19 coronavirus cases in Azerbaijan president’s office

Azerbaijanis are only allowed to leave their homes for urgent medical treatment and to attend the funerals of close relatives during the lockdown. (File/AFP)
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Updated 10 June 2020

19 coronavirus cases in Azerbaijan president’s office

  • A further 13 infections were also confirmed among employees of the emergency situations ministry and the ministry of labor
  • Azerbaijan has registered 98 deaths and a total of 8,191 coronavirus cases

BAKU, Azerbaijan: Nineteen staff in the office of Azerbaijan’s president have tested positive for the coronavirus, officials said, as authorities in the repressive Caucasus nation struggle to contain an escalating crisis.
A further 13 infections were also confirmed among employees of the emergency situations ministry and the ministry of labor, anti-virus task force spokesman Ramin Bairamly said late Tuesday.
Azerbaijan has registered 98 deaths and a total of 8,191 coronavirus cases after a 23-percent increase in new infections from last week.
The oil-rich country initially imposed a state of emergency in late March to contain the outbreak. It was lifted along with most anti-virus restrictions on May 31.
“Nineteen cases of the coronavirus have been confirmed among the employees of the Presidential Administration,” said Bairamly.
“In the ministry of labor seven people were infected, in the emergency situations ministry — five people.”
The ex-Soviet republic’s authoritarian president Ilham Aliyev said Tuesday that the relaxation of anti-virus measures had led to an “acceleration of new infections.”
“But the situation is fully under control,” he said in televised remarks.
In a renewed effort to contain the outbreak, Aliyev imposed a two-day lockdown in several regions and cities including the capital Baku.
He said the stay-at-home order will be in place again next weekend.
Azerbaijanis are only allowed to leave their homes for urgent medical treatment and to attend the funerals of close relatives during the lockdown.
Public transport and all non-essential businesses except those in the oil industry and in cargo transport are also ordered to close.


Duterte to skip Philippine trial of Russia virus vaccine

Updated 13 August 2020

Duterte to skip Philippine trial of Russia virus vaccine

  • Duterte had offered himself up as a guinea pig for the very first jab, expressing “huge trust” in the vaccine
  • The Philippines has logged the highest number of confirmed infections in Southeast Asia

MANILA: The Philippines will begin large-scale human testing of Russia’s coronavirus vaccine in October, but President Rodrigo Duterte will not receive the inoculation until regulators guarantee its safety, his spokesman said Thursday.
Duterte had offered himself up as a guinea pig for the very first jab, expressing “huge trust” in the vaccine, despite growing skepticism about its effectiveness.
But his spokesman Harry Roque said the president was scheduled to receive the vaccine no earlier than May 1 — weeks after the Russian-funded Phase 3 clinical trial in the archipelago is due to end in March.
The country’s Food and Drug Administration is expected to approve the vaccine — developed by the Gamaleya research institute and the Russian defense ministry — in April.
“May 1 is when the PSG (presidential security group) may allow him, once all requisite tests have been finished,” Roque told reporters.
Moscow says it has developed the world’s first vaccine offering “sustainable immunity” against the coronavirus and is in the final stage of tests involving 2,000 people.
Roque said Philippine experts will review next month the results of Russia’s Phase 1 and 2 clinical trials before the Southeast Asian country starts its Phase 3 testing.
“We will do it simultaneously with Russia,” Roque said.
Philippine officials from the science and technology department met with Gamaleya on Wednesday to discuss the protocols for the trial of the vaccine, which is dubbed “Sputnik V” after the pioneering Soviet satellite of the 1950s.
The Philippines, which is struggling to contain the virus, has accepted Russia’s offer to participate in production of the vaccine.
Anna Lisa Ong-Lim, an infectious disease professor at the University of the Philippines College of Medicine, said the government’s timeline to have a vaccine available by May was “very optimistic.”
The country is also set to start on August 17 clinical trials for the Japanese antiviral drug Avigan to treat coronavirus patients.
The Philippines has logged the highest number of confirmed infections in Southeast Asia with more than 147,500 cases and over 2,400 deaths.