Geopolitics

Asia’s Omicron Retreat Shows COVID Is Political

The rush by Asia-Pacific countries to slam borders shut in response to the Omicron variant has raised a sobering question: What if harsh restrictions like travel bans never truly end?Scientists widely agree the coronavirus will keep mutating indefinitely, with new variants emerging periodically for the rest of our lives.For Asia-Pacific countries that have retreated into isolation despite high vaccine coverage, that raises the prospect of a never-ending cycle of economically and socially dama

7 December 2021
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Myanmar Junta Jails Suu Kyi For Two Years

Myanmar's ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi was jailed for two years on Monday after being found guilty of incitement against the military and breaching COVID rules - in a ruling that drew swift international condemnation.A special court initially sentenced the 76-year-old Nobel laureate to four years in prison, but she was partially "pardoned" hours later by the junta chief, who halved the sentence to two years.Suu Kyi has been detained since the generals staged a coup and ousted

7 December 2021
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Myanmar Crisis: From Coup To Suu Kyi Jailed

Myanmar's military seized power on 1 February, ousting the civilian government and arresting its leader, Aung San Suu Kyi.More than 1,300 people have since been killed and thousands of others arrested during the violent suppression of mass protests against junta rule.Here is a look back at the 10 months since the military brought Myanmar's nascent democracy to a sudden end:Pre-Dawn RaidsSoldiers detain Suu Kyi and her top allies during pre-dawn raids on 1 February, in a coup that en

6 December 2021
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Coronavirus Toll Across The Globe

The novel coronavirus has killed at least 5,249,851 people since the outbreak emerged in China in December 2019, according to a tally from official sources compiled by AFP at 1100 GMT on Sunday. At least 264,784,370 cases of coronavirus have been registered. The vast majority have recovered, though some have continued to experience symptoms weeks or even months later. The figures are based on daily reports provided by health authorities in each country.

6 December 2021
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'Encouraging' Early Feedback On Omicron: Fauci

Early indications of the severity of the Omicron COVID-19 variant are "a bit encouraging," top United States (US) pandemic advisor Anthony Fauci said Sunday, while cautioning more information was still needed.

6 December 2021
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Delta Still Dominates Say Experts, Urge Third Jab

No one knows how effective vaccines will be in stopping people catching the newly discovered and fast-spreading Omicron variant of COVID-19 or how well they will protect against severe illness.Lab tests are under way to determine vaccine efficacy against Omicron with results expected within weeks. In the meantime, the Delta variant remains dominant and experts, governments and vaccine makers are urging people to take advantage of booster jabs where they are available.Delta has proved

5 December 2021
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Omicron The Result Of Vaccine Inequity: Red Cross

The emergence of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus is the "ultimate evidence" of the danger of unequal vaccination rates around the world, the head of the Red Cross said on Friday.In an interview with AFP during a visit to Moscow, Francesco Rocca, the president of the International Federation of Red Cross (IFRC) and Red Crescent Societies, also raised concerns about the politicisation of migrants and for the plight of civilians in Afghanistan as winter approaches.Asked about th

4 December 2021
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No Omicron Deaths Yet: WHO

The Omicron variant has been detected in 38 countries but no deaths have yet been reported, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Friday, as authorities worldwide rushed to stem the heavily mutated COVID-19 strain's spread amid warnings that it could damage the global economic recovery.The United States (US) and Australia became the latest countries to confirm locally transmitted cases of the variant, as Omicron infections pushed South Africa's total cases past three million.T

4 December 2021
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In Numbers: World's Fastest Vaccination Campaigns

The COVID-19 global vaccination campaign – the largest in history – began a year ago with Britain launching its drive on 8 December, 2020.Now half the world's population has had at least one shot. But with richer countries now administering third booster doses, many in poorer ones are still waiting for their first jab.These glaring inequities have come to dog the campaign with the emergence of the Omicron variant, as have controversies over rare side effects and opposition to ma

3 December 2021
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Trial: Pfizer, Moderna Jabs Give Best Overall Boost

The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines being used in the United Kingdom (UK) as boosters give the best overall boost response, according to a UK trial of seven different jabs.The trial is the first study of how well COVID booster jabs work and justifies the UK's early decision to use these two vaccines for boosters.All the vaccines tested raised immunity against COVID to some degree.Researchers said there were promising signs the boosters would still protect against illness and death from Omicr

3 December 2021
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Reinfections Three Times More Likely With Omicron

A preliminary study by South African scientists published Thursday suggests the Omicron variant is three times more likely to cause reinfections compared to the Delta or Beta strains.The findings, based on data collected by the country's health system, provides the first epidemiological evidence about Omicron's ability to evade immunity from prior infection.The paper was uploaded on a medical preprint server and has not yet been peer-reviewed.There were 35,670 suspected reinfections

3 December 2021
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Coronavirus: Latest Global Developments

Here are the latest developments in the coronavirus crisis:Germany To Lock Down Unjabbed Germany will impose sweeping curbs on people not vaccinated against COVID-19, to combat the latest surge in cases, Chancellor Angela Merkel says, including bans from culture and leisure and non-essential shops.Tougher US Travel Rules President Joe Biden is to announce tougher rules for virus testing for travellers to the United States (US) after the first cases of the Omicron variant are

3 December 2021
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