This is the News in Brief from the United Nations.
COVID: 2.5 billion people in almost 130 countries have not had vaccine
More than 2.5 billion people in around 130 countries have yet to receive a single dose of COVID-19 vaccine, World Health Organization head Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said on Tuesday.
In an appeal for funding to help poorer countries test, track and treat coronavirus patients, the WHO Director-General warned that many were struggling to secure personal protective equipment, oxygen and medicines, too.
“The longer the COVID-19 virus circulates, the more it can mutate, potentially making current tests, treatments and vaccines less effective,” said Tedros, in comments to members of Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator, or ACT.
The WHO chief noted that more than 90 per cent of countries rolling out vaccines were wealthy ones, and that 75 per cent of the 130 million deployed doses have been in only 10 countries.
More than $27 billion is needed to finance the ACT Accelerator this year.
Tedros said that “the longer this gap goes unmet, the harder it becomes to understand why”, given that this was a fraction of the trillions of dollars mobilised for stimulus packages in many of the G20 countries.
Cooling La Niña is on the wane, but temperatures set to rise: WMO
Temperatures in much of the world will likely rise between now and April despite the cooling influence of the latest La Niña weather phenomenon, which has passed its peak, UN climate experts said on Tuesday.
“Impacts on temperatures, precipitation and storm patterns continue”, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), said in a statement.
It noted that above-normal temperatures in the next three months are expected in western, central and eastern Asia and over the southern half of North America.
Above-normal temperatures are likely over most northern high latitudes - except north-western North America – along with southern, central and eastern parts of South America, and equatorial and northern Africa.
Turning to rainfall, WMO said that there were “increased chances of unusually wet conditions” over much of South East Asia, Australia and northern South America.
But drier conditions are likely over much of western and central Asia, parts of the Horn of Africa and Central Africa, Polynesia and south-eastern South America.
Myanmar: UN office voices strong concern at use of force against protesters
The UN’s top official in Myanmar has urged the country’s security forces to respect people’s right to demonstrate against the military takeover, amid continuing reports on Tuesday of the use of force against them.
Ola Almgren, who’s the designated representative of UN Secretary-General António Guterres to Myanmar, defended “fundamental freedoms, including the right to peaceful assembly and freedom of expression”.
The veteran aid coordinator also said that using disproportionate force against demonstrators was unacceptable, his comments coinciding with reports that many had been injured – some seriously, in the capital Nay Pyi Taw, Mandalay and other cities.
Mr. Almgren reiterated the UN chief’s appeal to the country’s military leadership to resolve any differences through peaceful dialogue.
The military takeover last Monday followed escalating tensions between the military and the government after the November 2020 elections, which were won decisively by the National League for Democracy, led by Aung San Suu Kyi, who has been detained along with other senior party politicians.
Daniel Johnson, UN News.