Follow the latest corona news in our live blog below
13:35 – Syrian President Assad infected with coronavirus
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his wife have tested positive for the corona virus. This is reported by the office of the president, who emphasized that the couple’s condition is good. They would only have ‘mild symptoms’.
55-year-old Assad and his wife Asma (45) go into isolation and work from home. That takes ‘two to three weeks’.
13.15 – German Member of Parliament leaves immediately after ‘face mask deal’
The Christian Democratic parliamentarian Nikolas Löbel left politics and the German Bundestag on Monday. On Sunday it came out that he had saved 250,000 euros through his company from advice and mediation in the trade in mouth masks. His company has received a commission for the conclusion of contracts between a mouthpiece supplier in Baden-Württemberg and two customers in Heidelberg and Mannheim.
Löbel acknowledged, according to German media, that he made mistakes. He said on Sunday that he would withdraw from the Bundestag’s Foreign Affairs Committee and would leave the German parliament in August. It provoked a storm of criticism from, among others, top figures of his own CDU. The Christian Democrats argue that he will damage the reputation of the Bundestag and of the CDU if he remains in office until the upcoming elections in September. Löbel therefore decided on Monday to go back to Mannheim in a hurry and to turn his back on ‘political Berlin’ completely.
12.20 – Judge decides later this week on reopening stores
The judge in The Hague will issue a ruling in summary proceedings by the retailers association INretail no later than Friday morning to force the government to reopen stores. To prevent the spread of the corona virus, non-essential stores have been closed since mid-December. According to INretail, stores can open safely, subject to the applicable corona conditions.
INretail’s lawyers claimed that “unprecedented harm” is being done to retailers by the corona measures. “Stores that are now disappearing from the streets will not return. Their place is only filled by web shops. The collapse of shops will increase unemployment and impoverishment due to empty shopping centers, with more crime. ”
According to INretail, it is quite possible to reopen the stores safely. Among other things, reference is made to Belgium, where the shops are open and the infection figures have fallen. Currently approximately 56,000 shop doors are closed. According to INretail, this costs 700 million euros in turnover per week. Of the 300,000 jobs at retailers, 50,000 to 60,000 are at risk if this continues, according to the trade association.
A lawyer from the Dutch state stated that the closure is still necessary to prevent crowds in the shopping streets and thus the risk of more corona infections. She said there is “simply no room yet” for the measures to be relaxed. “If the stores were to reopen, people would go shopping more often as a day trip, with more crowds in the shopping streets and more travel movements, with more contact moments and a greater risk of infections. We really don’t want that to be added now. So there is no alternative. ”
10.35 English children return to school after easing lockdown
Millions of English students were able to return to school on Monday after a month-long lockdown. The British government is gradually phasing out the strict corona measures and the reopening of the schools is seen as the first big step.
Most primary school students were allowed to return to their classroom on Monday. Some older students still have to be patient. Secondary schools are opening step by step. There, students are also tested for the corona virus. Authorities sent nearly 57 million rapid tests to schools. Families with children also get access to two free rapid tests per week.
The authorities are still looking into how they can help students with learning disadvantages they incurred during the lockdown. Among other things, it looks at longer school days and shorter holidays, Education Minister Gavin Williamson told Sky News.
The British government wants to relax even more corona measures after the reopening of the schools.
10.30 Herstel-NL is again campaigning against lockdown
Herstel-NL will again campaign on Tuesday with full-page advertisements in national newspapers and with TV commercials. The organization “wants to make everyone aware that the Netherlands must now open up, in order to stop the ever-increasing damage to society.” Herstel-NL is a group of experts and professionals who want to get the Netherlands out of the lockdown.
According to Herstel-NL, the relaxation of recent times has not been enough. “Young people, homeworkers, entrepreneurs – they all still have it very difficult. We, and many others with us, are very concerned and that is why we will continue with our story with even more emphasis and even more visible ”, says Robin Fransman, chairman of the action group.
Herstel-NL wants to end the curfew and the lockdown. “Shops, catering, education, sports, culture must and can be reopened. This can be done by specifically deploying stricter security measures at places and times for everyone who is vulnerable or simply wants to be careful. ”
10.00 Sixteen cases of the South African variant in Gorinchem
More people have contracted the South African variant of the coronavirus around a physiotherapy practice in Gorinchem. In January, the mutation was found in at least three people, a follow-up study showed that another thirteen people had the contagious variant.
The outbreak is now under control, according to the GGD Zuid-Holland Zuid. As far as is known, none of the sixteen infected persons required hospitalization. It is not only about people from South Holland South, but also people from other parts of the country. According to the GGD, nine regions were involved in the investigation of the outbreak.
The cases in Gorinchem are the first outbreak of the South African variant in the Netherlands. The partner of an employee of the practice had recently been to South Africa and received complaints after his return. It then turned out that eight employees and eight visitors had the corona virus. Subsequently, the GGD called on 387 visitors and all employees of the practice to have themselves tested. Ultimately, 199 people were tested. Ten of them were infected. All samples tested positive were then checked for the South African variant.
06.00 More than 5000 new corona infections in Germany
In Germany, 5,011 new corona cases have been registered in the last 24 hours. That is considerably less than on Sunday when the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), the German counterpart of the RIVM, reported 8,103 new cases.
On Saturday, the German health institute reported 9,557 infections, while more than 10,500 new infections were diagnosed on Friday. The coronavirus has now been diagnosed in 2,505,193 residents of Germany since the start of the pandemic.
Another 34 people died in Germany in the past 24 hours as a result of a corona infection. That was 62 fewer than the day before. Covid-19 has so far claimed the lives of 71,934 Germans.
Corona measures will be relaxed in most German states on Monday.
05.00 Italy tightens corona measures
Italy has tightened corona restrictions in several regions due to the rising number of infections. Many schools will close again from Monday and restaurants in the affected areas will no longer be allowed to receive guests.
The southern Italian holiday region of Campania, which includes Naples and the Amalfi Coast, is the third region in the country of 60 million inhabitants to be designated a red zone by the Ministry of Health. Previously, Basilicata in the south and the small Adriatic region of Molise have been labeled as such. In these areas all schools are closed and people have to stay at home as much as possible.
Since the start of the pandemic, more than three million Italians have been infected with the corona virus, about 100,000 of them have not survived the infection. After Great Britain, where about 125,000 people have died from the virus, Italy has the highest number of corona deaths in Europe.
03.50 Von der Leyen expects 100 million vaccines per month from April
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen expects significantly more vaccine doses to be available in the European Union from next month. “According to the manufacturers’ plans, the quantities could double again from April, also because more vaccines will be approved soon,” she told the Stuttgarter Zeitung and Stuttgarter Nachrichten.
She expects “an average of about 100 million doses per month in the second quarter, a total of 300 million by the end of June.” According to the newspapers, this would mean about 20 million doses per month for Germany, which means that the injection capacity in the country will have to be increased considerably.
Since the vaccination began in late December, about 7.3 million doses have been administered in Germany, according to figures released Friday by the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), the German counterpart of RIVM. Just under half of the nearly 5 million Germans vaccinated have also received the second vaccination.