Berlin, Oct 15: Germany is seeing very high COVID incidence rates in children and adolescents in some parts of the country, the Robert Koch Institute for infectious diseases has said.
The 7-day incidence rate among 10 to 19-year-olds is more than 500 per 100,000 people in eight areas, RKI tweeted Thursday evening. The agency gave no information on the possible reasons for the high numbers or the areas concerned.
A map tweeted along with the statement showed the affected areas were in eastern and southern parts of Germany.
Die 7-Tage-Inzidenz ist derzeit insbesondere bei den 10- bis 19-Jährigen sehr hoch: in 8 Landkreisen liegt sie über 500.
Neuer &maca=en-ONEINDIA_ENG_option2-33211-xml-msn#COVID19 Wochenbericht, u.a. mit einer Sonderauswertung zu Inzidenzen in verschiedenen Altergruppen➡️ https://t.co/mtCB353YSo pic.twitter.com/2qeNmbzEUX
— Robert Koch-Institut (@rki_de) October 14, 2021
For the rest of the country, the incidence rate for those under 20 decreased slightly.
The RKI also spoke of 636 breakout events at schools around Germany over the past four weeks.
Germany has allowed COVID-19 vaccines to be administered to those aged 12-years-old and over. However, the vaccination rate for 12 to 17-year-olds is still significantly less than in the adult population.
Although children are unlikely to get seriously ill from COVID-19 than adults, there are still many unanswered questions about the long-term consequences of receiving the vaccines.
The UK is also seeing a significant number of COVID cases among young people. Sky News reported Thursday that cases in those aged 10 to 19 stood at 1,120 per 100,000 people in the seven days to 10 October. The rate for 5 to 9-year-olds is 574.
Here are the latest major coronavirus developments from around the world:
In Italy, a COVID health pass — known as the green pass — came into effect Friday. Every employee must now have a pass, which proves that you’ve either been vaccinated, have recovered or tested negative for COVID-19.
The new measures, which affect some 23 million employees in the private or public sector, are controversial and have been met with violent protests. Twelve people — including two leaders of a far-right party — were arrested when one rally turned riotous last weekend.
The rules are designed to avoid people catching the virus at work and needing to quarantine collectively.
Companies that do not make sure their employees have a green pass face fines of up to €1,000 ($1,156).
Unvaccinated people in France will have to pay for COVID-19 tests from Friday, unless there is a medical reason not to have the shots. The government said the tests are being misused as a substitute for vaccination, at a cost to the public purse.
A rapid test will now cost between €22 and €30; a PCR test €44. In Germany, a similar regulation with an end to free tests for all has been in effect since Monday.
Latvia‘s President Egils Levits has contracted the virus despite being fully vaccinated, his chief of staff said Thursday. The head of state took a PCR test after returning from a visit to Denmark and Sweden. He has only mild symptoms.
The news forced Finland’s President Sauli Niinisto to isolate as well, as the pair had lunch together on Wednesday.
In Germany, Bayer has terminated a vaccine manufacturing partnership under which it would have helped produce CureVac’s COVID-19 shot, the Rheinische Post reported Friday, citing a company spokesperson.
The news comes after CureVac earlier this week said it will give up on its first-generation vaccine and instead focus on collaborating with British drugmaker GSK to develop improved mRNA vaccine technology.
Bayer in February said it expected to produce 160 million doses of the CureVac shot in 2022 at its Wuppertal site in western Germany.
South Korea is to lift curbs on social gatherings from Monday. In the Seoul area, gatherings of up to eight people will be allowed if a group includes four fully vaccinated people. In other regions, up to 10 people will be allowed to gather. Restrictions on opening hours for cafes, restaurants and cinemas will be eased.
South Korea never imposed a full lockdown, but has been under its tightest possible social distancing curbs since July when the fourth wave of infections started.
A new panel established this week is drawing up a plan for a gradual return to normal by November when it is hoped that 80% of the adult population will be fully vaccinated.
Sydney will scrap all quarantine requirements for international travelers from next month, officials said Friday, an abrupt step toward reopening Australia‘s long-shuttered borders.
In a surprise announcement, New South Wales Premier Dominic Perrottet said that, from November 1, vaccinated travelers would be allowed to enter the state without quarantine of any kind.
Since March 2020, travel to and from Australia has been virtually banned and anyone who gains permission to enter must fork out many thousands of dollars and agree to be locked in a hotel room for 14 days.
US President Joe Biden told visiting Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta Thursday that Washington will make a one-time donation of more than 17 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to the African Union.
Biden said the doses will be in addition to 50 million the United States has already donated to the regional bloc, which has 55 member states and a combined population of 1.3 billion people.
Of 5.7 billion doses of coronavirus vaccines administered around the world by mid-September, only 2% had been in Africa.
Nigeria has received 501,600 doses of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine from the French government through the COVAX vaccine-sharing facility. The COVAX scheme, backed by the World Health Organization, aims to secure billions of doses for lower-income countries by the end of 2021.
A government spokesman said the country also received 434,400 doses of J&J vaccine from the African Union. Meanwhile, the US has donated 3.6 million doses of the BioNTech/Pfizer vaccine to, two months after it shipped 4 million doses of Moderna’s vaccine to Africa’s most populous nation.
About 2.3% of Nigerians or 2.54 million people have been fully vaccinated as of Thursday.
Health experts in the United States have recommended a booster dose of Moderna’s anti-COVID vaccine for certain at-risk groups. The decision comes a month after the advisory committee of the Food and Drug Administration made a similar decision for the Pfizer shot.
The groups include the over-65s, people aged between 18 and 64 who are at a higher risk of becoming severely ill, and those whose work may involve frequent exposure to the virus. The booster can be administered six months after the second injection of Moderna’s vaccine.
The US Navy said Thursday that personnel who refuse to be vaccinated will be expelled from the force.
The navy said that 98 percent of its 350,000 active duty members had begun or completed the vaccination process. It has given a November 28 deadline for enlistees to be fully inoculated.
If all US military services take the same hard line that the navy is taking, it risks losing as many as 46,000 troops.