Coronavirus live news: German lockdown could last up to 10 weeks; China locks down Langfang city – The Guardian

Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, has suggested Germany’s current hard lockdown may last another eight to ten weeks, with health officials particularly concerned about the spread of the new, far more contagious variant from the UK, which is thought to have been in Germany for several weeks.

Merkel told a working group within her Christian Democratic Union, German cases of the virus could increase 10 fold by Easter, if the country is not successful in dampening its spread.

According to participants of the meeting, who later spoke to German media, she said: “We still need eight to 10 weeks of hard measures”.
A current lockdown, involving the closure of schools and all non-essential shops and services, was due to last until January 31.

However, it has been hinted at for days, by Merkel and other political leaders, that it was likely to be extended beyond that. Germany began its vaccination programme on December 27. By yesterday lunchtime, just over 630,000 people had been vaccinated with the BioNTech/Pfizer vaccine. First batches of the Moderna vaccine from the United States arrived in Germany on Tuesday.

Germany has been reporting a high daily incidence of the virus, although the figures still remain skewed due to underreporting over the Christmas holiday, and a true picture is not expected to be available until January 17, Merkel has said. Daily death rates have frequently been in the 900-1000 range since Christmas.

Martin Stürmer, a virologist from Frankfurt, insisted that more had to be done in Germany to analyse the variants of coronavirus now believed to be in Germany, including the B117 variant from the UK, and the N501Y variant from South Africa.

Jens Spahn, the health minister, has ordered test laboratories to analyse the gene sequence data of every tenth coronavirus sample tested in order to better understand to what extent the variants have taken a hold in Germany. Up until now, only every 900th sample has been tested in this way.

Throughout the United States, Americans with chronic illnesses have been forced to navigate a healthcare system battered by the coronavirus pandemic while trying to afford medical treatment and resolve health insurance issues.

That has led to many Americans making difficult decisions about delaying vital care, or sacrificing other basic necessities – such as transport costs or food – in order to pay for health insurance so that they can get the treatment they need.

Quana Madison, a disabled artist in Denver, Colorado, has struggled with high medical costs for several years while fighting breast cancer that included requiring a double mastectomy, several other illnesses, chronic pain issues, and complications from surgeries.

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Taiwan has reported two new local transmissions of Covid-10, bringing the total since April to three. Authorities said a doctor and nurse who had been treating an already infected patient had both contracted the illness. Taiwan has had fewer than 900 cases of the virus since the pandemic began. Seven people have died.

Until a Taipei woman was diagnosed last month, Taiwan had mot recorded a single local transmission in 253 days. Authorities said she got the virus from her friend, a pilot who had flown between Taiwan and the US while infectious and breached health regulations by moving around Taipei and not disclosing his movements or symptoms to authorities.

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Coronavirus live news: German lockdown could last up to 10 weeks; China locks down Langfang city – The Guardian

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