Coronavirus, what to know this week: curfew or confinement?

Despite the progress of vaccination, the government must take measures to counter the evolution of the epidemic.

Hello,

While the English variant continues its journey in Europe, the executive must decide on new measures. A re-containment or more likely a curfew advanced everywhere in France? End of the suspense tonight at 6 p.m. In China, no hesitation. Faced with the appearance of a few cases near Beijing, the authorities have locked the region. To get out of this nightmare, the vaccination is gaining new momentum with us and expanding its audience. While waiting for thecollective immunity, the clouds are gathering on theschool. Will the government succeed in keeping it open while the majority of European countries have sent children home?

Good reading,

Camille Lestienne, journalist at Le Figaro


1. Curfew in France, blockade in China

In Nice already, the curfew has been brought forward to 6 p.m. ERIC GAILLARD / REUTERS

Between confinement and curfew, the heart of the executive swings. More than 23,000 new Covid-19 contaminations have been detected in France in 24 hours while 232 deaths are to be deplored. According to experts interviewed by The Figaro, the English variant should dominate in France in two to three months. “But, in terms of the number of people actually infected, this will depend on compliance with barrier gestures and measures decided to limit its spread ”, warns a researcher. The government will have to make a choice between the different scenarios: status quo, re-containment or, more likely, an extension of the curfew to 6 p.m. at the national level. This decision is expected to be announced this Thursday at 6 p.m. during the traditional press conference of the Prime Minister. A choice more political than epidemiological. “The only measure whose effectiveness is proven is full containment, but it is violent and has very serious implications,” explains an expert. You can understand that the authorities are trying something sweeter. ” For Emmanuel Macron, “in the face of this virus which evolves as living beings evolve“, We must assume changes in strategy”week to week».

Elsewhere, we lock. The English variant is digging its way into Europe. It is a “tsunami” that is hitting the country, in the words of Prime Minister Michael Martin. A “black January”, for Deputy Prime Minister Leo Varadkar. The images are strong as is the resurgence of the epidemic in Ireland. With an infection rate that has quadrupled over the past ten days, the country is on lockdown again as is Portugal re-locked from Friday. On the other side of the globe, China is also mobilizing as the virus reappears in Hebei province near Beijing. Power is sounding the alarm a few weeks before the Chinese New Year. “The stake is political for President Xi Jinping, analyze our correspondent, while the propaganda shows the superiority of the ʺ socialist model with Chinese characteristics ’in the face of the virus.»

The United States is also facing an outbreak of the epidemic with a record 4,500 deaths in 24 hours. From January 26, the presentation of a negative test for Covid-19 will be necessary to travel in the country. But the danger is most often found within borders. Several elected officials announced that they tested positive after being locked up with parliamentarians refusing to wear the mask during the assault on the Capitol.

2. Vaccination is gaining momentum

The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is administered to frail people, here to a patient on dialysis. BERTRAND GUAY / AFP

In France, we vaccinate all the time. The government is putting the turbo on vaccination by opening it to all health professionals over 50 or fragile, as well as home helpers and firefighters. There were 247,000 people vaccinated yesterday, 400,000 should be by the end of the week. Will this be enough to catch up with France’s lag behind other countries? From January 18, people over 75 years of age can also be vaccinated. But how do you make an appointment? Le Figaro explains everything to you. Another challenge: to convince more and more “anti-tax” in France and in all circles. Will they change their minds while elsewhere in Europe criticism is raining on the too slow delivery of vaccines? The orders of vaccine doses pooled by the European Commission are insufficient accuses Germany. The pressure should ease in a few months when other vaccines hit the market. The next is AstraZeneca, which should be authorized by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) on January 29. But doubts remain about its effectiveness in protecting the over 65s.

My intuition is that vaccines will limit the amount of virus produced and the duration of contagiousness.

Odile Launay, Director of the Cochin-Pasteur Clinical Investigation Center in Vaccinology

The vaccination in question. When will vaccination give us herd immunity? Not this year, according to the WHO. In a few months, according to Olivier Véran. But in the face of so much uncertainty, an American study brings us good news. Immunity would be at least eight months for Covid patients. Another question remains: does the vaccine reduce the contagion of the Coronavirus? If the vaccine protects against a severe form of the disease, the virus can eventually travel to the upper respiratory tract and be transmitted. “However, when you don’t get sick, you make fewer viruses for less time. My intuition is therefore that vaccines will limit the amount of virus produced and the duration of contagiousness ”, advances Odile Launay, director of the Cochin-Pasteur clinical investigation center in vaccinology.

3. School threatened, economy infused

With a more contagious English variant, will schools close? ERIC GAILLARD / REUTERS

The closure of schools or canteens is worrying. The role of children in the spread of the Covid-19 epidemic is still unclear. After being suspected of being important vectors of the disease as with classic influenza, they were finally cleared before the British variant again shed light on the contagiousness of 12-16 year olds. In France, the incidence rate is also increasing among the youngest and the question of the closure of schools is raised again. This prospect is currently dismissed by the government despite pressure from scientists and teachers’ unions. School canteens, where barrier gestures are difficult to apply, are particularly in the eye of the storm. In the event of closure, it would be a real headache for families. In Europe, many countries have already sent children home. The United Kingdom, of course, struggling with a rebound in the epidemic, but also Germany, the Netherlands, Ireland, Scotland and Sweden. A situation that leaves little hope for French students suffering after months of distancing and isolation.

We will continue to support all economic sectors that are suffering for as long as necessary and at the level which will be useful.

Bruno Le Maire, Minister of the Economy, Finance and Recovery

The economy on a drip. « We will continue to support all economic sectors that are suffering for as long as necessary and at the level which will be useful“, Assured the Minister of the Economy, Bruno Le Maire during his vows. Partial unemployment maintained, strong solidarity fund, relaxation of the repayment of loans guaranteed by the State (PGE), essential emergency aid but which will nevertheless one day have to be eliminated. A thorny issue for the government. Despite this support, the city centers of metropolitan areas are withering away with an ever-increasing number of shops being closed. And advancing a 6 p.m. curfew wouldn’t help their business. Hope is now placed in vaccination, in particular for five sectors: air transport, catering, tourism, the oil sector and culture. For the latter, a reassessment of the situation is scheduled for January 20. “Museums and historic monuments could be structures which, as part of stabilizing the epidemic, could be the subject of a supervised reopening», Indicated Roselyne Bachelot.

4. Curfew, instructions for use

Partly deconfined, France is under curfew since December 15. While it is now possible to move around freely during the day, leaving your home is prohibited between 8 p.m. and 6 a.m., under penalty of a fine of 135 euros. In several departments where the virus is circulating more intensely, the curfew is brought forward to 6 p.m.

There are exceptional reasons for which a certificate must be presented.

  • Business trips.
  • Consultations and care
  • Travel for compelling family reasons.
  • Travel for people with disabilities and their companions.
  • Judicial or administrative summons.
  • Participation in missions of general interest
  • Travel related to transit
  • Short trips for the needs of pets.

5. Reflexes to keep

A few simple actions can limit the spread of the virus. Here they are :

  • Wash your hands every hour or use hydroalcoholic gel
  • Cough or sneeze into the crease of your elbow
  • Use disposable tissues
  • Avoid kissing or shaking hands
  • Wear a mask in public spaces when respect for physical distances is not guaranteed.

Covid-19 is transmitted through droplets (respiratory secretions), by close contact with an infected person, especially when the latter coughs or sneezes. But it can also be transmitted through the air. The virus also remains viable for a few hours on different surfaces.

The disease manifests itself in several symptoms. In 9 out of 10 cases, this results in a fever below 39 ° C. According to the World Health Organization, this fever is most often accompanied by fatigue, signs of shortness of breath and a dry cough. Often a loss of smell and taste.

6. What to do in case of symptoms?

The most important thing is to get tested. According to the recommendations of the Ministry of Health, you should, in case of symptoms, stay at home and contact your doctor who will order a test. While waiting for the result, you must isolate yourself, wear a mask and prepare a list of people you could have infected.

If the test is positive, the Primary Health Insurance Fund will contact people likely to be infected. You must then remain isolated for at least 8 days, taking care not to infect your loved ones. Watch your health. In case of fever, take paracetamol. If necessary, schedule a follow-up remote consultation with your doctor. If you feel that you are having difficulty breathing, call 15.

If the test is negative, contact your doctor and follow his instructions.

See you next week.

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Pandemic Council Act: Pandemic Council now (neue-deutschland.de)

When the corona crisis began, there was a great willingness to trust the measures of the Prime Minister’s Conference. »In March 2020 it was time to act. We also supported that, «says the member of the Bundestag and legal advisor for Friedrich Straetmann’s left-wing parliamentary group. “But that was not a license for the government for the entire duration of the pandemic.” Instead of a license, the left-wing faction wants to anchor a pandemic council in the Infection Protection Act.

The federal government continues to come under pressure month after month in the pandemic. Decisions and statements that were initially valid were soon revised. At first, masks were deemed unnecessary and ineffective. After a few days of public discussion, everyday masks are suddenly the method of choice. With the increasing availability of medical masks, these are becoming an everyday item. A path that the FFP2 masks are now also taking. The decisions of the rulers are accompanied by criticism and opposing views and are increasingly dividing a part of society.

“It is not enough just to criticize this issue, we also have to make it clear: How could it work,” says Bundestag Vice President Petra Pau, who helped several members of the left-wing parliamentary group draft the law. “We notice almost every day that the Infection Protection Act was not designed for this crisis. Hence our bill. “

In a pandemic council, the left faction is primarily concerned with bringing more information to the Bundestag. So far, Parliament has only been informed orally by the Federal Government. “We can only assess a measure if we have this information,” Straetmanns justified the demand for written information, which should also contain the decision-making bases such as medical data, according to which the rulers have so far made decisions.

Straetmanns does not want to delay the work of the ministries and the regulations. “But where it makes sense, the Bundestag should be able to adopt the measures and bring them into law. I think of things like the vaccination sequence and the restrictions imposed. “

The criticism of the federal government is clearly noticeable these days. The number of deaths this week again reached highs since the beginning of the pandemic. The Robert Koch Institute reported 1,244 deaths on Thursday and 1,113 deaths on Friday. The recently decided measures are ready for action just a few days later. The vaccinations are slow to start.

“In the meantime, however, there is no longer any reason to override democratic practices or even the Basic Law and to act with bodies that are in no way legitimized,” says Petra Pau. Above all, Pau wants to involve citizens in the pandemic council for far-reaching measures and resolutions. The regulations for Christmas would have been an issue for the pandemic council, as was the current vaccination sequence. “After the bumpy start of the vaccinations, I think that acceptance of the procedure is more likely to be achieved through a law than through the different procedures in the individual federal states,” says Pau.

Friedrich Straetmanns also sees a number of issues for the pandemic council: »The health system must be put to the test, especially now when the deficiencies are becoming clear. Which areas have to be returned to the municipalities? What happens to the profits that exist in the crisis? “

The left-wing parliamentary group is now hoping for support and a broad debate that will take place beyond the parliamentary group boundaries of the Bundestag. Above all, laws should arise where the ordinances have so far been ineffective. »The question of working from home is also a question of occupational safety. All of this has profound effects and should be discussed in a pandemic council made up of citizens and scientists in order to ultimately be poured into legal form, «demands Pau. “Otherwise it will fall out of focus again at the end of the pandemic.”

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Biontech: Possible side effects of the vaccine

NAfter the start of the corona vaccination, the world’s attention is focused on possible side effects. In fact, news of deaths “after” a vaccination keeps circulating, although a connection has not been established. In Norway, the health authorities have now warned of risks for sick patients over 80 years of age. According to the information, 23 people in the country have died shortly after their first dose of vaccine. Thirteen of these dead were examined – the results suggest that they were suffering from the usual side effects of vaccination. These side effects are said to have led to very serious physical reactions in them. We are talking about frail elderly people.

Even relatively mild side effects could lead to serious consequences in this group, emphasized the Norwegian Institute of Public Health. For people with an already short lifetime, the benefit of a vaccination could then be marginal or irrelevant, it said. The recommendation does not mean that young and healthy people should refrain from vaccination. However, observers see it as an indication of what those responsible will have to pay more attention to in the future.

Vaccine providers Pfizer and Biontech said in a joint statement they had been made aware of the reported deaths and were working with the Norwegian health authority. The companies pointed out that in Norway currently vaccinated primarily people who are very old and sometimes terminally ill. The health authority has so far classified the number of incidents as “not alarming” and “in line with expectations”; it will be checked whether there is a connection to the vaccinations. Meanwhile, the government is considering adapting its vaccination instructions to take greater account of the health of patients.

Deaths also in Germany

In Germany, too, there are people who have died after being vaccinated against Covid-19. A spokeswoman for the responsible Paul Ehrlich Institute points out, however, that no causal relationship can yet be derived from the “temporal context”. The institute’s scientists point out the already increased probability of death at a certain age and state with regard to the German “vaccination deaths”: “This means that the number of cases observed does not significantly exceed the expected number.”

The Paul Ehrlich Institute counted around 614,000 vaccinations between the start of the campaign on December 27 and January 10. During this time, 913 “undesirable reactions” were described in 325 individual case reports. In 51 cases they were considered “serious”, which corresponds to a rate of 0.08 per 1000 vaccinations. One of the vaccinated people suffered permanent damage and seven people died.

These people, four women and three men, were between 79 and 93 years old and died between 2.5 hours and four days after the vaccination. A patient with high blood pressure and diabetes died of a pulmonary embolism and cardiovascular arrest. In the other patients, the cause of death is still unclear, but all had serious pre-existing conditions such as carcinoma, kidney failure or Alzheimer’s disease. These ailments were “probably the cause of death,” the institute said, but further information is still pending.

The European Medicines Agency had already imposed a number of restrictions on the approval for the vaccine. A number of specially named risks of vaccination for certain groups of people were listed. This includes people with previous illnesses and other health problems. The dangers listed include possible anaphylactic reactions such as allergic shock that can occur after taking medication. Frail and immunocompromised patients or those with autoimmune diseases are also named as risk groups.

Production is still lagging behind

Meanwhile, fewer doses of the vaccine are being delivered in Europe than initially planned. However, the reason for this, according to Pfizer, is that more vaccine doses are to be made available this year. A few days ago, Pfizer and Biontech increased their forecast from 1.3 billion to two billion vaccine doses.

As Pfizer has now announced, adjustments are required in the production facility in Puurs, Belgium, where the vaccines for the European market and some other regions are manufactured. To do this, the company still needs additional approvals from regulatory authorities, and this will mean that fewer vaccines could be delivered in late January and early February. From the end of February, however, deliveries could be increased significantly.

On Friday, the Hessian authorities approved the targeted production of additional Biontech vaccines in Marburg. As announced by the State Chancellery in Wiesbaden, the responsible regional council in Gießen gave the necessary permission to operate the system on Friday. At the beginning of December, the Mainz-based company Biontech submitted the applications for the conversion and operation of a previously purchased plant in Marburg.

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Criticism rains over vaccine shipments in Europe

With only a few hundred thousand doses injected into Europeans, pressure is mounting on the Commission, which has pooled orders on behalf of the Twenty-Seven.

Brussels

Vaccination campaigns deemed too slow. Delays in deliveries of Pfizer / BioNTech doses in the first days of 2021, raising fears of the worst. And a clear statement. Only a few hundred thousand Europeans have been vaccinated so far while the doses administered number in the millions in the United States, the United Kingdom or Israel. Concern is mounting within public opinion and the political class is increasing the pressure. As often, it is towards Brussels that all eyes are turned.

The pressure comes first from Germany, where the scandal is raging while the political class is particularly sensitive to a few weeks before the elections, with a second wave which is much more deadly than the first. The feeling across the Rhine is that the European Commission has been too slow and not very ambitious. It would have refused the offer of the German BioNTech for 500 million doses and would have been limited to 200 million firm and 100 options,

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Coronavirus becomes harmless to humanity

Robert Klatt

According to a model calculation based on four human corona viruses, SARS-CoV-2 will be harmless to humanity in the future. Vaccinations will therefore no longer be necessary in a few years.

Atlanta (USA). Almost two million people have died of Covid-19 worldwide so far (as of January 15, 2021). Whether the recently started vaccinations and the lockdowns can prevent further new infections with SARS-CoV-2 in the medium and long term, science cannot yet say with certainty. Researchers at Emory University in Atlanta led by Jennie Lavine have now used a Covid 19 model calculation to forecast the future development of the pandemic.


According to the study published in the journal Science, the scientists used the immunological and epidemiological data of the already known human coronaviruses NL63, 229E, OC43 and HKU1. These pathogens regularly cause local epidemics in various countries around the world, most of which infect children between the ages of three and five. As with Covid-19, the diseases in the age group usually run without strong symptoms or long-term effects. Serious courses, complications and deaths from coronaviruses are therefore a rare exception in children.


Brief immunity to coronaviruses

In addition, it is already known that the four human coronaviruses NL63, 229E, OC43 and HKU1 only have a brief, complete immunity after infection. According to a publication in the specialist magazine Epidemiology & Infection from 2009, people can be infected again with the coronavirus 229E after about a year because the number of antibodies decreases quickly after infection.

Data so far indicate that this is also the case with SARS-CoV-2. If there is a new infection with 229E, the results of the study show that there is only a shorter virus shedding and no symptoms.

Partial immunity also with SARS-CoV-2?

On the basis of the viruses that have been researched for some time, the scientists therefore assume that an infection with SARS-CoV-2 does not ensure permanent immunity, but at least triggers partial immunity for life. Further infections could even intensify this effect.


If Lavine’s team is correct with this assumption, this would mean that only a few old people will become seriously ill with Covid-19 in the long term. In this scenario, according to the scientists, it would be possible for seniors to become infected with SARS-CoV-2, but not get sick from it thanks to their previously acquired partial immunity and pass the virus on to children. The children would then fall ill with Covid-19 due to their lack of partial immunity, which only leads to serious consequences in a few cases and thereby build up partial immunity for their later life. SARS-CoV-2 would thus become an endemic pathogen.

The vaccinations that are currently being started would thus be superfluous worldwide in a few years and should be discontinued so that children can naturally build up a partial immunity that protects them from severe disease and death in old age. If, contrary to the current state of knowledge, it turns out that an initial SARS-CoV-2 infection often leads to serious health problems in children too, this would also have to be protected against the virus with a vaccination.

Science, doi:  10.1126/science.abe6522

Epidemiology & Infection, doi: 10.1017/S0950268800048019

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Protection against the virus: Bundeswehr checks compulsory corona vaccination

Dhe Bundeswehr is about to make a decision on expanding compulsory vaccinations to include protection against the coronavirus. An examination is in progress, confirmed a spokesman for the defense ministry of the German press agency. Currently, “a decision is being prepared as to whether and when the vaccination against Sars-CoV-2 can be included in the portfolio of vaccinations for which the Bundeswehr is subject to tolerance”. The magazine “Spiegel” reported in December that the general physician had recommended the Bundeswehr to include vaccination against the virus in the so-called basic vaccination protection for all soldiers.

From the military’s point of view, vaccination protection has proven its worth, especially when it comes to immunizing contingents for foreign missions. “Due to the special conditions of the close coexistence in the operations and also in communal accommodation in Germany, soldiers per se are exposed to a relatively higher risk of infection than other population groups,” said the spokesman. “That is why vaccinations in the Bundeswehr are always aimed at protecting the community and the individual at the same time, and the obligation to tolerate is an important instrument for achieving the necessary vaccination rates for herd immunity.”

The ministry also points out that the new vaccines against Sars-CoV-2 were approved in Germany quickly, but no less thoroughly than other vaccines that were introduced. “In order to achieve this level of security, the emergency approval procedure was deliberately avoided in Germany. The Sars-CoV-2 vaccines meet all the requirements for drug safety and effectiveness. “The federal government excludes a general corona vaccination obligation and also a special one for nursing staff or the health care system.

In the Bundeswehr, the obligation to tolerate vaccination and preventive measures was introduced a few years ago. The principle of proportionality must be observed, especially with a view to possible side effects of the vaccination. If there are serious complications, claims under pension law arise. However: if vaccinations are refused, there is a risk of “legal consequences”.

The Soldiers Act provides the basis for this. “The soldier only has to tolerate medical measures against his will if they 1. serve to prevent or combat communicable diseases or 2. serve to determine his ability to serve or employ”, it says in paragraph 17a. And: “If the soldier refuses a reasonable medical measure and his ability to work or work is impaired as a result, he can be denied care. A medical measure which is associated with a considerable risk to life or health is not reasonable. “

The Armed Forces Commissioner Eva Högl believes that it is right to check whether soldiers are required to be vaccinated against corona. “Here, however, you have to proceed sensitively: After all, it is not even clear whether the vaccination protects against passing on the virus,” said the SPD politician on Friday to the German press agency. “That is why I mainly rely on the individual soldiers’ sense of responsibility: the more they voluntarily get vaccinated, the better.”

Högl recalled that soldiers have a duty to maintain their health. “According to the Soldiers Act, they can already be required to have vaccinations, for example when deployed abroad. In this respect, their basic right to physical integrity is restricted, ”she said. “It is therefore right to specifically examine compulsory vaccination for the new vaccines against corona.”

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Corona measures: “Too many exceptions” (neue-deutschland.de)

The entrance to the Robert Koch Institute

Photo: dpa / David Hutzler

Germany has been in various lockdown variants since November. An easy one at the beginning, a harder one after that and finally an even harder one. From the point of view of the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), however, it still does not seem hard enough to effectively get the corona infection process under control and above all is suitable for dealing with the probably more contagious variants of the corona virus . “These measures that we are taking now – for me it is not a complete lockdown, there are still too many exceptions,” said RKI President Lothar Wieler on Thursday.

Wieler was also concerned about the possible spread of the new coronavirus variants in Germany. There is a risk that the mutations from Great Britain and South Africa will also prevail in this country: “So there is a possibility that the situation will get worse.” The previously registered cases of the new virus variants were brought to Germany by travelers, explained Wieler and appealed to avoid unnecessary travel. Wieler also called on the population – for the repeated and probably not last time during the pandemic – to continue to adhere to the protective measures: “The consistent implementation of the measures is more important than ever.”

According to the RKI, citizens are currently significantly less restricted in their mobility than in the first lockdown. On Sundays in December, for example, it was shown that people were on the move much more frequently than in spring 2020. Mobility is still too high. Wieler also called on companies to enable even more home offices. RKI epidemiologist Dirk Brockmann stated that it was a “total consensus statement” of all model calculations that the lockdown measures would have to be tightened further in order to contain the infection rate. Wieler also advocated tightening it as an »option«. Nevertheless, Wieler was confident that the coronavirus could be got under control over the course of the year through the vaccinations. “By the end of this year we will have this pandemic under control.”

So far, however, the vaccination campaign is not going completely smoothly. In addition to the scarcity of vaccines and organizational problems, there is also a certain skepticism in parts of the population about vaccines. The Paul Ehrlich Institute (PEI) collects information about side effects that occur. So far, the federal institute has had no indications that these are occurring more often, 325 suspected cases had been reported to it by Sunday, the PEI announced on Thursday. 51 cases are to be assessed as serious. The values ​​are consistent with the data from the clinical approval studies and also statistically inconspicuous. The most common side effects of vaccinations include pain at the injection site, headache and tiredness. According to approval studies, these occur especially after the second vaccination dose.

According to the PEI, ten deaths after vaccinations were reported by Thursday, but it is not assumed that there was a connection. It was about patients with “serious underlying illnesses”, some of whom were already receiving palliative treatment. On the basis of all the information available to date, the PEI assumes that these people “died of their underlying illnesses in connection with a vaccination”. With agencies

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France fears a new confinement

The government is considering new measures to try to limit the spread of the virus in the coming weeks.

The epidemic is starting again. “Hospitalizations have been on the rise for 5 to 7 days, explains Mircea Sofonea, lecturer in epidemiology and evolution of infectious diseases at the University of Montpellier. This increase is undoubtedly the result of the Christmas holidays. Which is a little worrying, because in the days to come we should also see the consequences of December 31 and the start of the school year. It therefore seems unlikely that the dynamic will reverse. ” If the increase remains measured, the November containment did not allow the contamination to drop sufficiently to release the pressure on the hospital system. “At this rate, we will reach 3,000 people in intensive care by mid-February», Warns Mircea Sofonea. The reproduction rate (which must remain below 1 to reduce the epidemic) is currently 1.1.

«To this very complicated situation is added the unknown of the English variant, explains Mircea Sofonea. If we do not manage to limit quickly

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in Spain, a register for the unvaccinated

The announcement went almost unnoticed in the country during this holiday season. And so far it has not aroused any controversy. Spain has decided to create a register for people refusing to be vaccinated against Covid-19. The Spanish Minister of Health, Salvador Illa – who is preparing to leave his post to embark on the electoral campaign in Catalonia -, himself confirmed it, Monday, December 28. However, this vaccination will remain optional and free in the country. Why then keep such a register?

A document still vague

In a television interview, the Minister of Health was evasive: « This register, which we will share with our European neighbors, will make it possible to register people who refuse to be vaccinated, it is their right but it will be recorded even if this document is not intended to be public ”, he explained. At the Ministry of Health, there is talk of a possible use in the event that the decision to create an international certificate of vaccination was necessary.

The document Vaccination strategy against Covid-19, recently published by the Spanish Ministry of Health, also remains, for the moment, rather vague: “We consider that it is important to note the cases of refusal, in order to be able to know the reasons for this reluctance among the different population groups. », is it written. It is difficult to know if this register will therefore contain the names of people refusing the vaccine.

The ministry assures that « the refusal will be recorded to know if this decision is personal or if it is due to a malfunction in the system for making appointments to be vaccinated ». In a press conference, also on December 28, the Secretary of State for Health, Silvia Calzón, did not want to specify whether this register would be anonymous or not. « It can be used to help us analyze what are the causes of rejection, and allow us to insist, during information campaigns, on the importance of vaccination ”, she assured.

Encourage vaccination

This register therefore seems for the moment an indirect way of encouraging vaccination against Covid-19. And it bodes well for possible debates, both in Spain and elsewhere, on facilitated access to certain places or certain activities – sports or cultural venues or practices, in particular, but also the possibilities of traveling to third countries – for people who have already been vaccinated. The Minister of Health insists on this vaccination campaign: « We see that getting all of us vaccinated is still the way to beat the virus. The more of us who are vaccinated, the better it will be, not just for ourselves but for our loved ones, for the rest of the citizens, in solidarity. “

While no vaccine against other diseases is mandatory in Spain, the country has one of the highest vaccination rates in Europe, with 95% of the population affected – or nearly 45 million people. For the vaccine against Covid-19, however, there is still some way to go in our Iberian neighbors. In a recent survey by the Center for Sociological Research (CIS), the proportion of Spaniards who did not want to be vaccinated dropped dramatically between November and December, from 47% to 28% but only 40.5% said they were ready to receive the vaccine, leaving a good number of undecided people who will have to be convinced.

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More than 50,000 deaths and epidemic rebound

Spain remains one of the European countries most affected by the pandemic. It recently passed the milestone of 50,000 deaths due to Covid-19.

After a virulent autumn, with between 15,000 and 25,000 new cases confirmed every day between mid-October and mid-November, the country had experienced a month of relative calm until the end of the year holiday period.

Wednesday December 30, the health ministry has confirmed a rebound in contamination, with 16,716 new cases in 24 hours. On New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Eve weekend, 11,905 new patients were admitted to hospitals in the country, and some 2,035 patients were in intensive care.

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a trompe l’oeil acceleration

DECRYPTION – To silence the critics, the executive wants to make up for lost time.

Criticized for its lack of anticipation on vaccination, the government is trying to catch up with its ignition delay. Since the start of vaccination in France on December 26, 2020, only 138,000 people were vaccinated Monday evening, according to the Directorate General of Health. That is to say more than 110,000 health professionals and 28,000 residents in nursing homes, said Tuesday the vaccination “task force” set up within the Ministry of Health, which will now take stock every Tuesday. A figure far below the neighboring countries.

Even on the simple transparency of the figures, the executive, which had undertaken to provide a daily count, was not ready: the number of vaccinated region by region was not published until Monday evening. “This table will now be published every evening“, Olivier Véran promised Tuesday.

Three-step strategy

The objective is to vaccinate “1 million people in January and 14 million by the summer ”. The strategy first targets nursing homes; vulnerable people with disabilities in the home; the

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