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Coronavirus digest: German vaccine take-up higher in north

Health Minister Jens Spahn has called for more efforts to boost COVID-19 vaccination rates in southeastern Germany. Nationwide, nearly 63% of the population have received both shots. Follow DW for more.

A vaccination bus tours Hannover offering jabs

A vaccination bus tours Hannover offering jabs

Germany is seeing significant regional differences in the number of people vaccinated against COVID-19, Health Minister Jens Spahn said Saturday.

Vaccination targets have almost been met in northwestern Germany, but far more progress is needed in the southeast, he said in a tweet.

Data from the Robert Koch Institute for disease control (RKI) suggests 73% of residents of the northern city of Bremen are fully vaccinated, compared to the eastern state of Saxony where nearly 54% are fully jabbed.

Germany recorded 4,134,779 confirmed coronavirus cases with 92,920 deaths, RKI said on Saturday.

More than 8,901 new COVID-19 infections were recorded in the previous 24 hours. This is 2,313 fewer than a week ago, when 11,214 new infections were reported. 

The nationwide seven-day incidence rate also fell for the fifth day in a row to 72.0 from 74.7 the previous day. A  week ago, the value had been 82.8. 

The seven-day incidence indicates the number of new infections per 100,000 people within that time period. 

Other coronavirus-related news from around the world:

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Back to school! The end of remote learning in Germany?

Europe

In Spain, around 25,000 young people celebrated a huge open-air party in Madrid's university district on Friday despite a ban on such events.

A similar party with 8,000 participants was also reported from the campus of the Autonomous University in Barcelona, marking the start of the winter semester.

Outdoor parties are forbidden and drinking alcohol in public can result in heavy fines.

Only vaccinated guests will gain access to apres-ski establishments in Austria, Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said in an interview with the Funke Media Group.

In Austria, 70% of people over age 12 are vaccinated and most tourists are too, he said. "In that respect, nothing is standing in the way of a safe holiday in Austria," he added.

Kurz's comments come as the trial over the spread of the coronavirus at the ski destination of Ischgl began on Friday.

Watch video 05:11

Austrian skiing village, an early COVID hotspot, hopes to reopen slopes

North America

Some of the top medical advisers in the United States have warned the Biden administration against offering COVID-19 booster shots across the board.

A key government advisory panel recommended the extra vaccine dose only for those who are age 65 or older or who run a high risk of severe disease.

US President Joe Biden said a month ago that the federal government was preparing to shore up protection against the virus for nearly all Americans.

Medical professionals have also criticized the plan, citing a lack of safety data on extra doses.

Asia Pacific

Vietnam has approved Cuba's Abdala vaccine for use against COVID-19, the government announced on Saturday, hours after President Nguyen Xuan Phuc left Hanoi for an official visit to Havana.

"The Ministry of Health has approved Abdala vaccine, based on the country's urgent need for its COVID-19 fight," the government said in a statement.

Abdala has become the eighth COVID-19 vaccine approved for use in the Southeast Asian country.

People wearing facemasks on motorbikes in Hanoi

Vietnam has one of the lowest vaccination rates in the Southeast Asia region

Vietnam has one of the lowest vaccination rates in the region, with only 6.3% of its 98 million people receiving two shots. The country has reported 667,650 coronavirus infections and 16,637 deaths, the majority linked to the Delta-driven outbreak from late April.

Cuba has two homegrown vaccines, Abdala and Soberana, that it says are safe and effective. Both require three jabs.

India handed out 25 million vaccine doses during a special COVID-19 vaccination drive organized on Prime Minister Narendra Modi's 71st birthday.

The Health Ministry said the drive had raised India's overall vaccinations to more than 790 million.

Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya hailed the special drive as "a golden chapter written in the history of the country and the world.''

Oceania

Police in Australia arrested 235 people during anti-lockdown protests in Melbourne on Saturday.

Around 1,000 demonstrators — most not wearing facemasks — gathered in the suburb of Richmond after the location of the rally was changed at the last minute to dodge police. 

Some 2,000 police officers were deployed at road checkpoints and barricades to try to stop the demonstration from going ahead. 

Melbourne's 6th lockdown began on August 5. The city, Australia's second-largest, reported on Saturday 535 new infections and one COVID-19 death in the latest 24-hour period.

Middle East

The capital of the United Arab Emirates has ended a policy requiring those coming in from other emirates to have a recent negative coronavirus test.

Abu Dhabi made the announcement Saturday, saying that people from the UAE's six other emirates could enter the capital from Sunday without getting a test.

For months, oil-rich Abu Dhabi had restricted travel, even as neighboring Dubai rapidly opened itself up to tourists.

mm, mvb/sms (Reuters, AFP, dpa)

 

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