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Covid-19, World Heritage and a Shared Humanity

To say that 2020 has been a challenging year globally is an understatement. As of today, 1,775,776 people have lost their lives around the world because of the Covid-19 virus. The World Health Organisation has confirmed 80,453,105 cases.

For almost 6 months in 2020 (April – Sept), The Earth Museum took a virtual journey to over 150 UNESCO World Heritage Sites and learned a little more each day about how Covid-19 was impacting upon the lives of communities in each country. When we last reported, on 12th September, just over 28m people were confirmed as testing positive, and 900,000 people had died. As we close the year, this pandemic is still accelerating at an alarming rate.

And yet there is also reason for optimism as 2021 arrives. In April 2020, a global initiative, COVAX, was established with the aim of speeding up the search for an effective vaccine for all countries. At the same time, it is supporting the building of manufacturing capabilities and the buying of vaccine supplies, ahead of time, with an aim of fairly distributing 2 billion doses globally by the end of 2021.

These vaccines will come through the expertise and determination of world scientists and the bravery of trial volunteers across our planet. In today’s news, we hear that the Oxford/ AstraZeneca vaccine – tested through people volunteering in Brazil, India, Italy, Japan, Kenya, South Africa, the United Kingdom, and the United States – has been approved for distribution in a first country, the UK. This is just one of several vaccine candidates under development internationally that COVAX has secured doses for distribution in low and middle-income countries.

As many communities across the world say goodbye to 2020 and welcome in the New Year, we remember all those who have lost their lives because of Covid-19; especially the front-line healthcare workers who have paid the ultimate sacrifice. Covid-19 knows no geographical or cultural boundaries.

The Earth Museum World Heritage Sites Explorer is a celebration of a rich global cultural heritage that reflects our shared humanity. It is our small homage to all who have worked so hard during 2020 to protect so many from the true brutality of this global pandemic, and who will continue to do so in 2021 and beyond.

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