Belarusian opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya said on Wednesday that Russia needs to end its propaganda campaign and throw its support behind her country’s democracy movement.
The falsehoods spread by the Russian state media risk poisoning the close relationship between the Belarusian and Russian people, she said, calling for honest reporting on why people are standing up against long-time Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko.
“Support the Belarusian people,” she said in a video message.
Tikhanovskaya, 37, has claimed that an election last month that has since spurred daily protests was rigged to maintain Lukashenko’s grip on power.
Electoral authorities said he won last month’s election with over 80 per cent of the votes.
Tikhanovskaya came in second.
“The election result contradicts common sense.
“Lukashenko only holds power thanks to the incredible brutality and repression of protesters,” she said, but added that it will not stop the protests.
Tikhanovskaya fled Belarus for neighbouring Lithuania after the election under pressure from the authorities.
She is meeting with Polish Prime Minister Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki in Warsaw, where they’re expected to discuss additional support for Belarus and a model for supporting its civil society.
Edited By: Emmanuel Yashim
Putin calls for space peace treaty, offers coronavirus vaccine to UN
Speaking to the United Nations via video link Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday called for an international treaty to prohibit weapons in space and offered Russia’s coronavirus vaccine to UN employees for free.
Putin made the call while speaking to the United Nations General Assembly via video link.
“Russia is ready to provide the UN with all the necessary qualified assistance.
“In particular, we are offering to provide our vaccine free of charge, for the voluntary vaccination of the staff of the UN and its offices,” Putin said.
He also said that the global economic downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic had renewed the need for removing trade sanctions.
Russia has been under crippling sanctions by Western powers since it annexed a part of neighbouring Ukraine six years ago.
“Freeing the world trade from barriers, bans, restrictions, and illegitimate sanctions would be of great help in revitalising global growth and reducing unemployment,” Putin said, based on a transcript published on the Kremlin’s website.
While emphasising the need for a treaty to ensure peace in outer space, Putin said: “Russia is putting forward an initiative to sign a binding agreement between all the leading space powers that would provide for the prohibition of the placement of weapons in outer space, threat or use of force against outer space objects.”
Edited By: Emmanuel Yashim
Russia says COVID-19 vaccination for pregnant women requires separate study
A separate clinical study would be needed to include pregnant women in the COVID-19 vaccination campaign, Alexander Gintsburg, the Head of the Moscow-based Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology, said on Tuesday.
“Certainly, it is necessary to conduct a separate clinical study, which has not been carried out yet,” Gintsburg said at a roundtable on COVID-19, hosted by the Rossiya Segodnya International Information Agency.
On Aug. 11, Russia became the first country in the world to register a coronavirus vaccine, named Sputnik V and developed by the Gamaleya Institute.
However, the number of coronavirus cases worldwide passed 30 million on Friday, according to the Johns Hopkins University tracker, as the World Health Organisation ( WHO) said daily case numbers were growing at an “alarming rate” in Europe.
The global death toll stands at 943,203 people and is expected to pass 1 million by Oct.1.
The United States accounts for than 22 per cent of global cases, at 6.67m, and nearly 200,000 fatalities.
Meanwhile, the WHO warned of “alarming rates of transmission” of Covid-19 across Europe and cautioned countries against shortening quarantine periods.
The WHO said the number of coronavirus cases in September “should serve as a wake-up call for all of us”.
Edited By: Fatima Sule/Peter Dada
Russia’s institute recommends people over 80 vaccinate against COVID-19
Alexander Gintsburg, the Director of Russia’s Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology, said on Tuesday those over 80 years are recommended to receive a vaccine against COVID-19.
During a roundtable on COVID-19, hosted by the Rossiya Segodnya International Information Agency, renowned doctor Leonid Roshal, Head of the National Medical Chamber, recounted previously asking Gintsburg about the possibility of vaccination for seniors.
“I have asked what should people over 80 do if the instruction says vaccination is for those who are only up to 60 years old, and heard back- get vaccinated anyway,” Roshal said.
The head of the Gamaleya Institute confirmed that account.
“Absolutely right,” Gintsburg said.
On Aug.11, Russia became the first country in the world to register a coronavirus vaccine named Sputnik V and developed by the Gamaleya Institute.
Similarly, Russian COVID-19 vaccine manufacturers are so confident about its safety that they will not seek full legal protection from potential liability claims, an official says.
“The approach is different from many other vaccine developers, who seek indemnity if unexpected adverse effects occur.
“Russia is not asking for full legal indemnity because of the confidence in its human adenoviral vector platform proven to be safe over decades.
“At the same time, Western vaccine makers insist on full indemnity – putting all legal risks of their unproven vaccines on the countries that buy vaccines.
Western vaccine makers have to do this because they understand well that monkey adenovirus and RNA vaccines have never been studied for long term negative effects and vaccine makers do not want to bear risks of their own vaccines,” Dmitriev said in a statement.
In August, Russia registered the world’s first COVID-19 vaccine, named Sputnik V and developed by the Gamaleya Scientific Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology.
According to the health ministry, Sputnik V is safe and has proven to be capable of building immunity against the virus.
The vaccine is yet to complete the required Phase lll of clinical trials.
According to WHO protocols, a candidate vaccine has to complete three phases of clinical trials to be approved for industrial production.
Edited By: Fatima Sule/Grace Yussuf
Pakistan launches phase III trial of Chinese COVID-19 vaccine
Though the country enjoys a sharp decline in new infections that has encouraged authorities to lift all virus-related restrictions.
“Just launched the phase 3 trials of a Covid-19 vaccine in Pakistan,” Umar said.
A total of 40,000 people – including 10,000 Pakistanis – will participate in this trial in seven countries, Umer said.
The initial results are expected in four to six months, he added.
Trials of the vaccine candidate, developed by biopharmaceutical company CanSinoBio and the Beijing Institute of Biotechnology, are already under way in Argentina, Chile, China and Russia.
According to the National Institute of Health, which oversees the process, the first and second phase trials of the vaccine candidate, completed in May and June respectively, have shown promising results.
Several Chinese companies have joined in the global race to develop a vaccine to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, which originated in China late 2019.
Pakistan has witnessed a sharp decline in new COVID-19 infections since July.
That prompted the government to lift restrictions.
Earlier this month, Pakistan allowed schools to reopen.
The country has so far reported 306,866 COVID-19 infections and 6,424 deaths.
According to the health ministry, 582 new cases were reported during the last 24 hours, out of 36,155 tests.
Pakistan, China’s neighbour and long-time political ally, relies heavily on Beijing’s support for its troubled economy, which was struck hard by the pandemic.
Edited By: Fatima Sule/Sadiya Hamza