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#WorldHealthOrganization - Joint Statement by High Representative/Vice President Josep Borrell and Commissioner Stella Kyriakides on the  adoption of the resolution on COVID-19 response at the World Health Assembly

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Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General 

"We welcome the World Health Assembly’s adoption by consensus of the resolution initiated by the European Union and its member states on the importance of a collective response to the coronavirus pandemic. The 195 member states of the World Health Organization (WHO) have convened at the Assembly in unprecedented times, showing their determination to defeat the virus through collective, global action.

"The virus knows no borders, and neither should our response. Strengthening multilateralism is now more important than ever. The resolution underlines the importance of responding to this crisis through solidarity and multilateral cooperation under the umbrella of the United Nations. We commend the WHO for its leading role in guiding the response to this crisis.

"The resolution sets out actions for every single one of us. For countries around the world, for the WHO and for other international actors, including civil society and the private sector.

"The role of equitable access to a vaccine in bringing the pandemic to an end is crucial. As a global, public health good it has to be affordable and accessible to everyone. Also, access to affordable equipment, medicines and treatments is vital. On 4 May, together with global partners, the EU launched a global pledging effort, which has so far gathered €7.4 billion from donors worldwide to ensure universal and affordable access to new solutions to detect, treat and prevent COVID-19. We invite, once again all, countries and partners to contribute with pledges to “the Coronavirus Global response” in favour of the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator.

"Citizens around the world are worried. For their health, for their families, for their jobs. Today’s (19 May) resolution recognizes the need for engagement with the public through reliable information and the need to combat the proliferation of misinformation and disinformation.

"The resolution also recalls the need for all of us to evaluate our performance. An independent investigation of how this pandemic started and spread will be important, as we will need to draw lessons from the current crisis to strengthen our global preparedness for the future.

"By working together, united, and in solidarity, we will overcome this pandemic. Now is the time to work together. The health of each of us depends on the health of all of us."

Conservative Party

Johnson to levy £10,000 fine on COVID-19 rule-breakers

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People in England who break new rules requiring them to self-isolate if they have been in contact with someone infected with COVID-19 will face a fine of up to £10,000 ($12,914), Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Saturday (19 September), writes David Milliken.

The rules will apply from 28 September to anyone in England who tests positive for the virus or is notified by public health workers that they have been in contact with someone infectious.

“People who choose to ignore the rules will face significant fines,” Johnson said in a statement.

Fines will start at 1,000 pounds for a first offence, rising to 10,000 pounds for repeat offenders or cases where employers threaten to sack staff who self-isolate rather than go to work.

Some low-income workers who suffer a loss of earnings will receive a £500 support payment, on top of other benefits such as sick pay to which they may be entitled.

Current British government guidance tells people to stay at home for at least 10 days after they start to suffer COVID-19 symptoms, and for other people in their household not to leave the house for 14 days.

Anyone who tests positive is also asked to provide details of people outside their household who they have been in close contact with, who may then also be told to self-isolate.

To date there has been little enforcement of self-isolation rules, except in some cases where people have returned from abroad.

However, Britain is now facing a rapid increase in cases, and the government said police would be involved in checking compliance in areas with the highest infection rates.

Johnson has also faced calls to reintroduce more wide-ranging lockdown rules for the general public.

However, the Sunday Times reported he was poised to reject calls from scientific advisors for an immediate two-week nationwide lockdown to slow the spread of the disease, and instead reconsider it when schools take a late-October break.

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Ireland tightens Dublin COVID-19 restrictions as cases surge

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The Irish government on Friday (18 September) announced strict new COVID-19 restrictions for the capital Dublin, banning indoor restaurant dining and advising against all non-essential travel, after a surge in cases in recent days. Ireland, which was one of the slowest countries in Europe to emerge from lockdown, has seen average daily case numbers roughly double in the past two weeks and significant increases in those being treated for the virus in hospitals, writes Conor Humphries.

“Here in the capital, despite people’s best efforts over recent weeks, we are in a very dangerous place,” Prime Minister Micheal Martin said in a televised address to the country, announcing the restrictions.

“Without further urgent and decisive action, there is a very real threat that Dublin could return to the worst days of this crisis.” The measures, which include a ban on indoor events, will last for three weeks, he said. Ireland had the 17th highest COVID-19 infection rate out of 31 European countries monitored by the European Centre for Disease Control on Friday, with 57.4 cases per 100,000 people in the past 14 days.

The government reported three deaths from the virus on Friday, bringing the total toll to 1,792. Countries across Europe, including Britain, Greece and Denmark, on Friday announced new restrictions to curb surging coronavirus infections in some of their largest cities. Ireland on Thursday tightened its COVID-19 travel restrictions by imposing quarantines on travellers from major holiday markets Italy and Greece.

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France reports new daily record in #COVID-19 cases

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France reported 13,498 new confirmed COVID-19 cases over the previous 24 hours, setting another record in daily additional infections since the start of the epidemic, writes Mathieu Rosemain.

The new cases pushed the cumulative total to 442,194 as the seven-day moving average of daily new infections rose to more than 9,700, compared with a low of 272 at the end of May, two weeks after the lockdown was lifted.

A faster circulation of the virus and a six-fold increase in testing since the government made it free are the two main reasons for the scale of the increase, epidemiologists have said.

The number of people in France who have died from COVID-19 was up by 26 on Saturday at 31,274, a growth significantly lower than registered the previous day.

Health authorities reported a sudden jump in the country’s daily death toll from COVID-19 on Friday (18 September)  because of unreported cases in one hospital near Paris.

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