Saturday, April 20, 2024
ADVT 
International

WHO pleased to see China ease harsh zero COVID policies

Darpan News Desk The Canadian Press, 02 Dec, 2022 11:00 AM
  • WHO pleased to see China ease harsh zero COVID policies

LONDON (AP) — A top official at the World Health Organization said the U.N. agency was “pleased” to see China loosening some of its coronavirus restrictions, saying “it's really important that governments listen to their people when the people are in pain.”

At a press briefing on Friday, WHO emergencies director Dr. Michael Ryan said the organization was glad to see China “adjusting their current strategies” in trying to recalibrate their response to COVID-19.

Last week, huge protests against the severe COVID-19 restrictions in China erupted in numerous cities, in the biggest show of opposition to the ruling Communist party in decades.

“We've all had to deal with restrictions of movement, we've all had to deal with having our lives changed and frankly, it's exhausting,” Ryan said. The WHO has previously described China's “zero-COVID” strategy as “not sustainable, ” saying that the super-infectious omicron variant made trying to stop every single case of COVID impossible.

Ryan said using imported messenger RNA vaccines, like those made by BioNTech-Pfizer and Moderna, would be a “solid option” for China to boost its immunization coverage. China's home-grown vaccines have proven to be less effective and scientists say any protection they provided is likely to have faded with the emergence of omicron.

The decision of which vaccines to use “are choices that sovereign governments need to make based on the best benefit to their population,” Ryan said. He said future strategies should balance “the control of the virus with the lives, the livelihoods and well-being and human rights of the people in China.”

China has been developing its own version of an mRNA vaccine and has yet to authorize either of the shots made by Western companies.

Unlike in many Western countries, vaccination rates among China's elderly are lagging; only 66% of people over 80 have got one shot, while 40% have received a booster, according to China's National Health Commission.

By comparison, 93% of Americans 65 and over have received a full course of vaccine and another 2% have at least one dose, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Numerous public health officials have warned that China's zero-COVID strategy, which involves locking down entire communities if infections are found, serves little purpose given how easily the omicron variant spreads. But without significantly raising the country's vaccination rate quickly, releasing those restrictions could produce a surge of hospitalizations and deaths that could overwhelm the health system.

In recent days, Chinese authorities have loosened some COVID-19 protocols in cities including Guangzhou and Chengdu, easing testing requirements and controls on movement. Still, many of the rules that brought people into the streets of Shanghai, Beijing and at least six other cities remain in force.

The announcements easing restrictions didn’t mention last weekend’s protests of the human cost of anti-virus measures that confine millions of people to their homes. But the timing and publicity suggested Chinese President Xi Jinping's government was trying to mollify public anger.

Globally, WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that about 90% of the population now has some kind of immunity to the coronavirus via prior infection or vaccination, and that the world is inching closer to the end of the pandemic.

“We are much closer to being able to say that the emergency phase of the pandemic is over, but we’re not there yet,” Tedros said.

MORE International ARTICLES

Indian-American woman, 23 year old Nabeela Syed, becomes youngest member of Illinois General Assembly

Indian-American woman, 23 year old Nabeela Syed, becomes youngest member of Illinois General Assembly
In the US midterm elections, Syed came out victorious over her Republican rival Chris Bos. Syed shared her excitement, joy, and disbelief all at the same time on Twitter. She is the youngest person to be part of the Illinois General Assembly.  

Indian-American woman, 23 year old Nabeela Syed, becomes youngest member of Illinois General Assembly

Big midterms winner? Democracy, say ambassadors

Big midterms winner? Democracy, say ambassadors
Both David Cohen, Washington's envoy in Ottawa, and Kirsten Hillman, the top Canadian diplomat in D.C., say strong voter turnout is a sign of health in the U.S. political system. The final outcome remains to be determined. 

Big midterms winner? Democracy, say ambassadors

Sikh prayer books issued to UK military personnel after 100 yrs

Sikh prayer books issued to UK military personnel after 100 yrs
The prayer books have been printed in three languages in durable and waterproof material to withstand the rigours of military life, said the BBC report. While the British Army Gutka has a camouflage cover, the Royal Navy and RAF Gutka has a navy blue one.

Sikh prayer books issued to UK military personnel after 100 yrs

Indian national in US gets 5 years jail for call centre fraud

Indian national in US gets 5 years jail for call centre fraud
Waseem Maknojiya, who was illegally residing in Houston, had pleaded guilty on September 13, 2021, a press statement by the US Attorney's Office in the Southern District of Texas said. On Tuesday, US District Judge Lynn N. Hughes ordered Maknojiya to serve 60 months in federal prison. 

Indian national in US gets 5 years jail for call centre fraud

1 in 6 people in England, Wales born abroad, mostly India: Census

1 in 6 people in England, Wales born abroad, mostly India: Census
The number of foreign-born residents increased by 2.5 million over the decade to 10 million.  India was the most common country of origin, accounting for 920,000 people, which is 1.5 per cent of the usual resident population, the 2021 census showed.

1 in 6 people in England, Wales born abroad, mostly India: Census

US seizes over 50K Bitcoin worth $3.3 bn stored in popcorn tin

US seizes over 50K Bitcoin worth $3.3 bn stored in popcorn tin
The 32-year-old James Zhong from Georgia fraudulently obtained the Bitcoin from The Silk Road -- a site on the dark web once called "the Amazon of drugs" -- in 2012. Thanks to state-of-the-art cryptocurrency tracing and good old-fashioned police work, law enforcement located and recovered this impressive cache of crime proceeds. 

US seizes over 50K Bitcoin worth $3.3 bn stored in popcorn tin