Prince Harry and Meghan Markle today announced themselves ‘campaign chairs’ of a A-list event called ‘VaxLive’ where they will demand world leaders including Joe Biden and Boris Johnson ‘share’ vaccines’, especially with India.
The Global Canada Citizen concert, hosted by star Selena Gomez, will be held virtually at the beginning of May and the Sussexes say will ‘restore faith in humanity’.
‘Vax Live’: The Concert to Reunite the World, will be a global broadcast celebrating COVID-19 vaccines and the hope that they will be offered to families and communities around the world.
Harry, 35, and Meghan, 39, will be joined by an A-List line up, with appearances from Ben Affleck, Chrissy Teigen, David Letterman, Gayle King, Jimmy Kimmel, Nomzamo Mbatha, Olivia Munn and Sean Penn.
It comes as President Biden is being urged to hand over all of America’s 60 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine to India as part of a world-wide drive to help fight the world’s most devastating coronavirus outbreak. On Monday, the US announced that 60 million doses of the so-far unapproved vaccine will be made available to send abroad, once the doses are approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Downing Street today rejected a similar move today, with the Prime Minister’s Official Spokesman saying ‘we don’t have surplus doses’ and the focus will remain on the rollout of jabs in the UK.
India is facing a second wave of the deadly virus, with a million new cases in just three days. For the past two weeks, medical facilities have been running out of oxygen and ICU beds, with some patients dying as they wait outside hospitals.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex will be ‘campaign chairs’ at a Global Canada Citizen concert event called ‘VaxLive’, hosted by Selena Gomez, at the beginning of May.
In this aerial picture taken on April 26, burning pyres of victims who lost their lives due to the Covid-19 coronavirus are seen at a cremation ground in New Delhi
The Sussexes released a statement saying the concert would help the world ‘recover and heal’ from the pandemic
Sussexes’ full statement announcing the concert
‘Over the past year, our world has experienced pain, loss and struggle – together.
‘Now we need to recover and heal – together. We can’t leave anyone behind. We will all benefit, we will all be safer, when everyone everywhere has equal access to the vaccine.
‘We must pursue equitable vaccine distribution, and in that, restore faith in our common humanity. This mission couldn’t be more critical or important.’
The Sussexes said in a statement today: ‘Over the past year, our world has experienced pain, loss and struggle – together. Now we need to recover and heal – together. We can’t leave anyone behind.
‘We will all benefit, we will all be safer, when everyone everywhere has equal access to the vaccine.
‘We must pursue equitable vaccine distribution, and in that, restore faith in our common humanity. This mission couldn’t be more critical or important.’
The concert description online reads: ‘We are calling on world leaders to step up to make sure vaccines are accessible for all so we can end the pandemic for everyone, everywhere.’
It will also feature performances from the likes of Jennifer Lopez Eddie Vedder, Foo Fighters, J Balvin and H.E.R, leveraging the Sussexes wide network of celebrity friends.
Global Citizen describes itself as a movement of ‘engaged citizens who are using their collective voice to end extreme poverty by 2030’.
Online, it describes its mission statement: ‘Global Citizens learn about the systemic causes of extreme poverty, take action on those issues, and earn rewards for their actions — as part of a global community committed to lasting change.’
‘Their mission is to build a movement of 100M action-taking Global Citizens to help achieve our vision of ending extreme poverty by 2030.’
Today debates continued about how the West could help India and whether this should include sharing vaccines.
With three jabs already approved and in-use in the United States – the Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines – there are already enough vaccines for all Americans. As a result, its stockpile of millions of doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine is likely to go unused.
Last week, some of India’s major newspapers accused the US of vaccine nationalism after a State Department spokesperson said the US needed its temporary export ban on vaccines because ‘not only in our interest to see Americans vaccinated; it’s in the interests of the rest of the world to see Americans vaccinated.’
As President Joe Biden’s administration comes under pressure to do more to help India as it faces the world’s most devastating coronavirus outbreak, the US will make up to 60 million doses of AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccines available to ship
The Biden administration has also come under fire from Americans of Indian heritage, and from others around the world, who say Washington is ‘hoarding’ the British-developed vaccine that it is yet to approve as India – a country of almost 1.4 billion people – is overwhelmed by Covid-19.
‘We have to be strategic and responsible,’ said South Bay Congressman Ro Khanna, who argues the US should send its unused AstraZeneca vaccines to India.
‘We cannot give those shots to Americans because our FDA has not approved them. So they literally will sit in a stockpile and not be used by an American. The question is are they safe enough to be used by the rest of the world,’ Khanna said.
The US has come under heavy criticism for it’s vaccine approach, saying that it will only export vaccines to other countries when there are enough for ever adult who wants one in America.
But the White House announced last week that deliveries of Pfizer and Moderna’s vaccines would be enough to meet its goal. Johnson & Johnson is also contracted to deliver 100 million doses to the government.
Now, the US’ stance on vaccine exports appears to have softened amid the criticism, with the Biden administration announcing that 60 million doses of AstraZeneca will be shipped to other countries.
The vaccine announcement greatly expands a US action from last month to loan four million AstraZeneca doses to Mexico and Canada.
It is believed that 10 million doses are ready to go, but must first be cleared for use by the FDA. The other 50 millions doses are in various stages of production.
It is expected that priority will be given to India amid the crisis that has left the country’s healthcare system on the brink.
India’s Covid second wave is driven by ‘far more infectious and far more lethal’ variant, doctor warns as bodies are lined up in the street
India’s Covid second wave is being driven by a ‘far more infectious and probably far more deadly’ strain of virus that has pushed hospitals ‘beyond crisis point’ in just a matter of weeks, a top medic has warned.
Dr Zarir Udwadia, a physician in hard-hit Mumbai and a government advisor, said India is now ‘in the stranglehold’ of a variant that has sent cases and deaths soaring and has already spread overseas, including to the UK.
‘It is really clear to me as it is to any physician, that this wave, perhaps variant-driven, is far more infectious and probably far more lethal than the first wave,’ he told the BBC’s Today programme.
‘I see younger patients afflicted, I have lost two 35-year-olds, a husband and wife on ventilators, a day ago.’
India has today reported 323,144 new Covid cases, down slightly on the Monday’s toll of 350,000 but still around 40 per cent of the global total.
The country also reported 2,771 new deaths – also down slightly from Monday but amid warnings that the figure is almost certainly being under-counted.
In New Delhi, one of the hardest-hit cities, videos taken on Monday showed bodies lining the streets waiting to be burned, with staff now working day and night to meet demand.
Parks, car parks and playgrounds are also being turned into makeshift pyre pits to deal with the wave of death.
Meanwhile data revealed the city’s Covid death toll may have been under-counted by 40 per cent last week, as crematoriums reported 3,096 Covid cremations but the government’s official Covid death tally stood at just 1,938 – a discrepancy of 1,158.
Elsewhere, judges at the Madaras High Court, in the city of Chennai, have called on local officials to face murder charges for allowing mass rallies to take place without proper precautions in place.
For five consecutive days until Monday, India was reporting global record one-day Covid cases figures that topped out above 350,000 cases. Tuesday’s figure is 323,144, though experts warn that is likely the result of less testing at the weekend and not a sign that the wave of infections is slowing.
On Tuesday, Indian health authorities reported another 2,771 deaths from the virus – slightly lower than Monday’s count but again amid warnings that many deaths are going uncounted.
Speaking on Tuesday, a doctor at the heart of India’s coronavirus outbreak warned that the next two weeks ‘are going to be hell’.
Dr Shaarang Sachdev, from the Aakash Healthcare Super Speciality Hospital in the hard-hit capital of Delhi, said the country is experiencing its worst point of the pandemic so far and described the current situation as ‘critical’.
Other nations like Germany, Israel, France and Pakistan have also promised medical aid to India.
The countries have said they will supply oxygen, diagnostic tests, treatments, ventilators and protective gear to help India at the time of crisis which World Health Organization’s chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Monday called ‘beyond heartbreaking.’
However, Downing Street today rejected calls to send coronavirus vaccines due to a lack of surplus doses.
The PM’s official spokesman said the Government ‘will keep this under review’ and pointed out that ministers had committed to sending ‘excess’ jabs to countries in need ‘once they are available’.
Medics have warned that the second wave of infections in the country is being driven by a ‘far more infectious and probably far more deadly’ strain of the virus that has pushed hospitals ‘beyond crisis point’ in just a matter of weeks.
The UK announced earlier this week that it was sending more than 600 pieces of medical equipment to India following the surge in cases.
There have been calls for the Government to go further and to consider diverting some of the UK’s vaccine supply to the country.
But the Prime Minister’s Official Spokesman said: ‘As you will know, we committed in February to sending excess doses from the UK’s supply to the Covax procurement pool and to countries in need once they are available.
‘Right now we are moving through the UK prioritisation list for our domestic rollout and we don’t have surplus doses.
‘But obviously we will keep this under review. We fully recognise that no one is safe until we are all safe in this pandemic which is why the UK has contributed £548million to Covax and sent vital medical supplies to India.’
Relatives weep as they perform funeral rites for a coronavirus victim as their body is cremated in the capital Delhi
Medics have warned that India’s second wave is probably being driven by a more infectious and more deadly variant of the virus, though investigations are still being carried out into its effects (pictured, a crematorium in New Delhi
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle told royal advisors ‘you can’t stop us doing what we want’
Harry and Meghan told palace bosses ‘you can’t stop us from doing what we want’ in clashes before leaving the Royal family, it has been claimed.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex ‘called the shots’ and specifically instructed press officers on what information they felt should be made public, according to reports.
The claims come despite Harry telling Oprah in the couple’s bombshell interview that no plans were made before Megxit was announced last January.
It also emerged last night that the pair were in talks with a £1.3billion-backed US company a year before they stepped down as senior royals.
Harry, 36, and Meghan, 39, are said to have had multiple meetings with Quibi, a now-defunct video streaming service, from early 2019 until after they quit as working royals last January.
Prince Harry returned from the landmark Sandringham summit to meet executives from the American company in London, according to the Daily Telegraph.
A deal for him to provide content on the platform reportedly reached advanced stages but ultimately fell through as the app failed to take off, according to the paper.
Vanity Fair also claimed the couple had been approached by Quibi founder, Jeffrey Katzenberg and its CEO Meg Whitman.
Despite this, during the Sussexes’ bombshell interview with Oprah Winfrey they claimed they ‘didn’t have a plan’ when leaving the Royal family.
Prince Harry flew to the UK several weeks ago for his grandfather Philip’s funeral at Windsor Castle, where he and brother Prince William appeared in public together for the first time in more than a year.
The princes talked while walking out of St George’s Chapel following the service, having earlier taken part in the procession either side of their cousin Peter Phillips behind the Duke of Edinburgh’s coffin.
However, a royal expert has since claimed that Prince Harry was so ‘shocked’ by the ‘very, very cold reception’ he received from the Royal Family after he flew over for Prince Philip’s funeral that he may pull out of an upcoming trip to the UK in July.
The Duke of Sussex, who lives in a $14.7million home in Santa Barbara, California with wife Meghan Markle and their son Archie, one, is next expected to return to the UK this summer for the unveiling of a statue of his late mother Princess Diana.
However, speaking to talkRADIO, Russell Myers has questioned whether the visit will take place and commented: ‘Some quarters of the family did give him a frosty reception and perhaps that did shock him somewhat.’
He went on to say how the Duke of Sussex may use the birth of his second child, who is expected to arrive in the summer, as a ‘convenient excuse’ not to ‘face the family’.
The statue was commissioned to mark the twentieth anniversary of Princess Diana’s death and recognise her positive impact in the UK and around the world.
It will be installed in the Sunken Garden of Kensington Palace on 1st July 2021, marking The Princess’s 60th birthday.
Radio host Kevin O’Sullivan explained how Prince Harry looked ‘very out of sorts’ during his stay for the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral recently.
Russell Myers said: ‘I’m told he is still committed to coming. Both camps are. Certainly Kate and William will welcome him if he wants to come back.
‘His intention is to come back. One may wonder, if his wife has just had a baby, I’m sure he could jump on a private jet and make a flying visit.
‘But, will it be a convenient excuse so he doesn’t have to come back and face the family?’
He added: ‘I think a lot will determine what happens in the interim period. Some quarters of the family did give him a frosty reception and perhaps that did shock him somewhat.
‘I don’t think we will realise the fallout of that Oprah Winfrey interview for some time.
‘Maybe once we get back to a bit of normality, the rest of the family will start thinking about that a bit more carefully. It might not be good news for Harry.’
Pictured, Prince William, Peter Phillips, Prince Harry and Vice-Admiral Sir Timothy Laurence, during the funeral of Prince Philip on April 17, 2021 in Windsor