September 17, 2021
Dear Friends, CANVAS is delighted to bring you another issue of the weekly report! This week covers the forced digital silencing of those who organized the 2020 Tiananmen Square vigil by Hong Kong authorities, the UN pledging one billion dollars to aid those impacted by the worsening living situation in Afghanistan, the mobilization of 200,000 Russian troops in war-games with Belarus, and the lengthened imprisonment of former Bolivian President Jeanine Áñez.
Following the jailbreak from an Israeli Prison last week, 1,400 Palestinians held in Isreali jails have begun a hunger strike to protest detention conditions, refusing food until Israeli authorities inform them on what they have been charged with and when they are to be released. On Tuesday, it was reported that three were arrested on suspicion of aiding the escapees, adding to the arrests of many of the escapees’ family members in Jenin. Now, four of the six escapees have been captured. On Wednesday, in the Ketziot and Ramon Prisons in south Israel Palestinian inmates set fire to their cells in response to new restrictions imposed due to the prison break. Following the “day of Rage” protests held throughout the West Bank in support of the prison escapees, a Palestinian doctor succumbed to injuries inflicted by the IDF. More than 100 are said to be injured.
In Beita, Palestine, continued protests to the illegal settler outpost were ongoing, a “nightly ritual” of the nearby residents with protests continuing for 100 consecutive days. In Jenin refugee camp, a resistance hotbed, the military wings of Fatah, Hamas, and Islamic Jihad announced the formation of a joint operations room, the first time the three movements have joined forces. This is likely in response to both the increased protests and killings in the past months, as well as the near nightly raids and arrests in the refugee camp. It is believed that the two remaining escapees are planning to return to the camp, and when they do, the Israeli army will descend upon it. An Islamic Jihad fighter claims they have arrived in the camp “in preparation for any battle”, and to protect the fugitive prisoners with force. On Wednesday, Russian plane’s attacked northwestern Syria’s Idlib, injuring a woman and three children. It is believed they were targeting a poultry farm.In India, police clashed with an opposition protest demanding employment for the youth. Many protests were arrested, with protestors jumping over police barricades to continue their march to the government offices in Delhi.
On Thursday (16/09), the Philippines’ capital region—home to over 13 million people across 16 cities—exited two weeks of wide-scale lockdowns. Simultaneously, the government began pilot tests of localised lockdowns (termed “general community lockdowns” or GCQs) in order to balance reopening the country’s economy with curbing the spread of the virus. The Philippines is part of a broader trend of Southeast Asian nations like Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam, and Indonesia, who has decided to start reopening their economies, effectively treating the virus as endemic. With the said reopening comes a wide range of experiments including, as the South China Morning Post details, “military-delivered food, sequestered workers, micro-lockdowns and vaccinated-only access to restaurants and offices.”
In Europe, former health minister Agnés Buzyn is being investigated for “endangering the lives of others” through her alleged mishandling of the pandemic. In February 2020, Buzyn left her post to run for Paris mayor, with the excuse that Covid was “low risk.” But in June 2020, she acknowledged to the newspaper Le Monde that she “knew a tsunami was approaching.” According to the BBC, Buzyn’s is “one of the world’s first cases of a minister facing legal accountability for their pandemic response.” As part of a global three-phase clinical trial of China’s Sinovac Biotech COVID-19 vaccine, 2,000 children and adolescents aged six months to 17 years will be vaccinated in South Africa, starting 10 September. The pediatric trials will also recruit 12,000 participants from Kenya, the Philippines, Chile, and Malaysia. According to a statement from Sinovac: “The primary objective of the study is to evaluate the efficacy of two doses of the CoronaVac against confirmed symptomatic COVID-19 cases in children and adolescents.” Sinovac is also planning to open a vaccine production facility in South Africa, according to executives from its local partner, Numolux group.
In China, an outbreak of the Delta variant in Putian, Fujian province, continues to grow. On Tuesday, 14 September, authorities announced that the outbreak is the largest school-linked spread in the country since the start of the pandemic. As of Friday, 17 September, the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDCP) reported over 200 Covid-19 infections. There has been no reported deaths. Speaking to respiratory medicine expert Leung Chi-chiu, The South China Morning Post reported the outbreak “could be controlled within two 14-week incubation periods, if there are no signs of widespread infections within the next two or three days.” Part of the government’s efforts to contain the spread of the virus includes mass Covid-19 testing, closing tourist attractions, banning large social gatherings, and restricting vehicle movement. For example, the closure of provincial expressways and highways into Putian, as well as the suspension of train services from Xiamen to major cities.