Brazil hospitals close to collapse due to Covid-19 and other stories

Experts suggest that the Brazilian Variant is highly contagious. Photo credit: Daniel Foster/Flickr.

Due to the rising number of Coronavirus cases in Brazil, 80% of ICU beds are occupied in 25 out of its 27 states. 

Currently after the US, Brazil has recorded the highest number of deaths and the country also has the highest number of confirmed cases. 

Experts suggest that the Brazilian Variant is highly contagious and despite the rising number, President Jair Bolsonaro has not implemented stricter COVID measures. 

On Tuesday, 1,972 Covid cases were recorded and a total of more than 266,000 deaths have occurred since the beginning of the pandemic; as a result the ICU capacity has been exceeded in both Porto Alegre and Campo Grande.

Myanmar ambassador recalled

After several public statements against the military coup, Myanmar has recalled Kyaw Zwar Minn, its ambassador to the UK.

The ambassador had called for the release of elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi and has advocated for peaceful negotiations to resolve the unrest.

It is unclear what he will do from here but there is some concern for his safety if he were to return to Myanmar.

British foreign minister Dominic Raab has praised Kyaw Zwar Minn for his “courage and patriotism”.

False vaccine export ban claim rejected by the UK 

The EU Council President Charles Michel has sparked a diplomatic row after saying the UK has imposed an “outright ban” on the export of vaccines.

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has rejected the claim saying it is “completely false” and that no such ban has been implemented.

The argument comes with pressure developing in the EU because of a slow rollout of vaccines and an EU official being summoned to the Foreign Office for “further discussions”.  

The UK is expected to have a surplus of vaccines after ordering 400 million doses which it will donate to poorer countries.  

China and Russia announce joint lunar space station

An agreement has been signed between Russia’s space agency Roscosmos and China’s National Space Administration to develop an international scientific research station.  

In a joint statement, the two nations said that the International Scientific Lunar Station, available to all nations, will include a “complex of experimental research facilities”.

Chen Lan, an independent analyst specialising in China’s space programme, told AFP news agency that this was an important development for China: “this will be the largest international space cooperation project for China, so it’s significant”. 

With increased interest in space exploration, Roscosmos lost its monopoly on crewed flights to the International Space Station, after Elon Musk’s SpaceX company launched a successful mission there in 2020. 

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