Russia becomes first country to register COVID-19 vaccine

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The first COVID-19 vaccine in the world has been registered by Russia on Tuesday, reported Sputnik.

“As far as I know, for the first time in the world, a vaccine against the novel coronavirus infection was registered this morning,” President Vladimir Putin was quoted as saying at a meeting with the government. “I hope we will be able to start mass production of this medication in the near future, which is very important,” he further said.

The President also said one of his daughters has been given a shot of the COVID-19 vaccination.

“One of my daughters got vaccinated. In fact, she took part in an experiment. After the first vaccination, she had a [body] temperature of 38 degrees [Celcius, 100 degrees Fahrenheit], the next day slightly higher than 37 [degrees], that’s all,” he said.

Meanwhile, Russia’s Healthcare Minister Mikhail Murashko has informed that the COVID-19 vaccine of Russian Microbiology Research Center Gamaleya has been registered. The vaccine proved to be safe and effective, he added.

According to the latest global update by the Johns Hopkins University, a total number of 20,092,855 people have been tested positive of coronavirus and 736,254 deaths have been reported so far.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) had declared the outbreak of the new coronavirus a pandemic on March 11.

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Afghan President signs decree to release 400 Taliban prisoners
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has signed a decree to release 400 Taliban prisoners, as part of efforts to begin intra-Afghan talks, a source at the Presidential Palace said.

Ghani on Monday evening also signed another decree to release prisoners of Afghan forces who are lodged in government jails, TOLOnews reported. The development comes after the Loya Jirga (grand assembly) on Sunday approved the release of 400 Taliban prisoners as a goodwill gesture.

The Loya Jirga issued a resolution with 25 articles, wherein it urged the international community to cease direct and indirect intervention in Afghanistan’s affairs and to stop their support for terror groups.

The statement also said that the people and the government of Afghanistan must be assured that the released Taliban prisoners “will not return to war and their activity will be monitored.”

Loya Jirga comprises thousands of Afghan elders, community leaders and politicians who had gathered in Kabul to decide whether to release the final 400 Taliban prisoners.

The release of prisoners was being considered as the last hurdle into opening peace talks between the internationally-backed Afghan government and the Taliban under a peace deal signed between the group and the US on February 29.

 

EU To Provide EUR1.65 Million In Humanitarian Aid To Support Those Affected By Flooding In South Asia

The European Union is providing EUR1.65 million in humanitarian aid funding to support those affected by flooding in South Asia, particularly in India, Bangladesh and Nepal.

“In response to severe flooding that have affected South Asia–most notably Bangladesh, India and Nepal–the European Union is providing EUR1.65 million in humanitarian aid funding,” a statement from the EU said.
It informed that the support comes on top of the EUR1.8 million announced earlier this year to support families affected by a series of disasters, including Cyclone Amphan that ravaged India and Bangladesh in May, bringing the total EU support to victims of disasters in the region to EUR3.45 million.

The flooding has affected some 17.5 million people, wiping out homes, livelihoods such as livestock and agricultural lands, and destroying vital infrastructure including roads, hospitals and schools, the statement noted.

“The monsoon rains across South Asia have been particularly devastating this year and this urgent contribution will help our humanitarian partners on the ground in providing crucial support to those who have lost their shelters, belongings and sources of livelihood,” said Taheeni Thammannagoda, who oversees EU humanitarian programs in Asia and the Pacific.

“Focusing on the worst affected countries, we are providing the means for people to survive through this difficult time so that they can get back on their feet as soon as possible,” Taheeni Thammannagoda said.

According to the statement, out of the total funding, EUR1 million will be dedicated to addressing the urgent humanitarian needs in Bangladesh, where over two million people are in need of food assistance, water, sanitation, hygiene and emergency shelter while a further EUR500,000 will be used in India to provide food and livelihood assistance, emergency relief supplies, and water and sanitation services.

 

“In Nepal, EUR150,000 will be used to address the pressing need for water and sanitation, shelter and essential household items following the displacement of thousands of people after the rains unleashed devastating landslides across the country,” it said while adding that the funding is part of the EU’s Acute Large Emergency Response Tool (ALERT). Measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus will be incorporated in all programming.

The acute large emergency response tool (ALERT) is used to respond to large natural disasters where over 100,000 people or over 50 percent of the population are affected. Depending on the type of disaster, the aim is to allocate funds within 24 to 48 hours of the onset of the emergency.

08- Russia Registers Coronavirus Vaccine Despite International Skepticism, Putin’s Daughter Inoculated
MOSCOW [Russia], August 11 (AP): — Russia on Tuesday became the first country to officially register a coronavirus vaccine and declare it ready for use, despite international skepticism. President Vladimir Putin said that one of his daughters has already been inoculated.

Putin emphasized that the vaccine underwent the necessary tests and has proven efficient, offering a lasting immunity from the coronavirus. However, scientists at home and abroad have been sounding the alarm that the rush to start using the vaccine before Phase 3 trials — which normally last for months and involve thousands of people — could backfire.

Speaking at a government meeting Tuesday, Putin said that the vaccine has undergone proper testing and is safe.
“I would like to repeat that it has passed all the necessary tests,” he said. “The most important thing is to ensure full safety of using the vaccine and its efficiency.”

The Russian leader added that one of his two adult daughters has received two shots of the vaccine. “She has taken part in the experiment,” Putin said.

Putin said that his daughter had a temperature of 38 degrees Celsius (100.4 Fahrenheit) on the day of the first vaccine injection, and then it dropped to just over 37 degrees (98.6 Fahrenheit) on the following day. After the second shot she again had a slight increase in temperature, but then it was all over.

“She’s feeling well and has high number of antibodies,” Putin added. He didn’t specify which of his two daughters — Maria or Katerina — received the vaccine.

Russian authorities have said that medical workers, teachers and other risk groups will be the first to be inoculated. Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova said that the vaccination of doctors could start as early as this month.
The Health Ministry said in Tuesday’s statement that the vaccine is expected to provide immunity from the coronavirus for up to two years.

Putin emphasized that vaccination will be voluntary,
Russian officials have said that large-scale production of the vaccine will start in September, and mass vaccination may begin as early as October.

When the pandemic struck Russia, Putin ordered state officials to shorten the time of clinical trials for potential coronavirus vaccines.

Becoming the first country in the world to develop a vaccine was a matter of national prestige for the Kremlin as it tries to assert the image of Russia as a global power. State television stations and other media have praised scientists working on it and presented the work the envy of other nations.

Professor Alexander Gintsburg, head of the Gamaleya institute that developed the vaccine, raised eyebrows in May when he said that he and other researchers tried the vaccine on themselves.

Human studies started June 17 among 76 volunteers. Half were injected with a vaccine in liquid form and the other half with a vaccine that came as soluble powder. Some in the first half were recruited from the military, which raised concerns that servicemen may have been pressured to participate.

Amid Russia’s rush to become the first to create a vaccine, the U.S., Britain and Canada last month accused Russia of using hackers to steal vaccine research from Western labs.

 

As the trials were declared completed, questions arose about the vaccine’s safety and effectiveness. Some experts scoffed at Russian authorities’ assurances that the vaccine drug produced the desired immune response and caused no significant side effects, pointing out that such claims need to be backed by published scientific data.

The World Health Organization said all vaccine candidates should go through full stages of testing before being rolled out. Experts have warned that vaccines that are not properly tested can cause harm in many ways — from a negative impact on health to creating a false sense of security or undermining trust in vaccinations.

Released Rs 98.35 crore to North DMC for teachers’ salaries, Delhi govt tells High Court
The Government of NCT Delhi made the submission in an affidavit filed before the High Court on a suo motu matter related to the payment of salaries of school teachers at the North Delhi Municipal Corporation.

The Delhi government has submitted before the Delhi High Court that it has sanctioned and released the second instalment of grant-in-aid in favour of North Delhi Municipal Corporation amounting to Rs 98.35 crore towards the salaries of primary school teachers for the months of July and August, 2020.

The Government of NCT Delhi made the submission in an affidavit filed before the High Court on a suo motu matter related to the payment of salaries of school teachers at the North Delhi Municipal Corporation.A di

vision bench of Justice Hima Kohli and Justice Subramonium Prasad, after hearing the submissions, directed North DMC to ensure that salaries of the teachers, which are due, are released at the earliest.

“Besides the Grant-in-Aid received from the Delhi Government, North DMC shall also chip in by making funds available for paying the salaries of teachers teaching in schools being run by it. A fresh status report shall be filed by the North DMC within two weeks, with a copy to the counsel for the GNCTD,” the bench said in its order on August

Delhi government, in its affidavit, also said that it has permitted the North DMC to utilise the unspent balance of the previous year which comes to Rs 18.07 crore for the same purpose, subject to the conditions mentioned in the sanction letter dated July 27, 2020.

Advocate Pushkarna, standing counsel for the North DMC, sought more time to file a status report in the matter submitting that it could not be filed as Deputy Controller (Accounts) has tested positive for COVID-19, and as a result, his colleagues and others have quarantined themselves.

Earlier, the Delhi High Court had asked the Delhi government and the North Delhi Municipal Corporation (DMC) to file fresh status reports to update it on the status of the release of funds and salaries of the North DMC school teachers.


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