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New Zealand Prime Minister Calls for United Battle Against COVID

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New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern removes her mask before she outlines the Government's plans, Feb. 3, 2022, that will dismantle its quarantine system and reopen its borders the world.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said in an address on the nation’s Waitangi Day observance that the country has an obligation to make sure everyone has access to the health care they need, and that no one dies younger than everyone else in New Zealand because they are Maori."

The commemorative day is named for the region on the North Island where representatives of the British Crown and more than 500 Indigenous Maori chiefs signed a founding treaty in 1840.

The Maori, however, lost most of their land during British colonization and have staged demonstrations on Waitangi Day to rally for their civil and social rights.

Last year New Zealand established the Maori Health Authority to ensure better health care access for the Maori who have been overwhelmed by COVID pandemic.

"We all have a duty to do everything we can to protect our communities with all the tools that science and medicine have given us," Ardern said Sunday, as she called for a united battle against the coronavirus.

Turkey’s president is the latest world leader to reveal that he has contracted the coronavirus.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan revealed on Twitter Saturday that he and his wife, Emine, have been infected with the omicron variant of the COVID virus and are experiencing mild symptoms.

The news came just two days after the Turkish leader’s visit to Kyiv, where he met with Volodymyr Zelensky, his Ukrainian counterpart.

Two Miami men have each received a sentence of 41 months after stealing 192 ventilators worth approximately $3 million, according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of Florida.

The U.S. Agency for International Development shipment was in a tractor trailer headed for Miami International Airport. The shipment was stolen when the driver left the trailer on a parking lot overnight.

The ventilators “were part of an aid program to treat critically ill COVID-19 El Salvadorian patients,” according to the statement. Most of the ventilators were recovered.

The Johns Hopkins Resource Center reported early Sunday that it has recorded more than 393 million global COVID infections and almost 6 million deaths. More than 10 billion vaccines have been administered, according to the center.

Some information in this report came from the Associated Press and Reuters.

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