Coronavirus News Update – Feb. 15: Despite Warnings, Over 4 Million People Flew Over the Holiday Weekend

Austria to Require Negative Tests for Skiing, France Cancels La Pause Déjeuner

By Anna Breuer on 15 February 2021
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The former head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States said that the current drop in cases and hospitalizations is not due to the vaccine, which only 10% of the population has received, but rather due to the practices millions of Americans have adopted to stem the spread of the virus. “It’s what we’re doing right: staying apart, wearing masks, not traveling, not mixing with others indoors,” Dr. Tom Frieden told CNN on Sunday.

Despite warnings from health officials, travel over the Presidents Day/George Washington’s Birthday weekend increased dramatically starting Thursday. Over four million people traversed the nation’s security checkpoints at airports starting Thursday.

In the United Kingdom, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he would announce plans to begin to lift the lockdown in the country on February 22. The process, he said, will be both “prudent” and “cautious but irreversible.”  Johnson has been under pressure from members of his own party to loosen the restrictions.

Meanwhile, the United Kingdom announced it had met its goal of 15 million inoculations of the coronavirus vaccine to its top four priority groups. These groups includepeople over 70 years of age, frontline health and social care workers, those living in nursing homes, and the clinically extremely vulnerable.

Skiers in the Tyrol in Austria will be required to present proof of a negative coronavirus test taken within 48 hours in order to ski the slopes. The new rules go into effect on Monday.

France is temporarily suspending a law that forbids workers from eating lunch at their desks, requiring “la pause déjeuner” or the lunch break.  The new decree applies to offices with 50 or more workers and a cafeteria that does not have sufficient room for social distancing.

The Oxford-AstraZeneca partnership that developed one of the world’s leading coronavirus vaccines said it plans to begin a vaccine trial for children this spring.  The trial will test the vaccine on children ages six to 17, the youngest group yet to be tested.

A JetBlue Airways flight attendant who made a fuss about her forced quarantine in Jamaica after testing positive for Covid-19 returned the United States after the 14-day quarantine period. She made false claims about being held hostage and kidnapped on social media. The Jamaica Constabulary Force issued a statement saying she faked her supposed kidnapping.

Italy said it would not reopen its ski slopes on Monday, changing the date to March 5 at the earliest.  “There are not the conditions for further relaxation of the current containment measures including those for amateur skiing,” the country’s board of scientific advisors wrote in a report, pointing out that the new U.K. variant of the virus, known as B.1.1.7., now causes one in every five new infections there.

The Clalit Research Institute in Israel released preliminary data that showed that the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine reduces symptomatic coronavirus infections by over 92%.

Amidst the spread of a coronavirus variant that it did not specify, the Iraq government announced a full curfew on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays of each week starting February 18.  The curfew will run through March 8.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

Accura News

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