Corona News: The first death from Corona in North Korea

In North Korea, it appears that about 350,000 people have already contracted “unknown fever”. As reported by the official Central News Agency, about 187,800 people have been isolated and are now being treated after the fever has spread “explosively” across the country since the end of April. It is currently unclear if and how many of those infected have actually been tested for Covid-19. According to the agency, at least six people have died of the fever, although only one death has been officially diagnosed with coronavirus infection.

North Korean President Kim Jong Un confirmed the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic in his country on Thursday and declared a state of emergency. A highly contagious omicron subtype has been discovered in the capital, Pyongyang. Kim ordered a nationwide lockdown and said there appeared to be a flaw in the epidemic prevention system already in place, according to KCNA reports. Another report said health authorities are trying to regulate testing and treatment systems and step up disinfection measures.

The rapid spread of the virus could lead to a crisis in North Korea as the country lacks medical resources and refuses international assistance with vaccinations. Analysts say the first outbreak of the coronavirus could exacerbate the already difficult food situation in the isolated country this year. According to a recent United Nations report, North Korea and Eritrea are the only two countries in the world that have not provided vaccines, Bloomberg News wrote. (05/13/2022)

Green expert warns before the end of the mask requirements in transportation

Federal Transport Minister Volker Wessing (FDP) has received an objection from the Green Alliance partner for his initiative to end the obligation to wear coronavirus masks on buses, trains and planes. “It would be unreasonable to raise the muzzle requirement on public transport at the moment,” said green health expert Janusz Dahmen. “We need protective masks on trains and buses for a safe summer.” Dahmin also noted overcrowding in several vehicles. “The epidemic may leave some people’s minds, but it has not disappeared from our lives.”

On Monday, European Union authorities softened their recommendations on air traffic. The Aviation Security Agency EASA and the European Union’s health authority ECDC have withdrawn the general recommendation for the mandatory wearing of masks in airports and aircraft. If masks are mandatory on public transport at departure or destination, this must continue to be applied in devices as well.

In light of the new EU recommendations, Wissing said one should proceed uniformly across Europe and raise mask requirements, particularly in air traffic. He sees the same need to modify buses and trains. Nationwide mask requirements on planes and long-distance trains are set out in the Infection Protection Act through September 23. Masks are also mandatory on local bus and train transportation if ordered by federal states.

The state’s transport minister, Bremen Senator Mike Schaefer (Green Party), criticized Wessing’s initiative as “wrong signals at the wrong time”. She noted that the scheduled start of monthly tickets of 9 euros in June, July and August for buses and trains is approaching, which could lead to congestion on certain routes. “I think it would be pointless to abolish the mask requirement at that point.” (05/13/2022)

Seven-day nationwide infection drops to 486

The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) reported 68,999 new infections within 24 hours on Friday. This is 16,074 fewer cases than it was on Friday a week ago. The nationwide seven-day infection rate fell to 485.7 from 502.4 the day before. Another 164 people have died in connection with the virus. This increases the number of reported deaths to 137,348.

The number of casualties is currently only of limited importance. Experts have been hypothesizing for some time that there will be a large number of cases not recorded by the RKI – due to the stress of health authorities and because not all infected people have a PCR test. Only these count in the stats. That’s why we use the SZ Corona dashboard to show the average value from the past 7 days’ reports, which are meant to compensate for day-to-day fluctuations. You can find more information on this at the Transparency Blog, and more data and graphics on the pandemic here. (05/12/2022)

More than a million deaths from Corona in the United States

According to a Reuters news agency, more than one million people have died linked to the virus in the United States since the outbreak of the Corona pandemic. That’s one death for every 327 Americans.

To date, 6.7 million deaths have been confirmed worldwide. The actual death toll, including those who died as an indirect result of the virus outbreak, is estimated at 15 million, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). (05/12/2022)

EU authorities recommend ending mask requirements in air traffic

According to a recommendation from two EU authorities, the mask requirement on planes will likely fall soon. The EU authorities for air traffic safety EASA and ECDC have recommended that from 16 May the obligation to wear mouth and nose protection at airports and during flights should be waived. This is in line with the changing requirements for public transport from national authorities across Europe, explained Patrick Key, President of EASA.

However, implementation depends on national regulations, which differ in the European Union. Airlines should continue to encourage passengers to wear masks if this remains mandatory for public transport in the country. This is still the case in Germany. The German Federal Aviation Industry (BDL) has called for that to change. “From the industry’s point of view, the federal government should take the authorities’ decision as an opportunity and now lift the mask requirement on planes,” Banque du Liban said. Mandatory proof of vaccination, convalescence or a negative corona test upon entry through the airport is no longer incomprehensible. Thanks to ventilation systems, the risk of infection on board a plane is much lower than in most other areas of life and work. Transport Minister Volker Wessing (FDP) also made a statement in this direction and called for a unified European approach to air traffic regulations.

A Lufthansa spokeswoman explained that the airline group was based on national guidelines. So the masks can only fall on the plane if the corresponding provision of the Infection Protection Act is changed. Italy, France and other EU countries have already lifted anti-Corona measures. (05/12/2022)

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this report stated that the European Union decided to end mask requirements. However, it is only a recommendation of two responsible authorities in the European Union; Corona rules issued by individual EU countries are crucial. The Reuters news agency, on whose material the report was based, outlined its report according to which we subsequently understood this specification at the suggestion of one of our readers.

The federal government dissolves the Corona crisis team

About five months after it was formed, the Corona Crisis Team at the Federal Chancellery will be disbanded to coordinate nationwide vaccinations against the virus. Meanwhile, there is a completely different situation with regard to infections and vaccines, said deputy government spokeswoman Christian Hoffmann in Berlin. The tasks of the crisis team headed by Major General Carsten Breuer will now be handled in the normal working structures of the federal government.

The Crisis Team started at the end of last year with more than ten employees and had about 30 members at its peak. It included experts from the responsible ministries as well as experts from the Federal Office for Civil Protection and Disaster Assistance.

The Corona Expert Council, which was also established by the then new government at the end of 2021, is not only about vaccinations specifically, but also about giving advice to the government in general. The composition of the board is diverse. Hoffman says the Corona Expert Council is currently preparing a statement on the situation in the fall and winter. (05/11/2022)

More poisoning with supposed corona treatments

The number of emergency calls for poisoning with what is supposed to be treating corona with chlorine dioxide has increased sharply since the beginning of the epidemic. The NDR, citing the Poisons Information Center North Göttingen, reported that there were seven emergency calls in 2019, compared to 50 last year. This year alone, 24 emergency calls related to chlorine dioxide have already been received. The North Poisons Information Center records emergency calls for Lower Saxony, Bremen, Hamburg and Schleswig-Holstein.

The report said that chlorine dioxide, used as a disinfectant, is considered in the “side thinker” scene as a treatment for diseases such as cancer, autism or corona. In some cases, parents also give their children this substance. “Chlorine dioxide is a toxic substance that can dissolve mucous membranes,” warned Bremen toxicologist Bernd Mühlbauer. The substance has no place in or on the body. Mullbauer said he fears the number of unreported cases will rise. (05/11/2022)

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