The United Nations and the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement are urging that governments and others unite in developing a “people’s vaccine” to protect everyone against the coronavirus.
Their appeal came ahead of a vaccine summit in London organized by the Global Vaccine Alliance that is seeking to mobilize billions of dollars of funding for a COVID-19 vaccine.
The “people’s vaccine” should protect the affluent, the poor, the old and young, said a statement by the U.N. and the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. That is a “moral imperative that brings us all together in our shared humanity,” it said.
It said the pandemic is also raising risks of other diseases as it disrupts childhood immunization programs, leaving at least 80 million children under the age of one at risk of diseases like measles, diphtheria and polio.
The urgency of finding a way to stem outbreaks was evident as India on Thursday reported yet another record number of new infections, at 9,304, with 260 deaths in the previous 24 hours.
India’s tally of COVID-19 fatalities surpassed 6,000 and its number of infections has risen to nearly 217,000, the Health Ministry said. That makes India the seventh worst hit by the pandemic.
Neighbouring Pakistan reported over 4,000 new cases and said 82 more people had died, raising its death toll to 1,770. On Thursday, as many as 901 COVID-19 patients were listed in critical condition in Pakistan hospitals.
The spike in infections comes weeks after Prime Minister Imran Khan overrode warnings from experts and eased a lockdown. Officials have blamed the public for not adhering to social distancing regulations.
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As countries such as New Zealand and Australia mark progress in containing the pandemic and work on plans to resume some international air travel, others are having to step up precautions.
North Macedonia reintroduced stringent restrictions on movement in its capital, Skopje, and three other areas after confirming 101 new infections as of Thursday.
In the U.S., where a wave of protests is adding to concerns over possible additional outbreaks, new cases of the coronavirus have been surging just weeks after many businesses were allowed to reopen.