German state premiers on Friday agreed to urge the federal government to keep coronavirus measures in place nationwide rather than allowing each state to determine its own measures to prevent the spread of the virus.
The leaders met in the small town of Königswinter, near Bonn, and discussed how to make it through the winter as the number of cases in Germany starts to rise again.
The Germany-wide state of emergency will end on November 25 and can only be extended by a parliamentary vote.
The annual meeting of state prime ministers and city mayors from Berlin to Bavaria agreed that a national framework should be retained to avoid a patchwork of watered-down measures across the country.
German Health Minister Jens Spahn pledged in August that anyone vaccinated would no longer be subject to another winter lockdown. Spahn said on Monday he was in favor of the national provisions ending on November 25.
After that, states could impose measures at their own discretion. Spahn said many regulations could and should always be kept.
However, the mayor of Berlin, Michael Müller, said there was a consensus that: “We shouldn’t take any chances. We still need a national basis, a legal framework offered by the federal Parliament.
Heads of state highlighted the fact that the country’s 7-day case incidence rate – which was used to decide on COVID-19 restrictions – is now on a decidedly upward trajectory.
The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for Disease Control said a total of 19,572 new infections were reported as of Friday. The figure is more than double what it was a week ago.
More than 1,500 COVID-19 patients are in intensive care, up about 100 from the previous week.
“The fourth wave has started now and is still picking up speed,” Christian Karagiannidis, DIVI’s scientific director, said on Twitter on Thursday.
Below are a few more headlines on coronaviruses from around the world:
Amnesty International has called for an independent parliamentary inquiry into deaths from COVID-19 in nursing homes in Italy. It comes amid reports of retaliation against nursing home staff who spoke out about unsafe conditions there.
Amnesty based its findings on interviews with healthcare workers, union leaders and lawyers. About a third of employees “have expressed concerns about a climate of fear and reprisals in their workplace,” Amnesty said in a statement.
Ukraine reported a record number of coronavirus deaths and infections for the second day in a row, with the capital Kiev on the verge of reimposing strict restrictions.
Government figures showed 23,785 new infections and 614 deaths in the former Soviet Republic.
Kiev must close public places like restaurants and theaters unless all of their employees have been fully immunized.
The country of some 41 million people initially struggled to access vaccines and convince Ukrainians to get vaccinated.
Meanwhile, neighbor Russia says 49.2 million people there are now fully vaccinated against COVID. Some 53.5 million people have received at least one dose of the vaccine.
However, the country reported more daily records for infections and deaths on Friday.
There have been 37,141 new infections and 1,064 people have died in the past 24 hours.
New Zealand set a vaccination target of 90% of eligible beneficiaries as a benchmark for removing blockages.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said her goal has shifted from eliminating COVID-19 to minimizing its spread in the community by increasing vaccinations.
New Zealanders will no longer be subject to stay-at-home orders, provided they are fully immunized.
“We cannot ask vaccinated people to stay home forever,” Ardern said.
Some 86% of eligible New Zealanders received their first dose of the vaccine, with 68% having received a double injection.
Residents of australia On Friday, the second largest city headed for the bars, restaurants and haircuts that were desperately needed. Some 5 million people in Melbourne have spent more than 260 days in lockdown since the start of the pandemic.
Some 70% of eligible people in the city and surrounding state of Victoria are fully vaccinated. As a result, the latest round of restrictions that began on August 5 have been lifted.
New COVID-19 outbreak means parts of China imposed traffic restrictions. Parts of the capital, Beijing, have been cordoned off and there are transportation restrictions and closures of public places in parts of the northeast.
There have been some 28 locally transmitted cases in China, where the disease first appeared on Thursday – more than double the previous day.
Although the numbers are low compared to other parts of the world, Chinese authorities are quickly seeking to contain the flare-ups under nationwide zero tolerance guidelines.
There is special impetus to keep a lid on the disease in the capital ahead of the 2022 Winter Olympics in February.
The city and surrounding areas are offering COVID-19 reminders to anyone over the age of 18 who has received two-dose Chinese vaccines and who belongs to risk groups.
This includes anyone attending or organizing events, or working on gaming facilities.
In india Mumbai’s entertainment capital – the home of Bollywood – cinemas have reopened after more than 18 months of closure.
It is the latest of many restrictions to be removed amid declining case rates. Cinemas have half opened their capacity but have always struggled to attract audiences with reissues of past hits.
Vaccination certificates or verification of “safe status” on the state-run health app is a must for those who wish to attend. There are mandatory masks and temperature controls and no food or drink is allowed inside.
Theaters in other parts of the country are already putting on shows, but – as one of the hardest hit cities – Mumbai has only gradually reopened.
rc / sms (AFP, dpa, AP, Reuters)