Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Corona worldwide: The British are already booking vacation – politics


After the announcement of the UK’s opening plan for the end of the corona lockdown, many Britons have booked vacations. The low-cost airline Easyjet said on Tuesday that flight bookings had tripled compared to the previous week, and even six-fold compared to the week before. The airline also had more than six times as many travel bookings. Destinations in Spain such as Malaga, Alicante and Palma, Faro in Portugal and destinations in Greece such as the island of Crete were in demand. The world’s largest tour operator TUI also saw a booking increase of 500 percent overnight. TUI boss Fritz Joussen recently predicted a travel boom in the summer.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson presented a four-step plan on Monday. After this, almost all corona restrictions will lapse from the end of June if the infection situation allows it. Great Britain is hardest hit by the pandemic in Europe, but already furthest with the Covid vaccination campaign.

Airlines and travel events have high hopes for the summer travel season after their business has largely been on the floor since the outbreak of the corona pandemic a year ago. Shares in airlines and tour operators rose sharply on the London Stock Exchange: Easyjet gained more than nine percent. The British-Spanish aviation group IAG and TUI rose by six percent.

As Easyjet further explained, most bookings were received for August, followed by July and September. At TUI, hotels and resorts in Spain, Greece and Turkey were in high demand from July. It remains to be seen how the British government will proceed with the travel warnings. So far, most travel destinations are still banned until May 17th. The government has announced a reassessment for April 12th.

Airlines and tour operators hope that the deterrent ten-day quarantine obligation after the return trip will also no longer apply. In addition, the destination countries would have to lift entry bans for the British, which France and Spain had imposed because of the presumably more contagious virus mutation in Great Britain.

More than 500,000 corona deaths in the USA

Since the pandemic began, more than 500,000 people have died from being infected with the coronavirus in the United States. This came out on Monday (local time) from data from the University of Johns Hopkins (JHU) in Baltimore. Since the beginning of January alone, more than 150,000 deaths have been reported. According to the JHU, there are now 28.2 million confirmed infections in the USA, a country with around 330 million inhabitants.

“Today we mark a really grim, harrowing milestone – 500,071 dead. That is more Americans who died from this pandemic in one year than in World War I, World War II and the Vietnam War combined,” said US President Joe Biden at a speech in the White House.

He called on Americans to keep wearing masks, abide by distance rules and get vaccinated when it is their turn. “We have to end the policy of misinformation that has divided families, communities and the country. It has already cost too many lives,” he said, referring to the term of office of his predecessor Donald Trump. “We have to fight this together, as one people, as the United States of America.”

Biden ordered the lowering of the American flag to half-mast in order to commemorate the approximately 500,000 corona deaths in the country. This applies to public buildings, military bases and all US government diplomatic missions abroad, the White House said.

Biden’s chief medical advisor, Anthony Fauci, told ABC that the United States had fared worse than almost any other country. “And we are a highly developed, rich country.” The United States is the worst hit country by the pandemic in absolute terms. In relation to the number of inhabitants, however, the number of deaths is higher in some European countries.

According to the Johns Hopkins data, around 152 people per 100,000 people died in the USA. In Belgium this figure is 192, in Great Britain 181, in Italy 158. In Germany, 82 people per 100,000 people died. In many countries, experts also assume a high number of unreported cases of infections and deaths.

There is hope for an improvement in the US. The number of new infections every day has recently fallen sharply. It has now fallen below 70,000. The vaccination campaign is also progressing: So far, 44 million people in the USA have received the first vaccination, around 19.4 million people have already received both vaccine doses, according to data from the US epidemic protection agency. However, many experts warn that the spread of new and more contagious corona variants could soon slow down recent progress.

Biontech vaccine aims to prevent infections

New data from Israel suggest that the vaccine from Biontech and its partner Pfizer works very reliably even under real conditions. Scientists from the US company and the Israeli Ministry of Health had evaluated the data from about 1.7 million people who had been vaccinated. It showed that the vaccine protects fully vaccinated people 93 better than unvaccinated people from Covid diseases, hospital admissions and deaths. The work has not yet been peer-reviewed or published. The Israeli Internet portal “ynet” reported about it first.

The manuscript that the SZ is available also indicates that the vaccine prevents 90 percent infections – including asymptomatic infections. However, there was no systematic search for asymptomatic infections. There could also have been undetected infections so that effectiveness would be overestimated. The study authors admit that their work is not designed to reliably assess the protection of the vaccine against contagion.

So far, there is only reliable data on how well the available vaccines prevent diseases, but not how many of those vaccinated can still be infected and then possibly pass the virus on to others. A vaccine that also stops infections would be very helpful in fighting the pandemic. With sufficient vaccination rates, it could theoretically slow down the circulation of the virus and thus delay the formation of new mutants. A more comprehensive immunity could be achieved in the population, which would also protect the unvaccinated.

Israel, which has a population of around 9.3 million people, runs one of the most ambitious vaccination programs in the world. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expects 95 percent of citizens over the age of 50 to be vaccinated in two weeks.

Against this background, Israel introduced relief on Sunday for citizens who have been vaccinated against the coronavirus or have recovered from illness. With a Green Pass, you can visit fitness studios, hotels, theaters or sporting events, among other things. Health Minister Juli Edelstein wrote on Twitter that more than 3.2 million Israelis could now enjoy these benefits. The aim is to stimulate the economy in the country again. “The Green Pass is gradually reopening the country,” said Netanyahu.



#Corona #worldwide #British #booking #vacation #politics

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