COVID digest: German court approves vaccine mandate for health workers | Health | DW | 19.05.2022

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COVID digest: German court approves vaccine mandate for health workers

Germany's top court has said the protection of vulnerable people in hospitals and care homes must take precedence over any infringement of workers' rights. Follow DW for the latest.

A woman receives the third dose of the BioNTech-Pfizer vaccine

The limited vaccine mandate came into effect in mid-March

Germany's Constitutional Court on Thursday approved rules making it compulsory for health workers to be vaccinated.

The country's top court rejected a complaint against the measure, arguing it was important to protect vulnerable people in hospitals and care homes.

The court said it was constitutionally justified to have health care workers vaccinated at various facilities, even if they saw those rules as an infringement on rights.

If a worker is not vaccinated, they can be banned from entering work.

German Health Minister Karl Lauterbach recently said the federal government was looking to make a fourth shot of the coronavirus available to citizens by the end of the year. 

Around 76% of Germany's population has received two shots. 

The German government had been looking to make vaccinations compulsory for all adults, but the proposal was rejected by lawmakers.

Germany reported 72,051 new COVID cases on Thursday, and 174 deaths, according to the Robert Koch Institute for infectious diseases. The total number of cases stands at 25,890,456 and deaths at 137,888.

Graphic shoing support for vaccine mandates

Here are the latest major development on coronavirus from around the world:

Asia

Authorities in Shanghai allowed more residents to go out to shop for groceries on Thursday, a positive sign towards reopening a city that has been locked down for nearly two months.

Shanghai is aiming at exiting the lockdown in early June, while authorities have been under pressure to keep COVID at bay.

Watch video 03:05

China tightens restrictions to quell COVID-19 outbreak

China's single-shot Covid vaccine, made by pharmaceutical firm CanSinoBIO, has been approved for use by the WHO.

The Convedicia vaccine has been granted an emergency use listing (EUL), after trials showed it has 64% efficacy against symptomatic disease and 92% efficacy against severe disease.

"The vaccine meets WHO standards for protection against Covid-19 and ... the benefits of the vaccine far outweigh risks," the UN health agency said in a statement.

North Korean media reported an additional 262,270 cases of 'fever', which is widely assumed to be COVID, and the death of one person.

That brings official infection figures to nearly 2 million, with 62 people acknowledged to have died of the coronavirus. The North Korean news agency KNCA said that some 740,160 people were in quarantine.

The dictatorship does not have enough tests to confirm COVID cases, and has refused help from the outside world in fighting the pandemic. It has said it will try to ramp up production of medical equipment.

In Japan, an unemployed man in the western town of Abu was mistakenly wired COVID relief funds meant for low-income households in the area, and blew much of it gambling online. 

Sho Taguchi, 24, was arrested by prefectural police on Wednesday. He had admitted spending 46.3 million yen ($360,000; €345,000) of taxpayers money, and had just 68,000 yen left in his account.

Watch video 03:05

Filipino kids still await schools to reopen post-lockdown

Europe

In Britain, police have concluded their investigation into a series of parties that took place during lockdowns in the residence and offices of the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson.

Police issued 126 fines in total, including one for Johnson himself. 

G7 ministers have not yet discussed vaccine patent waivers at their meeting in Berlin, according to German Health Minister Karl Lauterbach.

"We haven't discussed the release of patents because the question hasn't come up yet, but that can definitely happen," Lauterbach told a joint news conference with German Development Minister Svenja Schulze.

"The problem we currently have is that of middle- and lower-income countries' willingness to use the vaccine," added Lauterbach.

Germany has opposed a waiver of intellectual property rights for COVID-19 vaccines, arguing that patents encourage companies to conduct new research.

Americas

US retailer Target said ahead of quarterly earnings reports that luggage sales had jumped in the first quarter of the year, signaling a shift in pandemic-era consumption patterns.

"We are now seeing guests who might have been buying TVs last year, this year they're looking at luggage because they're getting ready to travel for the first time," Target's Chief Executive Brian Cornell told reporters.

Samsonite, meanwhile, said last week that its sales were up 73% year-on-year. 

Africa

The World Health Organization (WHO) reported on Thursday that global COVID deaths fell everywhere last week except Africa, where they jumped by nearly 50%. Infection numbers fell in Europe and Southeast Asia, but fell everywhere else. 

The figures disclosed by the WHO do not include numbers from North Korea, which has declined to share data with the global health agency. 

er/rt (Reuters, AP, AFP)

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