HANOI, Aug 25 (Reuters) – U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris on Wednesday again charged China with bullying its Southeast Asian neighbours, the second time in two days she has attacked Beijing during a regional visit, as Washington tries to rally regional partners to take on China’s growing economic and military influence.
The Chinese foreign ministry shot back on Wednesday and accused the U.S. of meddling in regional affairs and disrupting peace. Earlier in the day, Chinese state media accused Harris of seeking to drive a wedge between China and Southeast Asian nations with comments in Singapore that Beijing used coercion and intimidation to back its unlawful South China Sea claims.
WHO official Maria Van Kerkhove said Tuesday that misinformation about Covid and vaccines appears to have gotten worse and is keeping people from getting the shots, driving an increase in cases.
In July, U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy declared Covid misinformation a “serious public threat.”
Most unvaccinated Americans think the Covid vaccines are more of a threat to their health than contracting the virus itself, according to Kaiser Family Foundation data.
RT: Maria Van Kerkhove, Head a.i. Emerging Diseases and Zoonosis at the World Health Organization (WHO), speaks during a news conference on the situation of the coronavirus at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, January 29, 2020.Denis Balibouse | Reuters
A top World Health Organization official said Tuesday that misinformation about Covid-19 and vaccines is keeping people from getting the shots, driving an increase in cases around the world.
“In the last four weeks or so, the amount of misinformation that is out there seems to be getting worse, and I think that’s really confusing for the general public,” Maria Van Kerkhove, the WHO’s technical lead on Covid, said during a Q&A livestreamed on the organization’s social media channels.
Misinformation has become another risk factor that is “really allowing the virus to thrive,” she said.
Last year, the United States and Vietnam celebrated our 25th anniversary of diplomatic relations. Over the past several decades, the bilateral relationship between our countries has made significant strides, to the point where our nations now cooperate on a wide range of issues, including fighting COVID-19 and preparing for future health security threats, combatting climate change, and addressing shared legacies of war. We have deepened our economic ties as Vietnam’s second largest trading partner and its top export market worldwide, and our support for one another is mutually reinforcing: a vibrant Vietnamese economy is critical to the supply chains Americans depend on, a point that COVID-19 has made clear when production shutdowns abroad have led to difficulties in shipping goods at home. Our security relationship has dramatically expanded as we support Vietnam’s independence and sovereignty, particularly in the maritime domain. The United States and Vietnam have also advanced capacities to prevent, detect, and respond to infectious disease threats through our partnership on the Global Health Security Agenda. The already-robust and growing partnership between our peoples has resulted in nearly 30,000 Vietnamese studying in the United States, contributing nearly $1 billion to the U.S. economy, and the opening of a Peace Corps office in Hanoi.
The Vice President’s travel to Vietnam signifies the United States’ deep commitment not only to the region, but also to the U.S. – Vietnam relationship. In bilateral meetings with Vietnamese leaders, Vice President Harris reaffirmed the U.S. commitment to a strong, prosperous, and independent Vietnam, as well a free, open, healthy, and resilient Indo-Pacific region.
COVID-19 and Health Security: The Vice President reinforced the United States’ commitment to leading the world in ending the COVID-19 pandemic. She announced new COVID-19 vaccine donations to Vietnam, critical support for vaccine distribution, and the opening of a new regional CDC office to enhance health security cooperation.