WHO explores ways to strengthen urgent response

GENEVA – French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel are among those joining efforts to strengthen the World Health Organization and fight pandemics as the UN agency opens its assembly annual with an ongoing draft resolution that recognizes the missteps in the response to COVID-19[FEMININE[FEMININE

The European Union and Vanuatu are behind the resolution that would create a working group on strengthening WHO’s preparedness and response to health emergencies.

“We must have institutions up to the task, which meet our ambitions,” Macron said via video during the mostly virtual meeting. WHO, he said, must be “robust” and “flexible” in times of emergency and crisis. “And it has to be completely transparent to make sure people trust the organization.”

Merkel supported the idea of ​​a “global council on the threat to health” and said leaders should provide the WHO with “sustainable financial and personal support”.

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The resolution would create a six-person working group to report to the assembly next year. The text recognizes the “serious gaps” in the world’s capacity to prepare for, prevent, detect and respond to health emergencies.

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MORE ON THE VIRUS EPIDEMIC:

– India takes another dark step: 300,000 lost due to the virus

Stories of the virus from a poor American city that’s been hit hard

– Japan opens mass vaccination centers in the race for the Olympic Games

– First steps towards reopening for Berlin clubs

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Follow AP’s pandemic coverage further on https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic and https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-vaccine

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HERE’S WHAT ELSE HAPPENS:

LONDON – British health officials expressed optimism on Sunday that the remaining coronavirus restrictions in England can be lifted in June after an official study found that Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines provide effective protection against variant first identified in India.

British authorities have expressed concern in recent weeks that increasing cases of the Indian variant could undermine the UK’s successful plan to reopen its economy so far. More than 2,880 cases of the Indian variant have been recorded in England, according to the figures.

The government said the variant appears to be more heritable, but there was still uncertainty as to the severity of this situation.

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Jenny Harries, chief executive of the UK Health Security Agency, said UK officials are on track to take the final step of unlocking the country from June 21 if the public remains cautious.

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PARIS – The French Foreign Minister has said that it is possible that France will introduce stricter coronavirus restrictions for British visitors when tourism reopens this summer, to avoid the spread of a variant of worrying virus first detected in India and causing concern in Britain.

Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian suggested Britain could be placed in its own health category, somewhere between the more stringent measures France imposes on visitors from India and 15 other countries, and more relaxed requirements for visitors. besides.

Speaking on Sunday, Le Drian said “somewhat stronger sanitary measures” could be applied to British tourists.

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ISLAMABAD – Pakistani federal authorities on Sunday reported a decrease in deaths and new cases of COVID-19 and decided to reopen tourist resorts from Monday, but only for those who have tested negative or have been vaccinated.

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According to the earlier ruling by the federal body, schools and higher education institutions are also due to open by Monday, with the exception of the southern province of Sindh which has chosen to keep them closed for another two weeks. .

Federal authorities have reported 74 deaths from COVID-19 and just over 3,000 new cases of the virus in a single day.

The national body to fight the spread of the virus has urged people to continue to adhere to precautionary measures of wearing a mask and maintaining physical distance in public places and while traveling on public transport. They also stressed that people should get vaccinated.

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BRASILIA, Brazil – Brazil’s Minister of Health has said the government is concerned about the variant of the coronavirus first identified in India after the first cases were confirmed in the South American country.

Marcelo Queiroga has denied, however, that there has been community transmission of the variant, which was first identified in Brazil in the northeastern state of Maranhão, where 100 people are being monitored. A case was also confirmed on Saturday in the state of Ceará.

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According to Queiroga, 600,000 rapid tests will be sent to Maranhão to monitor the possible spread of the variant and he said health barriers will be put in place at airports, highways and roads in Maranhão to contain his movement. All passengers passing through airports or northeastern state borders will be required to take the rapid test.

Brazil suspended flights from India last week following the recommendation of the National Health Surveillance Agency.

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WINDOW ROCK, Arizona – The Navajo Nation has reported 12 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 and two additional deaths.

Tribal health officials said the latest figures released on Saturday evening brought the total number of cases since the pandemic began more than a year ago to 30,767 in the vast reserve that covers parts of the country. Arizona, New Mexico and Utah.

The known death toll is now 1,299.

As of Saturday, there were two new cases of coronavirus on the reserve but no deaths reported.

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Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez said more than half of the reserve’s adult population has been vaccinated.

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BOSTON – The number of people fully vaccinated against COVID-19 in Massachusetts is approaching 50%, state officials said.

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health said on Saturday evening that more than 3.4 million people in the state were fully vaccinated. Massachusetts has a population of approximately 7 million.

New England states have punctuated the country by vaccinating residents against the virus, which has killed more than 580,000 Americans.

Massachusetts has the second highest percentage of fully vaccinated residents in the United States after Connecticut, and Maine is third, according to data from the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.


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