The COVID-19 pandemic is being perpetuated by a “scandalous injustice” in vaccine distribution, the head of the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Monday as he set new goals to protect people in the poorest countries.
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has warned that no country should assume it is “out of the woods”, regardless of its vaccination rate, as long as the SARS-CoV-2 virus and its variants spread elsewhere.
“The world remains in a very dangerous situation,” Tedros said at the opening of the annual meeting of health ministers of its 194 member states.
“To date, more cases have been reported so far this year than in all of 2020. Based on current trends, the number of deaths will exceed last year’s total within the next three weeks. It’s very tragic, ”he said.
He said more than 75% of all vaccines had been given in just 10 countries.
“There is no diplomatic way to put it: a small group of countries that manufacture and buy the majority of vaccines in the world control the fate of the rest of the world.”
Call for vaccine donations to COVAX
The COVAX global vaccine sharing initiative, run by WHO and the GAVI vaccine alliance, has delivered 72 million doses of vaccine to 125 countries and economies since February – barely enough for 1% of their population, said said Tedros.
He urged countries to donate vaccine doses to COVAX to enable 10 percent of the population in all countries to be vaccinated by September and 30 percent by the end of the year. That meant vaccinating an additional 250 million people in just four months, he said.
“This is crucial to stop disease and death, keep our healthcare workers safe, reopen our societies and our economies,” Tedros said.
Tedros also called on vaccine manufacturers to give COVAX the first right of refusal on new vaccine volumes, or to commit 50 percent of their volumes to COVAX this year.
French President Emmanuel Macron has called on the WHO to be empowered to quickly travel to countries in the event of an epidemic that could trigger a pandemic and to access data.
Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, in separate prerecorded remarks to the assembly, called for improved funding for the UN agency and supported the idea of a new international treaty to prevent pandemics.
What is happening in Canada
As of 9:15 a.m.ET on Monday, Canada had reported 1,359,184 confirmed cases of COVID-19, of which 53,815 were considered active. A CBC News death tally stood at 25,231 people. More than 21 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered to date across the country.
The federal government expects around 600,000 doses of Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine this week as many provinces extend eligibility to anyone over 12.
Ontario Sunday became one of the last provinces to open vaccine appointments for this age group through the province’s reservation system, as well as pharmacies offering the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.
The move came the same day the province recorded 1,691 new cases of COVID-19, as well as 15 new deaths.
WATCH | Ontario Expands Vaccinations and Relaxes Outside Restrictions:
Quebec, meanwhile, saw long lines outside a walk-in vaccination center in Montreal that opened to the 12 to 17 age group over the weekend.
The province will officially open its reservation system to young people aged 12 and over on Tuesday, but a spokesperson for the local health authority said officials at the clinic west of the city center had decided not to refuse. adolescents who showed up for walk-in visits.
Several other provinces have already expanded vaccine eligibility to those 12 years of age and older, including Newfoundland and Labrador, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Alberta.
Quebec reported 477 new cases on Sunday – its lowest daily increase in new cases in eight months – and three new deaths.
In the north, Nunavut was the only territory to report new cases over the weekend, adding a Saturday.
WATCH | The Yukon welcomes a few vaccinated travelers:
In the Atlantic provinces, Newfoundland and Labrador On Monday, in central Newfoundland, public health restrictions were widened as an outbreak that now involves community spread threatens a wider area.
The province is reporting four new cases, three of which are associated with a growing cluster in the Lewisporte area. The update comes a day after NL reported 23 new cases, its highest single-day caseload in more than three months.
New Brunswick On Sunday, 14 new infections were added and officials confirmed a case at a YMCA day care center in Fredericton. New Scotland recorded 74 new cases and two new deaths, while Prince Edward Island reported no new cases over the weekend.
In the Prairies, ManitobaThe per capita infection rate, the highest in Canada, continued to rise after the province reported 461 new cases of COVID-19 and one additional death on Sunday.
Hospitals across the province – which are under increasing pressure and are sending intensive care patients to neighboring Ontario – have seen 18 more people hospitalized with the coronavirus, bringing the total to 316.
WATCH | Manitoba hospitals pushed to full capacity in the middle of wave three:
Saskatchewan recorded 116 new cases of COVID-19 and one death on Sunday, while Alberta reported 563 new cases and six more deaths.
British Columbia The latter provided an update on its COVID-19 figures on Friday, when it reported 420 new cases and six new deaths.
RCMP said they fired 103 drivers during roadside checks put in place over the weekend across the province to avoid non-essential trips. A spokesperson said two drivers were charged with allegedly failing to stop for police, which could be fined $ 230.
What is happening in the world
As of Monday morning, more than 167.1 million cases of COVID-19 had been reported worldwide, according to a tracking dashboard from Johns Hopkins University, based in the United States. The reported worldwide death toll stood at more than 3.4 million.
In the Asia-Pacific regionIndia has taken another grim milestone of more than 300,000 people lost to the coronavirus, as a devastating wave of infections appeared to ease in major cities but flooded the poorest countryside.
The Ministry of Health on Monday reported 4,454 new deaths in the past 24 hours, bringing the total number of deaths in India to 303,720. It also reported 222,315 new infections, bringing the overall total to nearly 27 million since the start of the pandemic. Both are almost certainly underestimated.
Japan opened mass vaccination centers on Monday as it rushes to immunize most of its elderly population ahead of the start of the Tokyo Olympics on July 23. The Tokyo and Osaka centers will vaccinate thousands of people every day, further boosting the slow pace of Japan’s vaccination campaign. as officials fight a fourth wave of coronavirus infections.
In the Americas, Mexico’s health ministry on Sunday recorded 50 new confirmed deaths from COVID-19, the smallest daily increase reported by the pandemic in more than a year. Mexico has recorded more than 221,000 deaths from COVID-19, as well as nearly 2.5 million confirmed cases, according to data from Johns Hopkins.
In Europe, The French COVID-19 contact tracing application has now been downloaded by 16.5 million people, or 24.6% of the French population, said the Minister of Digital Affairs, exceeding the minimum level necessary to work effectively .
Meanwhile, the country’s daily death toll from COVID-19 fell to a more than seven-month low of 70 on Sunday, while the seven-day moving average of new daily cases slipped below the 13,000 level. for the first time since the end of 2020.
In the Middle East, Israel will end local COVID-19 restrictions from early June following a successful deployment of the vaccine that nearly wiped out new infections, the country’s health ministry said on Sunday. The country reported just 12 new cases of the virus on Saturday, up from a daily peak of more than 10,000 in January.
Israel will still keep its borders closed to most inbound travel, although it has started welcoming small groups of vaccinated tourists.
In AfricaSouth Africa continues to dominate the continent in the number of COVID-19 cases, with more than 1.6 million cases and more than 55,000 deaths reported in total.
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