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Amid Omicron concern, China to ship additional billion vaccines to African nations

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Beijing | November 29, 2021 11:49:27 PM IST
Chinese President Xi Jinping on Monday said Beijing will ship additional billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines to African nations.

"China will provide Africa with another billion doses of vaccines," Xi said at the opening ceremony of the 8th ministerial conference of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, as quoted by the China Central Television.

Out of those, 600 million doses will be donated, while the remaining 400 million doses will be provided by Chinese companies through joint production with local business.

China will also support African countries in implementing 10 health-related projects, and will deploy 1,500 medical workers and public health experts to the continent. This comes as African nations are witnessing a surge in cases of newly-detected Omicron variant of coronavirus.

Earlier on Monday, the African Vaccine Acquisition Trust, the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and COVAX urged the international community to improve their donations of COVID-19 vaccines to Africa, especially given the emergence of the new Omicron strain.

The organisations called on the donor-countries to follow universal standards to ensure the high quantity and predictability of the supplies so that African countries can better plan their vaccine rollout.

The WHO, on November 27, named the new COVID-19 variant B.1.1.529, which has been detected in South Africa, as 'Omicron'.

This variant has a large number of mutations, some of which are concerning. The number of cases of this variant appears to be increasing in almost all provinces in South Africa.

Based on the evidence presented indicative of a detrimental change in COVID-19 epidemiology, the Technical Advisory Group on SARS-CoV-2 Virus Evolution (TAG-VE) has advised the WHO that this variant should be designated as a VOC, and the WHO has designated B.1.1.529 as a VOC, named Omicron, a statement said. (ANI)

 
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