Updated: Mar 16, 2021
Germany, France and Italy have stopped using the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine. This is after many people who received the vaccine, had health problems regarding their blood. Yesterday, The World Health Organization (WHO)’s Director, Dr Tedros, said there is no evidence that the problems are caused by the vaccine.
"WHO is aware that some countries have suspended the use of AstraZeneca vaccines based on reports of blood clots in some people who received doses of the vaccine from two batches. This measure was taken as a precaution while a full investigation is finalised. It's important to note that the European medicines agency has said there is no indication of a link between the vaccine and blood clots and that the vaccine can continue to be used while its investigation is ongoing."
The World Health Organisation’s vaccine safety experts are meeting today to discuss the vaccine.
In Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel's party has had its worst-ever election results in early polls. The Christian Democrats have often won opinion polls. But early results show a drop in support for the party. This is due to public anger at the response to the coronavirus pandemic. Mrs Merkel will resign in September, after 16 years in office.
In Tanzania, four people have been arrested for allegedly spreading rumours that President John Magufuli is sick. Magufuli has not been seen in public for more than two weeks. Opposition politicians say he is very sick with COVID-19, and that he has left Tanzania to get treatment. Yesterday, Vice-President Samia Suluhu Hassan told Tanzanians not to listen to rumours.
In Ethiopia, nearly 70% of hospitals in Tigray have been vandalised and have had equipment stolen. Humanitarian group, Doctors Without Boarders, said the hospitals were attacked on purpose so that they couldn’t be used. The attack has been blamed on "armed groups in the Tigray conflict”. Conflict began in Tigray last year when Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed ordered the removal of the region's former ruling party, Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF).
In Myanmar, the military has extended military rule in the country. This is following the deadliest day of protests since February's coup. About 50 people were reported killed when troops and police officers shot protesters in different areas on Sunday. Protesters are demanding the release of civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi.
In China, Beijing was covered in thick dust yesterday after its worst sandstorm in 10 years. The storm caused a rise in air pollution - with pollution levels in some areas 160 times higher than it should be. Hundreds of flights were cancelled as the sky was covered by orange haze.
In Bolivia, former interim President Jeanine Añez has been sentenced to four months in prison before her trial. Prosecutors have charged Añez with terrorism and conspiracy. The ruling socialist party accuses Añez of being part of a coup that removed President Evo Morales in 2019.
In the United States, two suspects involved in the capitol riots on January 6th were charged yesterday. Julian Khater and George Tanios were arrested for assaulting several officers. One of the officers, Brian Sicknick, later died in hospital. They were charged with nine counts and face up to 20 years in prison.
Last week we asked listeners to send their experiences of the coronavirus pandemic. Thank you so much if you have sent a response. Unfortunately there isn’t time to show all of them. So here are some of the responses:
Silvia from Italy says that the COVID-19 pandemic has stolen the most beautiful years of her life.
"COVID has changed my life and of many people. It has been stealing the most beautiful years that unfortunately no one can return to us."
Greta from Italy says she isn’t sure how Italy will get out of lockdown, but that she needs freedom.
"The infections are high and they will probably put us in a new lockdown. I don't know how we could get out of it but I need freedom."
And Daniel from Czech Republic, says that 2020 was different, but that doesn’t mean it was bad.
Daniel said it is up to us how we choose to view the pandemic. Daniel also said that he is really grateful that he and his loved ones stayed healthy all year and for everything positive and useful that happened during this pandemic.
And that’s your world news in 7 minutes. Find all information and transcripts at send7.org. If you enjoy SEND7 the best thing you can do to help us is to leave a review on your podcast app, and share the podcast on social media. I’m Namitha Ragunath, and tomorrow you will be with Stephen Devincenzi. Have a great day.