Scientists puzzled over a hundred dead seals wash up on Baikal shore

admin   •   November 6, 2017   •   4021

Local environment officials reported that over 140 carcasses of Baikal seals have washed up on the shores of the world’s deepest lake in Russia’s Siberia over the last week.

According to the scientists, the seals had died in water and their carcasses did not have any injuries or signs of disease or starvation.

Russian media reported that according to the country’s veterinary watchdog, the seals have had died of heart attack, the cause of which remains unclear to the experts.

Dozens of dead seals were found ashore at the end of last month and more carcasses were found later by local residents and rangers. Many of the dead seals were pregnant females.

Irkutsk Regional Environmental Prosecutor’s Office is investigating several possible causes of seals’ mass death, but according to the scientists, it can be natural selection.

“At the moment the prosecutor’s office is looking into various versions [of what happened to the seals] including disease of Baikal seals, an attempt of illegal hunting on seals as well as human-caused disturbance. But taking into consideration earlier incidents of seal mass death, the main version is naturally occurring wildlife cycles,” said West Baikal District Asst. Environment Prosecutor Ivan Zolotukhin.

Baikal seals as species are not currently considered under threat, according to biologists. Despite hunting and pollution of Lake Baikal, the seal population is believed to be equalling the carrying capacity of the lake.— Reuters

 

Russia to investigate safety of ventilators after hospital fire kills five

UNTV News   •   May 12, 2020

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)

(Production: Anton Vagonov, Tatiana Gomozova)

Russia test-launches controversial tracking app in coronavirus lockdown

UNTV News   •   April 13, 2020

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)

Russian doctor who met Putin last week diagnosed with coronavirus – State TV

UNTV News   •   April 1, 2020

(L-R) Dr. Denis Protsenko and Russian President Vladimir Putin

A doctor who gave Russian President Vladimir Putin a tour of Moscow’s main coronavirus hospital last week said on Tuesday (March 31) he had himself been diagnosed with the virus.

Putin visited the Kommunarka hospital last Tuesday where he chatted with the doctor, Denis Protsenko. Neither man was wearing protective equipment during their conversation, TV footage from the visit showed.

Protsenko, writing on Facebook said: “Yes, I have tested positive for coronavirus, but I feel pretty good. I’ve isolated myself in my office. I think the immunity I’ve developed this month is doing its job.”

The Kremlin said that Putin was being regularly tested for coronavirus and that “everything is okay,” the RIA news agency reported.

It has previously said that Putin is being protected from viruses and other illnesses “around the clock.”

Putin donned a hazmat suit and a respirator during his visit to the hospital last week when dropping in on patients. But he did not have his protective gear on during a meeting with Protsenko, with whom he was photographed shaking hands.

The Kremlin reported a coronavirus case in Putin’s administration on Friday, but said the person in question had not come into contact with the president and that all measures were being taken to prevent the virus from spreading further.

Russian lawmakers on Tuesday granted the government powers to declare a national emergency over the coronavirus, and approved penalties for violations of lockdown rules including, in extreme cases, jail terms of up to seven years. (Reuters)

(Production: Peter Scott)

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