WHO says Covid still an international emergency

Geneva, Switzerland | AFP | Monday 1/30/2023   Three years to the day after the World Health Organization sounded the highest level of global alert over Covid-19, it said Monday the pandemic remains an international emergency. The UN health agency’s emergency committee on Covid-19 met last Friday for a 14th time since the start of the crisis. Following that meeting, WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus “concurs with the advice offered by the committee regarding the ongoing […]

IMF approves $105 mn in emergency aid to Haiti

WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) – The International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Monday approved emergency aid of $105 million for Haiti, which has long been mired in a humanitarian crisis that has been exacerbated by recent global inflation. The funds should enable the Caribbean country to “support those most affected by food price rises through feeding programs and cash and in-kind transfers to vulnerable households” said Antoinette Sayeh, the IMF deputy managing director, in a statement. The […]

Nurses in England launch fresh strikes over pay

London, United Kingdom (AFP) – Nurses in England began two days of strikes over pay Wednesday, as officials warned of disruption for thousands of patients in the UK’s state-run health service. It comes after nurses held an unprecedented strike last month, joining a wave of industrial action by public sector workers hit by the cost-of-living crisis. The main nursing union accuses the government of failing to negotiate seriously on improving their pay deal for the […]

Asthma study sparks debate about safety of cooking with gas

by Daniel Lawler Agence France-Presse PARIS, France (AFP) — New research that links cooking with natural gas to around 12 percent of childhood asthma cases has sparked debate about the health risks of kitchen stoves, as well as calls in the United States for stepped-up regulation. The authors of the study said their findings suggested that around 650,000 US children would not have developed asthma if their homes had electric or induction stovetops, comparing the […]

Ecuador reports human infected with bird flu

QUITO, Ecuador (AFP) – Ecuador reported on Tuesday its first case of a human being infected with bird flu, weeks after the globally-spreading disease was detected on poultry farms in the South American country. “The first case of influenza A-H5 (bird flu) was confirmed in a nine-year-old girl in the province of Bolivar,” in the heart of the Andes, the health ministry said in a statement. “We presume that the infection was transmitted by direct contact […]

Super-resistant mosquitoes in Asia pose growing threat: study

TOKYO, Japan (AFP) – Mosquitoes that transmit dengue and other viruses have evolved growing resistance to insecticides in parts of Asia, and novel ways to control them are desperately needed, new research warns. Health authorities commonly fog mosquito-infested areas with clouds of insecticide, and resistance has long been a concern, but the scale of the problem was not well understood. Japanese scientist Shinji Kasai and his team examined mosquitos from several countries in Asia as well […]

Beijing slams ‘unacceptable’ Covid rules on travellers from China

BEIJING, China (AFP) – China on Tuesday condemned fresh Covid test requirements by around a dozen countries on passengers travelling abroad from its territory, warning it could take “countermeasures” in response. The United States, Canada, France and Japan are among a number of countries that now require travelers from China to show a negative Covid test before arrival, as the country faces a surge in cases. “Some countries have taken entry restrictions targeting only Chinese travelers,” […]

Elderly Covid patients fill hospital wards in China’s major cities

by Laurie CHEN and Vivian LIN in Shanghai Agence France-Presse CHONGQING, China (AFP) — Elderly patients lined the wards of hospitals in major cities in China Thursday as the country battled a wave of Covid cases. The virus is surging across the vast Asian nation in an outbreak authorities say is impossible to track after the end of mandatory mass testing. And with cases soaring, Washington called on Beijing to share its Covid outbreak data, […]

UK ambulance workers ready to join widening strikes

by Helen ROWE / Joe JACKSON Agence France-Presse LONDON, United Kingdom (AFP) — UK ambulance workers readied to walk out on Wednesday, a day after nurses staged their second stoppage, in a widening dispute with the government which is refusing to cede to above-inflation demands on pay. The series of walkouts has intensified, with industrial action by railway workers and passport control officers threatening to ruin festive holiday getaways. On Wednesday, ambulance staff including paramedics […]

WHO eyes end to Covid emergency in 2023

GENEVA, Switzerland (AFP) – The World Health Organization said Wednesday it hoped that Covid-19 would no longer be a public health emergency in 2023, as it urged China to share information that could pinpoint how the pandemic started. As the third anniversary of the original outbreak rolls around, the WHO said the virus was here to stay but would need managing alongside other respiratory illnesses. WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the weekly Covid death toll […]

Striking UK nurses say walkouts over pay ‘last resort’

by Helen ROWE Agence France-Presse LONDON, United Kingdom (AFP) — UK nurses are set to walk out on strike for the first time in their union’s 106-year history this week, insisting they are taking action as a “last resort”. Up to 100,000 members of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) in England, Wales and Northern Ireland will hold a one-day stoppage on Thursday after rejecting a government pay offer. Chemotherapy, dialysis, intensive care and high-dependency […]

Indonesia families sue government over cough syrup deaths, injuries

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AFP) – A dozen Indonesian families whose relatives died or were injured after consuming tainted cough syrups have sued the government and companies accused of supplying the products, according to a lawsuit. The Southeast Asian country has seen a spike in cases of acute kidney injury since August, with the deaths of at least 199 people, mostly children, prompting a probe and ban on some liquid medicine sales. The class action lawsuit targets the […]