Covid-19 Measures

Regional News • Europe • Austria
Austria imposes third hard lockdown starting December 26
Austria imposes third hard lockdown starting December 26
Credit: Illustration by Ashley Winkler for Pendect (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

The Austrian government has announced the nation's third lockdown, starting on December 26 and lasting until January 18. Restaurants, museums, beauty establishments and schools will remain closed. Starting on January 18, the federal government is planning to make it compulsory for customers to show a negative Covid-19 test when entering a shop or restaurant, and the police are also to carry out random checks.

Regional News • Europe • Germany
Germany enters lockdown as daily death record reaches 952
Germany enters lockdown as daily death record reaches 952
Credit: Bluemel1, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

Germany is entering a strict lockdown on Wednesday as it reports its highest daily death count. 952 people have died of a Covid-19 infection over the past 24 hours, bringing the total death count to 23,427.

From today on until January 10th non-essential businesses will remain closed, including restaurants, museums and beauty salons.

Regional News • Europe • Germany
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has announced new national lockdown measures until the 10th of January.
Alexanderplatz, Berlin, during the Covid-19 outbreak in April 2020
Alexanderplatz, Berlin, during the Covid-19 outbreak in April 2020 Credit: Neomicro (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

The German chancellor has announced the closure of stores, schools and daycare centres in the run-up to Christmas to stem the surge in coronavirus cases. The new rules will come into effect from Wednesday, December 16th and will last until January 10th

According to the new measures, retail will close except for essential goods. There will be a ban on fireworks ahead of New Year’s Eve, hair salons, schools and daycare centres will also close. Takeaway food and food delivery is still possible, but takeaway cannot be eaten near the place of purchase

Regional News • Europe • France
France imposes night curfew, cultural venues to remain closed
France imposes night curfew, cultural venues to remain closed
Credit: unsplash/Fran Boloni

The government of France has delayed easing Coronavirus restrictions for another three weeks as infection rates are still not decreasing fast enough. In addition, a nighttime curfew (8pm-6am) will be imposed on December 15th, and will include New Year's Eve as well but an exception will be made on Christmas Eve. Museums, cinemas and other cultural venues will remain closed into early January.

Transportation • Air Transportation & Traffic, Flying
Cabin crew asked to wear nappies to "reduce virus risk"
Cabin crew asked to wear nappies to "reduce virus risk"
Credit: unsplash/@ewxy

The Chinese aviation regulator has sparked some controversy today by requesting that cabin crew wear disposable nappies, and refrain from using onboard toilets to reduce the risk of catching COVID-19.

This advice has been published in a new guideline book for airlines under 'personal protective equipment'.

The regulator was quick to point out that this requirement is only for flights into high COVID-19 areas; where infection exceeds 500 per 1 million people.

Regional News • Europe • United Kingdom
Self Isolation period shortened to 10 days in UK
Self Isolation period shortened to 10 days in UK
Credit: unsplash.com / Ehimetalor Akhere Unuabona

From Monday, the amount of time you will need to self isolate in the UK will be changed from 14 to 10 days.

Due to falling numbers of infected, the four UK Chief Medical Officers (CMO) said "After reviewing the evidence, we are now confident that we can reduce the number of days that contacts self-isolate from 14 days to 10. People who return from countries which are not on the travel corridor list should also self-isolate for 10 days instead of 14 days."

While Wales had already announced a change in isolation time, this new announcement from the CMOs will apply to all 4 states of the UK; England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

Regional News • Europe
Stockholm's ICU capacity has reached 99 percent
Stockholm's ICU capacity has reached 99 percent
Credit: unsplash.com / Linus Mimietz

The intensive care units of the hospitals in Stockholm have reached a capacity of 99 percent and are almost at a point where no new patients can be admitted.

Stockholm region's health and medical care director Björn Eriksson has called for help as "the consequences could be terrible" of nothing would change and if people "go for after-work drinks, do Christmas shopping or meet people outside your household".

Regional News • Europe • Germany
German state of Baden-Württemberg plans forced admission of Covid-19 quarantine breakers
German state of Baden-Württemberg plans forced admission of Covid-19 quarantine breakers
Credit: By Ra Boe / Wikipedia (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0 DE)

The State Social Minister of Baden-Württemberg Manfred Lucha (Greens) has announced on Tuesday that people who do not go into quarantine despite a Covid-19 infection and do not respond to other sanctions will in the future be able to be forcibly admitted to central hospitals by the police. In addition, the state government wants to include a nationwide ban on the outdoor drinking of alcohol in the next Covid-19 ordinance.

Regional News • Europe • European Union
Poland and Hungary issued ultimatum by EU over Covid-19 recovery fund
Poland and Hungary issued ultimatum by EU over Covid-19 recovery fund
Credit: unsplash.com / Guillaume Périgois

Three days before the decisive meeting of the heads of state and government, the other 25 EU states are now giving Hungary and Poland an ultimatum: either they drop their veto against the next seven-year EU budget, or the other 25 countries will remove the Covid-19 recovery package from the budget and re-issue it among themselves.

Regional News • Europe • Germany
Germany: Bavarian government calls a case of disaster
Germany: Bavarian government calls a case of disaster
Credit: Olaf Kosinsky / via Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0 DE)

Because of the ongoing Covid19 situation in Bavaria, Minister-President Markus Söder has now called officially a case of disaster. The infection numbers have to go down, he said on Sunday. New restrictions, especially curfews will be in effect beginning with Wednesday, December the 9th.

Regional News • Americas • United States
San Francisco Bay Area issues stay-at-home order, ahead of state mandate
San Francisco Bay Area issues stay-at-home order, ahead of state mandate
Credit: Billie Grace Ward from New York, USA, via Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

Five Bay Area counties, San Francisco, Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Santa Clara and the City of Berkeley, said Friday in a joint announcement that they will adopt the state's stay-at-home order ahead of the state mandate in hopes to curb the further spread of Covid-19 and numbers of hospitalizations.

"The virus is spreading rapidly throughout the city like never before. We need to move fast, keeping ahead of this virus as much as possible," so Dr Grant Colfax, San Francisco’s director of public health, during a news briefing Friday afternoon, warning that at the current rate San Francisco's hospitals will run out f hospital beds the day after Christmas.

Regional News • Americas • United States
CDC recommends "universal use of face masks" while indoors
CDC recommends "universal use of face masks" while indoors
Credit: Unsplash/Arturo Rey

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Friday recommended the "universal use of face masks" while in indoor places other than one's home to curb the spread of Covid-19. The agency also urges people to avoid "non-essential indoor spaces" and to postpone travel.

Regional News • Europe • Austria
Austria to ease lockdown restrictions on Monday; quarantine mandatory for arriving travellers
Sebastian Kurz
Sebastian Kurz Credit: Пресс-служба Президента России (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

Austria will ease its lockdown measures on Monday, reopening stores, museums and schools while hotels and gastronomy have to remain closed until January 7th. The 24-hour-lockdown is being lifted, but a nighttime curfew between 8 pm and 6 am will still apply. Ski slopes will be opened on December 24th "so that the Austrian population has the chance to engage in sporting activity over the holidays."

Starting mid-December, arriving travellers will have to go into quarantine for 10 days but will be able to take a free test after five days and can leave quarantine early if the test comes back negative. Chancellor Sebastian Kurz appeared to blame Austrian residents with family abroad for bringing back the virus to Austria after returning from visits at the end of the summer, sparking criticism in the country.

"We had very, very low infection rates in the summer after the lockdown, and then the virus brought back into the country by people returning from their home countries, especially those who had spent the summer in their countries of origin," so Kurz.

Regional News • Americas • United States
Covid: President-elect Joe Biden to ask Americans to wear masks for 100 days
President-elect Joe Biden
President-elect Joe Biden Credit: Gage Skidmore (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 2.0)

The US President-elect Joe Biden has said he will ask Americans to wear masks for his first 100 days in office to curtail the spread of coronavirus.

Constitutional experts say a US president has no legal authority to order Americans to wear masks. Still, Mr Biden said during the interview he and his Vice-President Kamala Harris would set an example by donning face coverings.

Regional News • Europe • Germany
Germany extends partial lockdown until January 10th
Berlin Alexanderplatz Berlin 11 during the first Covid-19 lockdown
Berlin Alexanderplatz Berlin 11 during the first Covid-19 lockdown Credit: Neomicro (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has announced that the country's partial lockdown will be extended until at least January 10th, aiming to reduce the seven-day incidence (confirmed Covid-19 infections per 100,000 inhabitants within seven days) to less than 50.

Hotels, eateries, bars and cultural and leisure facilities will remain closed and gatherings will now be limited to a maximum of five people from two households. During December 23 and January 1, up to ten people will be able to gather to allow for families to celebrate.

"If the infection situation continues to develop as in the last days, we will meet again on January 4th and the states are extending the directive (for a shutdown) to January 10th," Merkel said following a five-hour meeting with the 16 German state leaders on Wednesday.

Health
Interactive tool from MIT created to evaluate indoor safety with Covid-19
Screenshot of the tool
Screenshot of the tool

MIT researchers created a model and an interactive simulation tool to provide guidelines on indoor safety during the pandemic. Safety factors include the space dimensions, ventilation, mask details and people behaviours. Assuming one person in the room has COVID-19, the tool allows you to tweak the variables in order to get recommendations.

Regional News • Americas • United States
Homes hosting large gatherings during pandemic will be cut water and power in Los Angeles
Homes hosting large gatherings during pandemic will be cut water and power in Los Angeles
Credit: unsplash.com / Dillon Shook

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said Wednesday that he is authorizing the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power to shut off utility service to properties where large parties and gatherings are held in violation of public safety orders

Regional News • Oceania
Queensland borders to open to NSW and Victoria from start of December
Queensland borders to open to NSW and Victoria from start of December
Credit: Courtesy of Twitter / Annastacia Palaszczuk

Queensland will open its borders to Victoria on December 1 after the state recorded 26 days with no new coronavirus cases, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced today.

Ms Palaszczuk announced yesterday that Queensland would also open up to all of New South Wales on the same date.

No decision has been made about when Queensland will open borders to South Australia. Parts of the state were declared a hotspot following a coronavirus cluster outbreak last week.

Regional News • Americas • United States
CDC recommends that Americans should not travel for Thanksgiving
CDC recommends that Americans should not travel for Thanksgiving
Credit: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Public Domain)

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends against travel for Thanksgiving and has posted updated guidelines for safely celebrating the holiday.

"The reason that we made the update is that the fact that over the week we've seen over a million new cases in the country," Dr Erin Sauber-Schatz, the CDC's lead for Community Intervention and Critical Population Task Force, told reporters in a conference call.

Regional News • Europe • Germany
Angela Merkel says she is very worried about pandemic in Berlin
Angela Merkel
Angela Merkel Credit: European People's Party (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

The Covid-19 situation in Germany still concerns even with infection numbers not rising as fast as before, Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Tuesday. The chancellor said she would have preferred to have agreed stricter rules at a meeting with federal and state leaders on Monday, adding she was apprehensive about the uncontrolled spread of coronavirus in some places, including the capital Berlin.

Merkel had proposed additional measures including making it mandatory to wear masks in schools and shrink class sizes, and urging citizens, and children, to limit social contacts to one household or friend.

Federal and state leaders postponed until November 25 a decision on further lockdown measures