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Coronavirus live news: 4 million excess deaths in India, study suggests, as official Covid toll passes 414,000

Excess deaths in India are measure of overall impact of pandemic; mainland China records 65 new cases, highest since January

The chief of the Tokyo 2020 organising committee has not ruled out cancelling the Olympics if Covid-19 cases rise sharply, as more athletes tested positive for the virus and sponsors ditched plans to attend Friday’s opening ceremony.

Asked at a news conference if the global sporting showpiece might still be cancelled, Toshiro Muto said he would keep an eye on infection numbers and liaise with other organisers if necessary.

Benny Wanda, the West Papuan independence leader living in exile in the UK, has urged western governments to ensure a direct supply of vaccines to West Papua.

He claimed that escalating Covid cases represented “a further existential threat” to his compatriots and that Indonesia had caused a “double crisis” in West Papua by launching military operations after a military chief reportedly said, “destroy them first, we will discuss human rights matters later”.

Over 50,000 have been displaced in Nduga, Puncak and Intan Jaya over the past two and a half years. Their homes have been destroyed, their churches burned and their schools occupied by soldiers. They are left in internal displacement camps, where the virus will spread rapidly. Already in the cities, patients are being turned away or treated in cars outside the hospital.

Western countries and the WHO have an urgent moral obligation to give vaccine doses direct to the local Papuan government for distribution. As the 2018 Asmat health crisis showed, Jakarta cannot be trusted with the health of the West Papuan people. Over nearly 60 years of colonisation we have seen a chronic failure to develop health facilities in West Papua, leaving us dying on top of the natural riches Indonesia is extracting. If Jakarta is allowed to hold the reigns of vaccine development, my people will further suffer.

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Read the original article at The Guardian

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