Fri, 17 Sep 2021

Humanitarian Groups: Myanmar Has Urgent COVID-Related Needs

Voice of America
02 Aug 2021, 20:35 GMT+10

A group of 16 humanitarian aid organizations has issued a joint statement warning about the "spiraling humanitarian catastrophe in Myanmar triggered by skyrocketing COVID-19 cases and widespread violence."

"Over 60 per cent of reported deaths from COVID-19 in Myanmar have occurred in the past month alone, with the number of confirmed cases doubling in the last two months," according to the statement issued on August 2.

"Healthcare facilities from Kachin to Mandalay to Yangon remain shuttered as healthcare workers face violence and threats," the statement said. "More than 400 doctors and 180 nurses have been given arrest warrants since the military takeover in February 2021."

"The communities we work with are desperate and dying . . . The population needs safe and fair access to humanitarian aid and health care now," Laura Marshall, Country Director for the Norwegian Refugee Council in Myanmar, said in the statement.

Canada's Public Health Agency said in a statement last week that it fined two people nearly $20,000 each "for providing false information related to proof of vaccination credentials and pre-departure tests, as well as, for non-compliance with the requirement to stay at a government-authorized accommodation and on-arrival testing requirements."

A person receives a dose of the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine at the Central Middlesex Hospital in London A person receives a dose of the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine at the Central Middlesex Hospital in London, Aug. 1, 2021.

Britain will begin offering a booster dose of a COVID-19 vaccine to 32 million Britons starting in early September, The Telegraph reported Sunday. The shots will be available in as many as 2,000 pharmacies with the goal of getting them into arms by early December.

The government has been preparing since at least June, when the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization, or the JCVI, called for a plan to offer the third shot to people 70 years old or older, care home residents and those who are vulnerable for health reasons.

At least 90% of British adults have received at least one shot, but that rate falls to 60% for those 18-30 years old, government figures show.

To encourage younger adults to get vaccinated before colder weather prompts people to spend more time indoors, the Department of Health and Social Care said that restaurants, food delivery services and ride-hailing apps are offering discounts to persuade people to be vaccinated.

"The lifesaving vaccines not only protect you, your loved ones and your community, but they are helping to bring us back together by allowing you to get back to doing the things you've missed," Health Secretary Sajid Javid said, according to the Associated Press.

British Formula 1 driver Lewis Hamilton, who tested positive for COVID-19 in December, said he may be suffering its effects after appearing unwell Sunday after finishing second at the Hungarian Grand Prix.

"I've been fighting all year really with staying healthy after what happened at the end of last year and it's still, it's a battle," the 36-year-old said after seeing a doctor following the race. "I haven't spoken to anyone about it, but I think (the effects of COVID-19 are) lingering. I remember the effects of when I had it and training has been different since then."

In Berlin, thousands marched Sunday to protest pandemic restrictions and about 600 protesters were detained after clashes with police, the AP reported.

While Germany eased many of its restrictions in May, large gatherings remain banned. The number of new cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, remain low but are rising. Germany, with a population of 83 million, reported 2,100 new cases Sunday, more than 500 above last Sunday's number.

Since the pandemic began, Germany has reported 3.8 million cases and 92,000 deaths.

There are 198.3 million cases of COVID-19 as of early Monday and 4.2 million deaths globally, according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center.

Some information for this report comes from The Associated Press, Agence France-Presse and Reuters.

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