Dominic Raab, the UK foreign secretary, is to ask for ceasefires to be implemented in conflict zones so local populations can be vaccinated against coronavirus, arguing that the world has “a moral duty to act”.
The British minister is to chair a meeting of the UN’s security council in an effort to persuade members to agree a resolution calling for locally negotiated ceasefires in areas such as Somalia, South Sudan and Yemen.
“Global vaccination coverage is essential to beating coronavirus,” Raab will say at the meeting, reflecting concerns that wherever the disease is unchecked it could increase the likelihood of vaccine-resistant strains emerging.
But while charities welcomed the UK’s initiative, they called on wealthy countries to consider going further. Sam Nadel, Oxfam’s head of policy and advocacy, warned that the poorest countries enduring conflict risked not getting any vaccines without “a massive increase” in global production:
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New Zealand confirms two new community cases
The minister of Covid-19 response, Chris Hipkins has confirmed that two students of Papatoetoe high school in south Auckland have tested positive for Covid-19.
This comes after two full days of no new community cases, following the detection of a family of 3 testing positive on Sunday, and the whole of Auckland placed into a three-day lockdown, with the rest of the country placed at Level 2.
Prime minister Jacinda Ardern is meeting with her cabinet this afternoon to discuss the situation and whether alert levels will go up, down or remain the same. She will hold a press conference at 4.30 pm.
The two new cases are siblings at the high school and knew the student who tested positive on Sunday.
Of the 31 close contacts in Papatoetoe High School, 29 have been tested and 28 are negative, while one is positive, the minister said.