Russia offers to supply Philippines with COVID-19 vaccine

Above, a nurse checks on a patient who has recovered from COVID-19 as he donate plasmas at a hospital in Manila on April 22, 2020. (AFP)
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Updated 07 August 2020

Russia offers to supply Philippines with COVID-19 vaccine

  • Russia is expecting regulatory approval for its first potential COVID-19 vaccine this month
  • Moscow’s offer comes amid concern in some developing countries about access to a COVID-19 vaccine

MANILA: Russia is willing to supply a coronavirus vaccine to the Philippines, or team up with a local firm to mass produce it, its ambassador to Manila said on Friday, as infections in the Southeast Asian nation surge.
Russia is expecting regulatory approval for its first potential COVID-19 vaccine this month, with doses to be administered to frontline health workers first.
But the frenetic race globally to develop a COVID-19 vaccine is raising some concern that speed could compromise safety and that some countries could be putting national prestige before solid science.
“We are ready to supply vaccines to the Philippines,” Igor Khovaev, Russia’s ambassador to the Philippines, told a virtual news conference.
It can also invest with a Philippine partner for local vaccine production, he said, adding that Russia was awaiting a response to its proposal from the Philippines’ foreign ministry.
The ministry in a statement said the Russian offer “has been referred to the appropriate agencies for proper assessment and evaluation.”
Khovaev said the vaccine was “effective and safe,” adding that about 20 countries had expressed interest in working with Russia on deployment of the vaccines.
Russia’s offer comes amid concern in some developing countries about access to a COVID-19 vaccine, with expectations of high demand globally.
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has sought closer ties with Russia, as well as with China, in part due to his dislike for historic ally the United States.
Duterte last month said he had made a plea to his Chinese counterpart to make the Philippines a priority if it successfully develops a COVID-19 vaccine. The Philippines has so far recorded more than 122,000 cases.
Asked on Thursday about the Russian vaccine, World Health Organization emergencies director Michael Ryan said trial data was needed to ensure any vaccines are safe and effective.


Police clash with anti-lockdown protesters in London

Updated 19 September 2020

Police clash with anti-lockdown protesters in London

  • Scuffles broke out Saturday as police moved in to disperse hundreds of demonstrators who gathered in London’s central Trafalgar Square
  • Britain’s Conservative government imposed a ban on all social gatherings of more than six people this week in a bid to tackle a steep rise in COVID-19 cases in the country

LONDON: Police in London have clashed with protesters at a rally organized by opponents of restrictions aimed at curbing the spread of coronavirus.
Scuffles broke out Saturday as police moved in to disperse hundreds of demonstrators who gathered in London’s central Trafalgar Square. Some protesters formed blockades to stop officers from making arrests, and traffic was brought to a halt in the busy area.
The “Resist and Act for Freedom” rally saw dozens of people holding banners and placards such as one reading “This is now Tyranny” and chanting “Freedom!” Police said there were “pockets of hostility and outbreaks of violence towards officers.”
Britain’s Conservative government imposed a ban on all social gatherings of more than six people this week in a bid to tackle a steep rise in COVID-19 cases in the country, but officials are considering even stricter restrictions.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Friday that Britain is “now seeing a second wave” of the coronavirus, after seeing the same in France, Spain and across Europe.
Britain has Europe’s worst death toll in the pandemic with 41,821 confirmed virus-related deaths, but experts say all numbers undercount the true impact of the pandemic.
In a statement, British police said protesters were “putting themselves and others at risk” and urged all those at the London rally to disperse immediately or risk arrest.