Russia says allegations COVID-19 vaccine is unsafe are groundless

President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday that Russia had become the first country to grant regulatory approval to a COVID-19 vaccine. (File/AFP)
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Updated 12 August 2020

Russia says allegations COVID-19 vaccine is unsafe are groundless

  • Moscow’s decision to grant it approval has raised concerns among some experts
  • Only about 10% of clinical trials are successful and some scientists fear Moscow may be putting national prestige before safety

MOSCOW: Russian Health Minister Mikhail Murashko said on Wednesday allegations that Russia’s COVID-19 vaccine was unsafe were groundless and driven by competition, the Interfax news agency reported.
President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday that Russia had become the first country to grant regulatory approval to a COVID-19 vaccine, after less than two months of human testing.
Moscow’s decision to grant it approval has raised concerns among some experts. Only about 10% of clinical trials are successful and some scientists fear Moscow may be putting national prestige before safety.


Greek PM to visit storm-stricken areas as reconstruction begins

Updated 34 min 28 sec ago

Greek PM to visit storm-stricken areas as reconstruction begins

  • Mediterranean cyclone Ianos, known as a “medicane,” has so far left three dead and one person missing
  • Mitsotakis expressed his condolences over the deaths and promised that all affected regions would receive support from the state
ATHENS: Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis will visit areas hit by a rare hurricane-like storm that left at least three dead, officials said Monday as reconstruction efforts began.
“The prime minister will visit Karditsa on Tuesday,” the government’s deputy spokeswoman Aristotelia Peloni told state TV ERT, referring to the central Greek city that saw thousands of homes submerged by flooding.
Mediterranean cyclone Ianos, known as a “medicane,” has so far left three dead and one person missing.
Hundreds of people had to be rescued from flooded buildings as heavy rain and high winds wrecked homes, shops and warehouses in regions north of the capital Athens.
“Five thousand homes are flooded and a third of the city has no electricity,” Karditsa mayor Vassilis Tsiakos told ERT.
It will take at least five days to get the city back to its feet, Tsiakos said.
Ianos forced flights and ferries to be canceled on Friday as it barrelled across Greece’s Ionian Sea islands.
The city of Karditsa, about 300 kilometers (190 miles) north of Athens, was badly hit overnight Friday, with mudslides, falling trees and power cuts.
The local agriculture economy was also badly hit, local officials said.
Mitsotakis expressed his condolences over the deaths and promised that all affected regions would receive support from the state.
Medicanes are a rare phenomenon only categorized by experts over the past four decades, according to Kostas Lagouvardos, director of research at the Athens Observatory.
“Mediterranean cyclones or hurricanes have tropical characteristics like those in the Atlantic, but they often have a smaller volume and are less intense,” he told AFP over the weekend.
Lagouvardos says six medicanes have hit Greece since 1982, four of them since 2016.
Ianos was among the strongest medicanes recorded since the start of observations in 1969, he wrote in an article Sunday.
The last storm on this scale hit Greece two years ago, killing two people on the island of Evia.