America News

Covid variant from South Africa was able to ‘break through’ Pfizer vaccine in Israeli study

The coronavirus variant first discovered in South Africa is able to evade some of the protection of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, according to an Israeli study.

IMF hikes growth forecast for the Middle East, says recovery will be 'divergent'

The International Monetary Fund revised its growth forecast for 2021 up to 4%.

U.S. states face steep decline in J&J Covid vaccine amid production problems at Baltimore plant

The government has allocated only 700,000 J&J shots to states next week, down from 4.9 million the week prior, according to data from the CDC.

WHO says more than 87% of the world's Covid vaccine supply has gone to higher-income countries

On average, 1 in 4 people in high-income countries have received a coronavirus vaccine, compared with just 1 in more than 500 in low-income countries, WHO says.

Covid cases overwhelm Michigan health system, Gov. Whitmer urges residents to stay home

The state health department is tracking 991 Covid outbreaks across Michigan, Chief Medical Executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun said.

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Europe News

Norway employers reach deal with union averting bus and ferry disruption

Norway's unions reached a deal with employers on Sunday averting strike action which could have disturbed bus and ferry services across the country, and risked spreading to other industries.

Bavaria's Söder 'ready' to stand for German chancellorship

Bavarian regional leader Markus Söder on Sunday said he would be open to standing as the German conservative bloc's chancellor candidate in September elections, putting an end to months of flirting with a run at Berlin.

The ten 'unbreakable' rules for making real Italian pasta alla carbonara

There are countless variations on the carbonara recipe out there. But if you want to do as the Romans do, there are some rules to keep in mind.

Eight of ten Sicilians offered Astra jab now refusing it, claims region's president

Up to 80 percent of people offered the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine In Sicily refuse it out of fears over its safety, according to the southern Italian region's president Nello Musumeci.

'Yes to Dexit': Germany's far-right AfD firms up election strategy

Germany's far-right AfD party vowed to campaign for an end to coronavirus restrictions, a tougher line on migration and an exit from the EU as it finalised its election manifesto on Sunday.

Europe News is brought to you by TheLocal

BBC World News

St Vincent volcano: Eruptions likely in coming days, experts warn

The Caribbean island of St Vincent has been blanketed in ash after the La Soufrière volcano erupted.

Alibaba accepts record China fine and vows to change

China's regulators slapped a $2.8bn fine on the e-commerce giant over monopoly concerns

Cyclone Seroja: Storm makes landfall in Western Australia

Strong winds tore across the state on Sunday, damaging homes and leaving thousands without power.

Iran says key Natanz nuclear facility hit by 'sabotage'

The country's top nuclear official says a power outage at its Natanz site was "nuclear terrorism".

Being mixed race like Kamala Harris: 'I feel just as Indian as I feel black'

Three women who share Kamala Harris' mixed parentage open up about balancing the two sides of their lives.

Yuri Gagarin: Sixty years since the first man went into space

The BBC speaks to the woman who, as a child, witnessed Yuri Gagarin's return to Earth 60 years ago.

Why India's forest fires are worrying scientists

Activists say authorities in India and Nepal seem underprepared to fight forest fires.

Camille Pissarro: Transatlantic struggle for painting stolen by Nazis

A Pissarro painting is the focus of a custody battle involving a Holocaust survivor and a US museum.

Cambodia criticises edited photos of Khmer Rouge victims

Some of the images colourised by an Irish artist appear to have been edited to show them smiling.

China mine rescue: Crews work to free trapped workers in Xinjiang

Twenty-one people are trapped underground after a coal mine flooded in the Xinjiang region.

BBC World News is brought to you by BBC

Coronavirus COVID-19 Global Case Tracker

Provided by Johns Hopkins University this COVID-19 Global Case Tracker Dashboard shows you the most up-to-date information about the global spread of the new corona virus.

About the 2019-20 Coronavirus Pandemic

The 2019-20 coronavirus pandemic is an ongoing pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). The outbreak started in Wuhan, Hubei province, China, in December 2019. The World Health Organization (WHO) declared the outbreak to be a Public Health Emergency of International Concern on 30 January 2020 and recognized it as a pandemic on 11 March 2020. As of end March 2020, more than a million cases of COVID-19 have been reported in over 200 countries and territories, resulting in approximately 64,000 deaths. More than 250,000 people have recovered.

The virus is mainly spread during close contact, and by small droplets produced during coughing, sneezing, or talking. These small droplets may also be produced during breathing, but rapidly fall to the ground or surfaces and are not generally spread through the air over large distances. People may also catch COVID-19 by touching a contaminated surface and then their face. The virus can survive on surfaces up to 72 hours. It is most contagious during the first 3 days after symptom onset, although spread may be possible before symptoms appear and in later stages of the disease. The time between exposure and symptom onset is typically around five days, but may range from 2 to 14 days. Common symptoms include fever, cough, and shortness of breath.

The pandemic has led to severe global socioeconomic disruption, the postponement or cancellation of sporting, religious, and cultural events, and widespread fears of supply shortages resulting in panic buying. Schools and universities have closed either on a nationwide or local basis in more than 160 countries, affecting approximately 97 percent of the world's student population.

Source: Wikipedia (April 5, 2020)

Please find below further updates from The World Health Organization (WHO).

Improving understanding of and response to infodemics during public health emergencies

Following the first global infodemiology conference held in July 2020, WHO and partners coordinated a joint call for papers  with 5 academic journals representing different scientific fields, all related to components of the science behind managing infodemics. This week the first of these academic journals published its special infodemic feature. The research findings contribute to filling the knowledge gap identified through the WHO public health research agenda for managing infodemics released earlier this month.

In the issue published by Health Security, you’ll find original peer-reviewed articles that address practice- and research-based analysis of misinformation during epidemics, characteristics of successful online messaging, disinformation and epidemics in the context of biowarfare, understanding the impact of different news sources on risk perception, and use of community listening and feedback to respond to false information. The commentaries focus on the COVID-19 pandemic in the context of crisis and emergency risk communication, scientific situational awareness, and approaches to social media messaging.

Through research being published, the science of infodemic management will be built on solid and scientifically tested methods and analytics, all of which can contribute to the design of policies and interventions that will help health authorities monitor, evaluate and respond to the current and future infodemics. 

No-fault compensation programme for COVID-19 vaccines is a world first

 

The World Health Organization (WHO) and Chubb Limited (NYSE: CB), through ESIS Inc., a Chubb company, signed an agreement on behalf of the COVAX Facility on 17 February 2021 for the administration of a no-fault compensation programme for the 92 low- and middle-income countries and economies eligible for support via the Gavi COVAX Advance Market Commitment (AMC) of the COVAX Facility.

As the first and only vaccine injury compensation mechanism operating on an international scale, the programme will offer eligible individuals in AMC-eligible countries and economies a fast, fair, robust and transparent process to receive compensation for rare but serious adverse events associated with COVAX-distributed vaccines until 30 June 2022.

By providing a no-fault lump-sum compensation in full and final settlement of any claims, the COVAX programme aims to significantly reduce the need for recourse to the law courts, a potentially lengthy and costly process.

ESIS, as the independent administrator of the programme, was selected in accordance with WHO’s procurement rules and procedures, and charges no fees to applicants.

All vaccines procured or distributed through the COVAX Facility receive regulatory approval or an emergency use authorization to confirm their safety and efficacy.

But, as with all medicines, even vaccines that are approved for general use may, in rare cases, cause serious adverse reactions.

 “The unprecedented nature of the COVID-19 pandemic has been matched by the largest ever rollout of new vaccines under the ACT-Accelerator and its vaccines pillar, COVAX. This no-fault compensation mechanism helps to ensure that people in AMC-eligible countries and economies can benefit from the cutting-edge science that has delivered COVID-19 vaccines in record time,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General. “We are pleased to be collaborating with Chubb, which has the capabilities to support the COVAX facility through its global network and claims handling ability. WHO’s agreement with Chubb offers further protection and confidence in the life-saving power of vaccines.”

“The No-Fault Compensation fund is a massive boost for COVAX’s goal of equitable global access to vaccines: by providing a robust, transparent and independent mechanism to settle serious adverse events it helps those in countries who might have such effects, manufacturers to roll out vaccines to countries faster, and is a key benefit for lower-income governments procuring vaccines through the Gavi COVAX AMC,” said Dr Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi.

The COVAX no-fault compensation programme will be operationalized through its web portal (www.covaxclaims.com) by 31 March 2021, which will include resources such as the programme’s protocol, Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) and information on how to submit an application.

Eligible individuals may apply for compensation under the programme once the portal becomes operational, even if a COVAX-distributed vaccine is administered to them before 31 March 2021.

The programme is financed initially through Gavi COVAX AMC donor funding, calculated as a levy charged on all doses of COVID-19 vaccines distributed through the COVAX Facility to the AMC eligible economies until 30 June 2022.

WHO is working with Chubb to secure insurance coverage for the programme with Chubb as lead insurer.

Chubb is proud and honoured to work with the World Health Organization and its partners on the critically important COVAX programme,” said Evan G. Greenberg, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Chubb. “The COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating effect on people and economies around the globe, and the development and deployment of efficacious vaccines is a crucial step toward ending this crisis. However, a vaccination strategy is only as effective as the number of people it reaches, which is why the COVAX facility is so critical. Access to the protection offered by a vaccine should not be limited or restricted. All countries, regardless of income levels, should have equal access to these life-saving vaccines.”

The delivery of COVID-19 vaccines during 2021 will be the fastest and largest global deployment of novel vaccines in history. The COVAX Facility aims, by the end of 2021, to deliver at least 2 billion doses of safe, effective and quality-assured vaccines to all participating countries, including at least 1.3 billion doses to the 92 AMC-eligible countries and economies, at the same time as wealthier nations.

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ABOUT the COVAX Facility

The Gavi-administered COVAX Facility forms a key part of the COVAX pillar (COVAX) of the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator, a ground-breaking global collaboration to accelerate the development, production, and equitable access to COVID-19 tests, treatments, and vaccines. COVAX is co-led by Gavi, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and WHO, working in partnership with developed and developing country vaccine manufacturers. 
 

ABOUT WHO

The World Health Organization provides global leadership in public health within the United Nations system. Founded in 1948, WHO works with 194 Member States, across six regions and from 149 offices, to promote health, keep the world safe and serve the vulnerable. Our goal for 2019-2023 is to ensure that a billion more people have universal health coverage, to protect a billion more people from health emergencies, and provide a further billion people with better health and wellbeing. 

For updates on COVID-19 and public health advice, visit www.who.int and follow WHO on TwitterFacebookInstagramLinkedInTikTokPinterestSnapchatYouTubeTwitch 


 ABOUT Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance

Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance is a public-private partnership that helps vaccinate half the world’s children against some of the world’s deadliest diseases. Since its inception in 2000, Gavi has helped to immunise a whole generation – over 822 million children – and prevented more than 14 million deaths, helping to halve child mortality in 73 developing countries. Gavi also plays a key role in improving global health security by supporting health systems as well as funding global stockpiles for Ebola, cholera, meningitis and yellow fever vaccines. After two decades of progress, Gavi is now focused on protecting the next generation and reaching the unvaccinated children still being left behind, employing innovative finance and the latest technology – from drones to biometrics – to save millions more lives, prevent outbreaks before they can spread and help countries on the road to self-sufficiency. Learn more at www.gavi.org and connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.

The Vaccine Alliance brings together developing country and donor governments, the World Health Organization, UNICEF, the World Bank, the vaccine industry, technical agencies, civil society, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and other private sector partners. View the full list of donor governments and other leading organizations that fund Gavi’s work here.

 

ABOUT CHUBB

Chubb is the world's largest publicly traded property and casualty insurance company. With operations in 54 countries and territories, Chubb provides commercial and personal property and casualty insurance, personal accident and supplemental health insurance, reinsurance and life insurance to a diverse group of clients. As an underwriting company, we assess, assume and manage risk with insight and discipline. We service and pay our claims fairly and promptly. The company is also defined by its extensive product and service offerings, broad distribution capabilities, exceptional financial strength and local operations globally. Parent company Chubb Limited is listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: CB) and is a component of the S&P 500 index. Chubb maintains executive offices in Zurich, New York, London, Paris and other locations, and employs approximately 31,000 people worldwide. Additional information can be found at: www.chubb.com .


 ABOUT ESIS, A CHUBB COMPANY

ESIS, Inc. provides claim and risk management services to a wide variety of commercial clients. Our innovative best-in-class approach to program design, integration, and achievement of results aligns with the needs and expectations of our clients' unique risk management needs. With more than 66 years of experience and offerings in both the U.S. and globally, ESIS provides one of the industry's broadest selections of risk management solutions covering both pre- and post-loss services.