The number of cases continues to increase in Switzerland, by 20% on a weekly basis. The number of hospitalizations also follows the same trend, while the number of deaths is stable.
The vaccine Pfizer / BioNTech would be 100% effective against South African variant.
French President Emmanuel Macron on Wednesday announced a new confinement from this weekend, with closure of schools and many shops.
The Montreux Jazz Festival announced that it will be held anyway, in a particular configuration.
our follow-up of the day on Wednesday
■ Transalpine freight fell last year
In 2020, 34.8 million tonnes of goods were transported by road and rail through the Swiss Alps. This is 5.5% less than in 2019, said the Federal Office of Transport (FOT).
The volume transported by rail fell by 6.2% and that by road by 4%. 863,000 trucks crossed the Alps last year. Throughout the year, the share of rail in overall transalpine freight transport fell slightly by 0.5 point to reach 71.9%.
Freight picked up in the second half of the year, with the relaxation of measures to combat the coronavirus. Road transport has picked up faster and more clearly than rail, the OFT notes. And to explain that the main reason is that rail traffic through the Simplon was only possible in a limited way in summer due to maintenance work.
■ Increase in the number of cases in one week
The number of laboratory-confirmed cases has increased by almost 20% in one week. The proportion of tests performed and the positivity rate are also on the rise, as are the number of hospitalizations. On the other hand, there were fewer deaths.
During week 12, from March 22 to 28, 12,545 laboratory-confirmed cases were declared, against 10,498 the previous week, the FOPH said in its weekly report. The proportion of tests carried out also increased: 251,572 tests were carried out (+ 9.8%). Just under two-thirds (65.5%) were PCR tests, the remainder being rapid antigenic tests (34.5%). The positivity rate increased in the first category of tests (from 5.2% to 5.9%) and stagnated in the second (from 4.9% to 4.8%).
Regarding the age groups, the groups of 10 to 29 years were the most affected during week 12. On the other hand, the incidence rate decreased by 4% in people 80 years and over, a decrease which could be partly due to vaccination, according to the FOPH.
■ The Paris-Roubaix race once again postponed until the fall
The Covid-19 was right for the second time in Paris-Roubaix: the “queen of the classics” cyclists, which was scheduled for April 11, was postponed to October 3 due to the health situation. Only of the five “monuments” of the cycling season to have been canceled in 2020, Paris-Roubaix should still take place this year, a week after the world championship scheduled in Belgium. Last year, the test had already been postponed to the fall before being withdrawn from the program because of the worsening pandemic.
■ Château de Chillon reopened
Chillon Castle reopened its doors on Thursday. “We are very excited and motivated to see the castle live with the public,” said Marta Sofia dos Santos, director of the Château de Chillon Foundation. For financial reasons, the tourist hotspot on the shores of Lake Geneva had not reopened its doors on March 1, like many museums. Thanks to the start of the Easter holidays in several cantons, the director expects to see many more visitors, mainly Swiss tourists.
■ Resumption of vaccination for people over 65 in Neuchâtel
People aged 65 and over will again be able to be vaccinated against Covid-19 from April 12 in the cantonal centers of Neuchâtel and La Chaux-de-Fonds. Registrations for the first injection will be open from Tuesday April 6 on the dedicated platform. Nearly 12,000 meetings are thus scheduled until the end of April, said the State Chancellery. The vaccination capacity will then be regularly increased depending on the quantity of vaccines delivered by the Confederation to the canton of Neuchâtel, the press release said.
Subject to the available doses, the canton of Neuchâtel wants to open vaccination to the population aged 16 and over from mid-May.
■ Eurovision, a test event
The Dutch government wants to organize the Eurovision Song Contest 2021, scheduled for May in Rotterdam, with a limited audience in order to assess the risks of contamination. This practical test, called a “field laboratory”, will aim to study how events of this type could take place with a public in a secure manner despite the Covid-19, said the Ministry of Culture. A maximum of 3,500 spectators will be allowed for each of the nine planned concerts. These will be admitted under strict conditions, for example with the obligation to present a negative test.
With the lessons we can learn from this field lab, we can hopefully take further steps towards a society in which more can be done.
However, the government reserves the right to modify this plan in the event of an increase in contamination as the competition approaches, scheduled for May 18 to 22, and will review the situation at the end of April. If the risks are too great, it could be decided to organize Eurovision without an audience.
■ The Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine effective against the South African variant
The two companies that created the first of the covid vaccines to be cleared in many countries have claimed that their vaccine maintains very high efficacy against the South African variant of the coronavirus, citing findings from clinical trials conducted in France. South Africa. No cases of Covid-19 were observed in people vaccinated during the phase 3 trial, which tracked participants for up to six months after their second injection, according to a statement.
In this country, “800 participants were recruited, nine cases of Covid-19 were observed, all in the placebo group, which indicates a vaccine efficacy of 100%”, explains the Pfizer / BioNTech alliance.
■ 1968 new cases in 24 hours
Switzerland counts Thursday 1968 case, 32 deaths and 81 additional hospitalizations in 24 hours. Among the new deaths listed today, 25 are due to “late, erroneous or double declarations during the period from November 2020 to February 2021”, specifies the FOPH.
During the last 24 hours, the results of 56,629 tests have been transmitted, indicates the FOPH. The positivity rate is 3,48%. Over the last two weeks, the country has thus had 272.92 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants. The reproduction rate, which lasts around ten days, is 1,19.
Since the start of the pandemic, 603,092 cases of Covid-19 contamination have been confirmed in the laboratory out of a total of 6,069,595 tests carried out in Switzerland and Liechtenstein. The total of deaths stands at 9,708 and the number of people hospitalized reaches 25,171.
■ In Israel, those under 15 will soon be vaccinated
In Israel, health officials said Thursday that the country could begin immunizing adolescents 12 to 15 years old in May. Pfizer and BioNTech laboratories have announced that their vaccine against Covid-19 is 100% effective in this age group.
■ Snapshot: open ski terraces in Austria
Austria has not closed its altitude terraces. Here in Obertauern, near Salzburg, on Wednesday.
■ The Rencontres du 7e art will be mainly online
In Lausanne, the Rencontres du 7e Art Lausanne will be held from April 26 to May 2 in an essentially digital form. On the bill, online meetings with personalities such as Roland Joffé and Bertrand Blier. Films will be screened in theaters if the situation permits, say the organizers.
■ WHO criticizes the “unacceptable” slowness of vaccination in Europe
The World Health Organization (WHO) does not mince words this Thursday. The body castigates the “unacceptable” slowness of vaccination against Covid-19 in Europe, which is facing the “most worrying” epidemic situation for “months”.
“The slow pace of vaccination prolongs the pandemic”, deplores the European branch of the UN organization, stressing that the number of new cases in Europe has risen sharply over the past five weeks.
“Vaccines are our best way out of the pandemic. Not only do they work, but they are also very effective in limiting infections. However, the deployment of these vaccines is unacceptably slow, ”said WHO Europe director Hans Kluge.
■ Italy extends its closures
On Wednesday evening, Italian Council President Mario Draghi signed a decree extending the closures, including those of restaurants, shops and museums, until April 30.
The new decree makes vaccination compulsory for health personnel but keeps primary schools open and provides that flexible measures may be decided before the end of April in the event of an improvement in the health situation.
All the regions of Italy will remain, from April 7 to 30, are classified “red”, that is to say “orange”, whereas only the “yellow” classification allowed the opening of restaurants until 6 p.m. and greater mobility (here. below, the map, according to the Italian government website).
■ A health detour for the Olympic flame
The Olympic torch relay is expected to avoid metropolitan Osaka in western Japan due to a further rise in Covid-19 infections, the local governor and city mayor said on Thursday, according to reports. local media.
According to several Japanese media quoted by the AFP agency, Governor Hirofumi Yoshimura wants the stage of the Olympic torch relay in the city of Osaka to be canceled. “We believe that this falls into the category of non-essential outings and that crowds should be avoided in the city of Osaka,” he said according to the newspaper. Mainichi.
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