UN chief criticizes wealthy countries for vaccine ‘stockpile’

24

London resumes gatherings;


Montreal

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres criticized developed countries for creating a ‘stockpile’ of Covid-19 vaccines, and called on them to share with the rest of the world to help end the pandemic.

‘I’m very concerned with this very unfair distribution of vaccines in the world,’ Guterres said in an interview broadcast Sunday by the Canadian channel CBC.

‘It’s in the interest of everybody to make sure that as soon as possible and in a fair way, everybody gets vaccinated everywhere and that vaccines are considered to be a truly global public good,’ he said.

The UN chief criticized the ‘self interest’ of rich countries for building up vaccine supplies beyond the needs of their populations.

‘First, don’t stockpile vaccines,’ he said, adding that it ‘doesn’t make sense.’

England enters the second phase of its lockdown easing on Monday thanks to a successful vaccination drive, but the government is urging vigilance as another wave of coronavirus sweeps Europe.

After schools reopened on March 8, England’s stay-at-home order will be relaxed to enable outdoor gatherings of up to six people, or two households, in what newspapers are dubbing ‘Happy Monday’.

While elite sports such as Premier League football have continued during the latest lockdown—minus fans—the new rules will allow amateur team sports to resume, along with tennis, golf, basketball and swimming outdoors. .

A recent plateau in new Covid-19 infections in the United States was likely linked to the ‘premature’ easing of anti-virus efforts, top pandemic advisor Anthony Fauci said Sunday.

While the emergence of coronavirus variants is part of the problem, so are states that are ‘pulling back on the mitigation’ too soon, he told CBS’s ‘Face the Nation.’

When case numbers begin to plateau, he said, ‘you’re really in danger of a surge coming up.’

An international expert mission to Wuhan has concluded it was very likely that Covid-19 first passed to humans from a bat through an intermediary animal, while all but ruling out a laboratory leak.

The intermediate host hypothesis was deemed ‘likely to very likely’, while the theory that the virus escaped from a lab was seen as ‘extremely unlikely’, according to the long-awaited report, which AFP obtained a copy of on Monday, before the official release.

The report from the international mission to Wuhan has been keenly anticipated ever since the expert team left China more than a month ago.—APP