Coronavirus continues: “The EU has reached an agreement with Pfizer BioNtech to have another 300 million doses of the vaccine against Covid-19, reaching a total order of 600 million doses”. The president of the EU Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, stated at a press conference a few hours ago. She added that a vaccination strategy means that priorities must be set. “And as indicated by the World Health Organization, we recommended to vaccinate first people over 65 years-old.” Von der Leyen also specified that no State can negotiate in parallel the agreement conducted by the EU Commission with the producers of vaccines on behalf of the 27 governments. President von der Leyen affirmed she was pleased that all Member States are doing their utmost to move forward with their vaccination plans, but “we need to increase quickly.”
The Robert Koch Institute recorded yesterday a new death record in Germany. In the last 24 hours, according to the daily Covid bulletin, 1,188 deaths have been reported. So far, the maximum number was recorded on Dec. 30, with 1,129 deaths. There are 31,849 new infections. Experts reiterate that the data could also be explained by a delay in reporting due to the Christmas holidays. On January 5, the German chancellor Angela Merkel decided to extend the lockdown in the Federal Republic. Protesters attacked an anti-Covid vaccination center in Rostock in the German state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. According to investigators, the attack took place shortly after midnight.
Today the Stockholm Parliament approved a law, which provides the government new powers to curb the Covid-19 spread in Sweden. The new law, which goes into effect Sunday, will allow the government to close shops, malls, or public transport. The government can also impose limits on the number of people allowed in certain specific public places and restrictions on public gatherings. In most cases, the new restrictions’ violations will lead to a fine, which was previously not possible.
Until now, Sweden had never imposed a lockdown, unlike European countries. A few weeks ago, the Stockholm Government began to tighten measures in the face of a second wave stronger than expected. When asked why this law only ten months after the outbreak started, Health Minister Lena Hallengren told broadcaster SVT that “we didn’t need it in the spring.”
French Prime Minister Jean Castex announced yesterday that all activities currently blocked in France “will remain so at least until the end of January.” Therefore, bars, restaurants, cinemas, museums, and gyms remain closed and will not reopen from January 20, as had been hypothesized by President Emmanuel Macron at the end of the lockdown at the end of November.
The ski lifts do not even reopen. For bars and restaurants, closed since October, the reopening prospect is postponed at least to mid-February. The premier also announced that the night curfew – already in force in 15 districts – will be extended for another ten days. And the borders with the United Kingdom will remain closed until further notice.