A group of 300 scientists say wealthy nations’ failure to provide the rest of the world with access to COVID-19 vaccines is a “reckless approach to public health” that results in conditions that allow for variants, such as the highly contagious omicron variant, to emerge.
In a letter to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, the scientists said Britain’s people and the National Health Service have been placed at risk because of Britain’s global vaccination policy, according to a report in The Telegraph.
Reuters reports that the letter urges Britain to support the waiver of intellectual property rights for COVID-19 vaccines, tests and treatments
The scientists who signed the letter include a Nobel prize winner and a former National Health Service chief executive, The Telegraph reported.
Three billion people worldwide remain unvaccinated.
Meanwhile, more than 100,000 daily cases of the coronavirus were reported in Russia for the first time Saturday as the highly contagious omicron variant spreads throughout the country. The government’s coronavirus task force reported a record high 113,122 new cases, a sevenfold increase from earlier in January.
The task force also reported 668 more COVID-19 deaths, increasing the country’s death toll to 330,111, the highest by far in Europe.
In New Delhi, a curfew was lifted for the weekend, allowing restaurants, markets and theaters to temporarily reopen at half their normal capacity.
The Indian capital has been among the hardest hit areas in a third wave of infections led by the omicron variant. The weekend reprieve came after the city government imposed the curfew on January 4 and ordered schools and restaurants to close.
Nineteen COVID-19 cases were reported Friday among Winter Olympics athletes and officials in China, bringing their total number of cases to 36.
Pope Francis said Friday at the International Catholic Media Consortium on COVID-19 Vaccines, “To be properly informed, to be helped to understand situations based on scientific data and not fake news, is a human right.”
More than 370 million global COVID infections have been recorded, according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center and nearly 10 billion vaccine doses have been administered.
Some information for this report came from Agence France-Presse, The Associated Press and Reuters.