Rich nations have already bought up half of the promised COVID-19 vaccines, according to a report from Oxfam. The countries represent just 13% of the global population, but have dominated orders from big pharma companies for a potential vaccine.
About 50% of these have been preemptively bought by countries and regions including the United States, Britain, the European Union, Australia, Hong Kong and Macau, Japan, Switzerland and Israel. The remaining 2.6 billion have been bought by or promised to developing countries including India, Bangladesh, China, Brazil, Indonesia and Mexico.
The coronavirus pandemic has led to new levels of discrimination against vulnerable communities in Asia, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) warned on Thursday.
A survey of 5,000 people in Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar and Pakistan found that half of respondents blamed a specific group for spreading the coronavirus. Many respondents blamed Chinese people, immigrants and foreigners.
"It is particularly concerning that both national migrant and foreign workers are blamed for the spread of COVID-19 as they are quite vulnerable already," researcher Dr Viviane Fluck told Reuters news agency.