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Welcome to the whack-a-mole coronavirus stage



germany coronavirus covid 19 meatpacking plant reproduction rate Pleitgen pkg intl ldn vpx_00000326

Instead, public health officials hope they will be able to withstand the outbreak by introducing more nuanced local measures and testing and tracking contacts. Their approach echoes similar stories from elsewhere.

This is a glimpse of what looks like a new normality – a game of constant creasing where authorities race to hold back viruses when they appear in new places.

“In the absence of a vaccine, the best scenario we can hope for is that there is a very low rate of spread of the virus in the general population, and that if there are local hotspots and epidemics, that local health authorities can work fast enough to contain it and prevent its spread,” said Dr. Thomas Kamradt, an immunologist and professor at the University Hospital at Friedrich-Schiller University in Jena, Germany.

R number is very important?

Plague in Toennies meat plants in Guetersloh sparked fear in Germany in part because it pushed the country’s reproduction rate up. Unclear epidemiological concepts become household terms, with front pages throughout Europe reporting “A big surge in German R.” According to the German disease control center, the Robert Koch Institute, the number now stands at 2.76, which means that one infected person, on average, currently transmits the virus to 2.76 other people. Over the weekend, it rose as high as 2.88.

High reproduction rates show how easily the virus spreads when left unchecked. When it falls below 1, the epidemic fades. When it is higher than 1, it spreads. If this number stays above 1 for a long period of time, there may be a point where there are more sick people than the hospital can handle. That means some patients end up losing the critical care they need – for example because there aren’t enough ventilators – and therefore the overall number of deaths is much higher.

Chancellor Angela Merkel has repeatedly stressed that in order to defeat the virus, the number – widely known as R0 or just R – must remain below 1. He suggested that new restrictions might need to be imposed if the rate rises.

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But while the number R is important, it does not paint a complete picture. Levels in Germany jumped suddenly because 1,553 workers at the Toennies factory tested positive for the virus, even when other parts of the country saw very few new infections.

“R must always be seen in context,” said Marieke Degen, deputy press official at the Robert Koch Institute. “If your total infection is low – in Germany [it’s] “a few hundred per day – and some larger outbreaks, R can go up quite quickly, but this is not too problematic,” he said. It would be much worse if you had 50,000 cases daily and an estimated R of around 2 – 3. “

While the outbreak at the factory is already severe, authorities hope the virus has not been able to spread further. North-Rhine Westphalia’s Prime Minister Armin Laschet said on Tuesday that so far, only 24 people who had no connection with the factory were positive in the district. “The question is, how many people have met those who have been infected?” Laschet said at a press conference.

Detective work

Experts are now working against the clock to find out. The district has tested everyone connected to the factory, and sent 100 mobile testing teams to contact as many people as possible. A special diagnostic center has been opened in the district to ensure that anyone can get a free test. Dozens of soldiers, police officers, scientists from the Robert Koch Institute and members of the Red Cross have been mobilized to help.

Clemens Toennies, managing partner at the company, said on Twitter that the company would do it funding widespread coronavirus testing in Guetersloh to compensate the local community.

Speed ​​is the most important. “You are always behind the epidemic to some extent,” said Mike Tildesley, a professor at Warwick University. “We know people can be infected for several days before symptoms appear … when you get to the stage you realize there are problems, there are already more [cases] in the population. ”

Germany imposed new locks after the plague in a meat factory

Despite great efforts, epidemiologists are careful to say the epidemic is under control. “Twenty-four seems like a low number, but it is a sign that the outbreak is not entirely limited to workers and their families … there is enough time for it to spread outside,” Dr. Martin Stuermer, a virologist and director of IMD Labor, a coronavirus testing laboratory in Frankfurt.

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The Toennies factory closed last week, with all 7,000 employees and their families ordered to quarantine themselves, but the closure of the wider district and 360,000 residents was not announced until Tuesday.

Stuermer was worried that it might be too late. The German rule of thumb that was put in place when it began to reduce restrictions last month was that if an area records more than 50 new cases per 100,000 population in seven days, it should consider locking it up.

“From that point of view, it’s too late,” he said, adding that earlier serious outbreaks at meat-packing plants in Germany and elsewhere should be a warning sign. “Someone should be vigilant … Toennies start testing, they identify more and more cases, they identify herds of infections and they take steps to stop the spread, but overall, they fail to control the outbreak,” he said.

The German government ordered a new closure for the entire Guetersloh district on Tuesday.

Tildesley said that compared to previous pandemics, countries such as Germany and Britain were now better equipped to prevent local outbreaks from spreading further because they had succeeded in increasing contact tracing and testing.

But both Stuermer and Kamradt say that to succeed, every part of the system must work well: Health authorities must be able to move quickly, people must respect lockouts and companies must behave responsibly.

Germany reports 650 new cases at meat processing plants

Toennies, the company that runs the plant at the epicenter, has found itself under pressure. Clement Toennies has apologized for the outbreak and said the company assumed full responsibility, but the criticism did not stop.

CNN has repeatedly contacted Toennies to comment.

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“Cooperation from the factory is not very good, the authorities have to walk there to get data about employees to be able to track them and talk to them … it can be done faster,” Kamradt said. Local officials including Laschet even suggested that Toennies should be responsible for the outbreak.

Toennies said in a statement that it was “working all the time” to help the authorities. Responding to criticism from local authorities who said the company failed to provide employee addresses, Toennies said it was not negligent and did not hide any data. It blames German data protection laws. “We are in an extreme situation and have to consider the privacy and data protection of several thousand people. In the end, we weigh the consequences and make the data available.” But federal labor minister Hubertus Heil told German tabloid Bild that he had “almost zero” confidence in the Toennies.

Many of those infected are migrant workers from Romania, Bulgaria and Poland who work in narrow conditions and on temporary contracts, with low wages. German health authorities are now trying hard to reach this previously invisible community – the district employs 150 translators to help.

Stephanie Halasz from CNN, Hanna Ziady and Zamira Rahim in London and Frederik Pleitgen in Berlin contributed reporting.

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Portuguese historical films will premiere on 29 December.



Portuguese historical films will premiere on 29 December.

Method Media Bermuda will present the documentary FABRIC: Portuguese History in Bermuda on Thursday, December 29 at the Underwater Research Institute of Bermuda.

A spokesperson said: “Method Media is proud to bring Bermuda Fabric: Portugal History to Bermuda for its 5th and 6th showing at the Bermuda Underwater Observatory. In November and December 2019, Cloth: A Portuguese Story in Bermuda had four sold-out screenings. Now that Bermuda has reopened after the pandemic, it’s time to bring the film back for at least two screenings.

“There are tickets For $ 20 – sessions at 15:30 and 18:00. Both screenings will be followed by a short Q&A session.

Director and producer Milton Raboso says, “FABRIC is a definitive account of the Portuguese community in Bermuda and its 151 years of history, but it also places Bermuda, Acors and Portugal in the world history and the events that have fueled those 151 years.

“It took more than 10 years to implement FABRIC. The film was supported by the Minister of Culture, the Government of the Azores and private donors.

Bermuda Media Method [MMB] Created in 2011 by producer Milton Raposo. MMB has created content for a wide range of clients: Bermuda’s new hospital renovation, reinsurance, travel campaigns, international sports and more. MMB pays special attention to artistic, cultural and historical content.

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Maestro de Braga is the first Portuguese in the National Symphony Orchestra of Cuba.



Maestro de Braga is the first Portuguese in the National Symphony Orchestra of Cuba.

Maestro Filipe Cunha, Artistic Director of the Philharmonic Orchestra of Braga, has been invited to conduct the Cuban National Symphony Orchestra, as announced today.

According to a statement sent by O MINHO, “he will be the first Portuguese conductor to conduct this orchestra in its entire history.”

In addition to this orchestra, the maestro will also work with the Lyceo Mozarteum de la Habana Symphony Orchestra.

The concerts will take place on 4 and 12 March 2023 at the National Theater of Cuba in Havana.

In the words of the maestro, quoted in the statement, “these will be very beautiful concerts with difficult but very complex pieces” and therefore he feels “very motivated”.

From the very beginning, Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2 will be performed by an Italian pianist (Luigi Borzillo), whom the maestro wants to bring to Portugal later this year. In the same concert, Mendelshon’s First Symphony will be performed.

Then, at the second concert, in the company of the Mexican clarinetist Angel Zedillo, he will perform the Louis Sfora Concerto No. 2. In this concert, the maestro also conducts Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony.

“This is an international recognition of my work. An invitation that I accept with humility and great responsibility. I was surprised to learn that I would be the first Portuguese member of the Cuban National Symphony Orchestra. This is a very great honor,” the maestro said in a statement.

“I take with me the name of the city of Braga and Portugal with all the responsibility that goes with it, and I hope to do a good job there, leaving a good image and putting on great concerts. These will be very special concerts because, in addition to performing pieces that I love, especially Rachmaninov and Tchaikovsky, I will be directing two wonderful soloists who are also my friends. It will be very beautiful,” concludes Filipe Cunha.

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