The official Instagram account of Russian opposition figure Alexey Navalny posted on Tuesday the first photo since the politician fell ill, the caption says that Navalny can finally breathe without a ventilator.
The photo, taken inside the Berlin-based Charite hospital in Berlin, features Navalny, his wife and their children.
“Hi, this is Navalny.
“I miss you. I can hardly do anything so far, but yesterday I managed to breathe without any assistance, all day long.
“Absolutely on my own. No assistance, I did not even use a simple ventilator.
“I enjoyed it a lot. This is an amazing process that many people underrate. Highly recommended,” the caption read.
Navalny fell ill during a domestic Russian flight on August 20.
He was initially treated in the Siberian city of Omsk, where the plane made an emergency landing.
Two days later, once the doctors established he was fit for cross-border aerial transportation, the 44-year-old was flown to the Charite hospital for further treatment.
The German government claimed earlier in September that traces of a nerve agent from the Novichok group were detected in Russian politician Alexei Navalny’s system.
Moscow has stated that Russian doctors found no toxic substances before Navalny was flown to Germany and that Berlin has provided no evidence to support its claims.
On Sept. 7, the Charite hospital in Berlin, where Navalny is being treated, announced that the patient’s condition had become better and he was woken up from a coma.
Edited By: Emmanuel Yashim)
German government urges greater use of COVID App after 100 days
The public should make greater use of Germany’s coronavirus track-and-trace app as the winter months approach, Health Minister Jens Spahn urged on Wednesday, 100 days after the “Corona Warn App” was released.
“Please make use of this tool during the pandemic,” Spahn said.
The app anonymously informs users if they have come into contact with another user who has registered a positive coronavirus test result.
To date, this was occurring in only around a half of cases, Spahn said.
Thus far, almost 5,000 app users have alerted their contacts regarding a positive test.
Assuming they each have 10 to 20 contacts, several thousand people have been warned.
Government officials described the app as “a major success story.”
It has been downloaded around 18 million times, more than any other in Europe, said Helge Braun, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s chief of staff.
Spahn stressed that the app was not a panacea but served to supplement the work of health authorities.
Social distancing and handwashing rules still needed to be observed and masks worn, he said.
The app is able to ascertain whether its user has been closer than two metres to another infected user over a lengthy period. In the event of an alert, the user is eligible for a free test.
Also on Wednesday, an opinion poll revealed that 61 per cent of those surveyed would find “appropriate” a rule making masks mandatory on public squares and in inner cities.
Older people tended to be more in favour than younger people.
Edited By: Fatima Sule/Silas Nwoha
Navalny discharged from hospital, ‘complete recovery’ possible
Russian dissident Alexei Navalny has been discharged from Berlin’s Charite hospital, where he was receiving treatment for severe poisoning, doctors said on Wednesday.
The hospital said Navalny’s condition had “improved sufficiently” and that he was discharged from acute in-patient care on Tuesday.
The opposition activist, one of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s most prominent critics, fell ill on a domestic flight on Aug. 20, before being transported to Germany for treatment two days later.
Laboratories in Germany, France and Sweden have found that Navalny was poisoned with a chemical weapon from the Soviet-developed Novichok group but the Kremlin denies any involvement.
Navalny spent 24 of his 32 days at the Charite in intensive care, a statement from the hospital said.
“Based on the patient’s progress and current condition, the physicians treating him believe that complete recovery is possible.
“However, it remains too early to gauge the potential long-term effects of his severe poisoning,” it added.
Navalny’s spokesperson, Kira Yarmysh, said last week that Navalny intended to return to Russia to continue to support political opposition efforts.
No date for his potential return has been announced.
Navalny is believed to have been poisoned in the Siberian city of Tomsk, where he was on a campaign trip to support opposition candidates preparing for local elections.
Two of those candidates, Ksenia Fadeyeva and Andrei Fateyev, were subsequently elected to the Tomsk city legislature, while the dominant United Russia political party, most closely associated with Putin, lost its majority in the assembly.
Shortly after Navalny fell ill, close allies in Tomsk went to the hotel room where he had been staying and gathered items that could serve as potential evidence of a crime, on the suspicion that local authorities would not properly investigate.
A water bottle removed from the hotel room tested positive for Novichok in a German laboratory, Navalny’s team has announced.
Novichok was also used in the near-fatal poisoning of former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in the southern English city of Salisbury two years ago.
Russia has not opened a criminal case into the Navalny incident, saying that domestic authorities have found no hard evidence of a crime.
Russian health officials have concluded that Navalny’s condition was caused by a metabolism problem.
The Kremlin has denied any link to Navalny’s sudden deterioration in health, amid international calls for a full and transparent investigation from the EU and others.
The European Parliament issued a resolution last week declaring that the use of a poison from the Novichok group strongly suggests that Russian authorities were behind the attack.
Edited By: Fatima Sule/Maharazu Ahmed
Germany’s Roman Catholic bishops face calls for equal rights
The issue of equal rights for women within the church is one of the key issues confronting Germany’s Roman Catholic bishops as they hold their twice yearly conference, Church official said.
The Chairman of the Conference, Georg Baetzing, said this on Wednesday.
Within the church there is an “unbroken tradition that the role of Christ is represented by a man,” Baetzing, bishop of Limburg, told national public broadcaster ZDF.
“But we of course live in a time when equal rights have entered everyone’s thinking – mine and that of everyone who belongs to the church – that one asks whether this is so important that the essence of the Church is affected by it,” he said.
Decisions on the issue could not be taken by the German church on its own but had to be made in the context of the global church, he said. “Rome always has a major say.”
Germany’s Roman Catholic bishops are currently holding their twice yearly meeting in the central city of Fulda.
Lay Catholics, with women in the lead, are pressing for change within the church to allow women to take on clerical roles, in a process referred to as the Synodal Path, while conservative bishops are resisting this, fearing a split with Rome.
The Synodal Path was set up last year in response to revelations of widespread sexual abuse within the church.
Edited By: Fatima Sule/Ali Baba-Inuwa
Hungary and UEFA taking big risk having fans at Super Cup match, health expert warns
Organisers run a huge risk by allowing 20,000 fans to attend a major football match, a leading Hungarian epidemiologist said on Tuesday ahead of Thursday’s UEFA Super Cup final in Budapest.
A huge crowd is being allowed for the first time at a football match in Europe since the new coronavirus outbreak.
European football’s governing body UEFA normally kicks off the season with the Super Cup match between the Champions League and Europa League winners.
It said it would see how the game with spectators works in Hungary’s capital.
The new Puskas Arena is a recently completed pet project of Prime Minister Viktor Orban, an avid football fan.
It will be up to one-third full for the showdown between European champions Bayern Munich and Europa League title holders Sevilla.
UEFA has said all safety precautions would be observed.
However, Andras Csilek, who advises the Hungarian Medical Chamber, told Reuters that the game’s timing “could not be worse”.
His comment has come with the background of the pandemic’s second wave grows around Europe, topping 600 new cases a day in Hungary.
“It would have had the same terrible effect in the first two to four weeks (of the pandemic), and the plausible effects one can now expect are equally terrible,” Csilek said. “Just think of the football games we know sparked spring madness in Italy.”
Experts have traced a surge in Italy’s COVID-19 infections to February football matches and the Venice Carnival, he added.
“Placing the fans in a stadium… (separation) is not really feasible, especially as fans gather before and after games… Public transit, entry crowds, finding your seats, toilets, beer stands, celebrations, or a fight: plausible infection points.”
Hungary’s government is trying to “keep the country going” to avoid an economic disaster while containing the virus, the country’s nationalist leader Orban has said.
“Super Cup match measures will be so strict that it will be safer to attend than almost any other social gathering,” Orban’s chief of staff Gergely Gulyas had said on Monday.
European countries, including Germany, have placed Hungary on a watch list as coronavirus cases rise, and Bavarian premier Markus Soeder has warned fans to stay away from Budapest.
“Nobody knows where this leads, but if it is an experiment, that is wrong,” Csilek said. “You don’t experiment with people.”
Edited By: Olawale Alabi)