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WHO Estimates 15m People Have Died Directly or Indirectly From COVID – More Than Double Official Death Toll

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The World Health Organisation estimates that 15 million people worldwide have now died of coronavirus – or as a result of its impact on health services.

WHO data shows the number of excess COVID mortalities to be somewhere between 13.3 million and 16.6 million people from 1 January 2020 to 31 December 2021. This is more than double the official death toll of around six million.

Excess mortality refers to the number of people who have died of the virus either directly or indirectly by being unable to access health services for other conditions.

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The figures were compiled using country-reported data and statistical modelling, the WHO said.

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There were 14.9 million excess deaths associated with COVID-19 by the end of 2021, the UN body said on Thursday.

Most excess COVID deaths (86%) happened in Asia, Europe and the Americas, according to the figures.

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Middle-income countries accounted for 81% of deaths, with 28% occurring in upper-middle-income countries and 4% in low-income ones.

Some 68% of all excess deaths worldwide happened in just 10 countries.

There was a higher rate for men (57%) than there was for women (43%), with more excess deaths among the elderly than younger generations.

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WHO director-general Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus commented: “These sobering data not only point to the impact of the pandemic but also to the need for all countries to invest in more resilient health systems that can sustain essential health services during crises, including stronger health information systems.

“WHO is committed to working with all countries to strengthen their health information systems to generate better data for better decisions and better outcomes.”

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Original Source: news.sky.com

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Pope Francis Seen Using Wheelchair for the First Time for Mobility Reasons

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The Pope has been pictured using a wheelchair – the first time he’s used one in public due to the knee pain that’s made it hard for him to walk and stand.

Francis, 85, was wheeled on stage and helped into a seat during an audience with a group of nuns and religious superiors from around the world at the Vatican.

He appears to be having a flare-up of sciatica, a nerve condition he suffers with that he’s called his “troublesome guest”.

The Pope has had to cancel or cut short activities several times in the last month because of pain in his right knee.

He was pictured in a wheelchair last July after major intestinal surgery, but this is believed to be the first time he’s used one in public due to his mobility problems.

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Before Thursday’s event, he was able to walk the roughly 10 metres or so from the side entrance of the stage to his seat with some help.

He recently received some injections to try to relieve the pain but has continued to struggle.

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His impaired movement was apparent over Easter when he attended but did not take charge of masses at St Peter’s Basilica, instead delegating a cardinal or archbishop to preside.

During a trip to Malta in April he was also pictured using an elevator platform to get on and off the plane.

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Original Article: news.sky.com

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Woman Pulled Alive From Rubble Six Days After Building Collapsed

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A woman has been found alive in the rubble of a building that partially collapsed almost six days earlier, Chinese state media has said.

At least five people are confirmed to have died and possibly dozens are still missing following the disaster in the city of Changsha, in central China‘s Hunan Province, on 29 April.

The unidentified woman has become the 10th survivor and was rescued shortly after midnight today, about 132 hours after the rear of the six-storey building suddenly caved in, the official Xinhua News Agency has reported.

The woman was conscious and told rescuers how to pull her out without causing further injury, Xinhua added.

Teams had used dogs and hand tools as well as drones and electronic life detectors in the search.

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All the survivors were reportedly in good condition after being treated in a hospital and it is thought intermittent rain showers over the last few days may have helped their chances of survival without food or water.

At least nine people have been arrested in relation to the collapse of what Xinhua has described as a “self-built building”.

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This includes its owner, on suspicion of ignoring building codes or committing other violations.

Three people in charge of design and construction were also held, along with five others who allegedly gave a false safety assessment for a guest house on the building’s fourth to sixth floors.

The building also housed residences, a cafe and shops.

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An aerial photo shows the site of the collapsed residential building in Changsha, central China’s Hunan Province

There has been increase in the number of collapses of self-built buildings in recent years.

Last month, Chinese President Xi Jinping called for additional checks to uncover structural weaknesses.

Following the building collapse at the weekend, he urged for more victims to be found in the rubble “at all costs”.

Poor adherence to safety standards, including the illegal addition of extra floors and failure to use reinforcing iron bars, is often blamed for similar disasters.

China also suffers from decaying infrastructure such as gas pipes that has led to explosions and collapses.

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Source: news.sky.com

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‘She Laid Down Her Life’: Husband Vows to Continue Wife’s Rescue Work in ‘this Pointless War’

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From the most dangerous areas around Kharkiv there is an almost constant exodus of people fleeing homes they cannot be sure they will ever see again.

Oleg Koval, 43, and his wife Yulia, 23, stayed behind to help those in need.

At first, they were just giving their friends a lift away from danger, but soon word spread and they found themselves assisting the evacuations of places most in need.

They drove people to Krasnograd, one of the refuges in the region – 75 miles (120km) southeast of Kharkiv.

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Oleg and Yulia were offered a safe place to stay until the invasion was over.

But Yulia was not convinced and insisted they return to help the people of their city.

Oleg ran a successful fitness club before the war, and during a lull in the shelling of the northern suburb of Saltivka, they were waiting in their car nearby for some residents who were running late.

Oleg nipped out to get some chocolates from his office across the road.

It was at that moment a Russian missile struck.

“I was buried. But I crawled out from under the rubble,” Oleg told us.

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Oleg’s car was almost completely destroyed by falling concrete during the explosion

He was worried his wife would think he’d been killed.

Instead, when he came out, he saw his car wrecked by the explosion.

He showed us a video of the aftermath, the twisted metal of his car crushed from the weight of falling concrete.

“I saw two dead bodies behind the car, and an elderly woman lying in the road. But I couldn’t find Yulia. I thought maybe she was helping somewhere.”

Oleg started digging through the remains with his hands, but was pulled away just before another part of a building collapsed.

It took two days to finally recover Yulia’s body.

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Oleg had to search for his wife for two days after the explosion

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A missile struck a building while Oleg was going to get some chocolates from his office

“There was constant shelling and nobody wanted to go there. But together with one brave man we did it. We got her out and took her to the morgue and formally identified her.

“Nobody is being being buried any more, but I’m lucky I have friends to help and now she is able to be laid to rest here.”

At her graveside there are giant teddy bears tied to her headstone, gifts Oleg promised to buy her just days before she died.

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We ask him what he thinks of the invaders.

“I just wish that everything Russian would die on the borders of Ukraine. And so, if you could call it their culture, it would not spread anymore, and would not infect this planet with their vileness and weakness of character.

“I don’t see anything strong about them. And they don’t know what true kindness is.”

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Yulia Koval had given friends lifts away from danger

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Oleg is now a regular visitor to his wife’s grave

He says he will soon begin helping people evacuate their homes again.

“Because if my wife laid down her life for the sake of other people, in this pointless war, then I’ve got nothing else to do except continue what she started.”

One more story of appalling loss, in a city whose tragedy is far from over.

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Source Here: news.sky.com

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