Just after the World Health Organization (WHO) warned against “vaccine nationalism”, Pope Francis has on Wednesday urged rich countries not to hoard Coronavirus vaccine and should only give pandemic-related bailouts to companies committed to protecting the environment, helping the most needy and the ‘common good’.
The Vatican pope said at his weekly general audience “it would be sad if the rich are given priority for the COVID-19 vaccine. It would be sad if the vaccine becomes property of this or that nation, if it is not universal and for everyone.”
Francis said further that it would be a “scandal” if governments doled out pandemic-related bail-out money to only select industries.
Earlier, ANN reported, WHO director general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Tuesday said that any nation which hoards possible COVID-19 vaccines while excluding others would deepen the pandemic.
More than 150 vaccines are in development, about two dozen are in human studies and a handful are in late-stage trials.
According to data by Johns Hopkins University, more than 22 million persons have been diagnosed with COVID-19 around the world in which 14 million persons have recovered and more than 779,000 fatalities have been recorded so far.
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Belarus President Closes Western Borders, Puts Army On High Alert
Protesters in Belarus are still angry in their sixth week of mass protests demanding the resignation of president Alexander Lukashenko.
The president has announced, in retaliation, he is putting troops on high alert and closing the country’s borders with Poland and Lithuania. He also said the Belarusian border with Ukraine would be strengthened.
Lukashenko insists the six weeks of protests are driven by the west. He faces increasing criticism from the united states and the European Union.
Demonstrations began after the disputed august presidential election official results gave the authoritarian leader a sixth term in office–results opponents say were manipulated.
Bolivian Interim President Anez Withdraws From Election Race
Bolivia’s interim president Jeanine Anez has withdrawn from next month’s presidential election, saying she’s withdrawing in the interest of the party.
Anez, a former conservative senator, took office during the power vacuum that followed former president Morales’s departure after allegations of irregularities in last year’s election. Those allegations fueled violent protests, and army pressure forced the country’s first indigenous president into exile in Mexico.
Anez says if she does not step down, Morales would possibly return to power.
She declined to name the candidate for whom she will vote.
Next month’s election is the delayed rerun of last year’s ballot. Anez’s candidacy had sparked controversy after she initially ruled herself out and pledged to guide the country to transparent new elections.
By pulling out of the race, analysts say Anez could increase chances that the election will be pushed to a second round by consolidating the anti-Arce vote.
To avoid a second round, the election winner requires at least 40 percent of valid votes in the first round and a 10-point advantage over the closest competitor.
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