UN alarmed by Covid deaths
The coronavirus pandemic may have indirectly contributed to around 228,000 additional child deaths in 2020, 11,000 maternal fatalities and 3.5 million unwanted pregnancies in South Asia, the United Nations has said in a report.
The study, commissioned by UNICEF and published on Wednesday, blamed “drastic cuts in the availability and use of essential public health services” because of the pandemic across India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Sri Lanka, home to 1.8 billion people.
A digital certificate to kick-start foreign travel should be given to citizens across the EU “without discrimination”, officials say.
The aim is to enable anyone vaccinated against Covid-19, or who has tested negative or recently recovered from the virus to travel within the EU.
The 27 member states will decide how to use the new digital certificate. Vaccine passports have faced opposition from some EU member states over concerns they might be discriminatory.
Some argue that they would enable a minority to enjoy foreign travel without restrictions while others, such as young people who are not seen as a priority for inoculation, continue to face measures such as quarantine. European Commission officials have made clear they want to avoid discrimination.
Climbing Mt Everest
Nepal is investigating how a Bahraini prince planning to climb Mount Everest brought 2,000 coronavirus vaccine doses to the country without prior approval, authorities said.
Sheikh Mohamed Hamad Mohamed Al Khalifa, who flew into Kathmandu on Monday, planned to donate the AstraZeneca shots in a village, according to the Nepali Embassy in Bahrain.
Moderna Inc said it has begun delivering experimental doses of its Covid-19 vaccine to children as part of a study to determine whether it is safe and effective in those as young as six months.
The trial aims to enrol about 6,750 volunteers in the US and Canada. The US’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority are collaborating with the company, Moderna said in a statement.
Brazil is experiencing a historic collapse of its health service as intensive care units in hospitals run out of capacity, its leading health institute, Fiocruz, has warned.
Covid-19 units in all but two of Brazil’s 27 states are at or above 80% capacity, according to Fiocruz. - Agencies