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News in Brief 25 September 2020

News in Brief 25 September 2020

This is the News in Brief from the United Nations. 

Give influenza vaccine to elderly and health workers first: WHO 

Amid a potential global shortage in influenza vaccines and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the UN health agency has advised countries to protect the elderly and health workers first. 

The updated recommendations from the World Health Organization (WHO) come as the northern hemisphere braces for the seasonal bug. 

Every year, it claims between 290,000 and 650,000 lives, from respiratory-related causes. 

In the southern hemisphere, influenza infections have been at “historic lows”, most likely because of strict COVID-19 health precautions and travel restrictions, WHO’s Dr Ann Moen said. 

But there were no guarantees that this would be the case in the global north this winter, she told journalists in Geneva, amid rising numbers of coronavirus infections.  

“If this follows suit and influenza also is low circulation in the northern hemisphere, we may see - we may see - less infections and we also hope to see less infections due to the very high uptake of influenza vaccine. We also - but we are seeing some sporadic outbreaks in some areas of the world and so we really fully believe that as society opens back up, we’ll probably start to see (in)flu(enza) circulate again back to more normal proportions.” 

Rights chief Bachelet warns over threat to protesters in Venezuela 

Venezuela has been in the spotlight at the Human Rights Council where UN rights chief Michelle Bachelet expressed concern about the repression of peaceful protests. 

Addressing Member States on Friday, Ms. Bachelet noted the recent release of 40 people in the South American country. 

But she said that her Office (OHCHR) had continued to document arrests of demonstrators protesting at low wages and pensions, poor public services and fuel shortages.  

Turning to the coronavirus, High Commissioner for Human Rights Bachelet expressed concerns about the stigmatization of returning migrants by government officials who blamed them for bringing COVID-19 to Venezuela.   

The pandemic had compounded other pre-existing emergencies, such as the food crisis, Ms Bachelet said, before calling for economic sanctions to be lifted, to ease aid distribution. 

UN chief and UK premier announce December climate summit 

The UN is to co-host what has been described as a “landmark” international climate event with the United Kingdom in December, in a bid to rally momentum for action to protect the planet. 

Ahead of the meeting which is to be held on 12 December, UN Secretary-General António Guterres warned that the climate emergency was “fully upon us”. 

It is an “existential crisis” that can only be overcome by “swift, decisive, scaled-up action and solidarity among nations”, he insisted. 

Before COVID-19 hit, the UK was due to host this year’s climate summit in Glasgow.  

It is now scheduled to take place in November 2021. 

Daniel Johnson, UN News .

  • Give influenza vaccine to elderly and health workers first: WHO

  • Rights chief Bachelet warns over threat to protesters in Venezuela 

  • UN chief and UK premier announce December climate summit 

Audio Credit
Daniel Johnson, UN News - Geneva
Audio Duration
Photo Credit
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, NIH