Connect with us

Coronavirus

Monkeypox ’emergency’ decision due from WHO sparks African criticism

Published

on

2/2

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Test tubes labelled “Monkeypox virus positive and negative” are seen in this illustration taken May 23, 2022. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo

2/2

By Jennifer Rigby

LONDON (Reuters) – The World Health Organization (WHO) will decide on Thursday whether to declare monkeypox a global health emergency, stirring criticism from leading African scientists who say it has been a crisis in their region for years.

The deliberations and scrutiny of the WHO’s response to the outbreak follows concerns over how the U.N. agency and governments worldwide handled COVID-19 in early 2020.

Monkeypox does not spread nearly as easily as COVID and there are vaccines and treatments available unlike for the coronavirus when it emerged. But it has still raised alarm.

The case count from the current outbreak outside of Africa has topped 3,000 in more than 40 countries, according to a Reuters tally – largely among men who have sex with men – since it was first reported in May. There have been no reports of deaths.

The viral disease that causes flu-like symptoms and skin lesions is endemic in parts of Africa. The continent has registered just over 1,500 suspected cases since the start of 2022, of which 66 have been fatal, according to official data.

“When a disease affects developing countries, it is not an emergency. It only becomes an emergency when developed countries are affected,” said Professor Emmanuel Nakoune, acting director of the Institut Pasteur in Bangui, the Central African Republic, who is running a trial of a monkeypox treatment.

However, Nakounde said if the WHO declares a “public health emergency of international concern”, – its highest level of alarm – it would still be an important step.

“If there is the political will to share equitably the means of response between developed and developing countries… each country will be able to benefit,” he said.

The WHO has said it is working on a mechanism for sharing treatments and vaccines.

The emergency committee meeting on Thursday includes experts from the most affected regions, who have also consulted with scientists including Nakounde. They will make a recommendation to WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, who makes the ultimate decision over whether to call the emergency.

The step mainly functions to sound the alarm, and can prompt further guidance from the organization, as well as focus attention among member states.

Most experts agree monkeypox technically meets the criteria for the WHO definition of an emergency. It is a sudden and unusual event spreading internationally, and requires cross-country co-operation.

But the WHO is in a precarious position after COVID, said Clare Wenham, a global health assistant professor at the London School of Economics.

If the WHO declares an emergency and countries do not act, it could undermine the agency’s role in controlling global disease, she said.

“They’re damned if they do, and damned if they don’t,” she added.

Coronavirus

Ottawa police call in Canada Day reinforcements for ‘freedom’ protests

Published

on


© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A man poses for a photo in front of the National War Memorial as truckers and supporters take part in a convoy to protest coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine mandates for cross-border truck drivers in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, January 29, 20

By Steve Scherer

OTTAWA (Reuters) – Ottawa officials said on Monday they are closing roads and calling in reinforcements to keep anti-government “freedom” protesters from disrupting Canada Day festivities, which are being held for the first time in three years on Friday.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the free concerts and other activities usually held on the July 1 national holiday, which celebrates the founding of the country, were canceled.

This year several groups that say they are protesting against a variety of things – including coronavirus vaccination mandates, globalization and government efforts to limit freedom in Canada – are planning marches and even a dance party.

Some of the same organizers were behind a truck convoy that blocked Ottawa’s downtown core around parliament for three weeks, snarling international travel and trade as well as resulting in dozens of arrests. Ottawa officials are still facing criticisms for their handling of the crisis.

Ottawa’s interim Police Chief Steve Bell said he expects hundreds of thousands of people to participate in the Ottawa celebrations, but does not know how many people plan on joining the protests.

“We won’t be intimidated by any group that plans to disrupt the celebrations,” Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson said during a news conference. “We’re prepared, and we will not tolerate any illegal activity by anyone.”

Friday’s protests will include an alternative free concert in front of the Supreme Court, a march to city hall where speakers will address the public and finally a dance party in front of parliament.

Multiple police forces, including the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), are being brought in to help, Bell told reporters.

Already from Wednesday, access to the streets around parliament will be limited, and most of the streets in the downtown core will be closed on Friday. No vehicles will be allowed to park illegally and no structures, including tents, will be allowed, Bell said.

“We’re prepared to take decisive and lawful action to deal with threats, occupation attempts, and other unlawful behavior that we observe,” Bell said.

Continue Reading

Coronavirus

WHO says monkeypox is not yet a health emergency

Published

on


© Reuters. Test tubes labelled “Monkeypox virus positive” are seen in this illustration taken May 22, 2022. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

LONDON (Reuters) – Monkeypox is not yet a global health emergency, the World Health Organization (WHO) ruled on Saturday, although WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said he was deeply concerned about the outbreak.

“I am deeply concerned about the monkeypox outbreak, this is clearly an evolving health threat that my colleagues and I in the WHO Secretariat are following extremely closely,” Tedros said.

The “global emergency” label currently only applies to the coronavirus pandemic and ongoing efforts to eradicate polio, and the U.N. agency has stepped back from applying it to the monkeypox outbreak after advice from a meeting of international experts.

There have been more than 3,200 confirmed cases of monkeypox and one death reported in the last six weeks from 48 countries where it does not usually spread, according to WHO.

So far this year almost 1,500 cases and 70 deaths in central Africa, where the disease is more common, have also been reported, chiefly in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Monkeypox, a viral illness causing flu-like symptoms and skin lesions, has been spreading largely in men who have sex with men outside the countries where it is endemic.

It has two clades – the West African strain, which is believed to have a fatality rate of around 1% and which is the strain spreading in Europe and elsewhere, and the Congo Basin strain, which has a fatality rate closer to 10%, according to WHO.

There are vaccines and treatments available for monkeypox, although they are in limited supply.

The WHO decision is likely to be met with some criticism from global health experts, who said ahead of the meeting that the outbreak met the criteria to be called an emergency.

However, others pointed out that the WHO is in a difficult position after COVID-19. Its January 2020 declaration that the new coronavirus represented a public health emergency was largely ignored by many governments until around six weeks later, when the agency used the word “pandemic” and countries took action.

Continue Reading

Coronavirus

Can abortion pills overcome U.S. state bans?

Published

on


© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Dr. Shelly Tien hands a patient the initial abortion inducing medication at Trust Women clinic in Oklahoma City, U.S., December 6, 2021. REUTERS/Evelyn Hockstein/

By Brendan Pierson and Nate Raymond

(Reuters) – Following the U.S. Supreme Court’s June 24 ruling eliminating the nationwide right to abortion that it had recognized nearly 50 years ago in its landmark Roe v. Wade decision, demand for abortion pills, which can be prescribed through online telemedicine visits, will likely rise. However, medication abortion will not necessarily offer a way for most women to avoid the stringent new abortion bans now expected to pass in conservative states, experts say.

WHAT IS A MEDICATION ABORTION?

In a medication abortion, a patient takes a drug called mifepristone, also known as RU-486, followed by a second drug called misoprostol, to end a pregnancy rather than having a surgical procedure. Over half of abortions in the United States are medication abortions, according to the Guttmacher Institute https://www.guttmacher.org/state-policy/explore/medication-abortion, an abortion rights advocacy research group.

HOW DOES THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT REGULATE MEDICATION ABORTIONS?

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved mifepristone in 2000, but until very recently, the FDA mandated that patients get it at a doctor’s office, clinic or hospital. After easing those restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic, the agency in December permanently did away with the requirement that it had to be dispensed in person, allowing patients to consult with healthcare providers via telemedicine appointments and receive the pills by mail. That increased access to abortion for patients living in remote areas without providers nearby and women unable to take time off from work or not able to get to clinics for other reasons. The drugs are approved for use through the 10th week of pregnancy https://tmsnrt.rs/3yfKSqc.

DO STATES RESTRICT MEDICATION ABORTION?

Yes. Medication abortions have become a target of anti-abortion politicians and activists. Indiana bans medication abortion at 10 weeks, and Texas after seven weeks; other state medication abortion bans have been blocked by courts.

Thirty-two states allow only physicians, and not other clinicians such as nurse practitioners, to dispense abortion pills, according to the Guttmacher Institute. Nineteen states require that the dispensing clinician be in the patient’s physical presence, effectively banning telemedicine.

WHAT IS THE IMPACT OF THE SUPREME COURT’S RULING ON TELEMEDICINE ABORTION?

Before the Supreme Court’s ruling, 13 states had so-called “trigger laws” written to impose new abortion bans immediately or soon after Roe v. Wade was overturned, and other states are expected to follow after Friday’s ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health.

The Guttmacher Institute predicts at least 26 states, including those with trigger laws, will pass new abortion laws. Such state laws have so far not distinguished between surgical and medication abortion, so they are expected to ban medication abortion entirely. Some will ban abortions almost completely, while others outlaw abortion at six weeks or 15 weeks https://tmsnrt.rs/3sbQQEp.

U.S. Senator Tina Smith of Minnesota, a Democrat, on Thursday introduced a bill that would ensure that telemedicine abortion is available in states where abortion remains legal in anticipation of the Supreme Court’s ruling.

CAN A PATIENT IN A STATE WHERE MEDICATION ABORTION IS ILLEGAL GET THE PILLS FROM AN OUT-OF-STATE PROVIDER WHERE IT IS LEGAL?

That depends. It is illegal for a medical professional to prescribe the pills via a telemedicine appointment to a woman in a state where they are illegal, legal experts say.

    “The laws around telemedicine generally say that the location of the patient controls,” said Amanda Allen, senior counsel at the Lawyering Project, an organization that represents abortion providers. Doctors who prescribed abortion pills to a patient in a state where they are illegal could lose their licenses in that state, or even face criminal charges, she said.   

A woman who lives in a state where abortion is illegal could travel to a state where it is legal, have a telemedicine visit, and have the medication mailed to an address there.

    “In some cases, that’s somewhat less burdensome and costly than to travel all the way to a brick-and-mortar clinic in a neighboring state,” she said, noting that patients who travel to clinics in other states have sometimes faced weeks-long waits for appointments.

ARE THERE CURRENTLY LAWSUITS CHALLENGING STATE RESTRICTIONS ON MEDICATION ABORTION?

Yes. GenBioPro Inc, a company that sells mifepristone, has already challenged Mississippi’s restrictions on prescribing abortion pills via telemedicine by arguing that they are “preempted” by the FDA, meaning that the federal approval of the drug overrides any state law. There has not been a ruling in that case, which is pending in Mississippi federal court.

    Similar challenges have succeeded before. In 2014, a Massachusetts federal judge struck down a state law seeking to regulate opioid drugs more stringently than federal law on the grounds that it was preempted.

U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland appeared to express support for that position in a statement on the Supreme Court’s June 24 ruling, saying that states “may not ban mifepristone based on disagreement with the FDA’s expert judgment about its safety and efficacy.”

Mississippi has argued that FDA approval cannot overcome the Supreme Court’s rulings granting states authority to regulate abortions.

CAN PATIENTS GET ABORTION PILLS FROM OTHER COUNTRIES?

Yes. Women in states cracking down on telemedicine abortion have increasingly turned to ordering pills online from overseas.

While the practice is not legal, state authorities have said they have no effective way of policing orders from foreign doctors and pharmacies.

(This story refiles to change reference from “medical abortion” to “medication abortion”)

Continue Reading

News

Economy9 mins ago

Albemarle plans major U.S. lithium processing plant

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A sign at the approach road leads to Albemarle’s lithium evaporation ponds at its facility in...

Forex9 mins ago

The ‘Big Package’: How Russia was driven to default

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen arrives for the European Union leaders summit, as EU’s...

World9 mins ago

U.S. Supreme Court abortion ruling ignites new legal battles over state bans

2/2 © Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Abortion rights campaigners participate in nationwide demonstrations following the leaked Supreme Court opinion suggesting the...

Stock Markets9 mins ago

Bankman-Fried’s FTX internally mulling Robinhood deal – Bloomberg News

© Reuters. The logo of Robinhood Markets, Inc. is seen at a pop-up event on Wall Street after the company’s...

Economy10 mins ago

Dollar retreats as markets rethink Fed rate bets, eye ECB hikes

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: U.S. dollar banknotes are displayed in this illustration taken, February 14, 2022. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic By Hannah...

Sports & General10 mins ago

Biden swipes at China with memorandum to combat illegal fishing

© Reuters. U.S. President Joe Biden attends a welcoming ceremony on the first day of the G7 summit at Bavaria’s...

Sports & General10 mins ago

Amtrak train derails in Missouri after hitting truck, injuries reported

(Reuters) -Several cars on an Amtrak train derailed in Mendon, Missouri, on Monday after hitting a dump truck at a...

Stock Markets10 mins ago

FTX Said Exploring Potential Robinhood Acquisition, News Seen as ‘Positive’

FTX Said Exploring Potential Robinhood (HOOD) Acquisition, News Seen as ‘Positive’ By Sam Boughedda FTX, the crypto exchange founded by...

World10 mins ago

At least 13 killed in Russian missile strike on shopping mall, Ukraine says

2/2 © Reuters. Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy attends a working session of G7 leaders via video link, as Russia’s attack...

Commodities39 mins ago

Oil up 2% on Bets G7 Move Versus Russia Will Further Tighten Supply 

© Reuters. By Barani Krishnan Investing.com — Crude markets rallied on Monday on speculation that the predominantly-Western Group of Seven...

Stock Markets40 mins ago

Bankman-Fried’s FTX seeking path to buy Robinhood – Bloomberg News

© Reuters. The logo of Robinhood Markets, Inc. is seen at a pop-up event on Wall Street after the company’s...

Stock Markets40 mins ago

Refining Tightness to Persist, Even in a Recession – Piper Sandler

© Reuters. Refining Tightness to Persist, Even in a Recession – Piper Sandler By Sam Boughedda Piper Sandler Senior analyst...

World1 hour ago

U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, ends constitutional right to abortion

9/9 © Reuters. Demonstrators gather in front of Planned Parenthood after the United States Supreme Court ruled in the Dobbs...

Cryptocurrency1 hour ago

Ethereum liquidity provider XCarnival negotiates return of 50% stolen ETH

Ethereum liquidity provider XCarnival negotiates return of 50% stolen ETH XCarnival, a liquidity provider for the Ethereum ecosystem, recovered 1,467...

Cryptocurrency1 hour ago

Holonus to announce its listing on LBank

© Reuters Holonus to announce its listing on LBank Holonus – Blockchain-based Best Ecosystem Platform for Next Generation Humanity in...

Sports & General1 hour ago

Biden administration signals fight over medication abortion

2/2 © Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Abortion rights protesters demonstrate after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in the Dobbs v Women’s...

Economy1 hour ago

UK public inflation expectations fall to lowest since January -Citi/YouGov

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: People shop at market stalls, with skyscrapers of the CIty of London financial district seen behind,...

Stock Markets2 hours ago

Mining firms poised to lead capital raisings in Canada, TSX CEO says

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Visitors to the BHP (formerly known as BHP Billiton) booth speak with representatives during the Prospectors...

Sports & General2 hours ago

Biden signs memorandum to combat illegal fishing

© Reuters. U.S. President Joe Biden attends a welcoming ceremony on the first day of the G7 summit at Bavaria’s...

Economy2 hours ago

GE CEO Culp expands role to head aviation unit

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: General Electric Co. Chief Executive Officer Larry Culp mingles with shareholders at the company’s annual meeting...

Economy2 hours ago

Wall Street edges lower, weighed by growth stocks

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A trader works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York...

Stock Markets2 hours ago

Judge orders new trial in Tesla worker’s race bias lawsuit

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The Tesla factory is seen in Fremont, California, U.S. June 22, 2018. REUTERS/Stephen Lam//File Photo By...

Coronavirus2 hours ago

Ottawa police call in Canada Day reinforcements for ‘freedom’ protests

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A man poses for a photo in front of the National War Memorial as truckers and...

Stock Markets2 hours ago

Brazil’s antitrust body settles case with Citibank, Société Générale related to currency manipulation probe

© Reuters. The logo for Citibank is seen on the trading floor at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in...

Cryptocurrency2 hours ago

BTC price tops 10-day highs as Bitcoin whale demand sees ‘huge spike’

BTC price tops 10-day highs as Bitcoin whale demand sees ‘huge spike’ Bitcoin (BTC) made the most of weekend volatility...

Stock Markets2 hours ago

Cathie Wood’s ARK Gains Significant Recent Inflows Despite Disastrous Year – Report

© Reuters Cathie Wood’s ARK Gains Significant Recent Inflows Despite Disastrous Year – Report By Sam Boughedda According to a...

Commodities2 hours ago

Brazil’s Petrobras elects new CEO as fuel price pressures mount

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Gasoline and diesel prices are displayed near a gas station, following the announcement of updated fuel...

Stock Markets2 hours ago

Factbox-Global baby formula makers send products to restock U.S. shelves

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Shelves with baby formula are pictured at Skippack Pharmacy with a shopper limit amid continuing nationwide...

Economy2 hours ago

G7 to stand with Ukraine ‘for as long as it takes’

2/2 © Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A well head and drilling rig in the Yarakta oilfield, owned by Irkutsk Oil Company...

Cryptocurrency2 hours ago

NFT​.NYC — How the Web3 space is validating the work of digital artists

NFT​.NYC — How the Web3 space is validating the work of digital artists Following the conclusion of the fourth annual...

Trending