African Nations Push Back Against Omicron Travel Bans

Several African nations are pushing back against what they call a discriminatory imposition of travel bans on countries in Southern Africa following the emergence of the Omicron COVID-19 variant. The protests come amidst the fact that despite cases of the new variant being discovered in several countries, including Israel, Hong Kong, The United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, and The Czech Republic, travel bans have only been placed against countries in Africa, reports CNN.

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Emergence of Omicron Variant Provokes Global Fears

On November 26, 2021, the World Health Organization (WHO) distinguished the COVID-19 variant B.1.1.529, or Omicron. Although South Africa was the first nation to report the Omicron variant to WHO on November 24, scientists are unsure of where and when it originated. According to The Washington Post, the variant has been detected all over the world, including in the United States, UK, EU, Israel, Hong Kong, and Botswana.

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Are Vaccine Mandates Increasing Safety or Driving People from Vaccinations?

Taking efforts to slow the spread of the COVID-19, some leaders around the world have decided to enact vaccine mandates. In many developed nations, such as the United States, vaccination rates for adults range between 70 to 80 percent, according to Reuters, with a slim subsection of the population extremely reluctant to get the vaccine. 

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WHO Rejects Turkmenistan’s Zero-COVID Claim

The government of Turkmenistan continues to claim it is free of the COVID-19 pandemic, despite growing backlash from opposition groups abroad and a visit from the World Health Organization (WHO). The Central Asian former Soviet Republic is one of nine nations that has yet to report a single COVID-19 case, according to ABC News.

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Costa Rica to require COVID-19 vaccine for children

COVID-19 case numbers have been on the rise across the U.S. and around the globe, with many states and countries resuming lockdowns and preventative measures. The sudden increase in cases has caused an increase in restrictions across many countries, such as Costa Rica, which has declared that all children above the age of 5 must be vaccinated. 

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The Annual Concordia Summit in Discussion of the World’s Problems

The Annual Concordia Summit was held last September 20-23 in New York City alongside the High Segment of the 76th United Nations General Assembly. The summit was designed to revolve around the major topics of discussion at the UNGA this year. From environmental sustainability to vaccine distribution, the Concordia Summit delved into the largest problems in the world today.

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WHO Declares Support for Sinovac Booster

The World Health Organization (WHO) supported two Chinese-produced COVID-19 vaccines earlier this year in response to the increased need for international vaccine supply. While China has been exporting a significant number of vaccines, with around 1.2 billion being exported just last month, the WHO’s decision to recommend third doses for those who received either the Sinopharm or Sinovac vaccine has cast doubts on the efficacy of these Chinese-made vaccines, according to The Washington Post.

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Israel to Require Booster Shots for Fully Vaccinated Individuals

Israel has invalidated approximately 2 million vaccine passports after requiring individuals to have a COVID-19 booster shot to be considered fully vaccinated. The country is now requiring the third dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccination for those 12 years of age or older, with the exception of those who received their second dose or tested positive for COVID-19 within the last six months.

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China’s Authoritarianism Facilitated Its Economic Victory Over COVID-19

Despite being the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak, China’s swift and strict response to the pandemic allegedly led to a 2.3 percent increase in GDP in the year 2020, reports NPR. The pandemic posed a unique challenge for the communist government, but not an unmanageable one. Leaning into authoritarian tactics, the Chinese government  was able to fight the virus while simultaneously building back its economy.

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