Canadian province tries decriminalizing drugs to fight overdose crisis

VANCOUVER, Jan 31 (Reuters) – The western Canadian province of British Columbia on Tuesday began a three-year pilot program to stop prosecuting people for carrying small amounts of heroin, meth, ecstasy, or crack cocaine, as part of an effort to fight a drug overdose crisis. BC accounts for about a third of the 32,000 deaths … Read more

Colombia cocaine seizures break record in 2022

BOGOTA, Jan 28 (Reuters) – Colombia seized more cocaine in 2022 than any other year on record, the South American country’s defense ministry reported Saturday. Security forces seized 671 tonnes of the drug last year, surpassing the 2021 total by about 1.7 tonnes. “It is necessary to combat the illicit income that comes from drug … Read more

US CDC still looking at potential stroke risk from Pfizer bivalent COVID shot

Jan 26 (Reuters) – New data from one US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) database shows a possible stroke risk link for older adults who received an updated Pfizer (PFE.N)/BioNTech (22UAy.DE) COVID-19 booster shot, but the signal is weaker than what the agency had flagged earlier in January, health officials said on Thursday. … Read more

Exclusive: WHO investigating links between cough syrup deaths, considers advice for parents

Jan 24 (Reuters) – The World Health Organization (WHO) is investigating whether there is any connection between manufacturers whose contaminated cough syrups it has linked to the deaths of more than 300 children in three countries, a person familiar with the matter told Reuters. Citing “unacceptable levels” of toxins in the products, the WHO is … Read more

WHO urges ‘immediate action’ after cough syrup deaths

LONDON, Jan 23 (Reuters) – The World Health Organization has called for “immediate and concerted action” to protect children from contaminated medicines after a spate of child deaths linked to cough syrups last year. In 2022, more than 300 children – mainly aged under 5 – in Gambia, Indonesia and Uzbekistan died of acute kidney … Read more

Chinese pray for health in Lunar New Year as COVID death toll rises

BEIJING, Jan 22 (Reuters) – China rang in the Lunar New Year on Sunday with its people praying for health after three years of stress and financial hardship under the pandemic, as officials reported almost 13,000 new deaths caused by the virus between January 13 and 19. Queues stretched for about one kilometer (a half-mile) … Read more

China says the COVID outbreak has infected 80% of the population

BEIJING, Jan 21 (Reuters) – The possibility of a big COVID-19 rebound in China over the next two or three months is remote as 80% of people have been infected, a prominent government scientist said on Saturday. The mass movement of people during the ongoing Lunar New Year holiday period may spread the pandemic, boosting … Read more

Thousands join rightist rally against Spanish government

MADRID, Jan 21 (Reuters) – Thousands of people packed into central Madrid on Saturday to protest against the Socialist government and accuse it of undermining the constitution, in a rally backed by rightist parties. Protesters massed in the Plaza de Cibeles in front of City Hall, waved Spanish flags, called on Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez … Read more

China plays down COVID outbreak with holiday rush at full tilt

Top official says COVID at ‘relatively low’ level Hospital, critical cases dropping, authorities say More than 2 bln trips expected over Lunar New Year Some fear the travel season could see infections surge BEIJING, Jan 20 (Reuters) – People across China crowded into trains and buses for one of its busiest days of travel in … Read more

China says critical COVID cases have peaked as holiday travel surges

Millions travel across the country for the Lunar New Year President Xi says worried about elderly, rural areas Daily deaths could hit 36,000 next week, analysis shows Chinese drugmakers rush to make fever medicines BEIJING, Jan 19 (Reuters) – The number of COVID patients needing critical care in China’s hospitals has peaked, health authorities said … Read more