America News

Harvard Business School temporarily moves some MBA classes online to curb Covid outbreak

Harvard Business School moved all in-person classes for first-year MBA and some second-year students online this week to try to curb a recent Covid-19 surge.

Dr. Scott Gottlieb sees vaccines for kids as a key to turning the tide in the Covid pandemic

"Once adults are able to vaccinate their kids, the anxiety about getting a breakthrough infection" will start to ease, the former FDA chief said.

5 things to know before the stock market opens Monday

U.S. stock futures were under pressure after the Dow on Friday eked out a third straight session of gains in a wild week.

Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla predicts normal life will return within a year and adds we may need annual Covid shots

Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said "within a year," normal life will return, and we may need annual Covid shots, in an interview on ABC's "This Week."

Singapore is seeing daily record Covid cases. Here's why it may not be a bad thing

The Covid wave may mean people are gaining further protection against future infection while avoiding severe illness, two medical experts told CNBC.

American News is brought to you by CNBC

Europe News

KEY POINTS: What changes about life in Norway in October 2021 

A new government is definitely on the way, but could new travel rules be introduced too? Here's what changes about life in Norway in October 2021. 

AS IT HAPPENED: German politicians ready teams for post-election talks

The centre-left SPD has emerged as the strongest party in Germany - now the coalition talks begin. Here's how the day after the elections unfolded.

Five things you need to know about the German election

From the Scholz-effect and the conservative disaster to the way that different age groups are voting, here's a look at what went right, what went wrong, and what the young people want in Germany.

France to make tips paid by card tax free

French President Emmanuel Macron has announced that customer tips in cafés and restaurants will no longer be subject to tax, in an effort to make the industry more attractive to potential employees.

France to end free Covid tests for all in October

The French prime minister has confirmed that Covid tests will no longer be free for all residents of France from the middle of October.

Europe News is brought to you by TheLocal

BBC World News

R Kelly guilty in sex trafficking trial

After decades of abuse allegations, singer R. Kelly found guilty on all counts in sex trafficking trial

Australia: Footage captures car careering across eight lanes

A woman and child were injured, but Australian police say it's "incredibly lucky" others weren't hurt.

South Korea's president mulls dog meat ban as consumption dwindles

An estimated one million dogs are slaughtered in South Korea for human consumption each year.

Beirut port explosion investigation suspended for second time

Families of the victims of the catastrophe react angrily after the investigating judge is taken off.

Afghanistan: Social media users delete profiles over fear of attack

Prominent online critics of the Islamist group in Afghanistan remove content over fear of attack.

Man killed as Crete struck by 5.8-magnitude earthquake

Officials say the man died when a church dome collapsed on the southern Greek island.

Instagram for kids paused after backlash

Facebook delays its child-friendly Instagram version to do more work with concerned parents.

Germany elections: Centre-left claim narrow win over Merkel's party

The Social Democrats beat the party of outgoing Chancellor Merkel and may need weeks to form a coalition.

German election: Seven things we learned

Seats, Schleswig and an ex-spy: here are some of the sidelights from Sunday's vote.

Fire, smoke and colour as Ethiopians mark Meskel

Worshippers gathered to mark the eve of one of the country's biggest Orthodox Christian festivals.

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 COVID-19 Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic, also known as the coronavirus pandemic, is an ongoing global pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). The virus was first identified in December 2019 in Wuhan, China. The World Health Organization (WHO) declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern regarding COVID-19 on 30 January 2020, and later declared a pandemic on 11 March 2020. As of 2 June 2021, more than 171 million cases have been confirmed, with more than 3.56 million confirmed deaths attributed to COVID-19, making it one of the deadliest pandemics in history.

Symptoms of COVID-19 are highly variable, ranging from none to life-threateningly severe. COVID-19 transmits when people breathe in air contaminated by droplets and small airborne particles. 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 splashed or sprayed with contaminated fluids, in the eyes nose or mouth, and rarely via contaminated surfaces. People remain contagious for up to 20 days, and can spread the virus even if they do not develop any symptoms.

Recommended preventive measures include social distancing, wearing face masks in public, ventilation and air-filtering, hand washing, covering one's mouth when sneezing or coughing, disinfecting surfaces, and monitoring and self-isolation for people exposed or symptomatic. Several vaccines have been developed and widely distributed since December 2020. Current treatments focus on addressing symptoms, but work is underway to develop medications that inhibit the virus. Authorities worldwide have responded by implementing travel restrictions, lockdowns and quarantines, workplace hazard controls, and business closures. Numerous jurisdictions have also worked to increase testing capacity and trace contacts of the infected.

The pandemic has resulted in significant global social and economic disruption, including the largest global recession since the Great Depression of the 1930s. It has led to widespread supply shortages exacerbated by panic buying, agricultural disruption, and food shortages. However, there have also been decreased emissions of pollutants and greenhouse gases. Numerous educational institutions and public areas have been partially or fully closed, and many events have been cancelled or postponed. Misinformation has circulated through social media and mass media, and political tensions have been exacerbated. The pandemic has raised issues of racial and geographic discrimination, health equity, and the balance between public health imperatives and individual rights.

Source: Wikipedia (June 2, 2021)

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

ACT-Accelerator partnership welcomes leadership and commitments at US COVID Summit to ending COVID-19 pandemic through equitable access to tests, treatments, and vaccines

Global leaders attending the US-hosted Global COVID-19 Summit on 22 September re-affirmed their commitment to ending the acute phase of the pandemic, and the goals of the ACT-Accelerator, by agreeing targets to provide equitable access to COVID-19 tests, treatments, and vaccines.

Global targets agreed at the Summit include vaccinating 40% of the world’s population in 2021 and 70% of the population in 2022; achieving testing rates of one per 1,000 people per day in all countries by the end of 2021; and for all facilities treating patients with severe COVID-19 to have sufficient oxygen supplies, quality-assured treatments and PPE.

Currently the world is facing a two-track pandemic, where public health measures are starting to lift among highly vaccinated populations, while those in low and middle-income countries are still grappling with lockdowns, high death rates and insufficient tools to fight the virus. The economic case could not be clearer. Research from the International Chamber of Commerce shows that vaccine nationalism could cost rich countries US$4.5 trillion.

The ACT-Accelerator partnership welcomes President Biden’s political leadership and new commitments in support of these goals, including additional financing, dose donations, and the establishment of an EU-US taskforce to work toward vaccination objectives. These targets have come at a crucial time ahead of the G20 in Rome in October, and as the ACT-Accelerator prepares to launch its new Strategy and Budget.

Carl Bildt, WHO Special Envoy for the ACT-Accelerator and former Prime Minister of Sweden, said: “President Biden’s COVID-19 Summit should be the tipping point to ending the pandemic. We saw significant commitments from global leaders towards the goals of the ACT-Accelerator and agreement on what needs to be done to defeat the pandemic. In the next month, we must see concrete progress towards the fulfilment of these ambitious goals.

“Right now, 1.5 billion doses of vaccine are being produced every month, but most of the world doesn’t have access to any of them. Sick people need oxygen now. Doctors and nurses need PPE. Without widespread testing we risk being blindsided by the next variant. Manufacturers need to deliver their promised doses to COVAX and AVAT. Rich countries need to honour their promises to global access and make space at the front of the queue. All countries need to step up, because we cannot afford to go through the full Greek alphabet of variants.”

The ACT-Accelerator is the only integrated, end-to-end solution to the pandemic everywhere. The partnership is committed to making sure that the targets agreed become a reality. In order to achieve this, the global response - estimated at $50bn by the IMF - needs to be fully funded. Compared to the trillions spent by G20 countries mitigating the consequences of the pandemic, and the trillions more that will be spent if it continues, that is an unbeatable return on investment.

Background

The Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator (ACT-Accelerator) is a global coalition of organizations developing and deploying the new diagnostics, treatments and vaccines needed to end the acute phase of the pandemic. Pooling the expertise of its many partners, the ACT-Accelerator has quickly ushered in rapid, affordable tests and effective medicines, and established the COVAX facility for the equitable procurement and distribution of vaccines in low- and middle-income countries.

The ACT Accelerator’s work is more vital than ever as new variants of the virus threaten to resist current COVID-19 tools, posing the risk of more death, illness, and social and economic harm. The ACT-Accelerator has four areas of work, or pillars:


UNICEF is a cross-cutting partner of the ACT-Accelerator, providing programmatic support and procurement of supplies for countries across all Pillars. A workstream on access and allocation of COVID-19 products, hosted by WHO, cuts across the four pillars.

The ACT-Accelerator partnership was formed at the onset of the pandemic in response to a call from G20 leaders, and was launched by WHO, the European Commission, France and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Critical funding for the effort comes from an unprecedented mobilization of donors, including countries, the private sector, philanthropists and multilateral partners. It has supported the fastest, most coordinated, and successful global effort in history to develop tools to fight a disease.

What Needs to Change to Enhance Covid-19 Vaccine Access

The Independent Allocation Vaccine Group (IAVG) was established by the WHO in January 2021 and is composed of 12 members who serve in their personal, independent capacities to review and assess Vaccine Allocation Decision (VAD) proposals generated by the COVAX Facility Joint Allocation Taskforce (JAT) on the volumes of vaccines that should be allocated to each participant under COVAX within a given time frame[1].

The IAVG continues to be very concerned about the evolution of the pandemic, and its health, social and economic impacts, and offers its full support to COVAX Partners to ensure that critical messages are channelled to the relevant fora to raise the awareness of governments, manufacturers and stakeholders of challenges in access to COVID-19 vaccines. 

The IAVG is concerned about the 25% reduction in supply forecast for the fourth quarter of 2021. It is also concerned about the prioritization of bilateral deals over international collaboration and solidarity, export restrictions and decisions by some countries to administer booster doses to their adult populations.

During its last meeting on 17 September, the IAVG revisited issues previously raised pertaining to vaccine supply, vaccine allocation, and vaccine administration and offers the following perspectives:   

Vaccine supply

The IAVG continues to be concerned by the low supply of vaccines to COVAX, and reiterates the need for manufacturers, vaccine producing and high-coverage countries to prioritize vaccine equity and transparency, the sharing of information about manufacturing capacity and supply schedules to COVAX, as well as vaccine access plans.  While recognizing the need for additional doses to protect certain vulnerable, immune-compromised populations, the IAVG suggests countries collect and review more evidence before implementing policies regarding the administration of booster doses to their populations.

Vaccine allocation

The recent exceptional allocation round at which the recommendation was made that the October COVAX supply be fully dedicated to those countries with a low population coverage, after accounting for all sources of vaccines, is a step forward in achieving equitable access. The IAVG supports the decision of prioritizing COVAX supply for those countries most likely relying solely on COVAX for access to COVID-19 vaccines and supports the continuation of this approach in future rounds.

The IAVG notes that so far only three manufacturers have waived indemnification and liability for use in humanitarian settings, and none have been waived for use at country level. This has consequences for vaccines allocated to the humanitarian buffer, as well as potentially setting precedents for future use.

Vaccine administration

The IAVG has considered the information and data on absorptive capacity in countries with low total population coverage and brings the following issues to the attention of the COVAX Partners for further consideration: 

COVAX remains the main global access mechanism able to serve all countries and ensure equitable access. The IAVG stands strongly behind this initiative.

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[1] The IAVG (https://www.who.int/groups/iavg) acknowledges that the role of the WHO within COVAX is to provide guidance on vaccine policy, regulation, safety, research and development, vaccine allocation, and country readiness and delivery, in partnership with UNICEF.  As of today, the IAVG has validated allocation through COVAX for a total of 362.8 million doses of vaccines.