America News

How San Francisco succeeded more than other U.S. cities in fighting the coronavirus

San Francisco's response wasn't perfect, given a few recent mini surges, but it still did a decent job overall of controlling the pandemic. Here's why.

Coronavirus updates: Washington can't reach a stimulus deal; New York green lights fall school reopening

The coronavirus has infected more than 19.1 million people around the world as of Friday, killing at least 715,555 people.

Dr. Anthony Fauci says chance of coronavirus vaccine being highly effective is 'not great'

Scientists are hoping for a coronavirus vaccine that is at least 75% effective, but 50% or 60% effective would be acceptable, too, Dr. Anthony Fauci said.

New York Gov. Cuomo says all school districts across state are authorized to reopen

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that all school districts across the state have been authorized to reopen for the fall semester, including New York City.

Hawaii reinstates coronavirus restrictions: 'There's no question that the virus is surging'

"There is no question that the virus is surging in our state, and I know that many are worried about their health," Hawaii Gov. David Ige said.

American News is brought to you by CNBC

Europe News

Italian cabinet approves 25-billion-euro stimulus package

The Italian government on Friday approved a stimulus package totalling 25 billion euros to revive an economy battered by the coronavirus crisis.

How coronavirus is spreading through Switzerland

Last week, Swiss health officials published numbers indicating that nearly half of all new infections in the past fortnight came from nightclubs. Now they say these figures are incorrect.

Why coronavirus spike in Aarhus was not caused by a single event

Denmark’s second city Aarhus is emerging as an outbreak area as coronavirus cases in the country begin to creep upwards. But no particular event – or group – can be blamed for the outbreak, according to an expert.

Seven English words Swiss Germans get delightfully wrong

From 'shitstorms' to 'wellness' weekends, here are seven ways Swiss German speakers make English their own.

'Italy should be wary of tourists, not vice versa': The verdict on visiting Italy this summer

We asked our readers: Should people avoid an Italian holiday this summer, if not for their own sake then for Italy's? Here's what you had to say.

Europe News is brought to you by TheLocal

BBC World News

Mogadishu: Several killed in attack at Somali military base

The militant group Al-Shabab has said it was behind the explosion that rocked the capital Mogadishu.

MV Wakashio: Mauritius declares emergency as stranded ship leaks oil

Mauritius declares a state of emergency after Japanese-owned carrier MV Wakashio starts leaking oil.

'No sign of surveillance' as migrants flee France

Migrants, with a baby reportedly among them, are filmed setting out to sea 20 miles east of Calais.

US election 2020: Democrats call for inquiry into Postal Service changes

The agency's chief, a Trump donor, insists it will be able to deliver postal votes on time in November.

Joe Arpaio: Former Arizona sheriff fails to regain old job

Joe Arpaio, known for his harsh immigration tactics, is beaten in the primary by his former deputy.

Hong Kong: US imposes sanctions on chief executive Carrie Lam

The sanctions on Carrie Lam and others are for "undermining" the Chinese territory's autonomy.

Coronavirus: Last-ditch talks on new aid package for US economy fail

With benefits expired for millions of jobless and mass evictions looming, lawmakers go on holiday.

US election 2020: China, Russia and Iran 'trying to influence' vote

Russia wants a second term for President Trump while China does not, a US intelligence chief says.

Coronavirus Vietnam: The mysterious resurgence of Covid-19

A central Vietnamese city is back in lockdown as researchers search for the source of a new outbreak.

Coronavirus: India is turning to faster tests to meet targets

With coronavirus cases rising sharply, India has turned to rapid testing kits. But how reliable are they?

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).

Plane carrying WHO trauma and surgical supplies arrives in Beirut, Lebanon

A plane carrying 20 tonnes of WHO health supplies has landed in Beirut, Lebanon, to support the treatment of patients injured by the massive blast that occurred in the city on 4 August. The supplies will cover 1000 trauma interventions and 1000 surgical interventions for people suffering from injuries and burns resulting from the blast.

The shipment was airlifted from WHO’s logistics hub in Dubai earlier this afternoon using a plane donated by the Government of the United Arab Emirates, a key WHO partner in health emergency response.

“Our hearts and prayers are with all those affected by this tragic event as we continue our mission to serve all people in Lebanon with life-saving and essential health care services. We are working closely with national health authorities, health partners and hospitals treating the wounded to identify additional needs and ensure immediate support,” said WHO Representative in Lebanon Dr Iman Shankiti.

As a result of the blast, 3 hospitals in Beirut are now non-functional and 2 hospitals are partially damaged, leaving a critical gap in hospital bed capacity. Injured patients are being transferred to hospitals across the country, as far as south Saida and north Tripoli, and many facilities are overwhelmed. WHO will distribute the supplies to priority hospitals across Lebanon receiving and treating injured patients.

This latest emergency comes in the context of recent civil unrest, a major economic crisis, COVID-19 outbreak and heavy refugee burden. The legendary resilience of the Lebanese people has rarely been so severely tested. Ensuring that there is continuity of the response to COVID-19 – including targeting the most vulnerable for assistance – is a priority for both the Ministry of Public Health and WHO.

“With the emergence of new challenges due to the latest devastating event, the United Nations in Lebanon and partners have been mobilized to provide immediate humanitarian assistance to the Lebanese people in support of the Government’s response to this tragedy. We are in this together, and we are committed to supporting Lebanon in this very difficult time,” said Dr Najat Rochdi, UN Resident Coordinator in Lebanon.


73rd World Health Assembly Decisions

The Member States of the World Health Organization (WHO) have adopted a number of decisions to advance global public health that had been proposed to the 73rd World Health Assembly in May 2020, via a "Written Silence Procedure".

The proposals relate to: strengthening global immunization efforts; cervical cancer prevention and control; a global strategy for tuberculosis research and innovation; eye care - including preventing vision impairment and blindness; strengthening efforts on food safety, a global strategy and plan of action on public health, innovation and intellectual property; a decade of healthy ageing; and influenza preparedness.

Strengthening global immunization efforts to leave no one behind

The Immunization Agenda 2030 strategic proposal envisions a world where everyone, everywhere, at every age, fully benefits from vaccines to improve health and well-being. The key goal is to extend the benefits of vaccines to everyone, everywhere. The strategy is people-centric, led by countries, implemented through broad partnerships and driven by data. It systematically applies these 4 core principles across a set of key priorities, highlighting that immunization is an investment for the future, creating a healthier, safer and more prosperous world for all. 

Vaccines are available to prevent more than 20 life-threatening diseases, helping people of all ages live longer, healthier lives. Immunization currently prevents well over 3 million deaths every year from diseases like diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, influenza and measles; yet far too many people around the world – including nearly 20 million infants each year – have insufficient access to vaccines.

Cervical cancer prevention and control

The WHO global strategy to accelerate the elimination of cervical cancer as a public health problem establishes goals and targets for 2020 to 2030. It focuses on 3 key pillars: prevention through HPV vaccination; screening and treatment of pre-cancerous lesions; and management of invasive cervical cancer, including access to palliative care. All pillars must be pursued collectively to reach elimination.

To eliminate cervical cancer, all countries must reach (and maintain) an incidence below 4 per 100 000 women-years.  To get on the path to elimination, the strategy urges all countries to achieve the following targets by 2030: 90% of girls fully vaccinated (by 15 years of age); 70% coverage of screening with a high-performance test (once by the age of 35 and again by 45 years); and 90% of women who are identified with cervical disease receive treatment (90% of women with pre-cancer treated; 90% of women with invasive cancer managed). Achieving the 90-70-90 targets will yield impact on 2 fronts: we will see reductions in incidence and in mortality.  By 2030, the median cervical cancer incidence rate would fall by 10%, setting the world on the path to avert 70 million cases in the century.

Cervical cancer currently kills more than 300 000 women each year. The fourth most common cancer among women globally, its burden is greatest in low- and middle-income countries, where access to public health services is limited.

Tuberculosis research and innovation

The global strategy for TB research and innovation was developed to support efforts by governments and other partners to accelerate progress and to improve equitable access to the benefits of research in line with the commitments made in the WHO End TB Strategy, the Moscow Declaration to End TB and the political declaration of the United Nations high-level meeting on TB

It highlights 4 major areas for action are highlighted in the strategy: creating an enabling environment for TB research and innovation; increasing financial investments in TB research and innovation; promoting and improving approaches to data sharing; and promoting equitable access to the benefits of research and innovation. The strategy also makes the case for a unified and aligned response in which key partners and affected communities support Member States by undertaking the investments and partnerships that are necessary for accelerating innovation.

The resolution requests WHO to report biennially, until 2030, on the implementation of the strategy.  The resolution calls for the support of the scientific community, international partners and other relevant stakeholders to undertake research and innovation aligned with the needs of the countries most affected by TB; to strengthen public-private partnerships; and to facilitate knowledge sharing. Furthermore, it calls on WHO to provide technical and strategic assistance to Member States in the implementation of the strategy.

Integrated people centred eye care

A new World Health Assembly resolution focuses on the need to integrate people-centred eye care services into health systems. The first ever WHO report on vision (published in 2019) predicts a substantial increase in the number of people with eye conditions and vision impairment in the coming years. The resolution highlights 4 key strategies for Member States to improve access to services and reduce inequities.  The first is to better engage people and communities by raising awareness of the importance of early identification of eye conditions and simplifying access to care for underserved populations. The second is to strengthen eye care in primary health care so people can access services closer to their homes. The third is to improve coordination of eyecare services with other health services and with other sectors such as education and labour. The final recommendation is to integrate eye care into national health strategic plans and universal health coverage schemes. Member States recalled that preventing and addressing vision impairment not only improves quality of life for patients, it also enables them to remain economically productive.

Strengthening efforts on Food Safety 

A new resolution urges Member States to apply a “One Health” approach that promotes the sustainability and availability of safe, sufficient and nutritious food for all populations. Recognizing food safety threats, including foodborne antimicrobial resistance and climate change, the resolution also calls upon Member States to invest in national food safety systems and innovations, and to share timely data and evidence on foodborne disease outbreaks and hazards to the International Network of Food Safety Authorities (INFOSAN).

The Secretariat is requested to update the Global strategy for food safety to address current and emerging challenges and incorporate new technologies and innovative strategies for strengthening food safety systems. It also calls on the WHO Director-General to strengthen the Organization’s leadership in the Codex Alimentarius Commission and INFOSAN, and produce updated foodborne disease estimates by 2025. 

Around the world, an estimated 600 million - almost 1 in 10 people – fall ill after eating contaminated food each year, resulting in 420 000 deaths and the loss of 33 million healthy life years (DALYs). The burden of disease falls disproportionately on the most vulnerable, especially children and those living in developing countries.

Global strategy and plan of action on public health, innovation and intellectual property

The Global strategy and plan of action on public health, innovation and intellectual property urges Member States to reinforce implementation in line with the recommendations of an overall programme review panel. The decision also calls on Member States to further discuss, in informal consultations to be convened by the Director-General, the recommendations of the review panel on promoting and monitoring transparency of medicines prices and actions to prevent shortages. The decision emphasizes the necessity to allocate resources for WHO Secretariat implementation and further requests the Director-General to submit a report on progress made in implementing the decision to the Seventy-fourth World Health Assembly in 2021, through the Executive Board.

Decade of Healthy Ageing

Member States endorsed a proposal for a Decade of Healthy Ageing 2020–2030 and asked the Director-General to report back on progress on its implementation every 3 years during the Decade. The Health Assembly also asked the Director-General to transmit this decision to the Secretary-General of the United Nations for consideration of the proposal for the Decade by the United Nations General Assembly.

Populations around the world are ageing at a faster pace than in the past and this demographic transition will have an impact on almost all aspects of society. Already, there are more than 1 billion people aged 60 years or older, with most living in low- and middle-income countries. Many do not have access to even the basic resources necessary for a life of meaning and dignity. Many others confront multiple barriers that prevent their full participation in society.

The Decade of Healthy Ageing is an opportunity to bring together governments, civil society, international agencies, academia, the media, and the private sector for ten years of concerted, catalytic and collaborative action to improve the lives of older people, their families, and the communities in which they live.

Influenza Preparedness

Member States requested the Secretariat to continue its support for WHO’s Global Influenza Strategy 2019–2030. They also requested the promotion of synergies, where relevant and appropriate, with the International Health Regulations (2005), implementation of national plans for influenza preparedness and response, and immunization programmes. The Secretariat is requested to report back on progress through the Executive Board to the 75th World Health Assembly.