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Early Bird: Israel is easing measures. Disputes over antigenitests. The first transmission of bird flu to humans

Sabina Štaubertová
21.Feb 2021
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3 minutes
Jan Hamáček

Good morning! We bring you fresh news from home and from around the world. Vaccination in Israel is bearing fruit. After many months of lockdown, shops and museums are beginning to open. The situation in the Czech Republic, on the contrary, is still abysmal. It's impossible to tell when children will be able to return to school. Demonstrations continue in Southeast Asia, clashing with the military. Princess Eugenie gave her firstborn son a symbolic name. And what else does today's Early Bird bring?

Disputes over the choice of antigen test supplier

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Jan Hamáček v červeném svetru
Jan Hamáček v červeném svetruSource:

The opening of schools has long been a speculated topic. Due to efforts to return children to their classes as fast as possible, it was decided to test students via the antigen method. Minister of Education Robert Plaga mentioned that the return to school must be balanced by compulsory testing, but also by vaccination of the educational staff. The Minister of the Interior and the head of the Central Crisis Staff, Jan Hamáček, stated that schools would be using the antigen tests from Tardigrad International Consulting s.r.o. Prime Minister Andrej Babiš commented on this, calling for the cancellation of this tender. At the same time, the opposition also criticizes the government for the circumstances surrounding the choice of the antigen test supplier. Opposition representatives call for a thorough investigation into the selection process.

"I suggested to the Prime Minister that the Ministry of the Interior of the Czech Republic should submit to the government all documents concerning the selection of tests for schools on Monday. I will also ask for the participation of security services. The government will assess whether the commission composed of representatives of the Ministry of the Interior, the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports acted correctly on the basis of Monday's government resolution,"

Jan Hamáček said on his Twitter. In this context, Andrej Babiš admitted that due to the unfavourable epidemic situation, the return of children to school could be further postponed.

Israel is easing measures following vaccination success

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Israel's strategy has paid off. First, Israel opted for the strategy of hard lockdown, massive vaccination and testing, and now it can afford to start easing measures. A local study shows that the Pfizer vaccine was 98.9% effective in preventing hospitalization and death. Israel has the highest vaccination coverage in the world. More than 49% of its citizens have received at least one dose of the vaccine. As of today, shops, libraries and museums can open thanks to the great success. Residents still have to keep a safe distance and wear face masks. The Ministry of Health says that this is the first phase of returning to normal life. Despite the restrictions easing, Israel's airport will remain closed for at least another two weeks.

Protests in Myanmar continue

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Dav demonstrujících
Dav demonstrujícíchSource:

Burmese protesters gathered again today, despite bloody conflicts with the army. Opponents of the government have been taking to the streets for several days, expressing their disapproval. Both the army and police forces have been deployed against the protesters, however, they were unable to suppress the demonstrations and campaign for attacks against the coup and the arrest of elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi, even with the promise of new elections. Two people died in a clash with the armed forces yesterday. Several others were injured, including members of the police and army. Members of ethnic minorities, poets as well as transport workers had been protesting peacefully at first. However, tension rose rapidly in Mandalay, where the police hsd to intervene. The police did not comment on the situation, but the state newspaper Global New Light Of Myanmar accused the protesters of sabotage and attack on the police.

Russia reports the first case of transmission of bird flu to humans

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Prodej rodinného domu, Praha 5 – 327m2
Prodej rodinného domu, Praha 5 – 327m2, Praha 5

The Russian Federation has registered the first case of transmission of the H5N8 avian influenza virus from birds to humans. They informed the World Health Organization about the case. Outbreaks of avian influenza have been reported in Russia, Europe, China, the Middle East and North Africa in recent months, but only in poultry. The highly contagious strain is deadly to birds, but has never been reported to spread to humans before. Most avian influenza infections have been associated with direct contact with infected poultry, although properly cooked food is considered safe. Seven workers have been infected in a poultry farm in southern Russia.

"This is an important scientific discovery, time will tell whether the virus can continue to mutate,"

said Anna Popova, a Russian doctor and head of the Rospotrebnadzor in Moscow.

Princess Eugenie is raising her son without a royal title

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Princezna Eugenie z Yorku a Jack Brooksbank
Princezna Eugenie z Yorku a Jack BrooksbankSource:

Princess Eugenie of York and Jack Brooksbank named their firstborn son August Philip Hawke Brooksbank, as announced on Saturday. The first common offspring was born on February 9, 2021. On Saturday, Princess Eugenie explained the meaning of Augustus' name on her Instagram:

"On his grandfather’s birthday weekend, thinking of my grandfather, we are introducing our little boy. He is named after his great-grandfather and both of his great x5 grandfathers."

Like Megan Markle and Prince Harry's son, the son of Eugenie and Brooksbank will not carry a royal title.

We have nothing more for you today. And because Sunday is a day when all you should do is catch a bit of sun, we wish you to get all the relax you need this weekend. Last but not least, let's remind ourselves of a quote by the Roman philosopher Seneca,

"If one does not know to which port one is sailing, no wind is favourable."

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