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News in Brief 30 April 2020

  • Disabilities are no reason to deny people their rights during COVID: Bachelet
  • Cuba sanctions is obstructing aid response to coronavirus, say rights experts
  • Greta Thunberg adds voice to child rights driven coronavirus campaign
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UN health agency leads collaborative bid to get 135 countries ready for COVID-19

If you’re an avid follower of COVID-19 developments, you may have wondered what the phrase, “PCR equipment” means. It stands for polymerase chain reaction, which is the process that labs use to check whether someone with COVID-19 symptoms has the new coronavirus, after taking a medical swab, usually from both nostrils. 

In line with World Health Organization advice to countries to test as many cases of suspected infection as possible, the race is on to find enough PCR machines for everybody. And that’s where Paul Molinaro comes in; he’s the cool, calm and collected head of logistics at the WHO, which with other UN partners is part of a major new initiative to help kit out 135 countries trying to see off the pandemic.

He’s been talking to UN News’s Daniel Johnson.

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News in Brief 29 April 2020

  • Myanmar: possible war crimes and crimes against humanity
  • Cybercrime and online fraud, heighten privacy and data threats amid pandemic
  • Rights experts appeal for Lao victims of dam disaster who lost everything
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PODCAST: Coronavirus vaccine race must not overshadow ‘routine immunizations’

Countries must not forget routine lifesaving immunizations for diseases like measles, while racing to find a vaccine that will save millions of lives and end the COVID-19 pandemic.

That’s the message from the World Health Organization’s (WHO) vaccination programme director, Professor Kate O'Brien, who’s been talking in-depth to UN News for this latest Lid is On podcast, stressing also the importance of getting the facts, as misinformation rages online.

Music credit: Ketsa, ‘Live With No Fear’

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News in Brief 28 April 2020

  • Sudan at ‘tipping point’ amid sanctions as pandemic approaches 
  • WFP plea to keep borders open as Horn of Africa faces doubling in food insecurity
  • UN’s new COVID-19-busting taskforce gears up to boost frontline supplies
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South Sudan: COVID-19 pandemic challenges add to existing crises

The COVID-19 pandemic is adversely affecting everyone, everywhere, with lockdown restrictions hitting the development and humanitarian relief sectors especially hard.

Malo Meshack is UN Representative for the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in South Sudan. In this interview, he tells FAO’s Andre Vornic, how his team has adjusted to this new reality.

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News in Brief 27 April 2020

  • ‘Toxic lockdown culture’ of repressive measures affects most vulnerable
  • Yemen needs cooperation between parties more than ever, says UN negotiator
  • Immunization week focuses on 20 million children who lack lifesaving vaccines
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‘Canoe plants’ can feed the modern world

The Breadfruit Institute in Hawaii is promoting the local foodstuff as a response to “critical global food security issues,” especially for developing island states.

Daniel Dickinson met research technician and farmer Noel Dickinson at the National Tropical Botanical Gardens on the island of Kauai and began by asking her to describe what the plant looks like. 

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News in Brief 24 April 2020

  • Cash help needed now to help world’s informal workers
  • Challenges for multilateralism - and optimism - revealed in UN-led global debate
  • Refugee healthworkers step up for coronavirus response in Latin America
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News in Brief 23 April 2020

  • Libya: Heavy shelling, COVID-19 pandemic creates ‘perfect storm’
  • Developing countries crippled by debt need urgent relief
  • Message of solidarity from UN chief as millions of Muslims begin ‘very different’ Ramadan
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