Man in chemical protection suit holding a red flag during the chemical attack drill in Russia | REUTERS
The Russian military held a chemical attack drill on Sunday (September 16) as part of major military exercises Vostok-2018.
The Russian defense ministry published a video showing servicemen in chemical protection suits and gas masks cleaning tanks.
Russia’s biggest war games since the fall of the Soviet Union, the Vostok-2018 (East-2018) drills, which run until Sept. 17, take place in eastern Siberia close to the border with China and involve 300,000 Russian troops.
The exercises involve over a thousand military aircraft as well as up to 36,000 tanks, come amid tense relations between Russia and the West. — Reuters
MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte may be inoculated with Russia-made vaccine against novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in May 2021, Malacañang said on Thursday.
In a televised press briefing, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said Duterte could get Sputnik V vaccine shots as early as May 1 provided that the vaccine is already approved by the country’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
“The May 1 is when the PSG [Presidential Security Group] may allow him ‘pag natapos na po lahat ng test na kinakailangang gawin dito sa Gamaleya vaccine,” he said.
Duterte earlier said he is willing to participate in the clinical trials for Sputnik V.
Base on the timeline presented by Roque, the vaccine expert panel will review the results of phases 1 and 2 of the Sputnik V’s clinical trials this September.
The Philippines and Russia will conduct simultaneous phase 3 clinical trials which will run until March 2021. The Russian government is expected to shoulder the costs.
The vaccine will then have to go through the registration process with the FDA in April 2021.
Roque, however, stressed that the vaccine could become available in the market earlier since other organizations are also in advanced stages of conducting clinical trials.
“Baka mayroon pang ibang mauna dahil marami namang pong nasa third phase ng clinical trials at matagal na po silang nasa 3rd phase,” he said.
Dr. Jaime Montoya, executive director of the Philippine Council for Health Research, said that if no problems will be encountered on the efficacy of Russia-made vaccine during the trials, the Sputnik V vaccine could be rolled out for commercial use in the Philippines by April 2021.
Montoya is part of the team of Philippine health and vaccine experts who met with the manufacturer and scientists who developed the Sputnik V.
Russia on Tuesday announced it is the first country to grant regulatory approval to a vaccine after less than two months of human testing.
The announcement raised concerns from some international scientists about the safety of the vaccine.
The World Health Organization said Russia’s COVID-19 vaccine should first undergo the necessary evaluation process before it could become available for public use. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)
Russian authorities said they would look into the safety of artificial lung ventilators being used at two hospitals after a fire broke out in St Petersburg at one of them on Tuesday (May 12) morning and killed five people.
The blaze erupted after a ventilator in an intensive care ward treating 20 patients with the novel coronavirus burst into flames, one source told the TASS news agency.
It was the second fire to break out at a hospital treating coronavirus patients in less than a week. A similar fire erupted at a Moscow hospital on Saturday killing one person.
A TASS law enforcement source said that a ventilator had caused that fire too. The source said the ventilators that caused both fires had been produced in the same factory in the Urals region.
Roszdravnadzor, Russia’s federal service for supervising healthcare, said it would check the quality and safety of the ventilators in the two hospitals, the RIA news agency reported.
Investigators opened a criminal case into Tuesday’s fire.
Russia is relatively well stocked with ventilators and has increased domestic production since the coronavirus outbreak. But data, experts, and some medics say many machines outside big cities are old.
In this case however, the ventilator reported to have started the St. Petersburg fire was new, TASS reported, having only been installed this month.
A third fire broke out on Monday at a private hospice in the Moscow region which killed nine elderly people outright.
The hospice’s owner was detained by police. A further two people later died in hospital, the RIA news agency reported.
Russia has reported 232,243 cases of the novel coronavirus, the second highest number of cases in the world as of Tuesday morning according to the Johns Hopkins University in the United States, and 2,116 deaths. (Reuters)
Russia’s Ministry of communications has released a mobile phone app which allows people to have an instant security clearance to leave their homes during the coronavirus lockdown.
Users have to register with their passport details and supply a selfie to carry a clearance on their mobile phones to be shown on demand by the security forces. Reasons to be out of doors include taking out the rubbish, walking a dog, visiting hospital, caring for someone or going to work.
But the app means the user can be tracked by authorities, which has led to criticism from human rights campaigners.
The Roskomsvoboda organisation, which monitors internet freedom in the country, told Reuters that some measures during the pandemic were understandable, but the biggest fear was that they would not be lifted once the pandemic ends.
In a press released the ministry said the mobile app was designed for testing and its use is not mandatory.
Russia on Sunday reported 2,186 new coronavirus cases, the largest daily increase since the start of the outbreak.
Moscow and many other regions have been in lockdown for nearly two weeks to stem the contagion, but the number of cases was on the rise and reached 15,770 as of April 12, while the number of deaths rose to 130. (Reuters)
(Production: Maria Vasilyeva, Gennadiy Novik, Dmitry Turlyun)
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