Saints Kitts e Nevis

WHO signs global initiative for COVAX-19 vaccines for all countries

The St Kitts Nevis Observer - Ven, 22/01/2021 - 21:45

GENEVA — COVAX, the global initiative to ensure rapid and equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines for all countries, regardless of income level, has announced the signing of an advance purchase agreement with Pfizer for up to 40 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine candidate, which has already received World Health Organisation (WHO) emergency use listing. Rollout will commence with the successful negotiation and execution of supply agreements.

In further support of its mission to expedite early availability of vaccines to lower-income countries and help bring a rapid end to the acute stage of the COVID-19 pandemic, COVAX also confirmed that it will exercise an option, via an existing agreement with Serum Institute of India to receive its first 100 million doses of the AstraZeneca/Oxford University-developed vaccine manufactured by SII.

Of the first 100 million doses, the majority are earmarked for delivery in the first quarter of the year, pending WHO Emergency Use Listing. The WHO review process, which is currently underway, follows approval for restricted use in emergency situations by the Drugs Controller General of India earlier this month, and is a critical aspect of ensuring that any vaccine procured through COVAX is fully quality assured for international use. According to the latest WHO update, a decision on this vaccine candidate is anticipated by the middle of February.

COVAX also anticipates that, via an existing agreement with AstraZeneca, at least 50 million further doses of the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine will be available for delivery to COVAX participants in Q1 2021, pending emergency use listing by WHO of the COVAX-specific manufacturing network for these doses. A decision on this candidate is also anticipated by the WHO in February.

“Today marks another milestone for COVAX: pending regulatory approval for the AstraZeneca/Oxford candidate,” said Dr. Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, which leads COVAX procurement and delivery. “Pending the successful conclusion of the supply agreement for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, we anticipate being able to begin deliveries of life-saving COVID-19 vaccines by the end of February.

“This is not just significant for COVAX, it is a major step forward for equitable access to vaccines, and an essential part of the global effort to beat this pandemic,” said Dr. Berkley. “We will only be safe anywhere if we are safe everywhere.”

Preparations, led by WHO, UNICEF and Gavi, are already well under way for COVAX to deliver vaccines to economies eligible for support via the COVAX AMC, with Gavi making US$ 150 million available from its core funding as initial, catalytic support for preparedness and delivery.

“The urgent and equitable rollout of vaccines is not just a moral imperative, it’s also a health security, strategic and economic imperative,” said Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization. “This agreement with Pfizer will help to enable COVAX to save lives, stabilize health systems and drive the global economic recovery.”

Building on the work of the past months supporting country readiness efforts, a “Country Readiness Portal” will be launched by the WHO this month, which will allow AMC participants to submit final national deployment and vaccination plans (NDVPs). This is a vital step before allocations can be made, to ensure that delivered doses are able to be effectively deployed and to identify where, if necessary, further support is needed.

“These purchase agreements open the door for these lifesaving vaccines to become available to people in the most vulnerable countries,” said UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore. “But at the same time we are securing vaccines we must also ensure that countries are ready to receive them, deploy them, and build trust in them.”

The COVAX Facility intends to provide all 190 participating economies with an indicative allocation of doses by the end of this month. This indicative allocation will provide interim guidance to participants – offering a minimum planning scenario to enable preparations for the final allocation of the number of doses each participant will receive in the first rounds of vaccine distribution.

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‘De Strip’ Project expected to be completed by second half of 2021

The St Kitts Nevis Observer - Ven, 22/01/2021 - 21:07

BASSETERRE, St. Kitts — The Federation is expected to complete the ‘De Strip’ Project within a six month period, according to Minister of Tourism, the Honourable Lindsay Grant.

Upgrade at ‘De Strip.’

Hon. Grant said he hopes that the strip area will be completed by the second half of 2021.

“We had some delays with the strip because we are still in the process of working out what exactly we are going to do with the matter for the sewage at the strip,” said Grant.

“We were between the St. Kitts Marriott in terms of using their facility which is underutilized or engaging persons to build our own sewage system at the Frigate Bay Strip,” said Grant.

He hopes that within the next couple of days, his ministry will get the advice to best determine which actions to take with the sewage system.

“The other things to be completed at the strip will be the grasscrete; the boardwalk; the sewage system; and exit and entrance facilities.”

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Federation recognises 2021, ‘UN International Year for the Elimination of Child Labour’

The St Kitts Nevis Observer - Ven, 22/01/2021 - 20:26

BASSETERRE, St. Kitts — The Federation recognizes 2021 as the United Nations designated year for the International Year for the Elimination of Child Labour.

On January 21, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) launched 2021 as the United Nations designated year for the International Year for the Elimination of Child Labour; to bring awareness to the issue of Child Labour and to implement programmes designed to eliminate child labour. The programme will utilize a three-pillow approach to act, inspire and scale up the fact that children deserve their childhood.

In the region of the Americas, the issue of ‘Child Labour’ is being addressed through the Regional Initiative Latin America and the Caribbean Free from Child Labour, whose goal is to work towards the elimination of Child Labour by the year 2025. St. Kitts and Nevis is a signatory to this initiative, which is five years in the making.

To date, the Regional Initiative has been developing a key role in the implementation of 2021 being the year for the elimination of Child Labour. In particular, we pledge to make 2025 #withoutchildlabour and #endchildlabour.

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Prime Minister Dr. Harris extends congratulations to President Biden, Vice President Harris

The St Kitts Nevis Observer - Ven, 22/01/2021 - 20:08

Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis, Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris.BASSETERRE, St. Kitts — Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis, Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris, has joined other Caribbean and world leaders in extending sincerest congratulations and best wishes to President Joseph Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris who were sworn in as the 46th President and Vice President of the United States of America on January 20.

President Biden and his running mate Kamala Harris won the hard-fought and historic US Presidential election on November 3, 2020.

“As you accept the mantle afforded to you as the 46th President of the United States of America, allow me to reaffirm the commitment of the Government of Saint Kitts and Nevis to continue the longstanding mutual relationship that exists between the Federation and the US, one that was built on mutual respect and support,” said Prime Minister Harris in a congratulatory letter to President Biden.

Prime Minister Harris said he is “Confident and optimistic that through your strong leadership, garnered through years of service as a seasoned politician, particularly the years spent as a former Vice President of the United States, the continued partnership between Saint Kitts and Nevis and the United States of America will not only continue but will flourish.”

The Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis and the United States of America have been diplomatic allies since 1983.

President Joseph Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris

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Police warn cannabis smokers, no lighting up of ‘spiff’ in public places

The St Kitts Nevis Observer - Ven, 22/01/2021 - 19:53

Superintendent of Police, Cromwell Henry warns not to smoke in public.BASSETERRE, St. Kitts — Cannabis “spliff” smokers in St. Kitts and Nevis are being strongly cautioned to strictly follow the law of the land and to refrain from smoking in public places.

On January 20, Cromwell Henry, Superintendent of Police and Divisional Commander for District A, said that “while the possession of small amounts of cannabis has been decriminalized, its use in public is still a criminal offense.”

The indiscriminate smoking of marijuana at events and on street corners should stop immediately, said Superintendent Henry.

Section 6A (b) of the Drugs (Prevention and Abatement of the Misuse and Abuse of Drugs) Act, Cap. 9.08 states that any person found smoking cannabis or cannabis resin, in any public place, not including a registered place of worship of the Rastafarian faith, shall be issued with a fixed penalty notice for $1,000 or in default of payment, shall be liable to up to 20 hours of community service, or in default to a term of five days imprisonment.

“We are appealing to those who smoke to have consideration for those who do not smoke and confine your smoking to the privacy of your homes,” concluded Superintendent Henry.

He reported to the Cabinet on January 18 that the indiscriminate smoking of marijuana is creating consternation in society.

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Alexandra Hospital launches Ambulance Services designated emergency number

The St Kitts Nevis Observer - Ven, 22/01/2021 - 19:29

CHARLESTOWN, Nevis — Persons wishing to access the Ambulance Service at the Alexandra Hospital on Government Road, now have a designated number to do so. As of Friday, January 22, 2021, the emergency number is 469-3333.

The Alexandra Hospital in the Ministry of Health and Gender Affairs made the announcement through a press statement urging people to call the number for medical emergencies.

“The general public is asked to call 469-3333 in the event of medical emergencies which can include: loss of consciousness, sudden inability to move or speak, sudden confusion, seizures that are not stopping, pain in the chest, difficulty breathing, severe bleeding that is not stopping, severe allergic reactions, severe burns and scalds and other forms of injury.

“The 469-3333 line is available 24/7 and will connect you directly to emergency personnel in the emergency room, bypassing the switchboard operator,” the statement said.

It indicated that people using the service could expect to provide important information to emergency personnel.

“You will be asked questions to determine the nature of the emergency,” said the statement. “This may include symptoms and medical conditions of the person that needs help. You will be asked the location of the emergency. This may include street name, directions, and landmarks to guide the ambulance to the location where help is needed. You will be asked to provide a number that we can call back in case the call is dropped or in case more information needs to be collected.

“Not all emergencies are the same. Please provide as much information as you can so that we can provide the best assistance for the situation. Please continue to follow the media for more promotional messages about this emergency service provided by the Alexandra Hospital,” the statement concluded.

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Trump Impeachment Charges to Senate Monday

The St Kitts Nevis Observer - Ven, 22/01/2021 - 16:39

Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said on Friday that the House will deliver an impeachment article against President Trump to the Senate on Monday.

“Make no mistake, a trial will be held in the United States Senate and there will be a vote whether to convict the president. I’ve spoken to Speaker Pelosi, who informed me that the articles will be delivered to the Senate on Monday,” Schumer said from the Senate floor:

A spokesman for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Sending the article to the Senate triggers the start of the trial at 1 p.m. the following day, except for Sundays. Schumer, in his comment, didn’t address the timeline for the trial, as Democrats debate how long they think it should be.

But the announcement from Schumer appears to reject a request from Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) that the impeachment trial be delayed until February.

McConnell, under a timeline proposed to the GOP caucus, wanted to wait until Jan. 28, next Thursday, to read the article in the Senate, swear in senators as jurors and issue the summons to Trump.

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US: Nation’s Economic Woes Continue as Virus Rages

The St Kitts Nevis Observer - Ven, 22/01/2021 - 15:50

President Joe Biden’s administration released its strategy to combat the coronavirus pandemic yesterday. At the same time, he has to confront the worst economic disaster since 1929

More than 900,000 Americans filed initial unemployment claims last week, down by 26,000 from the previous week and 25,000 less than estimates.

Despite the slight week-over-week increase, the figure has not dipped below its pre-pandemic record of 695,000, set in 1982, since late March.Claims fell as low as 711,000 in early November before a winter surge in COVID-19 cases across the nation forced many states to reimpose various social distancing measures. Data also revealed an estimated 3 million people fell off the unemployment cliff when pandemic-related benefits lapsed in December as an economic stimulus package stalled in Congress.

Separately, a poll revealed nearly one-third of small-business owners surveyed said they were unable to pay January rent. The trend is the lagging part of what analysts call a K-shaped recovery, which occurs when different parts of the economy rebound at different rates. Conversely, the stock markets, driven largely by tech giants, all closed at or near record highs yesterday.

To launch a fight-back President Biden plans to sign two executive orders today that would increase food aid, protect jobseekers on unemployment and clear a path for federal workers and contractors to get a $15 minimum wage. The actions are an effort to rush financial relief to millions of Americans hurt by the fallout from the pandemic, while Congress begins to consider and debate the stimulus package proposed by Biden. You can follow all developments on that later here.

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