Bonn/Region · Children’s vaccinations got off to a smooth start at the Stadthalle in Bad Godesberg. Meanwhile, NRW has experienced a jump in Omikron variant cases in just a few days. Countries including France and Denmark are being added to the high-risk list. Here are some of the latest Covid developments from the GA live blog.
Children’s vaccination campaign in Bad Godesberg has started
The vaccination campaign for five to eleven-year-old children started without a hitch on Friday at the Bad Godesberg Stadthalle. Since appointments were required at the start, no queues formed. Four doctors were on hand to administer the vaccines, said Susanne Engels, head of the Bonn health department. Together with head vaccination doctor, Dr. Hubert Radinger, she considered Friday a "trial run" to see where there was room for improvement for next week. Initially, she said, slots of 15 minutes had been allocated because it was not yet possible to estimate the need for consultation among parents. "We can certainly get that time down soon and then vaccinate more children per day," Engels said. At 4 p.m., children with and without appointments were to be accepted. Team leader Moritz Neugebauer wanted to keep it open until 6 pm.
Jump in Omikron cases within a few days
The total number of confirmed Omikron cases and suspected cases of the new virus variant has multiplied in North Rhine-Westphalia within just a few days. As of Friday at midnight, the database of the State Center for Health listed a total of 607 cases that were proved to have the variant through sequencing and suspected cases of Omikron found through specific PCR tests, the NRW Ministry of Health announced Friday in response to an inquiry from Deutsche Presse-Agentur. That's almost triple Monday's total, when 203 cases were registered. On Wednesday last week, there were only 23 in NRW.
The Omikron cases were spread across the state, Health Minister Karl-Josef Laumann (CDU) said. "In all likelihood, you simply don't stop a new variant," he explained. With corona protection measures, however, one could delay the spread. That has great value, he said, the later it reaches higher numbers, the better. "Delaying it buys time for science to tell us more about this virus," Laumann said. Every week of delay is a big win, he said. Some things are known about the new variant, he added. For example, it is probably more contagious than the still dominant delta variant. But as far as the severity of the disease is concerned, this could not be determined yet with regard to Europe.
Cologne crisis team decides to screen positive PCR tests for virus variants
The Covid crisis team of the city of Cologne decided on Friday that starting on Saturday, all positive PCR tests in the area of responsibility of the health department of the city of Cologne should be examined for coronavirus variants. This was announced by the city of Cologne on Friday. Previously, analyses of PCR tests were only performed when there was reasonable suspicion.
The seven-day incidence in Cologne on Friday was 289.1 and the number of confirmed Covid cases was 92,616. In 24 hours, the city registered 725 new Corona infections. On Friday, there were 33 confirmed cases of the Omikron variant in Cologne.
German government classifies France and Denmark as high-risk areas
The German government will classify France and Denmark as high-risk areas starting on Sunday due to high Covid infection rates. This also applies to Norway, Lebanon and Andorra, as announced by the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) on Friday. Those who enter from a high-risk area and are not fully vaccinated or recovered, must quarantine for ten days and can be freed from quarantine at the earliest five days after entry - with a negative test.
This means that, with the exception of Luxembourg, all of Germany's neighboring countries will be classified as high-risk areas in the future. Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Albania, northern Macedonia and Moldova have been removed from the risk list.
The classification as a high-risk area is automatically accompanied by a travel warning issued by the German Federal Foreign Office for non-essential tourist trips. It makes it easier for tourists to cancel already booked trips free of charge, but does not mean a travel ban.