[En continu] Austria steps up mass screening campaign

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On Monday, Boris Johnson unveiled the British government exit plan – with variations according to the four nations. Schools will reopen on March 8 and shops, as well as terraces, on April 12.

Vaud health authorities have indicated thata quarter of the population of the canton has antibodies to the coronavirus.

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■ The Author relies heavily on tests

The AFP agency is back on Austria, which, discreetly, is accelerating its testing campaign. Caught off guard in the fall by the second wave, the country this time took the lead: with 3 million tests per week, half of which in schools, Austria now stands as the champion of the exercise.

More than 500 dedicated centers, 900 pharmacies and a thousand companies offer free coronavirus screening (PCR and antigens), while all the students submit to the ritual themselves, twice a week.

The approach had initially met little echo when the first sites had been set up, in full containment of December: “Mass tests without crowd”, headlined the newspapers. But it accelerated in early February, when restrictions were eased, and attitudes began to change, by necessity.

Because it is now necessary to present a negative test of less than 48 hours at the hairdresser, in certain ski resorts or at the entrance of retirement homes.

“Our strategy is to have a high frequency of tests and to make them easy to access,” explains Katharina Reich, chief medical officer at the Ministry of Health. “This is the only way to keep the pandemic under control,” she says, as the variants are worrying and vaccination is only taking small steps.


■ Mexico received 200,000 doses of the Sputnik V vaccine

Mexico received its first 200,000 doses of the Russian Sputnik V vaccine against Covid-19 on Monday. Authorities said so on Monday evening. They will use them to continue immunizing people over 60.

Other deliveries will follow

Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard said.

On Saturday, Mexico had received a shipment of 200,000 doses of the vaccine manufactured by the Chinese laboratory Sinovac. Previously, Mexico City received vaccine shipments from Pfizer / BioNTech, AstraZeneca and CanSino, a Chinese laboratory.


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