This is the News in Brief from the United Nations.
‘Post COVID’ clinical definition aims to boost treatment: WHO
The first official clinical definition of “post COVID” sickness has been issued in a bid to improve treatment for sufferers, the UN World Health Organization (WHO) said on Friday.
The emerging illness, which is also referred to as “long COVID”, occurs in people who have had confirmed or probable new coronavirus infections, usually around three months after the onset of COVID-19.
Symptoms including fatigue, shortness of breath and “brain fog”, can last for at least two months. They “cannot be explained by an alternative diagnosis”, said Dr Janet Diaz, Head of Clinical Management at WHO.
“This is an important step forward to standardize the recognition of patients living with post-COVID-19 condition. We hope it will help clinicians and health workers recognize patients and start them on appropriate treatments and interventions and clear pathways. We hope that policymakers and health systems will set up and implement integrated health models to care for these patients.”
Until now, a lack of clarity among healthcare professionals about the condition has complicated efforts in advancing research and treatment, WHO said.
The UN agency noted that most patients who suffer from COVID-19 fully recover, although some suffer “long-term effects on several body systems, including pulmonary, cardiovascular and nervous systems, as well as psychological effects”.
Troop and weapons deployment in Myanmar, spark attack fears
In Myanmar, concerns are growing about an imminent attack on several townships where residents are believed to be sympathetic to those fighting the military junta, who took control of the country in February.
In an alert on Friday, the UN rights office, OHCHR, said that the State military, known as the Tatmadaw had sent reinforcements to townships in Chin State; in the central Sagaing region and in Magway.
Here’s spokesperson Ravina Shamdasani, speaking in Geneva:
“There are already killings of civilians, burning of villages, use of heavy artillery in civilian and residential areas by the Tatmadaw; what has happened now over the past few days, we’ve seen a real reinforcement, a substantial deployment of heavy weapons and troops.”
Since the military coup on 1 February, 1,120 people are believed to have been killed resisting the new regime, Ms. Shamdasani said, citing reliable reports.
She explained that the situation inside Myanmar has deteriorated since 7 September, when the opposition National Unity Goverment declared war on the military junta.
Torture and summary executions have been reported, along with military “clearance operations” that have involved the use of artillery barrages and airstrikes against villages.
Mass detentions have increased too, with nearly 450 people held in just the last month, along with regular internet blackouts, the UN rights office spokesperson continued.
Peace prize winners recognised for efforts to safeguard democratic rights
To the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize now, which has been awarded to journalists Maria Ressa and Dmitry Muratov for their campaigning journalism.
In a statement, the Norwegian Noebl Committee applauded Ms. Ressa, from the Philippines, and Mr. Muratov, from Russia, for “safeguard(ing) freedom of expression, which is a precondition for democracy and lasting peace”.
Joining in messages of congratulation, Ravina Shamdasani from the UN rights office, said that the award was recognition for journalists who work in the most difficult circumstances.
Recent years have seen an increase of attacks against journalists and Ms. Ressa – who is based in the Philippines – has used her work “to expose abuse of power, use of violence and growing authoritarianism” there, and the so-called war on drugs, the Nobel panel said.
It also noted that Mr. Muratov, from Russia, had defended freedom of speech there for decades “under increasingly challenging conditions”, as editor-in-chief of the Novaja Gazeta newspaper, described by the Nobel committee as “an important source of information on censurable aspects of Russian society rarely mentioned by other media”.
Katy Dartford, UN News.