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Singapore PM Lee tests positive for Covid positive again in rebound case, says he feels fine

Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has tested positive again for Covid-19 a week and a half after his initial diagnosis.

FDA approves Pfizer RSV vaccine for older adults

The approval of a vaccine by Pfizer targeting RSV comes just weeks after the Food and Drug Administration cleared a similar shot made by GSK.

How Damar Hamlin thinks about fear and made his decision to play football in the NFL again

Damar Hamlin's return to the National Football League's Buffalo Bills surprised some people given the traumatic nature of his cardiac arrest, but not Hamlin.

How Dexcom and Abbott are moving beyond diabetes with blood sugar monitoring

CNBC spoke with both Abbott and Dexcom about the technology inside continuous glucose monitors and how they see the technology expanding.

Elon Musk's brain implant company Neuralink announces FDA approval of in-human clinical study

The implant, which Neuralink calls the "Link," aims to help patients with severe paralysis control external technologies using only neural signals.

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Europe News

Why are flights to and from Switzerland so expensive this summer?

Airline activity to and from Switzerland has almost fully recovered after travel bans during the pandemic, yet prices are soaring. Here’s why.

Eight of the most common (and funniest) mistakes German learners make

The German language is filled with false friends and words that sound dangerously close to something else with a completely different meaning. Here are some of the most common mistakes non-native speakers make.

MAPS: Where in France has the largest number of second-homes

France is a country of second homes - almost 1 in 10 properties is a holiday home, with buyers - both French and foreign - living their dream of a home by the sea or in the mountains. Here are some of the most popular areas.

When will they cut off my water and electricity if I don’t pay my bills in Spain?

If you don't pay your bills in Spain, like anywhere, you'll could have your water or electricity cut off. But, when will they cut them, and does the company cut them completely? Here's what you need to know.

Reader question: Does Austria allow me to have multiple citizenships?

The issue of multiple citizenships in Austria is complex, with many myths surrounding the subject.

Europe News is brought to you by TheLocal

BBC World News

Ukraine war: 'Children die' in new missile attack on Kyiv

Officials in Ukraine's capital say two children and an adult were killed in an overnight attack.

Debt ceiling deal: US House overwhelmingly passes bill

The Senate must approve the deal and send it to the president's desk this weekend to avoid a default.

Nigeria's fuel subsidy: How the new president has shocked the nation

Bola Tinubu has picked his first big fight with trade unions by deciding to scrap fuel subsidies.

The untold tale of America's first spelling bee victor

Marie Bolden, a black teenager, won the first US spelling bee in 1908. Her win was eclipsed by racism.

US actor Danny Masterson found guilty on two rape counts

Three women said the actor sexually assaulted them at his Hollywood home between 2001-03.

Canadian MPs vote to oust foreign interference tsar

But the special rapporteur, dismissed by critics as the prime minister's "ski buddy", vows to stay on.

AI: War crimes evidence erased by social media platforms

Footage of potential human rights abuses may be lost after platforms delete it, the BBC has found.

Argentina allows morning-after pill to be bought over counter

The health ministry says making the pill more easily available "removes an important barrier".

French Open 2023: Novak Djokovic stands by Kosovo message after criticism

Novak Djokovic has stood by the political message he wrote on a camera lens about Kosovo, saying it is an issue he "stands for".

Mike Pence prepares to challenge Trump in 2024 run

The former president could face a stiff challenge for his party's 2024 presidential nomination.

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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 COVID-19 Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic, also known as the coronavirus pandemic, is a global pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). The novel virus was first identified in an outbreak in the Chinese city of Wuhan in December 2019. Attempts to contain it there failed, allowing the virus to spread to other areas of Asia and later worldwide. The World Health Organization (WHO) declared the outbreak a public health emergency of international concern on 30 January 2020, and began referring to it as a pandemic on 11 March 2020. As of 25 May 2023, the pandemic had caused 766,894,311 cases and 6,935,876 confirmed deaths, making it one of the deadliest in history.

COVID-19 symptoms range from undetectable to deadly, but most commonly include fever, dry cough, and fatigue. Severe illness is more likely in elderly patients and those with certain underlying medical conditions. COVID-19 transmits when people breathe in air contaminated by droplets and small airborne particles containing the virus. The risk of breathing these in is highest when people are in close proximity, but they can be inhaled over longer distances, particularly indoors. Transmission can also occur if contaminated fluids reach the eyes, nose, or mouth, or, more rarely, through contaminated surfaces. Infected individuals are typically contagious for 10 days and can spread the virus even if they do not develop symptoms. Mutations have produced many strains (variants) with varying degrees of infectivity and virulence.

The COVID-19 vaccines have been approved and widely distributed in various countries since December 2020. According to a June 2022 study, COVID-19 vaccines prevented an additional 14.4 million to 19.8 million deaths in 185 countries and territories from 8 December 2020 to 8 December 2021. Other preventive measures include social distancing, wearing masks, improving ventilation and air filtration, and quarantining those who have been exposed or are infected. Treatments include novel antiviral drugs and symptom control. Common public health mitigation measures during the emergency phase included travel restrictions, lockdowns, business restrictions and closures, workplace hazard controls, mask mandates, quarantines, testing systems, and contact tracing of the infected, which, together with treatments, served to bring about the control of the pandemic.

The pandemic has triggered severe social and economic disruption around the world, including the largest global recession since the Great Depression. Widespread supply shortages, including food shortages, were caused by supply chain disruptions and panic buying. Reduced human activity led to an unprecedented decrease in pollution. Educational institutions and public areas were partially or fully closed in many jurisdictions, and many events were cancelled or postponed during 2020 and 2021. Many white-collar workers began working from home. Misinformation has circulated through social media and mass media, and political tensions have intensified. The pandemic has raised issues of racial and geographic discrimination, health equity, and the balance between public health imperatives and individual rights.

The WHO ended its declaration of COVID-19 being a global health emergency on 5 May 2023, but continued to refer to it as a pandemic. Prior to this, some countries had already transitioned their public health approach towards regarding COVID-19 as an endemic disease.

Source: Wikipedia (May 25, 2023)

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

Seventy-sixth World Health Assembly – Daily update: 27 May 2023

First global strategy on infection prevention and control

The World Health Assembly agreed today on the first-ever global strategy on infection prevention and control (IPC), which builds on almost two decades of efforts led by WHO and partners. The strategy provides Member States with strategic directions to substantially reduce the ongoing risk of health care-associated infections (HAIs), including those that exhibit antimicrobial resistance.

HAIs are among the most frequent adverse events occurring in the context of health service delivery. The COVID-19 pandemic and recent major disease outbreaks such as Ebola virus disease, the Middle East respiratory syndrome and the Sudan virus disease have clearly exposed the existing gaps in IPC programmes in all countries.

The strategy sets a clear vision: by 2030, everyone accessing or providing health care is safe from associated infections. Its three key objectives are: to prevent infection in health care; act to ensure IPC programmes are in place and implemented; and coordinate IPC activities with other areas and sectors.

The strategy is focused on any setting where health care is delivered, across the health system; it is based on the principle of clean and safe care as a fundamental component of the right to health, which is equity driven, and which should ensure accountability and sustainability.

The global IPC strategy will be complemented by, and used in conjunction with, an associated global action plan and monitoring framework, that will be developed in 2023–2024.

Related document

Draft global strategy on infection prevention and control, Executive summary Report by the Director-General

Related link

WHO's work on infection prevention and control

Historic resolution paves the way for strengthening rehabilitation in health systems

Today the World Health Assembly agreed a landmark resolution on strengthening rehabilitation in health systems. Rehabilitation services play a key role in ensuring the enjoyment of human rights including the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health. It also promotes sexual and reproductive health, and recognizes the right to work and the right to education.

This landmark resolution aims to address the challenges in rehabilitation such as the need to:

The resolution lists a range of actions to be taken by the WHO Secretariat such as: publishing a baseline report by the end of 2026 with information on the capacity of Member States to respond to rehabilitation needs; developing targets and indicators for effective coverage of rehabilitation services by 2030; ensuring appropriate resources are allocated at WHO to support Member States in implementing technical guidance and resources; and supporting Member States to integrate rehabilitation and assistive technology in their emergency preparedness and response plan.

The WHO Secretariat will report on progress in the implementation of this resolution to the Health Assembly in 2026, 2028 and 2030.

Related document

Strengthening rehabilitation in health systems

Related link

WHO's work on rehabilitation

The items above were discussed as part of the document  A76/7 Rev.1 - Consolidated report by the Director-General. 

Resolution on strengthening diagnostics capacity

On 26 May Member States endorsed a resolution to strengthen diagnostics capacity in countres and to improve access to diagnostic services.

The broad ranging resolution recognizes that diagnostic services are vital for the prevention, surveillance, diagnosis, case management, monitoring and treatment of communicable, noncommunicable, neglected tropical and rare diseases, injuries, and disabilities. Diagnostics allow for the precise identification of diseases, and therefore the timely initiation of the correct treatments for better health outcomes.

The resolution considers the full spectrum of “diagnostics”, thus including both “in vitro” laboratory tests e.g. rapid diagnostic tests and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and “non in vitro” diagnostics e.g. imaging or blood pressure measurement devices. It covers actions for research and development, manufacturing (including local production and technology transfer), regulation, selection and procurement, awareness, advocacy and addressing access barriers in general.

The implementation of the resolution will build and expand on previous and current work at three levels of WHO to help countries improve access to diagnostic services. The Secretariat is requested to report on implementation progress in 2025.

Related document

Strengthening diagnostics capacity

Seventy-sixth World Health Assembly – Daily update: 26 May 2023

Gearing up for a historic UN High-Level Meeting on Universal Health Coverage

Member States expressed alarm that millions of people cannot access life-saving and health-enhancing interventions. Out-of-pocket spending on health catastrophically affects over 1 billion people, pushing hundreds of millions of people into extreme poverty. The situation has worsened due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In response, Member States agreed a resolution supporting preparations for the United Nations High-Level Meeting (HLM) on Universal Health Coverage (UHC) in September 2023. UHC means that all people have access to the full range of quality health services they need without financial hardship.

In a transformative policy shift, Member States across high-, middle- and low-income countries expressed strong commitment to reorient their health systems based on primary health care (PHC) as a foundation for achieving health for all and reaching the furthest left behind first. About 90% of UHC interventions can be delivered using a PHC approach; from health promotion to prevention, treatment, rehabilitation and palliative care, potentially saving 60 million lives by 2030.

The Member States emphasized the importance of demonstrating the highest-level political commitment at the HLM in September with the aim of achieving resulting in a concise, action-oriented declaration for UHC.

Related documents

Preparation for the high-level meeting of the United Nations General Assembly on universal health coverage


Stronger national plans needed for emergency care to respond to all hazards

In a new resolution agreed today, the World Health Assembly called for timely additional global efforts to strengthen the planning and provision of quality emergency, critical and operative care (ECO) services. Robust ECO services are at the foundation of national health systems, and the need to be able to respond effectively to emergency events, including all hazards.

Concerned that the COVID-19 pandemic revealed pervasive gaps in the capacity, preparedness of delivery of ECO worldwide, the Assembly urges Member States to, among other actions, create national policies for sustainable funding, effective governance and universal access to needs-based ECO care for all; and promote more coherent, inclusive and accessible approaches to safeguard effective ECO care in disasters, fragile settings and conflict-affected areas.

The Assembly requests the Secretariat to provide progress reports on implementation of this resolution in 2025, 2027 and 2029. 

Related documents

Integrated emergency, critical and operative care for universal health coverage and protection from health emergencies

Related links


More cost-effective “best buys” endorsed to save lives from noncommunicable diseases

Delegates today endorsed a new menu of cost-effective interventions recommended by WHO recognized as “best buys” to help prevent and control noncommunicable diseases (NCDs). It includes an increased number of “best buys”, giving countries of every income level more options to save more lives from the world's top killers.

Among these are prevention interventions such as support to help people quit smoking, promotion and support for breastfeeding and policies to protect children from harmful food marketing.

The updated “best buys” also include treatment for asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases and the early diagnosis and treatment of cancers such as breast, cervical, colorectal and childhood cancers. They also integrate early detection and comprehensive treatment of cancer for people living with HIV.

The interventions will help countries to accelerate national action to prevent and control NCDs, accelerating progress towards achieving the SDG 3.4 target and paving the way for increased political commitment in the lead-up to the fourth High-level Meeting of the United Nations General Assembly on the prevention and control of NCDs in 2025.

The Health Assembly also took note of the report on the acceleration plan to support Member States in implementing the recommendations for the prevention and management of obesity over the life course. Twenty-eight countries are now rolling out the acceleration plan, the progress will be recorded and reported back to the Assembly. Their experiences will inform policies and action for all other Member States to accelerate action on obesity.

Related documents

EB152 (11)
Political declaration of the third high-level meeting of the General Assembly on the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases, and mental health


Refugee and migrant health global action plan extended until 2030

Refugees and migrants have a right to access health services during their journey and in the host country without experiencing financial hardship. This effort has an important place in the overall global drive for universal health coverage by 2030.

Today in Committee B Member States agreed a resolution to extend the WHO Global Action Plan on promoting the health of refugees and migrants until 2030. The global action plan addresses various challenges faced by refugees and migrants and outlines specific measures to be put in place, such as:

The resolution lists a range of actions to be taken by the WHO Secretariat, such as convening informal consultations at least every two years with Member States to identify and share challenges, lessons learned, and best practices for the implementation of actions within the WHO global action plan; providing technical assistance, developing guidelines and promoting knowledge sharing; as well as collaboration and coordination within and among Member States.

The decision comes ahead of the Third global consultation on the health of refugees and migrants to take place in June 2023, which aims to assess progress, build further political commitment on refugee and migrant health, inform future policy deliberations, including the upcoming 2023 General Assembly High-Level Meeting on Universal Health Coverage, and guide the continuous implementation of WHO global action plan.

The WHO Secretariat will report on the progress in implementing this resolution to the Health Assembly in 2025, 2027, and 2029.

Related documents

Extension of the WHO global action plan on promoting the health of refugees and migrants, 2019–2023 to 2030

Related links


WHO traditional medicine strategy extended to 2025

The World Health Assembly (WHA) today agreed to extend the WHO traditional medicine strategy 2014-2023 for an additional two years, until 2025. The Assembly requested the Director-General to draft a new global strategy 2025–2034 and present it to the 78th WHA in 2025 for consideration.

The Assembly recognized the efforts of Member States to evaluate the potential of traditional and complementary Medicine (T&CM) through an evidence-based approach, including rigorous clinical research. It also recognized the value and the diversity of the cultures of Indigenous Peoples and local communities and their holistic traditional knowledge.

The decision highlighted the importance of WHO’s role in providing technical support for the integration of evidence-based T&CM into national health systems and services, and the support to regulation of T&CM practices, products and practitioners.

Under the 2014-2023 strategy, WHO is supporting countries that wish to develop a proactive policy towards this important - and often vibrant and expanding - part of health care. WHO’s strategic policy and technical support enables countries to harness the potential of T&CM in contributing to health, well-being, and people-centred health care. 

Since 2014, WHO has been focused on building the knowledge base for active management of T&CM and the appropriate integration, regulation and supervision of evidence-based, safe and quality T&CM into national health systems and services.

Related documents

WHO traditional medicine strategy: 2014–2023, Report by the Director-General

Related links


Resolution on Increasing access to medical oxygen

Member States endorsed a resolution recognizing the critical role of medical oxygen for treatment of hypoxemia (blood oxygen deficiency) across many diseases, including pneumonia and tuberculosis, and in particular for older populations and other vulnerable groups, and for surgery and trauma.

In developing countries many health facilities lack uninterrupted access to medical oxygen, resulting in preventable deaths – a problem that has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, when the need for medical oxygen has exceeded the capacities of many health systems.

Oxygen has been included on the WHO Model List of Essential Medicines (EML) since 1979 and has been included in the WHO EML for children (EMLc) since its first edition in 2007. There are no therapeutic alternatives to oxygen on the Model Lists.

This resolution recognizes that medical oxygen generation and distribution requires a specialized infrastructure. It also underscores the need for its delivery to be safely and accurately executed using good quality medical devices through interdisciplinary health workforce, including engineers.

The new resolution urges Member States to set up, as appropriate, national and subnational medical oxygen systems in order to secure the uninterrupted provision of medical oxygen to health care facilities at all levels including both rural and urban set-ups. It underlines WHO’s role in supporting Member States through developing guidelines, technical specifications, forecasting tools, training materials and other resources, and by providing technical support especially designed to improve access to medical oxygen to meet the needs of health systems in developing countries. 

Related documents

The above items were included in the following documents:

Reorienting health systems to primary health care as a resilient foundation for universal health coverage and preparations for a high-level meeting of the United Nations General Assembly on universal health coverage, Report by the Director-General

A76/7 Rev.1 
The consolidated report by the Director-General

A76/7 Add.1 - Political declaration of the third high-level meeting of the General Assembly on the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases, and mental health, Report by the Director-General

EB 152.4
Increasing access to medical oxygen

Related links


Polio eradication and transition planning

The WHA evaluated the unique epidemiological opportunity which exists over the next six months to eradicate the remaining chains of endemic wild poliovirus transmission. Operations need to be adapted to reach the remaining un- or under-immunized children in the identified subnational consequential geographies.

The Assembly noted that the effort to eradicate polio remains a Public Health Emergency of International Concern under the auspices of the International Health Regulations and urged countries to minimize the risk and consequences of spread of disease to polio-free areas.

At the same time, delegates called for continued global support to the effort, to ensure all necessary financial and political commitments to achieve success are mobilized. Noting the role the polio infrastructure plays in broader public health efforts, delegates urged this infrastructure to be transitioned into national health plans in a context-specific manner.

In conclusion, the Assembly called for collective and global collaboration to achieve a lasting polio-free world once and for all.

Related documents

Poliomyelitis eradication, Report by the Director-General

Polio transition planning and polio post-certification, Report by the Director-General

Related links


Delegates highlight priority actions to catch-up, restore and strengthen immunization services

Today Member States and partners participated in a Strategic Roundtable on A safer and healthier tomorrow through restoring essential immunization today. Immunization is a priority programme for WHO, particularly in 2023, following the significant setbacks resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. With 67 million children missing at least one essential vaccine during the last three years finding these children is a matter of urgency.

Efforts to find zero-dose children (children who have not received one single dose of vaccine) will require effort from organizations and individuals at all levels – global, national and local - to catch-up on vaccination coverage, and recover and strengthen their immunization programmes. As Dr George Mwinnyaa, a community health worker pointed out “Community health workers know where the zero-dose children are, they do not need maps for their own communities”.

Today’s roundtable was a collaborative discussion about the role of community and frontline health workers in catch-up efforts, along with the funding and partnerships required to recover from programme disruptions and to strengthen systems to ensure equitable access to immunization services.

The session was introduced by Dr Kate O’Brien, WHO Director, Immunization, Vaccines and Biologicals, moderated by Renee Ngamau and featured Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General; Dr Ali Haji Adam Abubakar, Minister of Health, Somalia; Dr Seth Berkley, CEO, Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance; Dr Yassen Tcholakov, Health worker, Canada; Dr George Mwinnya, Community health worker, Ghana; Dr Sheetal Sharma, Senior Immunization Advisor, CORE Group; and Dr Andrei Cazacu, Ministry of Health, Moldova.

“We have an emergency in front of us”, said Dr Bruce Aylward, WHO Assistant Director-General, Universal Health Coverage, Life Course, in concluding the session “the clock is ticking, we will act now and act together.”

Related links: