Germany’s star virologist proposes “short lockdown”

AGI – In Germany the hypothesis of a “short” lockdown is gaining ground. I am the most listened to German virologist, Christian Drosten, and the Head of the Spd for Health, Karl Lauterbach, to launch the idea of ​​a short-term time confinement, as a new variant of the fight against the coronavirus. This is the so-called “circuitbreaker“, aimed at interrupting and putting under control the exponentiality of the growth of new infections, which last week in the Federal Republic reached the record of over 7300 cases. According to Drosten and Lauterbach – reports the daily Frankfurter Rundschau – this measure, possibly repeated , would serve precisely to prevent a real lockdown.

Break the contagion but not the economy

These would be “circuit brakers” to be activated “systematically”, if necessary, to break the chain of exponential growth while regulating the economic consequences as well as those in the field of education. Moreover, Drosten is the expert most listened to by the German government.

In this case, the virologist cites a British study which states that “when the growth rate of infections is high, a timed lockdown represents a necessary brake, while at the same time, by tracing the contacts, control is regained”. These short-term confinements would have a very specific deadline and would be announced in advance, so as to “delimit the social consequences”.


Pfizer Says May Begin Supplying COVID-19 Vaccine After US Elections

FILE PHOTO. The Pfizer logo at its offices in Manhattan, New York, USA. August 1, 2016. REUTERS / Andrew Kelly

Oct 16 (Reuters) – Pfizer Inc said on Friday it will request authorization for emergency use in the United States of its COVID-19 vaccine candidate around the third week of November, an announcement that makes it highly unlikely that the immunization is available before the US elections.

The American pharmaceutical company develops the vaccine together with the German firm BioNTech SE.

Pfizer said it could determine whether the vaccine is effective as early as this month, based on its 40,000-person clinical trial, but that it also requires safety data that won’t be available until November at the earliest.

The news from Pfizer, published in a letter from its CEO on its website, boosted the US stock market and the company’s stock.

“Let me be clear, assuming the data is positive, Pfizer will apply for emergency use authorization in the United States shortly after the safety goal is reached in the third week of November,” said CEO Albert Bourla.

US President Donald Trump said a vaccine would be available before the Nov. 3 election, but health officials and companies have only said key data could be released this month.

The possibility of further delays was raised after clinical trials of two rival vaccines were suspended in the United States and other countries this fall.

Health authorities have sought to ease concerns about fears that few Americans will want to get vaccinated in the first stage. Earlier this month, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) formalized a requirement for drug companies to provide at least two months of safety data for half of the volunteers in the trials.

Pfizer’s comments at this time raise the possibility that the United States will approve a vaccine for the coronavirus this year, a crucial step in controlling the pandemic that has killed more than 1 million people and devastated the global economy.

Reports by Manas Mishra, Manojna Maddipatla in Bengaluru, and Michael Erman in New Jersey. Edited in Spanish by Marion Giraldo


The Czechia fell asleep on its laurels after the first wave, writes Politico. He gives the Northerners as a role model

The example of the Czech Republic shows that no country can afford to rest on its laurels in the coronavirus epidemic. This is claimed by the Politico news server in an extensive article on how European governments are coping with the coronavirus pandemic. So far, Politico is considered to be the Nordic countries, the Baltics and Greece, and France and Spain have failed.

The Czechia was the first in Europe to introduce compulsory wearing of veils, close schools and part of shops. It was also the first to start easing restrictions on April 9. And that’s when the problem started, the server said.

According to him, Prime Minister Andrej Babiš and his government did not react quickly enough at the first signs of an increase in the spread of the disease in August. “Babiš ignored the warning signs and feared that the new restrictions would cause resentment among entrepreneurs. So he did nothing,” Politico writes about the situation in early September.

After the daily number of infected people exceeded the level that was last in the spring, the then Minister of Health tried to introduce the mandatory wearing of veils in shops. But Babiš vetoed the return to restrictions, recalls Politico.

The exchange rate was changed and the Minister of Health was replaced in the second half of September. “Maybe it’s too late,” adds Politico, pointing out that a third of all cases of the disease that the Czech Republic has registered since the beginning of the epidemic fall on this week.

Neighboring Germany and Austria are managing the epidemic well, even if these countries have made mistakes. The fact that health care in Germany is decided by the individual Länder makes it difficult for Chancellor Angela Merkel to implement national measures. Austria’s most visible mistake falls in the first wave, when the outbreak in the alpine resort of Ischgl failed.

There are quick measures along the way

According to the server, the premiants of the first and second waves are Norway, Finland, Denmark and Iceland. Prompt action and efficient healthcare have made it possible to significantly reduce the spread of the disease. This has saved lives and mitigated the impact on the economy, says Politico. On the contrary, according to the server, Sweden’s policy has led to a significant number of people infected and a high number of deaths. The server also ranks the Baltic states and Greece among the countries that managed the first and second waves well.

Italy was the most deterrent in the first wave. However, using extraordinary powers, the government managed to flatten the disease curve faster than expected. Politico also credits the Italian prime minister with persuading Germany to support the European Reconstruction Fund.

Spain and France earned significantly negative evaluations. Spain has not been able to control the growth of the disease during the summer season. Politico notes the disputes between the Spanish government and the local government over the introduction of a state of emergency in the Madrid area, where the disease is most prevalent.

According to Politica, the summer release is also behind the growth of cases in France. The server accuses French President Emmanuel Macron of failing to put in place effective and coherent health measures. “In March, Macron told the nation that he was at war with the virus. Now it looks like he is losing it,” writes Politico.

According to the server, Britain is one of the European countries where the first wave of the epidemic exposed the shortcomings of the government’s approach. “(British Prime Minister) Johnson has difficulty formulating a long-term strategy or a clear message from the public,” notes Politico. The British prime minister also has to face growing dissatisfaction in the Conservative Party, although the failures of the first wave of the epidemic have not yet had a significant effect on Conservative preferences.

We have a whole spectrum of patients of all ages on the ward, there are also adolescents, but there are more older ones, says Hynek Bartoš. | Video: Martin Veselovský


Röttgen, Laschet, Merz – fight for the CDU chairmanship: who convinced?

Röttgen vs. Laschet vs. Merz

There were contrasting accents. But the round of the three applicants for the CDU chairmanship of the Union’s youngsters was pretty harmonious. But there were exceptions.

The three applicants for the CDU– Chair, Friedrich Merz, Armin Laschet and Norbert Röttgen, have assured the Union’s offspring that they will be committed to digitization, climate protection and innovations. All three spoke out in favor of a digital ministry in the federal government on Saturday evening at an appearance organized by the Junge Union (JU) in Berlin.

Anyone who would have expected a tough argument between the candidates or big news was disappointed with this virtual exhibition of the applicants. As a matter of routine, they reeled off their answers to questions from the youngsters of the party. In addition to the digital topic, it was about education and the future, innovation, the environment and sustainability, intergenerational justice and the future of the CDU as a people’s party.

You know: Too much argument does not work

The scene had something of “The JU is looking for the super boss” that evening at Pariser Platz in the middle of Berlin. Huge spotlights illuminated the group, and eleven cameras transmitted questions and answers from the state-of-the-art discussion panel to the JUler’s living room via Facebook or Zoom conference.

But it remained with the occasional verbal finger-wrestling, such as the dispute over more or less federalism – when the economic expert Merz and the foreign politician Röttgen demanded more options for the federal government to take action on some issues and Laschet strictly opposed it. Obviously, none of the three applicants wanted to scare off the next generation of the party with a tough argument, because all three have known the CDU well enough for a long time to know that too much argument does not get across.

Top topic digitization

NRW Prime Minister Laschet said that a lot had already been done with digitization, but that was not enough. It has to go faster, against all – bureaucratic – resistance. Laschet tried to score points with the party youth by pointing out that there had been a digital ministry in his country for a long time – he would also enforce this as the CDU leader.

In the words of Merz, the Corona-Pandemie made it clear that Germany is digitally poorly positioned, especially in schools. A digital ministry alone is not enough, it must have clear responsibilities and actually reduce bureaucracy. The ministry must have cross-sectional competence, he demanded.

Röttgen complained that Germany was not just ten years behind when it came to digitization, but rather 20. The administration was far too slow and thus also hindered innovations. Both he and Merz made it clear that Germany needs a different culture when dealing with innovations. Röttgen said the Germans have a security mentality that does not allow failure.

Laschet presents himself as a “doer”

Regarding the corona pandemic, Laschet said that one must now prevent society from falling apart. It is important to lead the country well through the pandemic, balancing fundamental rights and health protection.

Laschet presented himself in the opening statement as a “doer” with broad experience as head of government. Many of the current demands of the Junge Union (JU) such as more climate protection, digitization or intergenerational justice have already been implemented by his state government or are being addressed. He is fighting for a modernized CDU.

Merz also campaigned for a renewal of intergenerational justice. Germany needs a new generation contract. The country should no longer live at the expense of the younger generation. Under his aegis, no more decisions would be made that shift the costs into the future and burden them with the younger generation. Germany must come out of the Corona crisis in terms of economic and financial policy and focus on ecological innovations. State-of-the-art technology is required for this and he is therefore aiming for a technology and start-up offensive.

Röttgen: CDU has to become more feminine, younger, more digital

Röttgen confirmed that he wanted to reform the party as CDU chairman. The CDU must become more feminine, younger, more digital and more interesting. In the CDU, issues must be wrestled again without the result being certain from the outset.

In response to the discussion about the retirement age, Laschet said that it could be a little more than 67 years in the future. Merz told the young people that they should retire if they wanted – he was for no longer operating with rigid age limits. Röttgen advocated raising the statutory retirement age in order to keep the generation contract reliable.

The three applicants stood together on one stage for the first time in the internal election campaign. A presenceParty congress with 1001 delegates the successor of the party leader is to be on December 4th in Stuttgart Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer choose. Due to the increasing number of corona infections, however, it is still open whether the delegates’ meeting can actually take place.

In the end, JU boss Tilman Kuban started a two-week member survey of the youth organization on the CDU chairmanship. The result is considered to be the recommendation of the youngsters to be elected CDU leader at the planned party conference in Stuttgart at the beginning of December. The JU – the joint youth organization of the CDU and CSU – According to its own information, it has almost 100,000 members. However, only the 70,000 JU members who do not come from Bavaria are questioned – since it is about the CDU chairmanship. Of the 1001 delegates at the CDU party congress, around 100 belong to the JU.


Bad day for Central Europe. The number of infected people also jumped in the countries around the Czech Republic

Countries neighboring the Czech Republic report a record increase in the number of coronavirus infections. Austria, Germany and Poland recorded the highest daily balances on Saturday. Slovakia then has the second highest daily increase since the beginning of the epidemic. However, none of these countries exceeded the limit of ten thousand new cases as the Czechia. This is despite the fact that Germany and Poland have several times more inhabitants.

In Slovakia, the latest daily balance decreased slightly compared to Friday’s record of more than two thousand new cases, to 1968 infected. Prime Minister Igor Matovic announced the intention to conduct a comprehensive test of all residents in the coming weeks. However, he did not specify whether it would be mandatory.

The Czech Minister of Health Roman Prymula spoke about a similar proposal this week. Comprehensive testing should be repeated once in Slovakia. Bratislava has already purchased 13 million so-called antigen tests. They are less demanding to process, but also less accurate.

According to the Robert Koch Institute, there have been 7830 more infections in Germany in the last day, which is the most since the beginning of the pandemic. A total of 356,387 people were infected with coronavirus in the 80 million countries. The deaths with covid-19 in Germany have increased by 33 in the last day, bringing the death toll since the beginning of the pandemic to 9767.

German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier had to go to quarantine, according to a spokesman, one of his bodyguards had a positive test for coronavirus. At the same time, Germany stated that it was ready to take over coronavirus patients from other European Union countries, if capacity allows.

In Poland, 9622 people have been infected with the virus in the past 24 hours. At the same time, the country registers 84 deaths on this day. Poland, with a population of around 38 million, has so far been identified as 167,230 infected, of whom 3,524 have died.

A new daily maximum was also announced by the nine million Austria – 1747 infected. In Austria, 63,134 people have tested positive for coronavirus so far and 890 people have died. Among the newly infected is Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg. According to his spokesman, the minister could become infected during Monday’s meeting of foreign ministers of the European Union in Luxembourg, which was attended by, among others, the Czech foreign minister Tomáš Petříček. Covid-19 is also attended by another participant in the Luxembourg meeting – Belgian Foreign Minister Sophie Wilmès.

High additions were also announced on Saturday by other European countries; Britain registered 16,171 new cases in the last day and Italy a record 10,925 infected. More than 400,000 coronavirus infections per day were added for the first time in the world on Friday, with the new epicenter Europe now showing higher daily gains than the world’s three most affected countries – the United States, India and Brazil – combined.

The number of patients is also increasing in Eastern Europe

Ukraine is also not well off, recording a new daily record in the last 24 hours as well – 6,410 positive cases. At the same time, 109 infected people died there on Friday, which is the most since the beginning of the pandemic. The country has a registered population of approximately 42 million since March, 293,641 cases and 5,517 deaths.

Russia also reports high numbers for the past day – almost 15,000 new outbreaks and 279 deaths. Russia is the fourth most affected country in the world. Coronavirus was detected there in 1,384,235 people, of whom 24,002 died.

Due to the growing spread of the disease, new restrictions have entered into force in some European countries today. A medical emergency came into force in France, and a night curfew came into force in Paris and several large cities. In Hamburg and North Rhine-Westphalia, gastronomic establishments will close no later than 11 pm. Some local restrictions have come into force in Britain.

One million people have already died of covid-19

The rapid growth of the disease is evident not only in Europe. Iran has reported that its deaths from covid-19 have exceeded 30,000 and the disease has been confirmed in more than 526,000 people. Iran, with a population of over 80 million, is the most affected country in the Middle East.

According to the American Johns Hopkins University (JHU), coronavirus has been detected in more than 39 million people worldwide and over 1.1 million people have died. Over the last thirty days, the number of new infections has increased by nine million. The United States (8.1 million people) holds the lead in infections, followed by India (7.4 million) and Brazil (5.2 million).


Börse Express – Vattenfall manager Groebler takes over senior positions at Salzgitter

SALZGITTER (dpa-AFX) - Führungswechsel beim Stahlhersteller Salzgitter AG  im kommenden Jahr: Der Vattenfall-Manager Gunnar Groebler wird am 1. Juli 2021 neuer Vorstandschef, wie Salzgitter am Samstag mitteilte. Das habe der Aufsichtsrat am selben Tag beschlossen. Der derzeitige Vorstandsvorsitzende Heinz Jörg Fuhrmann werde im nächsten Jahr 65 Jahre alt und deshalb planmäßig zum 30. Juni in den Ruhestand treten. Groebler ist beim schwedischen Energieriesen Vattenfall im Konzernvorstand für das Geschäftsfeld Windkraft zuständig. Salzgitter hatte im ersten Halbjahr wegen der Corona-Krise einen Verlust von 145 Millionen Euro nach Steuern verbucht. Vor allem der Nachfrageeinbruch aus der Automobilindustrie belastete das Ergebnis./brd/DP/edh
 ISIN  DE0006202005

AXC0068 2020-10-17/18:34

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Covid-19. Merkel asks Germans to stay home in face of rising cases

“Please stay as long as possible at home and in the place where you live. I know that in addition to sound severe, it represents a hard sacrifice,” said the chancellor in her usual weekend video message.

Merkel also called for the Germans to reduce the number of contacts with people they know “inside and outside the home”, and that “any travel that is not strictly necessary” and “any party that is not strictly necessary” be dispensed with.

The chancellor said that these sacrifices must be made in self-interest and in the interest of society to allow schools and kindergartens to remain open and so that the economy and jobs are no longer affected.

Germany, according to Merkel, is in a difficult phase of the pandemic and infections are increasing faster than in the spring.

“The way we are going to live the winter and how we are going to celebrate Christmas is something that will be decided these days. We have to do everything so that the virus does not spread in an uncontrolled way. Every day is important and everyone can contribute keeping their distance , respecting hygiene standards and wearing masks “, he said.

“But it is necessary to go further: science shows us that the spread of the virus is related to the number of contacts we have,” he added.


Economy, trade & finance: WHO on increasing corona cases in Europe: Don’t be careless

Tedros and the WHO experts appealed to people to take the measures seriously. “We have to persevere,” said Covid expert Maria von Kerkhove. “We’re going to get through this and we’re going to get this under control.”

If a flu wave hits at the same time, health systems quickly reach their limits, it was said. The flu expert Sylvie Briand reminded, however, that the flu season in the southern hemisphere was unusually mild this year. This is because measures such as hand washing, keeping your distance and wearing a face mask also protect against flu infections. “We hope the same thing happens in the northern hemisphere,” she said.


An elderly woman showing the middle finger. How Berlin draws attention to the use of a mask

A new Berlin tourism campaign ran counter to all rules and shows what is usually objectionable. In order to convince the most disobedient to use a mask, the German capital used an elderly woman, with a handmade mask, to show the middle finger, in protest to all those who do not use facial protection.

“Those who don’t wear a mask will bug us – we obey the rules of the corona,” says the ad, launched in September and which has now gone viral, and which has caused controversy among the citizens of Berlin.

The ad is part of a campaign that the city will run for six months, until March 2021, and which started with ads on public transport.

Some ads are based on images, others are entirely textual. One reads “Liberté. Egalité. Charité?”, A play on French national motto and the name of one of Berlin’s best-known hospitals, Charité.

Still, it is the woman showing the middle finger that has most caught the public’s attention.

Christian Tänzler, a spokesman for Visit Berlin, and one of those responsible for the announcement, told CNN that the purpose of the image was to shock people into paying attention. “Most people in Berlin are respecting the rules, but there is a minority that are not and are risking the lives of other people – older people and communities at risk. We wanted to address this problem,” he said.


Berlin gives the middle finger to anti-masks

The Berlin Senate, with the help of an elderly lady and her middle finger, is trying to make it clear to Berliners and tourists that masks should be worn in the city.

An advertisement appeared in local Berlin newspapers to remind residents and tourists of the German capital that corona rules apply in Berlin. The ad did so with the help of a masked older woman raising her middle finger. Caption: “A raised finger for anyone without a mask. We adhere to the corona rules. ‘

The remarkable campaign was initiated by the Berlin Senate, the council that makes up both the city council and the government of the state of Berlin. To this end, they collaborated with the tourism agency Visit Berlin. “ We wanted to communicate in a way that suits the Berliner while emphasizing the dramatic situation of the pandemic, ” said the agency’s spokesman The Guardian.

The ad is part of a broader campaign that started in September.


Yet the campaign is also being criticized. Especially from the parties that do not sit in the senate. For example, the local leader of the CDU, Angela Merkel’s party, Kai Wegner is not a fan. “The situation is too serious for stupid jokes,” he said. A representative of the Free Democratic Party, on the other hand, stated that it was “neither funny nor original, but arrogant and offensive.”

The full ad.

Photo: Visit Berlin