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Brazil Prostitutes Strike For First-Line COVID Shots

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Brazil Prostitutes Strike For First-Line COVID Shots

Amid the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, prostitutes in the city of Belo Horizonte in southeast Brazil have gone on strike for a week, demanding COVID-19 vaccines as they are “frontline workers like nurses”.

The sex workers say they have been forced to solicit for clients on the street as they have been forced out of hotels by pandemic-related closures and without rooms to rent to sell their services.

According to AFP news agency quoting the president of the Association of Prostitutes of Minas Gerais state, Cida Vieira said “we are in the front line, moving the economy and we are at risk,” adding that “we need to get vaccinated.”

One of the protesting prostitutes, Lucimara Costa said “we are part of the priority group because we deal with various types of people and our lives are at risk.”

Viera was accompanied by thousands of other women in holding a protest on Monday, in a street lined with shuttered hotels where they used to trade.

The women waved placards declaring: “Sex workers are professionals” and “Sex work and health.”

The South American country on Tuesday recorded more than 4,000 COVID-related deaths in 24 hours for the first time, as a more contagious variant fuels a surge in cases.

Brazil’s total death toll is now almost 337,000, second only to the United States.

The country’s president Jair Bolsonaro continues to oppose any lockdown measures to curb the outbreak as he argues that the damage to the economy would be worse than the effects of the virus itself, and has tried to reverse some of the restrictions imposed by local authorities in the courts.

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Dozens Dead As Fire Rips Through Coronavirus Hospital In Iraq

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Dozens Dead As Fire Rips Through Coronavirus Hospital In Iraq

At least 60 persons have been killed on Monday after a fire in a coronavirus isolation ward at a hospital in the Iraqi city of Nasiriya.

According to state news agency INA on Tuesday more than 100 were also injured in the fire that broke out at the al-Hussein Teaching Hospital in the southern city.

The blaze was brought under control by civil defence teams but cause of the fire at the al-Hussein hospital is still unclear even though reports suggested it began after an oxygen tank exploded.

A health official with the directorate told AFP news agency the “main reason behind the fire… was the explosion of oxygen tanks”.

Haydar al-Zamili, the local health authority’s spokesperson, said earlier on Tuesday that 52 bodies had been retrieved while 22 persons had been hurt after the fire had “ripped through the COVID isolation ward”.

Iraqi PM Mustafa al-Kadhimi ordered the arrest of the head of the hospital.

State media put the death toll at 64, with nearly 70 others injured.

Since the incident there has been reported clashes between demonstrators and police at the scene, and two police vehicles set ablaze.

Health sources told Reuters news agency the death toll could rise as many patients were still missing.

The new ward, opened just three months ago, contained 70 beds.

The Dhi Qar health directorate said that among those killed were two medical staff members, and the hospital’s security guard.

According to Johns Hopkins University data, Iraq has recorded 1.4 million infections of COVID-19 with more than 17,000 fatalities.

The middle east country has given at least one dose of a vaccine against COVID to just over one million of its roughly 40 million citizens.

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South Korea Puts Seoul Under Tightest COVID Restrictions

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The strictest level four COVID-19 restrictions have gone into effect in greater Seoul, South Korea on Monday.  Prime minister Kim Boo-Kyum said on Friday this is necessary as new COVID-19 cases climbed to a daily record for the second day running.  The new measures will last for two weeks.

The country reported 1,316 new COVID-19 cases as of midnight Thursday, up from Wednesday’s previous record of 1,275 a day. On Thursday a top health official warned the numbers may nearly double by the end of July.

Under the new curbs, people are advised to stay home as much as possible, schools are closed, public meetings are restricted to two persons after 6 p.m. And rallies or other events are banned.

Nightclubs and bars would be shut, while restaurants and cafes would be allowed limited seating and only take-out services after 10 p.m.

Kim also said that during the two-week semi-lockdown, the government will suspend a program introduced earlier this year that allowed mask-free outdoor gatherings for citizens vaccinated with at least one covid-19 shot.

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Possible Earlier COVID-19 Circulation In Italy

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