Cholera vaccinations launched in post-cyclone Mozambique

The Mayor of Beira, Daviz Simango receives an oral cholera vaccination at a camp for displaced survivors of cyclone Idai in Beira, Mozambique, on Wednesday, April 3, 2019.
Updated 03 April 2019

Cholera vaccinations launched in post-cyclone Mozambique

  • Some 900,000 doses of oral cholera vaccine arrived on Tuesday in Mozambique
  • Humanitarian efforts are turning to preventing further loss of life due to disease

GENEVA: Health officials launched a vaccination campaign in Mozambique's cyclone-hit port city of Beira on Wednesday in an effort to contain an outbreak of cholera that has already infected more than 1,400 people, the World Health Organization (WHO) said.
Some 900,000 doses of oral cholera vaccine arrived on Tuesday in Mozambique, where Cyclone Idai last month flattened homes and unleashed widespread flooding.
The vaccination campaign is currently planned to last six days and aims to immunise 900,000 people across four districts including 500,000 in Beira.
"We are pretty confident that we will reach the target," WHO spokesman Christian Lindmeier said in Geneva.
Some 843 people were killed by the storm and subsequent flooding in Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi. Humanitarian efforts are turning to preventing further loss of life due to disease.
As of Tuesday, Mozambique's health ministry had reported 1,428 cases of cholera including one death since the outbreak was declared on 27 March.
"We shouldn't focus too much on the numbers as there are still a lot of people who are not getting tested for cholera," Lindmeier said. "The important thing is to get sick people into treatment as soon as possible."
Cholera is endemic to Mozambique, which has had regular outbreaks over the past five years. About 2,000 people were infected in the last outbreak, which ended in February 2018, according to the WHO.
The scale of the damage to Beira's water and sanitation infrastructure, coupled with its dense population, have raised fears that another epidemic would be difficult to control.
The United Nations has appealed for $392 million to fund the humanitarian response to the disaster in southern Africa for the next three months. Just $46 million in funding has been received so far.


EU warns of ‘challenging’ timeframe for UK trade deal

Updated 13 December 2019

EU warns of ‘challenging’ timeframe for UK trade deal

  • EU is concerned about the rapid speed with which Johnson would like to strike a trade deal with Europe
  • Johnson has until July 1 to request for a trade talks extension

BRUSSELS: European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on Friday warned of the tight timing for securing a trade deal with Britain, hours after Boris Johnson’s Conservatives won a crushing election victory.
“The time frame ahead of us is very challenging,” von der Leyen said, following a discussion by EU leaders on the way forward after Brexit, now expected on January 31.
On the “first of February, we go to work,” she said.
EU Council President Charles Michel warned that the 27 member states would not accept a deal blindly, stressing that the bloc would insist that Britain respect European norms to win the deal.
“There is no question of concluding a deal at any price, said Michel, who coordinates EU summits, after the talks.
“Negotiations are over when the results are balanced and guarantee respect for the different concerns,” the former Belgian premier said.
“We have a way of doing things based on experience, transparency and maintaining unity” in the EU, he added.
EU is worried about the breakneck speed with which Johnson would like to strike a trade deal with Europe and any British effort to undermine the unity among the remaining 27 members.
In a text released after the talks, the 27 EU leaders called for “as close as possible a future relationship with the UK” while warning that it “will have to be based on a balance of rights and obligations and ensure a level playing field.”
EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier will direct trade negotiations, which the leaders will follow closely “and provide further guidance as necessary, fully consistent with the EU’s best interest,” conclusions added.
Johnson has until July 1 to ask for a trade talks extension.
If he refuses to extend the negotiation period, a no-deal Brexit will loom at the end of 2020, with Britain in danger of an abrupt cut in trade ties with Europe, endangering its economy.