From Covid-19 pandemic to repression of Uighurs in China: Human Rights Watch on 2020
Last year was marked socially and politically by the coronavirus pandemic, as more than a million people died and billions were placed under lockdown. We discuss the impact the health crisis has had on global human rights with Kenneth Roth, the Executive Director of Human Rights Watch. We also address the root causes of police brutality in the US and France. Finally, we ask what more can be done to end the ongoing repression suffered by China's minority Uighur Muslims.
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many food businesses to close, but some of them altered their sales strategies to survive and grow in difficult times. Hear what those business owners have done differently amid the pandemic. America has just had its deadliest day yet, with more than 3,000 dead from Covid-19. By comparison, the official death count of the 9/11 terrorist attacks was 2,977. Hospitals across the country are overwhelmed with new cases, from the so-called Thanksgiving surge. Patients are being treated in trucks, tens, and even hospital lobbies. One ICU nurse warned that infections from Christmas season gatherings could be even more devastating than Thanksgiving. WHO warned on Friday (4 Dec) that those countries with current high levels of coronavirus transmission, "are going to have to sustain very strong control measures." Otherwise, the COVID-19 "will blow out of control" in some countries and they will risk "ongoing epidemic yo-yo situation through 2021."
At the regular COVID-19 press briefing in Geneva, WHO's Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the organization is concerned with "a growing perception that the pandemic is over," following the news of imminent rollout of the vaccine against COVID-19.
"We know it's been a hard year and people are tired," Dr Tedros said, "but in hospitals that are running at, or over, capacity; it's the hardest it can possibly be. My personal ask to people is simple, please be careful, think of health workers and act for the greater good, because it will save lives and livelihoods."
Dr Mike Ryan, Executive Director of the WHO Health Emergencies Programme also warned that "vaccines do not equal zero COVID."
He said "vaccines and vaccination will add a major, major, powerful tool to the toolkit that we have. But by themselves they will not do the job. And therefore, we have to add vaccines into an existing public health strategy. We will have to continue to work on managing our personal behavior or hygiene. And in many cases, we need to recognize that the vaccine will not be with everyone early next year."
For her part, Dr Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO Health Emergencies Programme's COVID-19 Technical lead said "the next six months are going to be difficult, but hopeful. And I think they're going to be difficult for a number of reasons, because we need to have the patience, we need to put in the work to keep ourselves safe and to keep our loved ones safe." Luke Letlow, a Louisiana Republican who was just elected to Congress last month, has died of complications from COVID-19 at the age of 41. He announced he was fighting the virus last week.