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COVID vaccine, tourism, abortion in Poland … Wednesday’s news

ByMicheal Johnson

Oct 28, 2020

Agreement to provide 200 million vaccines against COVID-19 to the COVAX initiative

Gavi, the Alliance for Vaccines, has signed an agreement with the French pharmaceutical Sanofi and the British GlaxoSmithKline, to provide 200 million doses of vaccines against COVID-19 to the COVAX initiative, coordinated by the World Health Organization.

The signature of the declaration of intent is, according to Gavi, “a critical step to ensure that the vaccine, once approved and licensed, will be available to all countries and economies participating in COVAX.

The initiative, which aims to deliver 2 billion doses of vaccines worldwide by the end of 2021, has already signed agreements this year with AstraZeneca and Novavax.

COVAX intends deter governments from stockpiling COVID-19 vaccines, to vaccinate the highest-risk people around the world first. More than 180 countries have joined the plan.

The Sanofi and Glaxo vaccine uses a technology based on recombinant proteins to be used together with an adjuvant, a substance that acts as a booster for the vaccine. The pharmaceutical companies said in a statement that they expect the results of phase 2 of the clinical trials in December. Then they will launch phase 3 of the trial and if the results are positive they hope to be able to request the approval of the regulators in the first half of 2021.

File Photo: OMT

Tourism in Tunisia.

International tourist arrivals fell 81% in July and 79% in August, the peak season in the northern hemisphere, due to restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The World Tourism Organization estimates that these falls translate into losses of 730,000 million dollars, an amount that is eight times that experienced in 2009 during the global financial and economic crisis.

The UNWTO foresees a global fall close to 70% for the whole of 2020.

“This unprecedented decline is having dramatic social and economic consequences, putting millions of jobs and businesses at risk,” warned UNWTO Secretary General Zurab Pololikashvili who underlined the “urgent need” to “resume safely” and in a coordinated way the tourist activity.

In the first eight months of the year, international tourist arrivals in the Americas have fallen by 65%.

The UNWTO Group of Experts foresees a rebound in international tourism in the third quarter of 2021. However, some experts suggest that the rebound would not come until 2022.

UN experts criticize the ruling in Poland that “slammed the door” on legal abortions

UNICEF / Giuseppe Imperato

Countries where women have the right to terminate an unwanted pregnancy and to all contraceptive methods have the lowest abortion rates.

A group of UN human rights experts has criticized the Polish court ruling banning abortions for serious or fatal fetal anomalies, “slamming the door” on safe and legal terminations of pregnancy.

Throughout the country, thousands of people have taken to the streets after hearing last Thursday the decision of the Constitutional Court that toughens what was already one of the most restrictive abortion laws in Europe.

It is estimated that the 98% of all legal abortions that are practiced in Poland are for serious and irreversible abnormalities of the fetus.

“Poland has decided to sacrifice the right of women to services to end a pregnancy safely and legally, to protect the right to life of the unborn, violating its international human rights obligations,” say experts who consider sentence will have “devastating consequences for women and adolescent girls“, Especially for those with a worse socioeconomic position and for undocumented migrants, who do not have the means to go abroad to have an abortion.”

UN Photo / Eric Kanalstein

Candles and flower arrangements in a mass grave in Ovcara, Croatia, where some 200 civilians were killed in 1994.

A UN expert denounces the “inappropriate, discriminatory and indifferent” handling of mass graves scattered around the world and asks governments to ensure that they are included in the peace and transitional justice processes

Agnes Callamard, the Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial Executions, calls for steps to be taken to ensure that present and future generations “never forget the horrible crimes that led to these mass graves and that this violence should never be allowed to repeat ”.

In her report, the rapporteur quotes Mexico, where between 2006 and 2016 an independent investigation discovered 1978 graves with victims of the war on drugs. In Spain, at least 2000 mass graves linked to the Civil War have been located, but many more remain unidentified.

In addition, Callamard warns that during the pandemic there is an “explosion of mass burials” in some cases in “mass graves”, in cities such as Manaus, in Brazil, or New York, in the United States.

The hostilities in Nagorno-Karabakh are unacceptable and must be stopped immediately

UN spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric. Photo: UN / Manuel Elías

“As the General secretary, we strongly condemn all attacks against populated areas affected by the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh, “said UN spokesman Stéphane Dujarric on Tuesday.

During his daily meeting with the media, the spokesperson included among those attacks the attacks against the city of Barda in which many people were reportedly killed and injured, as well as the ongoing shelling in Stepanakert-Khankendi and other localities in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone.

There is no justification for these attacks ”, continued Dujarric, who reiterated once again the call of the Secretary General to the parties to immediately implement a ceasefire for humanitarian reasons “that the parties have committed to respect”, as they fully comply with their obligations to preserve and protect to civilians and civil infrastructure.

The ongoing hostilities are unacceptable and must cease immediately ”, sentenced.

He added that as clear examples of the humanitarian repercussions of this ongoing conflict and based on figures from UNICEF, in a month of fighting more than 130,000 people were displaced, 76 schools and kindergartens have been damaged and a maternity hospital was bombed. In addition, untold numbers of children suffer the psychological consequences of daily exposure to rocket and missile attacks in civilian areas.

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