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Coronavirus: Babies die as Zimbabwe hospitals struggle

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coronavirus babies die as zimbabwe hospitals struggle

A picture from inside a Zimbabwean hospital shows the wrapped-up dead bodies of seven babies on a shelf after they were stillborn Monday night – the same day nurses were on strike to demand better access to PPE. 

The haunting image, which was taken inside Harare Central Hospital, shows bundles of green cloth wrapped over each of the seven deceased infants. 

The situation was originally revealed by Dr Peter Magombeyi, a clinician at the hospital, who posted the picture on Twitter. 

He accompanied the photograph with the records from the day, showing the deaths of the seven babies.  

Nurses across Zimbabwe are currently on strike to demand better access to PPE as they tackle the coronavirus. 

The strikes have overwhelmed the country’s maternity wards and staff are struggling to keep up with the amount of expectant mothers, the BBC reported.      

Pictured: A heartbreaking image shows seven dead babies, each wrapped in green cloth, at Harare Central Hospital on Monday night

Pictured: A heartbreaking image shows seven dead babies, each wrapped in green cloth, at Harare Central Hospital on Monday night

Pictured: A heartbreaking image shows seven dead babies, each wrapped in green cloth, at Harare Central Hospital on Monday night

A total of eight babies were delivered by Caesarean section on Monday night but seven of those were stillborn, two doctors with direct knowledge of the situation at the hospital, told the BBC.   

One of the doctors said staff operated too late and the situation could have been prevented with earlier intervention.  

‘There was very, very late intervention,’ said the doctor, speaking on condition of anonymity. ‘Two of the mothers had ruptured uteruses and needed early operations.’

He added the few staff available did not perform the surgery in time ‘so the babies died, stuck in their mothers’ pelvises.’     

Expectant mothers are being funnelled into Harare Hospital after many of the capital’s smaller clinics were affected or shut due to the strikes.   

‘This is repeated every day and all we can do is watch them die,’ a second doctor told the BBC.  ‘This is torture for the families, and for the junior doctors.’

Both doctors said the skeleton staff lack drugs and blood supplies to fight birth complications and to safely deliver the infants.  

As nurses strike, a stripped-back workforce – made up of ‘senior matrons who cannot go on strike’ and junior doctors – are swamped with the sheer volume of cases.  

Pictured: Of the eight babies delivered by Caesarean section on Monday night at Harare Central Hospital, only one survived

Pictured: Of the eight babies delivered by Caesarean section on Monday night at Harare Central Hospital, only one survived

Pictured: Of the eight babies delivered by Caesarean section on Monday night at Harare Central Hospital, only one survived 

‘Doctors are trying, but they’re very tired. And junior doctors are not experienced in terms of identifying complications [during pregnancy],’ the first doctor said.  

In a statement, Zimbabwe’s Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists said: ‘Our women are suffering and we believe that all stakeholders, the government, medical practitioners, civil society and individuals must act to save the voiceless mothers and babies.’ 

In a leaked government response to strike threats from senior doctors, ministers said they realised the situation could cause ‘poor outcomes’ but urged staff to ‘reconsider’. 

Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa fired Health Minister Obadiah Moyo at the start of this month after he was charged with criminal abuse of office over PPE supplies corruption. 

He allegedly awarded a £47million contract to a company who inflated their prices before selling equipment to the government. 

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Meghan and Harry will earn fees of ‘only’ $250k to $400k for speeches

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meghan and harry will earn fees of only 250k to 400k for speeches

Meghan and Harry will earn fees of ‘only’  $250k to $400k for speeches because the level of control requested by the couple will put clients off, according to an events consultant.

The couple’s fee was originally estimated to be around $1million but this prediction has been shattered by an international agency which runs VIP corporate events in both the UK and US.         

In a leaked contract, the event creator warned that many organisations will ‘raise their eyebrows’ at the couple’s demands.

The requests are said to be similar to those adopted by all British Royals at public events – despite the Duke and Duchess stepping down as senior members to achieve more freedom. 

Meghan and Harry will earn fees of only $250k to $400k for speeches because the level of control requested by the couple will put clients off, according to an events consultant

Meghan and Harry will earn fees of only $250k to $400k for speeches because the level of control requested by the couple will put clients off, according to an events consultant 

‘Harry and Meghan coming on the speaker circuit is certainly as significant as the likes of President Obama or Arnold Schwarzenegger,’ read a virtual event request form by the Harry Walker Agency seen by The Sun.

It continued: ‘The pair are fascinating, uniquely experienced individuals, who have a wide reach, who would have been a huge draw to a live audience pre-COVID.

‘So back then figures between the 750k and $1m mark seemed steep, but possible. Realistically their earnings range is closer to $250k to $400k…

‘The contract paperwork appears to read that the speakers have full control of the client’s event. It certainly raises eyebrows and will put off many potential large corporations. 

‘Not many clients ever like inviting talent as star guests, who may be seen as running their event and telling them what to do.’

The requests state that the couple will need to give approval of each aspect of any corporate event (Meghan pictured previously during a reception at Government House in Wellington, New Zealand)

The event creator warned that many organisations will 'raise their eyebrows' at the couple's demands (Harry pictured at the OnSide Awards in November)

The requests state that the couple will need to give approval of each aspect of any corporate event with the events agency warning that many organisations will ‘raise their eyebrows’ at the couple’s demands

The requests state that the couple will need to give approval of each aspect of any corporate event, including of anyone who might introduce them or moderate discussions, as well as the ability to probe sponsors and corporations beforehand.

The form went on to say that the terms and conditions set out by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex were uncommon for 99 per cent of speakers already on the circuit.    

MailOnline has contacted a representative for Meghan and Harry as well as the Harry Walker Agency for comment.

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As Covid infections double each week… what IS best for Britain, asks BEN SPENCER 

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as covid infections double each week what is best for britain asks ben spencer

It’s the debate dividing Britain. Covid infections are doubling each week and experts believe the death toll will soon start to climb. Should ministers act quickly to stop a second wave or hold off to prevent more damage to the economy? With no easy options, these are some of the possibilities they are considering.

DO NOTHING

Simply carry on through to Spring with the current level of restrictions.

Revellers enjoy drinks in Newcastle on the first day after strict coronavirus curfews were introduced

Revellers enjoy drinks in Newcastle on the first day after strict coronavirus curfews were introduced

PROS: The lockdown imposed in March successfully curbed infections, but had a devastating impact on businesses, education and the NHS. Boris Johnson is desperate to avoid a repeat. There is a strong argument that the need to act is not nearly as urgent as it was in the spring. We now know the virus has little impact on anyone other than the elderly, doctors are much better at treating it and they now have effective drugs. And although our testing system is not what it should be, capacity is 25 times bigger than it was in March. Death rates are currently tiny – with suicides, flu and pneumonia all taking far more lives than the dreaded coronavirus.

CONS: It is clear Covid is getting out of control in France, Spain and the US. Doing nothing could see Britain going down the same road – with a wave of deaths as rising infections feed through from the young into more at-risk groups.

CHANCE OF THIS HAPPENING: 1/5

LOCAL LOCKDOWNS

Localised restrictions, already imposed across swathes of the UK encompassing 13million people, could be extended when outbreaks flare.

PROS: Targeted, proportionate restrictions in virus hotspots slow the spread and spare the rest of the country. This was successfully carried out in Leicester over the summer, with rates quickly slashed.

CONS: Such specific measures rely on an effective test and trace programme – and at the moment the system is not up to scratch. Critics also point out that rates in many parts of the North West, which have been subject to restrictions for weeks, have actually continued to rise. And with local lockdown widened to the North East and Lancashire, there are now more than 13million people affected. With the lives of so many British citizens curtailed, this is arguably just a national lockdown imposed by stealth. Local action is also divisive – national unity will be badly hit if only half the country is allowed to celebrate a family Christmas.

CHANCE OF THIS HAPPENING: 4/5

SHIELDING

Most young people are barely affected by Covid. So a logical solution is to shield the elderly.

Most young people are barely affected by Covid. So a logical solution is to shield the elderly

Most young people are barely affected by Covid. So a logical solution is to shield the elderly

PROS: This could protect the most at-risk while allowing the rest of the population to keep the economy going. The Government reportedly already has tentative plans to assign each person over the age of 50 a ‘risk score’.

CONS: A crude version was used during the first lockdown, with 2.2million people with cancer, asthma and other conditions asked to stay indoors. That scheme was riddled with problems – many of those asked to shield were in fact not particularly susceptible. Any new scheme would have to be far more targeted. But it would rely heavily on age – by far the biggest risk factor for Covid. This will be resisted by many pensioners who see themselves as perfectly healthy. It is also impossible to effectively shield those who need it most – care home residents, who require contact with carers.

CHANCE OF THIS HAPPENING: 4/5

CURFEW

Curfews on the opening of bars and restaurants have already been used in many areas – and could be rolled out nationwide.

PROS: The increase in infection rates this summer was put down to young people gathering in pubs, homes and at illegal raves. Curfews, trialled in Bolton and other areas, aim to stop this by ordering restaurants and pubs to close at 10pm. This is arguably a proportionate response – asking pubs to close an hour or two early is better than forcing them to shut entirely.

CONS: It is clearly harmful to the hospitality industry and is widely seen as a chilling restriction of personal liberties. Curfews can only do so much. After all, most of the population are not out and about beyond 10pm.

CHANCE OF THIS HAPPENING: 4/5

CIRCUIT BREAK

This is the option being most carefully considered. Ministers hope a short lockdown – lasting as little as two weeks – would stop the pattern of infection and reinfection driving cases up.

PROS: If people do not meet and interact, the virus cannot pass between them, the chain of transmission is broken and infection rates will stop rising. If this is done quickly it could nip the problem in the bud before rates rise to dangerous levels. And if it is imposed over the October half term, it would have a limited impact on children’s education. Scientists hope such a measure would also give some breathing room to allow the testing programme to get back on track. And if infection rates drop far enough, it might even allow Christmas to take place after all.

CONS: Scientists worry that as soon as restrictions are lifted, cases would rise again. This raises the prospect of the country following an ‘on-off’ lockdown pattern until a vaccine becomes available. Two weeks might simply not be long enough – meaning restrictions might drag on and on and turn into a full lockdown.

CHANCE OF THIS HAPPENING: 4/5

NATIONAL LOCKDOWN

A return to spring-style nationwide measures which led to most people having to work from home, with schools, non-essential shops and workplaces shut.

A return to spring-style nationwide measures would see most people having to work from home, with venues such as pubs closed

A return to spring-style nationwide measures would see most people having to work from home, with venues such as pubs closed

PROS: If Covid infections get out of control, and if they coincide with a bad winter flu season, the death toll could be monumental. Mr Johnson might be left with little choice but to order another lockdown. There are also ways to soften the blow – primarily keeping schools open. Many scientists now believe closing schools was unnecessary last time round. Children are not in danger from the virus yet untold harm was done to their education and mental health by keeping them at home. It also made it hard for parents to work.

CONS: This is the ‘nuclear’ option the Prime Minister does not want to take, an extreme that even the gloomiest of scientists do not currently advocate. With ‘crisis fatigue’ setting in, he also might find it much harder to persuade people to follow the rules a second time round. And even a pared-back version of national restrictions would risk doing more harm than good. The economy is already holed below the water line – a return to lockdown could sink it completely.

CHANCE OF THIS HAPPENING: 2/5

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At last Afghan interpreters who helped British troops can step out of the shadows

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The chilling reality of life for Afghan interpreters who helped British troops was laid bare to me when one translator’s seven-year-old daughter was handed a letter outside the family home on the edge of Kabul.

She was told to give it to her father Waheed, who had worked with frontline British troops in Helmand province. The contents shocked Waheed, as they would any father.

Signed by the Taliban, it told Waheed and his family – his wife, two daughters and a son – they would be killed.

‘Don’t think we will ever forgive you,’ the handwritten letter said. ‘You have helped the infidels and as a result we have lost mujahideen fighters. 

‘We swear we will hunt you down and kill all the interpreters and their families and feed their bodies to the dogs.’

Yesterday came the welcome, long-overdue news that the Home and Defence Secretaries had recognised that the fears of ex-translators are real and the UK has a duty to repay their sacrifices by providing sanctuary

Yesterday came the welcome, long-overdue news that the Home and Defence Secretaries had recognised that the fears of ex-translators are real and the UK has a duty to repay their sacrifices by providing sanctuary

Waheed, a dark-haired, squat man of 33, hugged his wife as he described how he believed he had been betrayed by the British, who he asked for help but was merely told to change telephone number and move home.

‘We are being left by a country we believed was our friend to find our fate at the hands of an enemy they could not defeat,’ he said. 

‘We were told the British would look after us but they were hollow words. I asked for help and there was none. We will be hunted and killed for our service to the British. Why will they not help us?’

Seven days later, I learnt of the murder of former translator Parwiz Khan, 22, who had left the front line to return to the family farm after death threats.

His brother Sam, 28, who had also been a translator for UK forces, told me: ‘I escaped because I was not at home but my small brother went to the door. 

‘They shot him twice in the right hand and then fired four to six bullets into his chest from very close. 

‘They killed him in front of the family in revenge because he had worked for the British.’

That was in August 2015, days after the Daily Mail had launched the Betrayal of the Brave campaign to highlight the plight of men who had risked their lives beside British troops to rid their homeland of the Taliban.

Waheed and Parwiz came to mind yesterday with the welcome, long-overdue news that the Home and Defence Secretaries had recognised that the fears of ex-translators are real and the UK has a duty to repay their sacrifices by providing sanctuary. 

For many of those who speak of ‘living in the shadows’ and whose harrowing stories the Mail has told, it is wonderful news.

Telling the translators of the change brought an outpouring of emotions. Bitter men who have spoken of anger and despair now shed tears of joy. 

There was also praise for the Government with the thought that as many as 100 would be safe, as well as their loved ones. 

Several spoke of how their daughters would go to school regularly for the first time. 

One wife told her husband: ‘Now I will not worry each time you go out that you will not come home.’

It is a good start but some of those who believe they are most at risk are devastated and angry they are unlikely to qualify this time. 

For many of those who speak of 'living in the shadows' and whose harrowing stories the Mail has told, it is wonderful news. Telling the translators of the change brought an outpouring of emotions. Pictured: A British platoon meet local people in Helmand Province, Southern Afghanistan, June 2007

For many of those who speak of ‘living in the shadows’ and whose harrowing stories the Mail has told, it is wonderful news. Telling the translators of the change brought an outpouring of emotions. Pictured: A British platoon meet local people in Helmand Province, Southern Afghanistan, June 2007

One who escaped an ambush two years ago is still working with UK forces after 17 years.

The new criteria of having worked on the front lines for 18 months and resigned for any reason – most were because of death threats, family pressure or injury – is not open to many who believe their lives are at risk but did not serve on the front lines. 

They have a genuine grievance.

Why do those based in Kabul who have worked more than a decade, received death threats and been attacked not qualify when, they argue, Britain has provided sanctuary to camp guards and mechanics who rarely ventured out of bases?

To a confident, resurgent Taliban, emboldened by peace talks and the release of thousands of prisoners jailed with the pivotal help of translators, it doesn’t matter where they were based, if they served six months or six years, resigned or were terminated – they are legitimate targets and traitors of Islam.

Last night, Waheed told me: ‘This change is the first good news but I hope all those who risked everything so the British mission could work are not forgotten.’ 

I echo those sentiments and hope that thanks to Priti Patel and Ben Wallace – and the dedication of many behind the scenes – it is a new beginning to see justice done for all those to whom we owe a huge debt.

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