Germany and Portugal extend measures and Hungary establishes a COVID immunity certificate

Germany bans entry to travelers arriving from Austrian Tyrol and the Czech border regions from this Sunday. A measure that tries to stop the increase in infections due to the variants of COVID-19.

The Czech Republic and Tyrol thus join the list of mutation risk areas drawn up by the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) of virology, and which since the end of January includes the United Kingdom, South Africa, Brazil, Portugal and Ireland, as well as Lesotho and Swaziland.

Travelers from these countries must present a double negative test to enter German territory; the first, carried out up to 48 hours before the flight, and the second, on the fifth day of quarantine in Germany.

Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Thursday that Germany did not act quickly enough in 2020 to prevent a second wave of infections by the end of the year.

In her speech in the Bundestag, Merkel acknowledged that the closure of public spaces should have been done earlier and in a more “systematic” way when signs of a second wave began to emerge.

“We must take this mistake as a lesson. We were not careful or fast enough. We did not close early enough or in line with the warning signs of scientists warning a second wave,” lamented the chancellor.

Germany reported on Thursday 10,237 new positives in the last 24 hours and 666 fatalities, bringing the country to 2,310,233 infected and 63,635 deaths. The cumulative incidence in the last seven days stands at 64.2 cases per 100,000 inhabitants.

Portugal: “Lack of refinement is not on the horizon”

Meanwhile, Portugal has extended its confinement until March 1 amid the most critical moment of the national health crisis since the start of the pandemic.

Schools and non-essential services will be closed. The Government remains firm before the arrival of Holy Week, although it plans to allow businesses to sell books and school supplies.

“We must maintain the state of emergency and confinement for another 15 days, with the possibility of an extension in March, so that no wrong signals are given in the face of Holy Week,” declared Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa.

For his part, the prime minister, António Costa, did not specify if it would be extended during part of March or in its entirety, noting that it is “premature” to point to a date and that, once it is misfiled, it will be “gradually”. However, he insisted: “The lack of definition is not on the horizon.”

In Portugal there are fewer people vaccinated against covid-19 than expected, due to delays from pharmaceutical companies, which implies that, of the 4.4 million doses that the country expected to receive this quarter, it finally has 1.9 million.

The presence of several strains has also been reported, where the South African, British variant is present (43% of new cases have already been detected) and there are two suspected cases of the Brazilian one.

COVID certificates in Hungary

Hungary has established COVID immunity centers for people who have received the vaccine or passed the virus.

The prime minister’s chief of staff, Gergely Gulyás, explained that the certificate will detail the date of the second dose vaccination or the hospitalization record accompanied by a negative PCR test.

“We hope that this document will help things return to normal as soon as possible. But the government has not yet decided what type of exemptions certificate holders will be entitled to,” said Gulyás.

Survivor of two world wars and the coronavirus

France has registered an average of 19,800 positives in total in the last week. In the last 24 hours, according to figures from the health authorities, there were 21,063 positives and 360 deaths, bringing the number of positives to 3.4 million since the start of the pandemic and to 80,803 that of deaths.

France currently has 27,007 people hospitalized as a result of the coronavirus and 3,337 in intensive care units. On the last day, 1,610 patients were admitted and 269 were referred to an ICU.

The French nun who made headlines this week for being the oldest person in Europe, celebrated her 117th birthday on Thursday, in addition to her exceptional longevity she celebrates having survived her COVID-19 infection.