Credit: Unsplash / CC0 Public Domain
The number of new COVID-19 deaths rose to over 4,000 for the first time in India on Saturday in one of the world's worst outbreaks, as EU pressure increased on Washington to end vaccine export restrictions and a concrete plan to lift To submit patents.
"I urge the United States very clearly to end export bans not only on vaccines but also on vaccine ingredients that prevent production," Macron told reporters at an EU summit in Porto. He was referring to a de facto US export ban on vaccine raw materials.
Chancellor Angela Merkel said the EU had exported much of its own production and the United States should follow suit.
"I do not think that a patent waiver is the solution to make more vaccines available to more people," she said in Berlin.
"I rather think that we need the creativity and innovative strength of companies – and for me this includes patent protection."
Previously, Pope Francis had focused on his desire to see patent waivers to "allow universal access to the vaccine".
He called for the temporary abolition of intellectual property rights and condemned the "virus of individualism" which "makes us indifferent to the suffering of others".
The call for exemptions gained momentum after the United States announced surprise support for such a program to enable adequate vaccine supplies to fight COVID-19.
EU pushes for exported cans
As of Saturday, the global pandemic had killed more than 3.2 million people since it surfaced in China in December 2019. This emerges from a list of official sources compiled by AFP.
Charles Michel, head of the European Council, added that the bloc was "ready to get involved" and to discuss a US offer to suspend patent protection for vaccines "as soon as a specific proposal is made".
Speaking in Porto, Michel added that the EU doubts the idea could be a short-term "magic bullet" and encouraged "all partners to facilitate the export of cans".
Madagascar received its first batch of vaccines through the global sharing program from Covax, one of the last African countries to receive replenishment after months of resistance from President Andry Rajoelina.
Rajoelina has promoted a locally brewed herbal drink as the only required "cure" for the coronavirus.
But a surge in infections last month forced Rajoelina to bow to growing criticism of his handling of the pandemic and agree to launch the vaccine. A first shipment of 250,000 Oxford / AstraZeneca lumps arrives on Saturday.
India, which reported more than 400,000 new infections on Saturday – experts fear that official data represent a gross underestimation – now accounts for almost half of the new cases known worldwide.
The coronavirus death toll now stands at 238,270.
India's eastern neighbor Pakistan began a nine-day shutdown on Saturday, targeting travel and tourist attractions, and mobilized its military to help enforce restrictions.
The aim is to prevent the snowball from breaking out during the upcoming Eid celebrations at the end of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.
Greece is testing the water
In Greece, thousands of people have landed on private beaches that reopened for the first time on Saturday this year.
There were strict clearance requirements, regular disinfection of lounge chairs and toilets, and no music at beach bars to limit the spread of particles in the air.
"We have waited a long time to be able to receive all tourists and citizens who want to sunbathe and enjoy the sea," Andreas Kondylis, mayor of the southern Athens suburb of Alimos, told AFP.
"All necessary measures are being taken," he added. The tourism-dependent country hopes to kick off its summer season next week.
The global arsenal against the coronavirus was expanded when China's Sinopharm vaccine was the first completely non-Western shot to receive the green light from the World Health Organization.
The WHO has already approved vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca for emergency use.
Sinopharm is already in use in 42 areas worldwide, including Pakistan, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Serbia.
Despite the rampant adoption of vaccines, concerns remain about the upcoming Tokyo Olympics as Japan's vaccination program has been slow to evolve.
The coronavirus state of emergency in parts of Japan, including Tokyo, was extended on Friday and authorities warned of congestion in some hospitals.
But the Vice President of the International Olympic Committee, John Coates, was firmly convinced on Saturday that the Games, due to start on July 23, would take place.
Follow the latest news on the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak
© 2021 AFP
India's Deaths Surpass 4,000 as Macron Urges Ending Vaccine Export Restrictions (2021 May 8)
accessed on May 8, 2021
This document is subject to copyright. Apart from fair treatment for the purpose of private study or research, no
Part may be reproduced without written permission. The content is provided for informational purposes only.