Russian COVID-19 vaccine trials begin in UAE as cases rise

Russian COVID-19 vaccine trials begin in UAE as cases rise
The UAE has seen the number of new daily coronavirus cases more than double in the past ten days. (AFP)
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Updated 07 January 2021

Russian COVID-19 vaccine trials begin in UAE as cases rise

Russian COVID-19 vaccine trials begin in UAE as cases rise
  • The human trial, announced in October before the recent rise in cases, is initially seeking up to 500 volunteers to be vaccinated

DUBAI: Abu Dhabi has started Phase III clinical trials of Russia’s experimental COVID-19 vaccine, known as Sputnik V, amid a surge in infections in the United Arab Emirates, Abu Dhabi’s media office said on Thursday.
The human trial, announced in October before the recent rise in cases, is initially seeking up to 500 volunteers to be vaccinated at a hospital in the emirate of Abu Dhabi.
Two doses of the vaccine will be given, 20 days apart, to volunteers, the statement said.
Participants will have to be 18 years or older, have not previously been infected with COVID-19 or participated in other COVID-19 vaccine trials, it said.
The UAE is also conducting Phase III trials of a COVID-19 vaccine developed by China National Pharmaceutical Group (Sinopharm). The UAE has approved the vaccine and it is available for free to anybody who wants it, with priority given to more vulnerable individuals, according to the health ministry.
Last month, the emirate of Dubai only began inoculating people with the COVID-19 vaccine produced by Pfizer and BioNTec.
Authorities in the UAE, which has a population around 9 million, say 826,301 vaccines had been administered as of Tuesday, without specifying which type. They added the UAE aims to vaccine more than 50 percent of the population in the first quarter this year.
In October, Sinopharm’s local partner, G42, said it intended to start manufacturing the vaccine in 2021.
G42 did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for more information on the plan.
The UAE has seen the number of new daily cases more than double in the past ten days. On Wednesday, the health ministry reported 2,067 new infections, a daily record.
The UAE does not disclose where in the country infections or deaths take place and has not recently announced new measures to prevent its spread.
In total, the Gulf Arab state has recorded 218,766 infections and 689 deaths from the virus.


Jordan ministers sacked for virus rules breach

Jordan ministers sacked for virus rules breach
Updated 28 February 2021

Jordan ministers sacked for virus rules breach

Jordan ministers sacked for virus rules breach
  • The pair were asked to step down by Prime Minister Bisher Al-Khasawneh
  • The Jordanian news website Ammon claimed Mobaideen and Talhuni had attended a dinner in a restaurant in Amman with a total of nine people

AMMAN: Jordan’s interior and justice ministers were sacked Sunday for breaching health regulations to stem the spread of coronavirus, with their replacements named by royal decree.
The pair were asked to step down by Prime Minister Bisher Al-Khasawneh, a move immediately endorsed by King Abdullah II, according to a statement from the royal palace.
They are accused, according to a government source, of “having violated the emergency law” put in place to curb Covid-19.
The Jordanian news website Ammon claimed interior minister Samir Mobaideen and justice minister Bassam Talhuni had attended a dinner in a restaurant in Amman with a total of nine people, when the law allowed a maximum of six.
Tawfiq Krishan, deputy prime minister and in charge of local administration, was appointed as the new interior minister.
Ahmed Ziyadat, State Secretary for Legal Affairs, was named as justice minister.
Following a surge in virus cases, Jordan toughened this week its Covid-19 restrictions, returning to rules imposed in March last year, and which were only eased last month.
Jordan, which began vaccinations last month, has officially recorded more than 386,000 novel coronavirus cases and 4,675 deaths out of a population of 10.5 million people.


Turkey summons Iran ambassador over accusations Ankara is violating Iraqi sovereignty: Al Arabiya

Turkey summons Iran ambassador over accusations Ankara is violating Iraqi sovereignty: Al Arabiya
Updated 28 February 2021

Turkey summons Iran ambassador over accusations Ankara is violating Iraqi sovereignty: Al Arabiya

Turkey summons Iran ambassador over accusations Ankara is violating Iraqi sovereignty: Al Arabiya

CAIRO: Turkey has summoned the Iranian ambassador over accusations by Tehran that Ankara is violating Iraqi sovereignty, Al Arabiya TV reported Sunday. 

Turkey said it expects from Tehran to stand by Ankara in “combating terrorism”. 

Last week, Iran summoned the Turkish ambassador in Tehran over comments made by Turkish officials accusing Iran of destabilizing the region by getting involved in Iraq and Syria. 


Iran health ministry says virus deaths cross 60,000 mark

Iran health ministry says virus deaths cross 60,000 mark
Updated 28 February 2021

Iran health ministry says virus deaths cross 60,000 mark

Iran health ministry says virus deaths cross 60,000 mark

Iran's health ministry said the country's coronavirus fatalities broke the 60,000 mark on Sunday, as the Islamic republic battles the Middle East's worst outbreak of the illness.
"Sadly in the past 24 hours, 93 people lost their lives to Covid-19, and total deaths from this disease reached 60,073," health ministry spokeswoman Sima Sadat Lari said in a televised address.
Iran has registered a total of 1,631,169 infections, according to the ministry.


Russian helicopter makes emergency landing in Syria

Russian helicopter makes emergency landing in Syria
Updated 28 February 2021

Russian helicopter makes emergency landing in Syria

Russian helicopter makes emergency landing in Syria
  • Russian Defense Ministry said the helicopter was not fired at

AMMAN/MOSCOW: A Russian Mi-35 helicopter made an emergency landing due to technical problems during a flight over Syria’s northern Hasaka province, state agencies quoted Russia’s Defense Ministry as saying on Sunday.
“The crew was quickly evacuated to the airfield. There is no threat to lives of the pilots,” the RIA news agency cited a Defense Ministry statement as saying.
The helicopter was not fired at, it added.
Syrian state media said earlier there were reports of a Russian helicopter crash in northeast Syria that killed the pilot.
It said the site of the crash was in Hasaka province, near Tal Tamr close to a Russian base.


Iranian police official dismissed over protests in Baluchestan Province

Iranian police official dismissed over protests in Baluchestan Province
Updated 28 February 2021

Iranian police official dismissed over protests in Baluchestan Province

Iranian police official dismissed over protests in Baluchestan Province

CAIRO: The Iranian parliament is reportedly sending a delegation to investigate alleged use of excessive force by government forces against protesters in the southeast Baluchistan region.

Iranian media reports said the delegation will investigate what has been described as “bloody” violence after unrest gripped the remote province following fatal border shootings.

The reports also said that the Iranian police force deputy in the region was dismissed over the violence.