging the state authorities in the USA to buy preferably goods and services “made in USA” .

And something else came to the aid of Xi with his video message for the digital Davos: China was the only major economy in the world to record growth last year. The economy of the People’s Republic grew by 2.3 percent compared to 2019.

Beijing is relying on a new “dual circulation” strategy for the economic recovery, which is to be included in the five-year plan. This is to be adopted in March and then come into force. The focus of the strategy is on strengthening domestic consumption and the domestic economy as well as more independence from abroad.

Corona crisis far from over

According to a report released by the United Nations Trade and Development Organization on Monday, China overtook the US as the largest recipient of direct investment during the crisis. Last year, foreign investment in China rose four percent, while in the US it fell 49 percent year-on-year.

“The corona pandemic is far from over,” said Xi and called on the international community to continue fighting the virus together. This applies in particular to the production and distribution of vaccines.

According to the Chinese, the Middle Kingdom has already made its vaccines available to 150 countries. Economic cooperation is necessary in order to intensify efforts to counter the economic consequences of the pandemic. At least on this point, Xi and Biden should agree.

The Chinese also campaigned for respect for the diversity and diversity of social and economic systems. “There is no culture that is better than others,” said Xi, calling for peaceful coexistence. Rather, every system must be measured by whether it improves people’s lives.

There must be more international cooperation not only in the fight against the pandemic, but also in other global challenges such as climate change. Xi reiterated its commitment to significantly reduce China’s CO2 emissions by 2030. “The Paris Agreement must be respected,” he said. Other international institutions such as the World Health Organization and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) should also play a greater role.

The Chinese government welcomed the change in the White House after initial reluctance. China hopes President Biden can rule the country successfully, said a spokeswoman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, noting that Biden has repeatedly emphasized “unity and healing,” which is also needed in current Sino-US relations.

Military tension with the US

In fact, observers do not expect US-China relations to improve significantly. A test case in particular will be China’s approach in Hong Kong, Taiwan and the South China Sea.

Beijing regards Taiwan as part of the People’s Republic of China and wants a “reunification” of the two territories. Taiwan never belonged to the People’s Republic of China, which was newly founded in 1949. In the past few months, fears have increased that Beijing might one day forcibly take the area.

Under Trump, the United States had turned more towards Taiwan. Beijing sent several fighter jets into Taiwan’s airspace on Sunday, prompting the new administration in Washington to reiterate its pledge of assistance to Taiwan.

There are also new tensions between Washington and Beijing in the South China Sea. A spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry on Monday criticized the dispatch of a US aircraft carrier to the South China Sea as a “show of strength” threatening peace and stability in the region.

China’s reputation in the world fell rapidly over the past year, particularly in Europe and the United States. This was not only due to the role of the People’s Republic in the corona crisis, but also to the aggressive behavior of Chinese diplomats abroad.

More: World Economic Forum: It’s about the future of humanity – one comment

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Jack Ma reappears in video after two months of absence

Chinese billionaire Jack Ma, in the sights of the authorities, made his reappearance on Wednesday, January 20 by interposed video, after two and a half months of silence at the origin of many questions.

→ PORTRAIT. Behind Alibaba, Jack Ma, a Chinese digital champion

The founder of the online commerce juggernaut Alibaba had disappeared from the radar after publicly criticizing the financial regulatory authorities in his country at the end of October.

Fortune valued at 48 billion euros

This unusual spike in the direction of the communist regime had earned him a summons from the authorities, who had also banned in extremis the IPO of Ant Group, subsidiary of online payments of Alibaba, in the places of Shanghai and Hong Kong. But in a video posted on Wednesday, January 20, the businessman with a fortune valued at 48 billion euros appeared to be addressing teachers remotely as part of his patronage activities.

This appearance immediately reassured the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, where Alibaba stock rose 8.52% on the session, ending at HK $ 265.

In his online intervention, Jack Ma praised the efforts of the Communist regime to eradicate extreme poverty, President Xi Jinping’s flagship project. He said to himself “More determined than ever to help education and the public good”, according to statements reported by the Tianmu News news site. “China (…) has entered a new phase of development and is progressing towards common prosperity”, welcomed the multi-billionaire, considered one of the greatest fortunes in the country.

Investigation against Alibaba

The Jack Ma Foundation, geared towards helping education, confirmed that its founder, himself a former English teacher, participated in the online event with teachers working in rural areas.

→ READ. Ant Group, the little ant that scares the Chinese authorities

Ant Group’s IPO should have been the biggest ever, exceeding $ 34 billion. His suspension was followed by the opening of an anti-monopoly investigation against the company, as well as against Alibaba.

Jack Ma officially retired in 2019 but remains a large shareholder in his companies. The authorities’ reaction was interpreted as a desire to reduce the risks associated with online finance, but also to control the ambitions of the technological giants.

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Nine miners recovered dead from gold mine in China

NAfter the successful rescue of eleven miners, nine more workers were found dead from a gold mine in China. As the state news agency Xinhua reported on Monday, another worker was missing in the Qixia mine near Yantai in Shandong province. A total of 22 miners were buried in the explosion on January 10th.

A dead worker was found shortly after the accident. Two weeks later, rescue workers were able to bring the eleven living miners out of the daylight from a depth of 600 meters on Sunday. The cause of the mine accident remained unclear.

Common accidents in China’s mines

Rescue workers had heard the first signs of life a week after the explosion. They then drilled holes and heard blows against the drill pipe. Then on Sunday morning the rescuers brought a first miner from the depths to the daylight. Ten more buddies followed by the afternoon, divided into four groups. One of them was injured. The remaining nine are in good physical and mental condition, it said.

China’s mines are considered to be the most dangerous in the world. Thousands of pals are killed every year. Poor security and lack of supervision due to nepotism are common causes. Many accidents are also covered up.

The mining company responsible for the gold mine in Qixia had only reported the accident to the authorities two days later, according to Xinhua. Two high officials, the party leader and the mayor of Qixia, have been released from their posts.

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Ten of the trapped miners in China died | …

Ten miners who had been trapped underground in China for at least two weeks were found dead, a state media confirmed this Monday. While work continues to find the last trapped miner, of whom there is no news so far.

The workers had been trapped from a January 10 explosion at a Qixia gold mine, in Shandong province (east). This episode blocked 22 miners, who were several hundred meters deep.

Since then, ten have died, 11 were rescued alive on Sunday and the search for the remainder continues, said the CCTV television channel.

According to the authorities, despite the “tireless efforts” of the rescuers, “unfortunately ten miners were found dead”, and their “bodies were recovered,” Chen Fei, the mayor of Yantai, the city that administers Qixia, told reporters. Rescue efforts continue to find the last trapped miner, of whom there is no news at the moment.

The deflagration clogged the ventilation shaft and damaged the cable car that allowed the miners to rise to the surface.

Rescuers managed to establish contact a week ago with a group of ten miners, trapped about 580 meters deep. Thanks to a metal cable that was introduced through a conduit drilled into the rock, the rescuers were able to send food, medicine and telephones to this group of miners found.

On Sunday morning, the huge obstacles blocking the shaft fell to the bottom, making it easier for miners to be brought to the surface and drilling operations to be suspended.

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