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WHO-led coalition says $31.3 billion needed for tools to fight COVID-19 – Reuters

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LONDON/GENEVA (Reuters) – A World Health Organization-led coalition fighting the COVID-19 pandemic is asking government and private sector donors to help raise $31.3 billion in the next 12 months to develop and deliver tests, treatments and vaccines for the disease.

Renewing its call on Friday for global collaboration against the pandemic, it said $3.4 billion had been contributed for the coalition to date, leaving a funding gap of $27.9 billion. Of that, $13.7 billion was “urgently needed”.

The WHO is working with a large coalition of drug-development, funding and distribution organisations under what it calls the ACT-Accelerator Hub.

The initiative is intended to develop and deliver 500 million COVID-19 tests and 245 million courses of new treatment for the disease to low- and middle-income countries by mid-2021, it said in a statement.

It also hoping 2 billion vaccines doses, including 1 billion to be bought by low- and middle-income countries, will be available by the end of 2021.

“SIGNIFICANT” INVESTMENT REQUIRED

The ACT-Accelerator was launched in April to speed up research and development work on medical tools to tackle COVID-19. On Friday, the WHO said the pandemic was still threatening millions of lives and scores of economies, and urgent work and funds were needed.

“The investment required is significant, but it pales in significance when compared to the cost of COVID-19,” it said.

“The total cost of the ACT-Accelerator’s work is less than a tenth of what the IMF estimates the global economy is losing every month due to the pandemic.  468,000 thousand people have already lost their lives.”

FILE PHOTO: A logo is pictured on the headquarters of the World Health Orgnaization (WHO) in Geneva, Switzerland, June 25, 2020. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

As the race to find a vaccine has accelerated, governments including the United States and in Europe, have rushed to agree advance purchases of promising coronavirus immunisation treatments.

That has raised concerns about the equitable distribution of and access to supplies of COVID-19 vaccines, tests and treatments, particularly for lower- and middle-income countries.

WHO chief scientist Souma Swaminathan said the programme had had “really very constructive” engagement with companies about the involvement of the private sector.

Additional reporting by Ludwig Burger and Matthias Blamont; Writing by Nick Macfie and Josephine Mason; Editing by Giles Elgood and Timothy Heritage

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Four new outbreaks, 41 new cases of COVID-19 confirmed in Alberta – CityNews Edmonton

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CALGARY (660 NEWS) – Alberta Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw announced 41 new cases of COVID-19 within the province.

In the last 24 hours, around 7,200 tests have been conducted, with 41 of the tests coming back positive.

More than 7,400 Albertans have recovered from the virus, while 41 remain in hospital, and nine in ICU.

Hinshaw identified outbreaks linked to four restaurants in the Edmonton area.

There were 15 cases found associated with the Greta Bar, six at Earl’s Tin Palace, 10 at The Pint, and nine found at the Local on Jasper Avenue.

“Alberta Health Services is working closely with operates to facilitate testing and ensure all necessary steps are taken to protect public health,” Hinshaw said.

Anyone who may have recently visited the restaurants should seek testing, Hinshaw added.

With more locations opening, Hinshaw reiterated how easily the virus can spread.

She said that both Calgary and Edmonton have an area with more than 50 cases per 100,000 Albertans and that AHS is currently keeping a close eye on those locations.

Health officials continue to monitor the outbreak at a Calgary condominium building in the city’s East Village which is currently linked to 49 cases.

Hinshaw says an investigation into the outbreak is ongoing.

“While we don’t know with absolute certainty at this point the cause of this, we are looking at various possibilities,” she said.

“One of the possible sources is high touch surfaces,” Hinshaw added.

Out of those 49 cases, 33 are currently active while 16 have recovered.

There are 549 active COVID-19 cases province-wide with the Edmonton zone holding 246 of those cases, while the Calgary zone has 233.

No new deaths were reported.

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Health unit temporarily shuts down Leamington farm operation over COVID-19 cases – Windsor Star

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Article content continued

Some workers also want to apply for an open work permit, he said, “because they don’t want to work under these conditions.” He said they cited living in bunkhouses with at least 20 other workers.

“A couple of workers told me they’ve been taking care of themselves, using masks, washing their hands, but if you share housing with 20 others it’s very tough to keep yourself safe.”

It’s too early to determine the impact of the shutdown on the farm, said Taylor.

“It will depend on what the plan is … how the workforce is isolated, what potential there is for any of the workforce to return to work,” she said. “But obviously when you’re dealing with a living crop, there’s always the possibility that the crop might perish if they’re not able to source replacement labour.”

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Nine Additional Cases of COVID-19 in Windsor-Essex – AM800 (iHeartRadio)

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Another drop in confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Windsor-Essex.

The local health unit is reporting an additional nine cases as of Wednesday morning at 10:30am.

In a release, the health unit says, seven of those nine cases are from the agri-farm sector while one case is a health care worker.

There are now a total of 1,611 confirmed cases, 68 deaths and 893 cases resolved in Windsor-Essex. 

There are two outbreaks at long-term care homes and four workplaces have two or more cases.

Medical Officer of Health Dr. Wajid Ahmed will hold his daily briefing at 9:30 Thursday morning.
 

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