Hungary set to begin easing, hundreds march in Bosnia: COVID-19 daily bulletin
Updated 01:27, 07-Apr-2021
Aden-Jay Wood


- Hundreds of people marched through the streets of Sarajevo, Bosnia on Tuesday calling for the resignation of the government over what they describe as a poor handling of the pandemic.

- Germany should impose stricter measures for two to three weeks in a bid to slow the spread of the virus until more people have been vaccinated, the state premier of North Rhine-Westphalia Armin Laschet has said.

- The risk/reward balance for the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine is "still largely positive,"  the World Health Organization's director for regulation and pre-qualification Rogerio Pinto de Sa Gaspar has admitted. His comments came after the chair of the vaccine evaluation team at the European Medicines Agency, Marco Cavaleri, said there was a "clear link" between a small number of blood clot reports in people who had received the jab.

- Meanwhile, World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said "it's a travesty that in some countries health workers and those at-risk groups remain completely unvaccinated," while calling for countries to donate more jabs to the COVAX fund.

- Hungary will begin to ease its restrictions as it has now vaccinated more than 25 percent of its population with at least one dose, Prime Minister Viktor Orban said on Facebook. Measures to be lifted first include a shortening of the night-time curfew and the reopening of all shops until 9.30 p.m..

- Spain will stick to its promise to have 70 percent of the country's adult population vaccinated by the end of August, Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said.

- France is likely to prioritize citizens based in its overseas territories and those with low incomes for the single-dose vaccine made by U.S. firm Johnson & Johnson, the country's health ministry said.

- Georgia's Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili has tested positive for the virus, government officials have announced. A statement added that he feels well but is in self-isolation at home and will continue to work remotely.

- French drugmaker Valneva on Tuesday reported positive results for its vaccine in early-stage clinical trials and said it planned to launch a phase three trial later this month. The firm tested its vaccine on 153 adults with three dose levels based on two doses taken three weeks apart. It added that the jab was "highly immunogenic," with "more than 90 percent of all study participants" developing significant levels of antibodies to the virus.

- Saarland has become the first of Germany's 16 states to exit a nationwide lockdown, despite a spike in infections in many areas of the country. From Tuesday, outdoor restaurants, cinemas, theaters, gyms and some other public places are allowed to reopen for people who can show a negative test result no more than 24 hours old.

- Cash is unlikely to pose a big risk of spreading the virus, a study by German researchers suggests. "Given that cash is typically stored securely in wallets and purses, the risk of direct contamination through exhaled droplets and aerosols seems much lower than constantly exposed surfaces," the report said.

- The CEO of London's Heathrow Airport, John Holland-Kaye, has said it is disappointing the UK government didn't say when international holidays would resume. While the CEO of airline British Airways, Sean Doyle said he is optimistic that international travel can resume from May 17, despite Prime Minister Boris Johnson warning in his latest address to the nation it was too early to set a date.





Toni Waterman in Brussels

A new system that allows Belgians to reserve "last-minute" vaccination slots has been overrun with high demand. The platform, which links people to unused doses of vaccines, opened at midnight on Tuesday and at one point had more than 70,000 people in the virtual queue. 

But the system is not operating on a first come, first served basis: people will only be contacted if they are part of a group being prioritized.  

The initial program was launched in Flanders, with a separate system expected to open in Brussels by mid-April. Belgium has faced intense criticism for its slow vaccine roll-out and for doses going unused. 



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Penelope Liersch in Budapest  

Restrctions in Hungary will begin to be eased after the country vaccinated 25 percent of its population, Prime Minister Viktor Orban has said. 

Despite record deaths and hospitalizations in the past few weeks, Orban has insisted vaccination is the only way to stop the virus. 

As a result of the landmark, the curfew will become later, allowing people to be out until 10 p.m. instead of 8 p.m. Shops will be able to open until 9:30 p.m. and many non-essential retailers will reopen. 

All shops will operate on a new size rule, by which one customer will be allowed inside per 10 square meters. Hairdressers and other services will also be given the green light to reopen. 


Hungary is to begin to gradually ease its lockdown restrictions within days after 25% of its population has received on dose of vaccine. /AP

Hungary is to begin to gradually ease its lockdown restrictions within days after 25% of its population has received on dose of vaccine. /AP


Trent Murray in Frankfurt

The latest data from Germany's Robert Koch Institute show there have been 6,885 new COVID-19 cases recorded. That is a 28 percent drop compared with the same day last week. 

But health experts will be extremely cautious when analyzing these numbers because several regions failed to input their results over the Easter weekend. 

It means we could see a major spike in coming days if those same regions try to clear the backlog with a big dump of data. Against this backdrop, states remain in disagreement about the next steps of lockdown. 

Armin Laschet, the premier of North-Rhine Westphalia, is calling for a new hard lockdown but other states, so far, are pushing back. 


Nicole Johnston in London

The debate in the UK about the use of COVID-19 certificates is heating up.

On Monday, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson did not rule them out despite opposition among some members of his own party.

Certificates that show vaccination status, test results or immunity from COVID-19 will be trialed at entertainment venues in Liverpool and London.

It's largely accepted they will be necessary for international travel but the jury is out on whether or not they should be introduced domestically.

Meanwhile, the government has announced the Moderna vaccine will be available in the UK in two weeks' time. The UK has ordered 17 million doses of it.

Ross Cullen in Paris

France's new "lockdown-lite" measures come into force across the entire country from today. The government is officially calling the new restrictions "supplementary braking measures." 

People in much of France were allowed to travel over Easter but after the bank holiday on Monday April 5, all schools are now closed for the rest of the week. There will then be two weeks of spring holiday. The entire country is now restricted to travel of a maximum of 10 kilometers from their home during the 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. curfew. 

Vaccinations at the Stade de France in Paris start on Tuesday. Officials at the national stadium say they will be able to vaccinate more than 10,000 people each week. Seven military hospitals will also begin vaccinating people and armed forces healthcare teams say they could deliver 1,000 shots each day.


Hundreds of people marched through the streets of Sarajevo, Bosnia on Tuesday calling for the resignation of the government. /AP

Hundreds of people marched through the streets of Sarajevo, Bosnia on Tuesday calling for the resignation of the government. /AP



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