While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, Dec 27

Covid-19 pandemic will not be the last: WHO chief

The coronavirus crisis will not be the last pandemic, and attempts to improve human health are “doomed” without tackling climate change and animal welfare, the World Health Organisation’s chief said.

Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus also condemned the “dangerously short-sighted” cycle of throwing cash at outbreaks but doing nothing to prepare for the next one, in a video message marking Sunday’s first International Day of Epidemic Preparedness.

The WHO director-general said it was time to learn the lessons from the Covid-19 pandemic.

“For too long, the world has operated on a cycle of panic and neglect,” he said. “We throw money at an outbreak, and when it’s over, we forget about it and do nothing to prevent the next one. This is dangerously short-sighted, and frankly difficult to understand.”


Biden warns of ‘devastating consequences’ of Trump block on Covid-19 pandemic relief

US President-elect Joe Biden warned Saturday of “devastating consequences” if President Donald Trump continues to delay signing a Covid-19 economic relief Bill passed by Congress.

Biden spoke out as millions of Americans saw their jobless benefits expire after Trump threw a long-awaited pandemic aid package into doubt – demanding lawmakers more than triple the US$600 (S$797) direct payments to US taxpayers.

“This abdication of responsibility has devastating consequences. Today, about 10 million Americans will lose unemployment insurance benefits,” Biden said in a statement.


101-year-old woman first to receive Covid-19 vaccine in Germany

A 101-year-old woman in an elderly care home became the first person in Germany to be inoculated against coronavirus on Saturday, a day before the official vaccination campaign was scheduled to get under way in both Germany and the EU.

Edith Kwoizalla was one of around 40 residents and 10 staff in a care home in the eastern state of Saxony-Anhalt to receive a jab of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, the home’s manager Tobias Krueger told AFP.

The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine became the first to get the go-ahead for use in the West, when Britain gave its approval on December 2.


UK, EU rush to ratify their free trade deal

Leaders in Britain and the European Union are scrambling to persuade their national parliaments to ratify a historic deal due to come into effect at the start of the new year and designed to minimise the economic disruption created by Britain’s decision to leave the EU.

The agreement struck on Christmas eve after the last-minute intervention of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Ursula von der Leyen, the President of the European Commission, is the most significant single trade agreement Europe has ever contemplated, affecting a total of £660 billion (S$1.13 trillion) of yearly bilateral trade.

It ensures that neither Britain nor the EU will impose tariffs on goods, and a zero-quota agreement would mean no limit on the quantity of any goods that could be traded.


Arsenal sweep aside Chelsea to ease pressure on Arteta

Arsenal eased their relegation fears and lifted the pressure on beleaguered boss Mikel Arteta with a much-needed 3-1 win against Chelsea on Saturday.

Arteta’s side sat just three points above the relegation zone before kick-off at the Emirates Stadium after their worst start to a season since 1974-75.

But the Gunners produced their best performance this term to out-class their London rivals.


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