As Europe marks a year under coronavirus mitigation measures, it is clear that the battle against the pandemic is far from over . In an interview with DW's Conflict Zone , the World Health Organization's Regional Director for Europe warned against loosening safety measures. "Now we see a resurgence and we see a fast transmissibility of the mutants," Hans Kluge told host Tim Sebastian. "The people are very, very tired of the public health restrictions and I think this is the top priority as of today," Kluge said from Copenhagen, Denmark. "We're still in the midst of the pandemic, so we are laser-focused on saving lives, including a global rollout of the vaccination." The WHO has focused on the importance of a global vaccination rollout Problems plagued China mission During the interview, Kluge rejected criticism against the organization's seemingly soft approach to China, the location from which COVID-19 is widely theorized to have originated. "The World … [Read more...] about Does the WHO trust China on COVID?
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Police have arrested 84 suspects and seized thousands of fake COVID-19 vaccines in raids in China and South Africa. It comes weeks after the head of Interpol warned that criminal networks would try to cash in on the global vaccination rollout. South African police seized 400 ampoules, providing 2,400 doses, of a fake vaccine in Germiston, Gauteng, along with a big supply of fake 3M brand masks. They arrested a Zambian national and three Chinese suspects. Brigadier Vish Naidoo, of the South African Police, said: "Since COVID-19 reached the shores of South Africa, the government has adopted an integrated multi-disciplinary law enforcement approach. "This is proving to be very effective as we have seen in the arrests for foreign nationals attempting to peddle fake vaccines to unsuspecting people within South Africa." Advertisement That raid led to a second on a manufacturing premises in China, where police seized 3,000 fake vaccines and arrested 80 … [Read more...] about COVID-19: Police arrest 84 people as thousands of fake coronavirus vaccines seized in China and South Africa
Germany on Wednesday took a step towards forcing companies to take responsibility for any labor or environmental abuses in their global supply chain. A new law (Lieferkettengesetz in German) allows for hefty fines starting at several hundred thousand euros if their contractors abroad are found to breach human rights or environmental rules. The fines go up to two percent of the company's annual revenues if they exceed 400 million euros ($484 million). The companies are held responsible for every step of the way: from the raw materials to the finished product. "This law protects workers from exploitation across sprawling supply chains and protects human rights across the world," Finance Minister Olaf Scholz said on Wednesday, adding "In future, it will be clear that 'Made in Germany' also means respect for human rights." The SPD-run development and labor ministries initially wanted the law to also target smaller companies, but backed down in the face of strong opposition from the … [Read more...] about Germany to implement supply chain law against exploitation
Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced several measures to support people affected by COVID-19 lockdowns. Much of Wednesday's budget (summed up here ) focused on the pandemic, with some schemes being extended and some new ones introduced to the tune of an extra £65 billion, bringing the total spend on COVID-19 since March 2020 into the next financial year to £407bn. Here are all the COVID -related announcements: Furlough Mr Sunak has extended the furlough scheme to 30 September. It was due to expire at the end of April after starting last March when the crisis began. Wages for millions who are unable to work due to the restrictions will continue to have up to 80% of their salary subsidised by the government, with a maximum of £2,500 a month. This will gradually be lifted, with the government reducing its contribution to 70% from July and employers having to pay 10% for hours not worked. In August and September, the government will pay 60% and employers 20%. … [Read more...] about Budget 2021: What COVID-19 support measures were announced and extended?
Chancellor Rishi Sunak has set out an extra £65bn in COVID support for employees and businesses - but announced a freeze on income tax thresholds and a rise in corporation tax to help pay back the UK's rising debts. In his budget speech, Mr Sunak set out a three-part plan to "protect jobs and livelihoods of the British people". But he warned that "corrective action" would be needed to tackle the UK's rising debt, as he set out how the government was now committed to spending £407bn on coronavirus support with borrowing at levels last seen in the 1940s. Follow the budget live Budget 2021: All the key points Among his key measures, the chancellor announced: Advertisement an extension to the furlough scheme until the end of September and more support for the self-employed the £20-a-week uplift in Universal Credit will continue for another six months the rate of corporation tax will rise to 25% in 2023, but with protections for … [Read more...] about Budget 2021: Rise in corporation tax and freeze on thresholds as Rishi Sunak tries to recover COVID debt