As flu season reaches peak WHO steps up efforts to fight disease

The World Health Organization (WHO) also strongly advised early vaccination as the best prevention against the potentially devastating disease. “Influenza vaccines have an excellent safety record. In particular, the elderly and patients with chronic illnesses should see their doctor or health worker and get their flu vaccination,” said Dr. David L. Heymann, Executive Director at WHO Communicable Diseases branch. For healthy people, influenza normally amounts to high fever, headache and a few days in bed. However, for the elderly and chronically ill, the flu can be fatal. To save lives, WHO brings together influenza experts every year to compose a vaccine for the following year. More than 230 million vaccine doses are used annually. According to WHO, during the annual epidemics influenza infects as many as 100 million people annually in the northern hemisphere. While exact figures are unavailable for most countries, in the United States influenza kills approximately 20,000 people each year, the agency said. The elderly and children under one year of age are particularly at risk. History shows the potentially devastating consequences of the disease. The “Spanish flu” pandemic of 1918-19 claimed up to 40 million lives, while in Hong Kong, China, in 1997, one-third of infected patients died. read more

New law could be made against upskirting in the UK

Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. Justice Secretary David Gauke has signalled the Government could support creating a specific offence to deal with upskirting.He told MPs he is “sympathetic” to calls for further action against the practice and his officials are reviewing the current law to “make sure it is fit for purpose”.Mr Gauke added that there is a “case for making sure we’ve got something specific” to deal with upskirting.Campaigners say existing laws for voyeurism, public decency and public order do not provide enough scope for a conviction, with calls to create a specific sexual offence to deal with it.The first official figures obtained on upskirting – which often sees perpetrators taking photographs or videos of a victim’s groin area from under their clothing – showed complainants as young as 10. “As part of this work, we are considering the Private Member’s Bill put forward by (Wera Hobhouse, Liberal Democrat MP for Bath).”Labour MP Gill Furniss (Sheffield, Brightside and Hillsborough) said almost 100,000 people have signed a petition calling for upskirting to be a specific sexual offence – with MPs from the major parties backing a motion on the issue.She asked: “Why is the minister still refusing to act? We really need to make sure that our law reflects that of Scotland’s, where this has been incorporated into their Sexual Offences Act 2009.”Mr Gauke reiterated that he is sympathetic to the request for further action, adding: “There are offences in place where people have successfully been prosecuted for upskirting, in terms of outraging public decency, and also voyeurism can also apply under the Sexual Offences Act.”But I think there is a case to say these offences don’t necessarily cover every incidence of upskirting and that is why there is a strong case for looking at the law and whether we need to change it.”In response to a later question from Labour’s Diana Johnson (Kingston upon Hull North), Mr Gauke said the impact of legislation in Scotland is being looked at closely. Only one-third of police forces in England and Wales have any data on the prevalence of upskirting Only one-third of police forces in England and Wales have any data on the prevalence of upskirtingCredit:Rafael Ben-Ari/AP The information, obtained by the Press Association, also highlighted that only one-third of police forces in England and Wales have any data on the prevalence of upskirting.Speaking in the Commons, Mr Gauke said: “I share the outrage at the distress that this intrusive behaviour can cause to victims and I’m determined to ensure that victims have confidence that their complaints will be taken seriously.”I am sympathetic to the calls to change the law and my officials are reviewing the current law to make sure it is fit for purpose. He added that there have been successful prosecutions in England under existing laws, adding: “I think there is a case for making sure we’ve got something specific.”Lib Dem MP Ms Hobhouse’s Voyeurism (Offences) Bill is included as part of Commons business on May 11 although it is near the bottom of the list.It is unlikely to be debated but would receive a second reading and progress to the next stage for further scrutiny if no MPs shout “Object” when its title is read out. read more