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Portugal Confirms 29 Germans Killed In Bus Crash

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Portugal’s foreign ministry has confirmed that all 29 people killed in a tour bus crash on Madeira Island were German.

The bus that was carrying 55 persons rolled down a steep hill after veering off the road on a bend east of Madeira’s capital, Funchal.

Authorities say they are investigating the cause and would inspect the bus for mechanical problems. 28 others are injured and receiving treatment in the hospital.

The bus was carrying German tourists, as well as a Portuguese driver and guide. People at the roadside are also thought to be among the casualties.

Head of the Funchal, Tomasia Alves, says 28 persons were taken from the accident scene to a morgue, and another person died later in the hospital.

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Germany Reports Highest Single Day COVID Deaths

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Germany has a huge spike in its COVID-19 death toll.  The country last week reported more than twelve hundred coronavirus deaths in one day.

The Robert Koch Institute reports twelve hundred forty-four deaths on Wednesday, the largest one-day death toll from the virus.  The country has now seen nearly forty-four thousand covid-19 related deaths.  The country’s covid-19 case have now surpassed one million.

Head of the Koch Institute, Lothar Wieler says number of deaths in the country is “very worrying” because hospital “intensive care units have never been as exhausted as they have been in the last few days.

Wieler says fifty-two hundred persons are in German I.C.U.’s, and ninety percent of them are on ventilators.

Germany has seen a dramatic uptick in cases since early December, and officials are contemplating further restrictions to curb the spread.

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Turkey Starts Sinovac COVID-19 Roll Out

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Turkey has started administering the Chinese Sinovac vaccine as the nation kicks off its inoculation program against the virus which has killed more than twenty-three thousand persons in the country.

Health minister Fahretin Koca announced on Wednesday evening healthcare workers have already started getting one dose of the vaccine.  Healthcare workers, who book appointments online, were monitored for a short period after the jab and will be given a second dose 28 days later.

Sinovac says its COVID-19 vaccine has “good” efficacy after Brazilian partner claimed it was only fifty percent effective.

Turkey has ordered fifty million doses of China’s coronavac but, so far, has only received three million doses..

The Turkish government is also looking at procuring Russian and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines.

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COVID-19 Infection Gives Some Immunity, But Virus Can Still Be Spread, Study Finds

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As United Kingdom, struggles to contain the coronavirus pandemic and amid attempt to accelerate vaccination efforts, a study of healthcare workers in the European country has found people who have had COVID-19 are highly likely to have immunity to it for at least five months but there is evidence that those with antibodies may still be able to carry and spread the virus.

Preliminary findings by scientists at Public Health England (PHE) showed that reinfections in people who have COVID-19 antibodies from a past infection are rare – with only 44 cases found among 6,614 previously infected people in the study.

But experts cautioned that the findings mean people who contracted the disease in the first wave of the pandemic in the early months of 2020 may now be vulnerable to catching it again.

They also warned that people with so-called “natural immunity” – acquired through having had the infection – may still be able to carry the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus in their nose and throat, and could unwittingly pass it on.

Susan Hopkins, the senior medical adviser at PHE and co-leader of the study, whose findings were published on Thursday said “we now know that most of those who have had the virus, and developed antibodies, are protected from reinfection, but this is not total and we do not yet know how long protection lasts.”

“This means even if you believe you already had the disease and are protected, you can be reassured it is highly unlikely you will develop severe infections. But there is still a risk you could acquire an infection and transmit (it) to others.”

A statement on the study said its findings did not address antibody or other immune responses to vaccines now being rolled out against COVID-19, or on how effective vaccines would be. Vaccine responses will be considered later this year, it said.

According to British government data, a daily record of 1,564 deaths was on Wednesday reported in the country bringing the total death toll to more than 89,000 persons.

The UK with its population of more than 66 million has injected 2.6 million persons with the first dose of a vaccine. Earlier, the British government approved three main COVID-19 vaccines – by Pfizer-BioNTech, AstraZeneca-Oxford and Moderna.

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