Connect with us

News

If COVID-19 trends continue, it could be years before virus is controlled: PAHO

Published

 on

If the spread of COVID-19 continues at current rates it will be years before the virus is controlled in the Americas, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) said on Wednesday, as it called for countries to share excess vaccine doses.

There were almost 1.2 million new cases and 34,000 deaths in the region last week, and four of the five countries with the highest death counts worldwide are in the Americas, PAHO Director Carissa Etienne said during the organization’s weekly news conference.

“If current trends continue, the health, social and economic disparities in our region will grow even larger, and it will be years before we control this virus in the Americas,” Etienne said.

Infections are higher in many places in the region than at any other point during the pandemic, she said, and the emergence of new more easily transmitted variants has added new complexities to epidemiological surveillance.

Just 10% of the population of Latin America and the Caribbean have been fully vaccinated, with a particularly acute situation in Central American and the Caribbean.

PAHO is thankful to the United States, Spain and Canada for promises to donate millions of doses or funding, but more needs to be done, the director said.

“We hope other countries – particularly those with excess doses – and global financial institutions will follow in their footsteps to provide the support we need,” Etienne said. “Vaccine donations are essential in the short-term.”

Ahead of the kick-off of the Copa America soccer tournament in Brazil on Sunday, Ciro Ugarte, PAHO’s Director of Health Emergencies, said countries hosting mass events should consider postponing if COVID-19 risks cannot be controlled.

Venezuela still owes $10 million in funding for vaccines via the COVAX vaccine sharing program, Ugarte said.

COVAX supply for Venezuela will likely not be ready soon because of global demand, but PAHO hopes Venezuela and other regional countries will be given priority because they have not yet received COVAX doses.

Hospitalizations in Haiti are stretching oxygen supplies there, Etienne said.

Haiti, one of only a handful of countries which has yet to administer a single dose of coronavirus vaccine, is grappling with its first major outbreak.

Bolivia and Colombia are seeing a rise in cases and deaths and intensive care unit beds are near capacity in many Colombian cities, Etienne added.

 

(Reporting by Julia Symmes Cobb; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Bill Berkrot)

Continue Reading

News

Hundreds more unmarked graves found at erstwhile Saskatchewan residential school

Published

 on

An indigenous group in Saskatchewan on Thursday said it had found the unmarked graves of an estimated 751 people at a now-defunct Catholic residential school, just weeks after a similar, smaller discovery rocked the country.

The latest discovery, the biggest to date, is a grim reminder of the years of abuse and discrimination indigenous communities have suffered in Canada even as they continue to fight for justice and better living conditions.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he was “terribly saddened” by the discovery at Marieval Indian Residential School about 87 miles (140 km) from the provincial capital Regina. He told indigenous people that “the hurt and the trauma that you feel is Canada’s responsibility to bear.”

It is not clear how many of the remains detected belong to children, Cowessess First Nation Chief Cadmus Delorme told reporters, adding that oral stories mentioned adults being buried at the site.

Delorme later told Reuters some of the graves belong to non-indigenous people who may have belonged to the church. He said the First Nation hopes to find the gravestones that once marked these graves, after which they may involve police.

Delorme said the church that ran the school removed the headstones.

“We didn’t remove the headstones. Removing headstones is a crime in this country. We are treating this like a crime scene,” he said.

The residential school system, which operated between 1831 and 1996, removed about 150,000 indigenous children from their families and brought them to Christian residential schools, mostly Catholic, run on behalf of the federal government.

“Canada will be known as a nation who tried to exterminate the First Nations,” said Bobby Cameron, Chief of the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations, which represents 74 First Nations in Saskatchewan. “This is just the beginning.”

OLD WOUNDS

Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which published a report that found the residential school system amounted to cultural genocide, has said a cemetery was left on the Marieval site after the school building was demolished.

The local Catholic archdiocese gave Cowessess First Nation C$70,000 ($56,813) in 2019 to help restore the site and identify unmarked graves, said spokesperson Eric Gurash. He said the archdiocese gave Cowessess all its death records for the period Catholic parties were running the school.

In a letter to Delorme on Thursday, Archbishop Don Bolen reiterated an earlier apology for the “failures and sins of Church leaders and staff” and pledged to help identify the remains.

Heather Bear, who went to Marieval as a day student in the 1970s and is also vice-chief of the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations, recalled a small cemetery at the school but not of the size revealed on Thursday.

“You just didn’t want to be walking around alone in (the school),” she recalled. There was a “sadness that moves. And I think every residential school has that sadness looming.”

The Cowessess First Nation began a ground-penetrating radar search on June 2, after the discovery of 215 unmarked graves at the Kamloops Residential School in British Columbia outraged the country. Radar at Marieval found 751 “hits” as of Wednesday with a 10% margin of error, meaning at least 600 graves on the site.

The Kamloops discovery reopened old wounds in Canada about the lack of information and accountability around the residential school system, which forcibly separated indigenous children from their families and subjected them to malnutrition and physical and sexual abuse.

Pope Francis said in early June that he was pained by the Kamloops revelation and called for respect for the rights and cultures of native peoples. But he stopped short of the direct apology some Canadians had demanded.

Thursday was a difficult day, Delorme told Reuters. But he wants his young children to know “we will get the reconciliation one day with action like today.”

($1 = 1.2321 Canadian dollars)

(Reporting by Anna Mehler Paperny in Toronto and Moira Warburton in Vancouver; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama, Alistair Bell, Grant McCool and Daniel Wallis)

Continue Reading

News

Teamsters votes to fund and support Amazon workers

Published

 on

The International Brotherhood of Teamsters, a labor union in the United States and Canada, said on Thursday it has voted to formalize a resolution to support and fund employees of Amazon.com Inc in their unionization efforts.

Amazon did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

(Reporting by Eva Mathews in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur)

Continue Reading

News

Citigroup names new sales head for Treasury and Trade Solutions unit

Published

 on

Citigroup Inc has named Steve Elms as the new sales head for the bank’s Treasury and Trade Solutions (TTS) unit effective immediately, according to an internal memo shared by a company spokesperson.

Elms, who will oversee the management of the global sales teams, has been involved with the bank’s TTS division for over 10 years, according to his LinkedIn profile.

TTS is a division of the bank’s Institutional Clients group. The segment offers cash management and trade services and finance to multinational corporations, financial institutions and public sector organizations around the world.

(Reporting by Niket Nishant in Bengaluru and David Henry in New York; Editing by Krishna Chandra Eluri)

Continue Reading

Trending