“The pandemic has destabilized societies, economies and governments. It has shown that there is no global security without global health security,” said World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus recently while addressing ambassadors and representatives of the EU Political and Security Committee.
“The fastest and best way to end this pandemic is through genuine global cooperation on vaccine supply and access,” Tedros said. “The longer vaccine disparity persists, the longer the social and economic upheaval will continue, and the more opportunity for the virus to spread and transform into more dangerous forms. What we need is a global realization that no country can find a way out of this pandemic by being isolated from the rest of the world.
The Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center reported on Sunday that it has recorded 234.6 million global COVID infections and nearly 5 million deaths.
Thousands marched on Saturday in Bucharest, Romania, to protest restrictions that began on Sunday to counter a surge in coronavirus infections.
The European nation of 19 million is seeing a startling rise in the daily number of coronavirus cases. A month ago, the number was around 1,000 new cases a day. On Saturday, Romania reported more than 12,500 new cases, its highest number since the pandemic began in March last year.
According to Reuters, protesters, mostly masked, gathered outside government offices, chanting “freedom, freedom without certificates,” and “down with the government”. A sign read: “Green Certificate = Dictatorship,” The Associated Press reported.
The demonstration was organized by Romania’s right-wing AUR party, the AP said.
Rising cases have strained the nation’s hospitals – intensive care beds are nearly full – and the protests angered some medical workers.
“The situation in hospitals is critical,” Beatrice Mahler, hospital manager at Bucharest’s Marius Nasta Institute of Pneumology, told the Associated Press. “We have patients hospitalized in beds in the hallway – all with extremely severe forms of COVID-19.”
Restrictions that take effect on Sunday include a requirement to wear masks in public, and that shops close at 10 p.m. local time.
Public places such as restaurants, theaters and gyms can remain open – some only at partial capacity – to customers who have had COVID-19, meaning they have been fully vaccinated, or evidence shows that He has a disease caused by the coronavirus.
Romania has the lowest vaccination rate in the European Union, with 33.5% of all adults being fully vaccinated, second only to Bulgaria.
Reuters said there is a weekend curfew for unvaccinated Romanians, and plans to make vaccinations mandatory for health care workers.
Since the pandemic began, Romania has recorded nearly 1.25 million cases of COVID-19 and more than 37,000 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center.
Russia’s Health Minister Mikhail Murashko said on Saturday that just some paperwork needed to be completed before its Sputnik V vaccine could be registered with the World Health Organization.
The shot is approved in more than 70 countries and is widely used in Russia. If it receives approval from the WHO and the European Medicines Agency, it could make it available in other markets, Reuters said.
The WHO could not immediately be reached for comment, Reuters said.
Nicaragua has fine-tuned two Cuban-made vaccines for use in the Central American nation, Cuban manufacturer, BiocubaPharma, said on Saturday.
Cuba developed three coronavirus vaccines, all of which are awaiting official recognition by the WHO, Reuters reported. Nicaragua authorizes Abdala and Sobrana for emergency use.
Iran, Vietnam and Venezuela have also fine-tuned Cuban vaccines for emergency use in their countries.
Some information for this report has been received from The Associated Press and Reuters.