Cologne’s ‘carnival prince’ tests positive for Covid-19

Cologne’s Carnival trio has cancelled all their events after “Prince” Sven Oleff tested positive for coronavirus, as Germany sees a huge rise in infections.

Prince Sven Oleff (pictured in the middle) has tested positive for Covid-19.
Prince Sven Oleff (pictured in the middle) has tested positive for Covid-19. Photo: picture alliance/dpa/Gemeinnützige Gesellschaft des Kölner Karnevals mbH | Costa Belibasakis

Carnival celebrations in Cologne are going ahead without their usual presiding trio after designated “Prince” Sven Oleff tested positive for Covid-19 the day before the start of celebrations on November 11th.

Oleff, who is fully vaccinated, is reporting no symptoms so far and says he feels good. His counterparts Gereon Glasemacher, and designated “Jungfrau” Björn Braun, have so far tested negative. As a precaution though, Carnival organisers have cancelled all their appearances.

Oleff said he was sad that he won’t be opening the festivities but that he understands the precautions.

“Get vaccinated!” He urged. He says he is confident that his own vaccination will leave him with only a mild infection, and that he looks forward to being over it in a couple of days.

It comes as Germany saw 50,196 new cases in the past 24 hours on Thursday, according to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) health agency – the first time the figure has exceeded 50,000.

READ ALSO: Germany sees more than 50,000 Covid cases in 24 hours

Germany’s Carnival season is typically celebrated in the country’s west, with Cologne hosting the main festivities. Normally starting at 11:11 am on November 11th every year, they were cancelled last year due to the Covid crisis.

This year, entry into official events in Cologne is under “2G” rules, and is restricted to the vaccinated and recovered only. The 2G rules also include official outdoor events.

Carnival “King” Klaus-Ludwig Fess, head of the German carnival association, recently told Rheinische Post online: “I’m actually hopeful that it will be like before Corona again.”

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Covid face mask rule on flights in Europe set to be eased

The mandatory EU-wide mask requirement for air travel is set to be dropped from Monday, May 16th, but airlines may still require passengers to wear masks on some or all flights

Covid face mask rule on flights in Europe set to be eased

Europe-wide facemask rules on flights are set to be ditched as early as next week in light of new recommendations from health and air safety experts.

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) dropped recommendations for mandatory mask-wearing in airports and during flights in updated Covid-19 safety measures for travel issued on Wednesday, May 11th.

The new rules are expected to be rolled out from Monday, May 16th, but airlines may still continue to require the wearing of masks on some or all of flights. And the updated health safety measures still say that wearing a face mask remains one of the best ways to protect against the transmission of the virus.

The joint EASA/ECDC statement reminded travellers that masks may still be required on flights to destinations in certain countries that still require the wearing of masks on public transport and in transport hubs.

It also recommends that vulnerable passengers should continue to wear a face mask regardless of the rules, ideally an FFP2/N95/KN95 type mask which offers a higher level of protection than a standard surgical mask.

“From next week, face masks will no longer need to be mandatory in air travel in all cases, broadly aligning with the changing requirements of national authorities across Europe for public transport,” EASA executive director Patrick Ky said in the statement. 

“For passengers and air crews, this is a big step forward in the normalisation of air travel. Passengers should however behave responsibly and respect the choices of others around them. And a passenger who is coughing and sneezing should strongly consider wearing a face mask, for the reassurance of those seated nearby.”  

ECDC director Andrea Ammon added: “The development and continuous updates to the Aviation Health Safety Protocol in light of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic have given travellers and aviation personnel better knowledge of the risks of transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and its variants. 

“While risks do remain, we have seen that non-pharmaceutical interventions and vaccines have allowed our lives to begin to return to normal. 

“While mandatory mask-wearing in all situations is no longer recommended, it is important to be mindful that together with physical distancing and good hand hygiene it is one of the best methods of reducing transmission. 

“The rules and requirements of departure and destination states should be respected and applied consistently, and travel operators should take care to inform passengers of any required measures in a timely manner.”