Covid pandemic – Fewer Chinese travelers impact global tourism and WHO calls for vaccine patents

File photo of masked people outside Shanghai train station in China | Representative image | ANI

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New Delhi: The detection of the new variant of the Coronavirus, Omicron, has again led to heightened apprehensions regarding the spread of Covid around the world. The total number of Covid cases reported worldwide as of Monday stood at 266,200,412, with 5,273,249 deaths.

International travel, which had slowly started to pick up after being severely hit by the pandemic, was once again slowed due to Omicron, with many countries enforcing tighter controls and restrictions on the influx of tourists. A diplomat from South Africa, where the variant was first detected, called Australia’s entry ban on travelers from nine southern African countries discriminatory. Meanwhile, the decline in the number of Chinese travelers to destinations around the world during the pandemic has hurt global tourism.

And the World Health Organization (WHO) has called on China and India to share patents for Covid vaccines.

ThePrint brings you some important global stories about the pandemic.

Read also : Why Peru has the highest Covid death rate in the world

Declining number of Chinese travelers hurts global tourism

The cancellation of travel plans by many Chinese, even before Omicron’s discovery, had a huge impact on the global tourism industry, with many countries losing their biggest spenders. In 2019, Chinese travelers spent around $ 260 billion, more than people from all other countries.

According to a report in The New York Times, the reduction in the number of Chinese tourists will have a more profound impact on the countries of North and Southeast Asia, in particular Indonesia, Vietnam and South Korea.

The disappearance of Chinese tourists has also dealt “a devastating blow” to tourist destinations like Rome, where several tourist agencies have even resorted to teaching their employees basic Mandarin to meet the needs of Chinese tourists.

China has reported a total of 99,203 Covid-19 cases and 4,636 deaths.

Read also : Why the invisible deaths of the pandemic must be counted

South African envoy calls Australian travel ban “discriminatory”

A senior South African diplomat called Australia’s ban on travelers from nine southern African countries “discriminatory”. Calling for the ban to be overturned, the diplomat claimed that many cases of Omicron are detected in other continents and not just in parts of Africa, reported The Guardian.

During an interview at ABC Radio Marthinus van Schalkwyk, South Africa’s High Commissioner to Australia, said on Monday: “We think this is discrimination because the only difference is that these countries [on the travel ban list] are on the African continent. The ban is unfair, there is no proof that the ban works, the World Health Organization confirms that ”.

According to the WHO, the Omicron variant of Covid-19 was first detected in South Africa and was declared a variant of concern on November 24.

To date, Australia has reported 18 cases of Omicron, according to The Guardian report. While 15 of them have been detected in New South Wales, two have been identified in the Australian Capital Territory and one in the country’s Northern Territory.

Australia has reported a total of 219,124 Covid cases and 2,056 deaths.

Read also : Omicron variant may have emerged from AIDS patient with prolonged Covid, scientists suspect

Jordanian court sentences health officials over oxygen-related deaths

A Jordanian court has sentenced five senior health officials to three years in prison for the deaths of 10 Covid-19 patients during oxygen failure at a large public hospital, reported Al jazeera.

Among those sentenced are Abdel Razak al-Khashman, the former director of the government hospital in Al-Salt, a town in the north of the country’s capital, and four senior health officials under his command.

The incident took place in March this year and sparked protests, with people holding the government responsible for the gross negligence of the state’s healthcare system during a spike in Covid-19 infections. Hours after the incident, Health Minister Nathir Obeidat resigned and even issued a public apology, while Prime Minister Bisher Al-Khasawneh said his government took full responsibility for the incident.

Jordan has reported 975,956 Covid-19 cases and 11,761 deaths.

Read also : How Omicron will hurt global recovery: economists spell out the possibilities

WHO calls on China, India to share vaccine patents

The World Health Organization has called on China and India to share patents on Covid-19 vaccines, increase supplies and ensure equitable access to developing countries, the South China Morning Post reported Monday.

WHO had contacted Chinese vaccine makers Sinopharm and Sinovac and asked if they would be willing to share their technologies and patents through the Covid-19 Technology Access Pool (C-TAP), a platform of the WHO for sharing data, technology and intellectual property for Covid. -19 treatments, tests and vaccines.

But unlike Indian drug maker Bharat Biotech, which had offered to share its technology on C-TAP with WHO while negotiating a license deal with it, Chinese companies have explained their willingness to stick with it. bilateral agreements with individual countries.

According to South China Morning Post report, To date, only 7.3 percent of the population in Africa are fully immunized, compared to 60 percent in the United States and nearly 80 percent in China.

Despite repeated calls from the WHO to help tackle the problem of vaccine inequality, the problem persists, with developing countries like South Africa among the most vulnerable populations in the world.

South Africa has recorded 3,031,694 cases of Covid-19 and 89,966 deaths.

What else do we read:

The United States plans to accelerate the overhaul of the Covid-19 vaccines: The Wall Street Journal

Asia-Pacific wants to live with the Covid. Omicron threatens these reopening plans: CNN

Read also : The world is still stuck with a “Delta Wave” hangover. For Omicron, we have to stick to the basics

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