Zimbabwe Reimposes a Lockdown to Contain Rising Coronavirus Cases

HARARE – Zimbabwe’s government on Monday is reintroducing a lockdown as a way to contain rising coronavirus cases in the southern African nation.

Announcing the reintroduction of the lockdown Saturday night on national television, Vice President Constantino Chiwenga said complacency had resulted in a recent spike in cases of the coronavirus responsible for the COVID-19 disease.

“Our vaccination against in COVID-19 is going on very well,” he said. “The country is however experiencing a surge in cases. The last seven days has seen 596 new cases and 26 deaths, as compared to the same period in May last year where we had 132 cases and six deaths.”

Chiwenga, who doubles as Zimbabwe’s health minister, said all gatherings except for funerals would be banned comes Monday. Only 30 people would be allowed at funerals. He did not indicate when the new measures would be reviewed.

Itai Rusike, head of nonprofit Community Working Group on Health in Zimbabwe, commended the government for tightening the lockdown to avoid a “pending third wave disaster.”

“Yes, this may look a bit draconian, but the measures are still necessary if we are to save lives. It is important that the people of Zimbabwe should embrace these measures. It is also important for Zimbabweans that are eligible for vaccination to come forward and willingly get vaccinated if the country is to move forward towards achieving herd immunity of vaccinating at least 60% of the population which translates to about 10 million Zimbabweans,” he said.

Zimbabwe’s vaccination effort against the infection has recently been hit by shortages of the shots. But officials say the country still has stocks of the 1.7 million vaccines it has received from China, Russia and India since February.

Last week, Zimbabwe received 25,000 Sputnik V doses from Russia. That was a few days after it rejected Johnson & Johnson vaccines from the African Union, financed by the African Export-Import Bank. Zimbabwe has 39,852 confirmed coronavirus infections and 1,632 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins University, which tracks the global outbreak.

Source: Voice of America

COVID-19 Worsens Venezuela Displacement Crisis

GENEVA – U.N. refugee and migration agencies are appealing for international support for 5.6 million Venezuelan refugees and migrants who have fled persecution and economic hardship and taken refuge in countries in the region.

The Venezuelan refugee and migrant displacement crisis is one of the largest the world has ever seen, second only to Syria. U.N. officials say it has not received the visibility it deserves.

Michael Grant is assistant deputy minister for the Americas, Global Affairs Canada.

Grant said this lack of visibility is depriving the Venezuelans and host countries of the humanitarian assistance needed for them to thrive. He said this is causing more suffering for millions of people who already have endured so much distress.

“The lives of nearly six million people have been upended, forced to leave their homes with little or no possessions in search of safety, security and dignity. Walking in some instances thousands of kilometers to find refuge,” he said.

At the end of their journey, he said countries in South and Central America and the Caribbean have offered the Venezuelans shelter, health care, education, and security, but, he said this generosity is unsustainable without more international support.

Grant said the Venezuelan crisis is amplified by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has hit the Latin American and Caribbean region particularly hard. He said the pandemic has had a particularly severe impact on women, children, and vulnerable groups.

“Over half do not have enough to eat. Eighty to 90 percent have lost their source of income. One in four children is separated from their families during the journey and women and girls experience particular challenges such as gender-based violence and lack of access to sexual and reproductive health services,” he said.

U.N. agencies report millions of impoverished Venezuelans are in dire straits and dependent upon humanitarian assistance for survival.

Canada, in collaboration with the U.N. refugee agency and International Organization for Migration, is hosting an International Donors’ Conference on behalf of Venezuelan refugees and migrants on June 17.

The agencies say $1.44 billion is needed to provide lifesaving aid to the 5.6 million Venezuelan refugees and migrants this year. They note half the year is gone and only five percent of this amount has been funded. They are appealing to governments to use this week’s pledging conference to fill this gap.

Source: Voice of America

Over 1.09 million vaccinated against covid-19

As of Jun 11, 2021 the total number of people given Covid-19 vaccines had reach 1,098,714 with over 712,000 given first doses and more than 385,000 fully vaccinated, the latest data of the National Taskforce Committee for Covid-19 Prevention and Control shows.

Source: Lao News Agency

Covid-19 updates: Jun 13, 2021

The National Taskforce Committee for Covid-19 Prevention and Control reported today six new infections of Covid-19 including four community transmissions in Vientiane, one imported case from Thailand in Savannakhet and one infection (a Chinese national traveling from Huayxay district, Bokeo – another province hard hit by Covid-19) in Luang Namtha.

Source: Lao News Agency

Six new cases reported

The National Taskforce Committee for Covid-19 Prevention and Control reported today six new infections of Covid-19 including four community transmissions in Vientiane, one imported case from Thailand in Savannakhet and one infection (a Chinese national traveling from Huayxay district, Bokeo – another province hard hit by Covid-19) in Luang Namtha.

As of Jun 11, 2021 the total number of people given Covid-19 vaccines had reached 1,098,714 with over 712,000 given first doses and more than 385,000 fully vaccinated, the latest data of the National Taskforce Committee for Covid-19 Prevention and Control shows.

Source: Lao News Agency