Germany curbs AstraZeneca jab, Russia registers animal vaccine: COVID-19 daily bulletin
Updated 02:25, 01-Apr-2021
Thomas Wintle



· The BioNTech-Pfizer vaccine is safe and effective among 12-to-15-year-olds, the vaccine's companies have said following a trial of the jab among adolescents. Pfizer’s CEO said the study could pave the way for them to seek approval in Europe within weeks.

· Europe's medicines regulator has not yet identified any risk factors like age or sex linked to clotting cases reported in people who have taken the AstraZeneca vaccine. The statement follows several countries including Canada, Germany, France and Spain limiting its use. 

· Ukraine's capital Kyiv will be subject to a strict lockdown from April 5, Mayor Vitali Klitschko has said, as new cases continue to surge, with the government reporting a record nationwide total for daily coronavirus-related deaths.

· Poland will move coronavirus patients from the hard-hit region Silesia to other areas in the country, as its number of daily deaths hit a 2021 record and national case numbers continue to soar.

· A Swedish health authority unwittingly used 'Hide the Pain Harold' one of the internet's most-recognized figures as the face of its COVID-19 vaccination booking website. The stock image, which shows a middle-aged man wearing a smile but with sad, pained eyes became a notorious meme, unbeknown to the campaign team.

· EU states are expected to get 107 million vaccine doses by the end of March, the EU Commission has said, hitting an earlier target but far below initial plans.

· President Emmanuel Macron will address the French public on Wednesday evening, as the government reported a 2021 high for the number of people in intensive care with COVID-19. Officials did not say whether further restrictions would be announced, but the French parliament is expected to vote on new measures on Thursday.

· Germany is limiting the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine to over-60s and high-priority groups over health concerns following further reports of a rare brain blood disorder. Despite the move, Chancellor Angela Merkel said she was open to getting the jab. 

· Spain will use the AstraZeneca vaccine for people aged 55-65, with officials saying the Johnson & Johnson jab could be given to older people when it becomes available.

· Italy has imposed a mandatory five-day quarantine for tourists arriving or returning from trips to other EU countries over Easter. The decree will run from today to April 6.

· Ireland is considering adding the U.S., France, and Germany to its mandatory hotel quarantine list, according to Deputy Prime Minister Leo Varadkar. The country also hopes to reopen all shops for the first time this year in May and hotels in June, as the government begins to ease some coronavirus restrictions. 

· Hungary's daily COVID-19 death toll has hit a record high. The government reported 302 fatalities on Wednesday, saying its health care system was under extreme stress, despite having vaccinated a fifth of its population already, one of Europe's fastest inoculation drives.

· Russia has registered the world's first vaccine against coronavirus for animals, dubbed Carnivac-Cov. The clinical trials of the vaccine started last October and involved dogs, cats, Arctic foxes, minks, foxes and other animals.

· France's Macron and Germany's Merkel are discussing possible cooperation on vaccines with Russia's President Vladimir Putin in a joint video conference on Tuesday, Macron's office said on Tuesday.


A screenshot shows part of a government website where Swedes can book COVID-19 vaccinations, featuring the 'Hide the Pain Harold' meme. /Stockholm Region/Handout via Reuters

A screenshot shows part of a government website where Swedes can book COVID-19 vaccinations, featuring the 'Hide the Pain Harold' meme. /Stockholm Region/Handout via Reuters



Stuart Smith in Brussels

Belgium's health product regulator has approved a second type of COVID-19 rapid test. The plan is for it to be sold in pharmacies, allowing people to test themselves at home.

The rapid antigen test would give a result within 20 minutes and costs around $10. But without the European "CE" accreditation, it can only be bought by private individuals in consultation with a pharmacist.

Belgium is still recording an increase in coronavirus infections, with its reproduction rate at 1.09. Over the past two weeks, the rate of infection has been 69 percent higher than the two weeks before, resulting in stricter regulations ahead of the Easter break.

On Tuesday, hospitals were asked to reserve 60 percent of their intensive care beds for coronavirus patients, as 98 percent of all intensive care beds are full. 



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Ross Cullen in Paris

Around 343,000 vaccinations were administered on Tuesday in France, meaning more than 11 million people have now been given at least one vaccination. 

However, the President Emmanuel Macron could make another address to the nation as early as Wednesday evening, as the government struggles to contain the third wave of infections and intense pressure on hospitals. 

Macron is set to make the TV statement after chairing the weekly health defence council meeting. French media are reporting that he will "turn the screw" and could announce a new lockdown or tighter restrictions. 

Three choices are said to be on the table for today's meeting: an early schools closure for the Easter holidays; tightening of the current partial shutdowns in place in some regions; or a strict national lockdown.




Penelope Liersch in Budapest

There's still no set timeline for when Hungary will begin easing its restrictions, with government officials urging people to stick to the lockdown rules over Easter. 

In the meantime, authorities are celebrating more than 2 million people having at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine. However, the effectiveness of the vaccination plan has been called into question by local media, with politicians focusing on the number of vaccines, especially those bought from Russia and China, while the country registered its second highest number of daily deaths on Tuesday. 

In Czechia, it has been announced that second doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines will be administered after 42 days. It's also been confirmed the Czech minister of labor and social affairs, Jana Malacova, has tested positive. 



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Source(s): Reuters

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