The US is richer than France

Coronavirus worldwide : Israel wants to let tourists into the country again

Study: Very high vaccination protection against Indian virus variants at Biontech and Astrazeneca

The corona vaccines from Pfizer / Biontech and Astrazeneca According to a study from Great Britain, they offer a very high level of protection against illness with the virus variant B.1.617.2, which first appeared in India. After two vaccinations, the two preparations protect almost as effectively against a corona disease caused by this variant as against one caused by the British variant B.1.1.7. According to the British news agency PA, this is the result of a study by the government agency Public Health England (PHE).

The vaccine from Pfizer / Biontech therefore protects two weeks after the second dose with 88 percent effectiveness against illness caused by B.1.617.2., compared with 93 percent for the British variant.

At Astrazeneca the effect against a disease caused by B.1.617.2 is 60 percent compared with 66 percent at B.1.1.7. According to the information, both vaccines showed a 33 percent effectiveness with B.1.617.2 three weeks after the first vaccination, while it was around 50 percent for the British variant at the time.

The study was conducted between April 4 and May 16 and covered all age groups. The Indian variant is considered particularly contagious and has made a significant contribution to the fact that the number of infections in India has exploded in recent months. In the UK, as of May 19, more than 3,400 cases of the variant have been confirmed. Because of the spread of the variant, Great Britain will be classified by the German federal government as a virus variant area from Sunday.

The British scientific advisory board Sage recently wrote that it was “realistic” that the Indian variant could be up to 50 percent more contagious than variant B.1.1.7, which is already considered very contagious. (dpa)

More than five million vaccinated: Hungary eases corona measures

Hungary is loosening the corona precautionary measures after the country exceeded the five million mark on first vaccinations on Saturday. The obligation to wear masks in the open air and the nocturnal exit restrictions have been abolished. Mouth and nose protection only needs to be worn in closed public spaces such as shops or public transport.

However, tourist trips to Hungary are generally not yet possible - except for people who have been vaccinated in a country whose vaccination certificates are recognized by Hungary. Currently these are Romania, Serbia, Montenegro, Croatia, Slovenia, Turkey and Bahrain. A German who has been vaccinated in one of these countries can enter Hungary as a tourist.
Hungary's right-wing national government under Prime Minister Viktor Orban does not make the relaxation of corona measures dependent on the incidence of the virus, but only on the vaccination. Not only vaccines approved by the EU are inoculated, but also vaccines from Russia and China. The 14-day incidence of new infections per 100,000 inhabitants in Hungary was most recently 148.03 and was thus in the middle range across the EU. However, the Covid-19 death rate was 133.58 per 100,000 inhabitants within two weeks, the highest in the EU. About 9.8 million people live in the country. (dpa)

It will take years for the losses and structural distortions to be balanced out.

IW boss Michael Hüther

IW: Corona crisis is costing the German economy almost 300 billion euros

According to calculations by the Institut der Deutschen Wirtschaft (IW), the corona crisis cost Germany almost 300 billion euros in prosperity. It will "take years before the losses and structural distortions are balanced," said IW boss Michael Hüther of "Welt am Sonntag", which quoted from the institute's calculations. Accordingly, the economy would have "grown significantly" without Corona.

For its calculations, the IW compared the actual and forecast growth with the so-called potential growth of the gross domestic product (GDP). This shows how strong the German economy would have grown in the past six quarters without the pandemic. Accordingly, the past three quarters alone account for almost 140 billion euros in lost growth.

Almost a third of this loss of added value can therefore be attributed to the renewed lockdown as a result of the second wave, which is only now being relaxed because of the progress in vaccination and the falling incidences, the newspaper reported on the IW calculations. "The vaccination rate is finally increasing, that is a signal to the economy that should not be underestimated"said Huther. "Nevertheless, we must not succumb to the illusion that the crisis will no longer leave its mark." (AFP)

French Corona app downloaded by a quarter of the population

In France, the Corona tracking app has now been downloaded by 16.5 million people, according to the Digital Ministry. That is almost a quarter of the total population. The app with the name "Tous Anti-Covid" ("Alle gegen Covid") is intended to provide access to the "Health Passport" that was last approved by Parliament and which will be launched on June 9th. It will include evidence that the person carrying it is either vaccinated, tested negative, or recovered from infection. The passes should be used, for example, to take part in events with a large audience.(Reuters)

Israel wants to let tourists into the country again

Israel has reopened its borders to tourists. Initially, only small groups from countries that use vaccines accepted by the Israeli government are to be allowed into the country. It is unlikely that the first groups of tourists will arrive before the beginning of June, said a spokeswoman for the tourism ministry. The travel industry had a record year in 2019. 4.55 million visitors came to the country and contributed the equivalent of 5.8 billion euros to economic output. (Reuters)

The trade fair industry and organizers are calling for the lockdown to end in September

The trade fair industry has requested a fixed opening date for its events in September at the latest. Without a reliable perspective, 160,000 jobs would be at risk in the industry, said the managing director of the AUMA trade fair association, Jörn Holtmeier, of “Bild am Sonntag”. Holtmeier criticized: "In Berlin the incidence is now 56 and this week the IFA electronics fair planned for September was canceled because the Berlin Senate cannot bring itself to a clear opening perspective." He called for a nationwide procedure with a fixed opening date in September at the latest.

The President of the Federal Association of the Concert and Event Industry, Jens Michow, also criticizes the lack of open-mindedness: "It is completely unacceptable that neither the federal government nor the states, despite countless inquiries, are unable to provide information about the framework conditions under which concerts, tours and festivals can take place again without restrictions." The association assumes that around 100,000 shows will have to be canceled this year. After having been rescheduled twice, many events have been rescheduled to a third date in autumn this year. They should take place now too.

According to earlier information from the industry association AUMA, the German trade fair organizers lost almost three quarters of their usual sales in the Corona year 2020. Of the more than 360 planned international and regional trade fairs, over 70 percent would have had to be canceled or postponed. Not only the organizers themselves, but also exhibition stand construction, hotels, restaurants as well as taxi drivers and freight forwarders would have suffered as a result. (dpa)

Indoor catering on Mallorca reopened

Another piece of normality has returned to Mallorca: Since Sunday, the restaurateurs of the Spanish holiday island and the other Balearic Islands have been able to serve guests indoors for the first time since March due to the relaxed corona situation - until June 5th but only until 6 p.m. The outdoor areas can remain open in the Balearic Islands until 11 p.m.

However, strict requirements still apply: The restaurants that have terraces are initially only allowed to serve a maximum of 30 percent of the usual number of guests in their interior areas. A maximum occupancy of 50 percent applies to restaurants without an outdoor area - as long as there are no more than 150 guests. A maximum of four people can sit at each table.

There is also a night-time ban on all islands in the region. Between midnight and 6 a.m. you are only allowed out of the house with good reason. It is also important to note the strict mask requirement, which also applies outdoors. You can take off the mask on the beach and while bathing.

Most recently, only just under 19 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants with the corona virus were reported within seven days in the Balearic Islands. In Spain, this value is currently only lower in Valencia, Castile-La Mancha and Ceuta. Mallorca and the other islands in the region temporarily had the highest values ​​in the country in winter. The incidence values ​​of the Balearic Islands are still significantly lower than in all German federal states. (dpa)

Ex-Federal President Gauck on tolerance for "lateral thinkers" and "vaccine opponents" (T +)

FDP wants lollipop tests nationwide in daycare centers and schools

The FDP in the Bundestag calls for the nationwide use of so-called lollipop tests in daycare centers and primary schools. "Children, adolescents and their families must finally be presented by politicians with a practical offer for more normality in everyday corona", said the FDP health expert Katrin Helling-Plahr the newspapers of the Funke media group. Lollipop tests, which are already being used in schools in North Rhine-Westphalia, are an important step in the right direction. An FDP application submitted to the Funke Newspapers requires enough lollipop tests to be able to test children in daycare centers, elementary and special schools for the corona virus at least twice a week.

The tests are called lollipop tests because students have to suck on the test stick like a lollipop for 30 seconds. Two weeks ago, NRW introduced it across the board at all elementary and special needs schools. The testing is initially carried out in groups. Only when a group has tested positive are group members tested individually. The samples are examined by laboratories in a PCR test procedure. (dpa)

India's capital New Delhi plans to ease lockdowns

In India, the capital New Delhi is promising some easing of its strict lockdown. Should the number of new corona cases continue to decline next week, will begin lifting the restrictions imposed on April 20 on May 31, announce the authorities. The rate of positive tests in New Delhi has fallen below 2.5 percent from 36 percent last month. (Reuters)

Moderna wants to apply for admission for children and young people in the EU at the beginning of June

The US pharmaceutical company Moderna wants to apply for approval of its corona vaccine in the EU for children and adolescents between the ages of twelve and 17 in early June. I.The deal would be to vaccinate this age group before the end of August, said Moderna boss Stéphane Bancel the French Sunday newspaper "Journal du dimanche". Otherwise, a fourth corona wave could threaten.

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) is currently reviewing the approval of Biontech / Pfizer's corona vaccine for twelve to 15 year olds. The vaccine is already approved for this age group in the USA. (AFP)

Big worries in Bulgaria about the summer season

Empty beaches, closed bars, hardly any holidaymakers - in Bulgaria the seaside resorts on the Black Sea are more like ghost resorts towards the end of May. The summer season could not be opened on May 1st as originally planned. Because of the uncertain booking situation from abroad, the operators of many large hotels have decided not to open for the time being. Because the well-known Bulgarian seaside resorts such as Slantschew Brjag (Sunny Beach) in the south rely primarily on large foreign tour groups. Most holidaymakers traditionally come from Germany, Russia and Great Britain.

Many large hotels remained closed in the Corona summer 2020, which was devastating for Bulgaria's tourism. According to the industry, the number of holiday guests from abroad fell by more than 80 percent. The losses were put at almost six billion leva (three billion euros). The industry complained that the then government in Sofia did not care enough about tourism.

Bulgaria's new interim government now wants to intervene so that this year's summer season can be saved. The Ministry of Tourism's task is to “restore the vitality of the industry”, assured Minister Stela Baltowa at a meeting with industry representatives. The ministry now wants to promote Bulgaria as a travel destination abroad.

In the corona crisis, the industry is facing logistical problems such as the lack of test capacities for tourists who need a corona test for their return trip. The vaccination campaign among hotel and restaurant staff has not really started yet. Tourism is an important sector for the poorest EU country. Before the corona pandemic, it had contributed a good 12 percent to the economic output of the Balkan country. (dpa)