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More than 140,000 killed by measles last year as number of cases rises | World News

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An “unprecedented global measles crisis” caused more than 140,000 deaths last year, with most of those who died under five years old, new figures reveal.

Cases of measles are continuing to rise after more than doubling in 2018 compared with the previous year, according to a report by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Some countries which previously had high coverage rates or had eliminated the disease are seeing “devastating measles outbreaks” due to falling vaccination rates, Unicef said.

The charity added that although children in some areas are hard to vaccinate due to conflict or a breakdown in services, in other places some parents are not vaccinating their children “due to complacency, mistrust or misinformation about vaccines.”

Parents are being urged to vaccinate their children in places where vaccines are available, including the UK, while efforts are being stepped up in countries without ready access to the jabs.

The UK lost its measles-free status in August as cases rose sharply.

In 2017, the number of laboratory-confirmed cases in England was 259, but this more than tripled to 971 in 2018.

A further 532 cases were reported in England between January and June this year.

There has been a drop in vaccination rates for all nine vaccines given to children under the age of five in England, including the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) jab.

Measles cases have been rising in recent years. File pic
Image:
Measles cases have been rising in recent years. File pic

A charity leader has called the issue in the UK a “ticking time bomb” and said trust needs to be built with parents.

Liam Sollis, head of policy and advocacy at Unicef UK, said: “Vaccines are the safest and most effective preventative measures against highly infectious disease, but currently too many children are being put at unnecessary risk – with half a million children in the UK unvaccinated against measles.”

However, half of measles cases reported in 2018 were from five countries – the Democratic Republic of Congo, Liberia, Madagascar, Somalia and Ukraine.



MIAMI, FL - SEPTEMBER 21:  University of Miami pediatrician, Judith L. Schaechter, M.D., gives an HPV vaccination to a 13-year-old girl in her office at the Miller School of Medicine on September 21, 2011 in Miami, Florida. The vaccine for human papillomavirus, or HPV, is given to prevent a sexually transmitted infection that can cause cancer. Recently the issue of the vaccination came up during the Republican race for president when Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) called the vaccine to prevent cervical cancer "dangerous" and said that it may cause mental retardation, but expert opinion in the medical field contradicts her claim. Texas Gov. Rick Perry, also a presidential contender, has taken heat from some within his party for presiding over a vaccination program in his home state. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)







What’s behind the fall in vaccination uptakes?

Nearly 5,000 people have been killed by measles in the Democratic Republic of Congo so far this year, while close to a quarter of a million have been infected.

In recent weeks, more than 53 people have died in a measles outbreak in Samoa, 48 of whom were children.

The country declared a state of emergency on 20 November and has been placed on lockdown to contain the disease.

A one-year-old child is given a vaccine in Seattle, US
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A one-year-old child is given a vaccine in Seattle, US

The director-general of the WHO, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, called the worldwide measles deaths an “outrage” and a “collective failure to protect the world’s most vulnerable children.”

It is estimated more than 19m children worldwide did not have the first dose of the measles vaccine by their second birthday in 2018.

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Emmanuel Macron filmed yelling at security guards during Jerusalem church visit | World News

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Emmanuel Macron has been filmed yelling at Israeli security guards and telling them to “go out” during his visit to a church in Jerusalem.

The French president was surrounded by guards in the doorway of the Church of St Anne when he shouted: “We know perfectly, everybody knows the rules.”

“I don’t like what you did in front of me,” he added, while pointing to one of the security guards.

“Go out,” he said. “Outside.”

Mr Macron visited the basilica on Wednesday ahead of a Holocaust memorial conference in the city.

The sandstone structure, which was gifted to French emperor Napoleon III from the Ottomans in 1856, sits in a section of the city annexed by Israel in the 1967 Middle East war.

It is considered a provocation by France if Israeli police enter the premises.

More from Emmanuel Macron

The spat on Wednesday was not the first of its kind between Israeli security and a French president.

Jacques Chirac, the country’s former president who died in September, also had an altercation with guards in the city in 1996, where he shouted: “What do you want – me to get back on my plane and go back to France?”

Mr Macron has since told reporters his incident was just “a minor irritation” and highlighted an agreement that Israeli guards escort him to the door, before being replaced by a French detail.

Former French president Jacques Chirac had a similar incident with Israeli security in 1996
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Former French president Jacques Chirac had a similar incident with Israeli security in 1996

But a joint statement from the Israeli police and Shin Bet security agency said “there was a discussion” upon Mr Macron’s arrival, and the guards had escorted him inside “based on the terms agreed upon ahead of time”.

It added: “When the president and the delegation finished the visit, he apologised about the incident and shook hands with the security personnel and continued his scheduled visit in the old city with security guards.”

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China coronavirus: Britons advised against travel to outbreak epicentre of Wuhan | World News

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The UK Foreign Office has advised against all but essential travel to the Chinese city of Wuhan after a new virus killed 17 and infected hundreds.

Wuhan’s local transport networks – including bus, subway and ferries – will also be suspended from 10am on Thursday, and airport and train stations closed to outgoing passengers.

Authorities are asking citizens not to leave unless there are special circumstances, said state media.

Screening is in place at major US airports, while Britain’s transport secretary said a separate area was being set up at London Heathrow to monitor arrivals from the city.

More than 500 cases of the new coronavirus have so far been confirmed by Chinese authorities.

The first case in the US was identified this week, while others have been diagnosed in Thailand, South Korea, Japan, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

All of them had been to Wuhan – the Chinese city with an 11 million population where the virus is believed to have started – with illegally trafficked animals at a market being named as the likely source.

Symptoms include fever, coughing and difficulty breathing.

More serious cases could lead to deadly conditions such as pneumonia and kidney failure.

Concerns are growing as hundreds of millions of people in China prepare to travel for the Lunar New Year holiday, which starts on Saturday.

The Foreign Office said travellers should not visit Wuhan, capital of Hubei province, “due to the ongoing novel coronavirus outbreak”.

Public Health England (PHE) has revised the coronavirus risk from “very low” to “low”.

Chinese police officers wear protective masks as they patrol at Beijing Station
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Chinese police officers wear protective masks as they patrol at Beijing station
A man is taken to hospital in Hong Kong as it detects its first cases of the virus
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A man is taken to hospital in Hong Kong as it detects its first cases of the virus

Sales of surgical masks have increased in China and some people are cancelling trips and avoiding public places, as cases of the virus show up in Beijing and Shanghai.

Taiwan has joined Australia in telling its citizens to avoid Wuhan, while North Korea has banned foreign tourists – most of whom are Chinese.

Singapore is one of the countries scanning people for signs of fever as they land
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Singapore is one of the countries scanning people for signs of fever as they land

Singapore is also among the countries that have started screening all passengers arriving on flights from China – with heat-detecting guns scanning people for signs of fever.

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses ranging from the common cold to severe diseases such as SARS – which killed nearly 800 people during the 2002-03 outbreak.

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When a new strain emerges that has not yet been identified, as with the current outbreak, it becomes known as a novel coronavirus (nCoV).

Chinese state media say the latest strain is different from those identified in the past, but have confirmed it can be passed from person to person.

All coronaviruses are also zoonotic, meaning they are transmitted between animals and people.

There are no reliable vaccines. The best someone can do is take medicines and treatments for specific symptoms.

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Storm Gloria: Hunt for missing Briton, 25, who vanished during Ibiza motorbike trip | World News

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A land and sea search is under way to find a British man who vanished during a deadly storm that has ripped through Ibiza.

The 25-year-old had been spending his day off riding his motorbike around the north of the Balearic island and was reported missing by a colleague when he failed to return.

His colleague later went out to search for his friend and found the bike.

Heavy snowfall hit Morella, eastern Spain, during the storm
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Heavy snowfall hit Morella, eastern Spain, during the storm


The foam, caused by the agitation of organic matter in seawater, stuck to the walls of buildings as it engulfed the coastal town.







Spanish town awash with sea foam after storm

Spanish helpline service 112 Emergency said the man is believed to have disappeared around the remote Portinatx area of Sant Joan de Labritja at the northernmost point of the island.

A multi-agency search and rescue operation has since been launched on land and sea, and is being carried out by local police and the Guardia Civil.

The Briton is one of three people to vanish in mainland Spain and the Balearic Islands in the last four days after Storm Gloria tore across the Mediterranean coast.

A further eight people have died due to the storm, which ranks as the worst sea storm since 2003 “and likely of this century”, according to Dani Palacios, head of beach services for Barcelona in the northeast.

It brought winds of up to 90mph (144kmh) and stirred up huge waves of up to 13.5m (44ft) at its peak.

Hundreds of thousands of people have been left without power and weather alerts are still in place across three dozen provinces.

According to Spanish authorities and rescue teams, one body was found in a river in Alicante, while another person died after a building collapsed in Alcoy, which was believed to have been caused by heavy rainfall.

One man was killed after hailstones smashed through a greenhouse he was working in, according to the mayor of Almeria province, and a homeless man in Valencia is said to have died from low temperatures.

Severe flooding inundated parts of Girona
Image:
Severe flooding inundated parts of Girona

In a statement on Tuesday, 112 Emergency warned residents keep away from the coastal areas as it “can cause you to be hit by a sea storm.”

It added: “Don’t stop to watch the waves and get away from breakwaters, boardwalks and other places where the waves may break nearby. Find a safe place.”

Meanwhile, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez tweeted: “Solidarity and government support to the families of the victims of the #BorrascaGloria and to those who are suffering the fatal consequences of this storm.

“I reiterate my thanks to the emergency services that work tirelessly to help the population.”

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