Austria passes vaccine mandate +++ Spain mulls exiting pandemic strategy | COVID latest

DW News published this video item, entitled “Austria passes vaccine mandate +++ Spain mulls exiting pandemic strategy | COVID latest” – below is their description.

Austria’s parliament has passed a new law making COVID-19 vaccination mandatory for adults – the first European country to approve such a measure. Only 72 percent of Austrians are currently fully vaccinated against the coronavirus – one of the lowest rates in western Europe.

Spain, meanwhile has one of the highest vaccination rates in the world, and it’s now considering a pandemic exit strategy. The government says it’s time to start treating COVID-19 like any other endemic seasonal respiratory disease. It might be a view that resounds with the Spanish public, but it doesn’t yet have the backing of the experts.

Germany has reported a record number of new coronavirus infections – more than 140,000 in a single day. That’s 48,000 more new cases than this time last week.

France will begin to lift COVID-19 restrictions on February 2nd thanks to what are being called ‘encouraging signs’ that the wave of Omicron variant infections is ebbing.

And the World Bank has approved a 750-million dollar loan to South Africa aimed at helping the poor, it says, recover from the effects of the pandemic.

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In This Story: Austria

Austria, officially the Republic of Austria, is a landlocked East Alpine country in the southern part of Central Europe. It is composed of nine federated states, one of which is Vienna, Austria’s capital and its largest city.

It is bordered by Germany to the northwest; the Czech Republic to the north; Slovakia to the northeast; Hungary to the east; Slovenia and Italy to the south; and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the west.

Austria occupies an area of 83,879 km2 (32,386 sq mi) and has a population of nearly 9 million people. While German is the country’s official language, many Austrians communicate informally in a variety of Bavarian dialects.

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In This Story: COVID-19

Covid-19 is the official WHO name given to the novel coronavirus which broke out in late 2019 and began to spread in the early months of 2020.

Symptoms of coronavirus

The main symptoms of coronavirus are:

  • a persistent new cough (non productive, dry)
  • a high temperature (e.g. head feels warm to the touch)
  • shortness of breath (if this is abnormal for the individual, or increased)

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France is a republic and the largest Western European nation. Through expansion and colonisation in the 17th and 18th centuries France became a great power and still retains territories around the world. It has a seat on the UN security council and is the world’s fourth most wealthy country with a high standard of living and strong cultural identity.

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Germany, officially the Federal Republic of Germany, is a country in Central and Western Europe. It lies between the Baltic and North seas to the north, and the Alps to the south.

Germany is a federal parliamentary republic led by a chancellor. With over 83 million inhabitants of its 16 constituent states, it is the second-most populous country in Europe after Russia, as well as the most populous member state of the European Union. Its capital and largest city is Berlin, and its financial centre is Frankfurt; the largest urban area is the Ruhr.

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The Technical Advisory Group on SARS-CoV-2 Virus Evolution (TAG-VE) is an independent group of experts that periodically monitors and evaluates the evolution of SARS-CoV-2 and assesses if specific mutations and combinations of mutations alter the behaviour of the virus. The TAG-VE was convened on 26 November 2021 to assess the SARS-CoV-2 variant: B.1.1.529 – which is known as Omicron – the group declared the variant a Variant of Concern.

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South Africa is a country on the southernmost tip of the African continent, marked by several distinct ecosystems. Inland safari destination Kruger National Park is populated by big game. The Western Cape offers beaches, lush winelands around Stellenbosch and Paarl, craggy cliffs at the Cape of Good Hope, forest and lagoons along the Garden Route, and the city of Cape Town, beneath flat-topped Table Mountain.

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Spain, a country on Europe’s Iberian Peninsula, includes 17 autonomous regions with diverse geography and cultures. Capital city Madrid is home to the Royal Palace and Prado museum, housing works by European masters. Segovia has a medieval castle (the Alcázar) and an intact Roman aqueduct. Catalonia’s capital, Barcelona, is defined by Antoni Gaudí’s whimsical modernist landmarks like the Sagrada Família church. 

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