Post by TsarSamuil on Jan 20, 2020 14:21:36 GMT -5
In a Siberian Tiger's Footsteps. How Siberian tiger was saved from extinction by Russia and China.
RT Documentary Jan 19, 2020
Each Siberian tiger needs hundreds of square kilometres of hunting territory to itself in order to thrive. This explains why the beasts used to roam freely across the Russia-China border. However by the end of the 20th century, hunters, poachers and loggers destroying its forest habitat had practically eliminated the species in the wild. Since then, the Chinese government has launched a programme aimed at making its territory the home to the largest number of tiger cubs in the world.
Italian mayor Dario Nardella starts initiative to eliminate phobia of Chinese during
Feb 6, 2020 TRAVELSKY CO
How wildlife trade is linked to coronavirus.
Mar 6, 2020 Vox
And why the disease first appeared in China.
Sputnik Mar 6, 2020
While the coronavirus is currently on everybody’s lips, for Dr Sara Cody this is quite literally the case, as she explains that touching your face may lead to a viral infection. Thank you for letting us know, Sara – but for the future, when you ask us not to do something please make sure you lead by example.
Dutch PM marks ‘no handshake’ rule… with a handshake.
RT Mar 11, 2020
Dutch Prime Minister, Mark Rutte, concludes coronavirus conference on ‘no handshake policy’ by shaking hands with a health official
Don't want to add CNN, but China is promoting their primitive garbage that doesn't work, and is responsible for the disgusting animal markets that create viruses...They need to shut all that down!
"Chinese medicine" is garbage, they need to stop promoting it to feed their fragile ego, god damn hummans can be so dumb!...
Beijing is promoting traditional medicine as a 'Chinese solution' to coronavirus. Not everyone is on board.
By Nectar Gan and Yong Xiong, CNN Updated 0713 GMT (1513 HKT) March 16, 2020
Hong Kong (CNN)Xiong Qingzhen, a drone engineer in the central Chinese metropolis of Wuhan, spent more than two weeks in a makeshift hospital in February receiving treatment for Covid-19, the respiratory disease causing a global health crisis.
Every morning and evening, the 38-year-old was handed a bag of brown soup -- a traditional Chinese remedy blended from over 20 herbs, including ephedra, cinnamon twigs and licorice root. But unlike most patients around him, Xiong was skeptical of its efficacy and refused to drink it.
"In my opinion, it is a sheer placebo," said, Xiong, who was discharged in late February from the makeshift hospital run by TCM doctors where no Western medicine was provided, apart from medication for underlying conditions, such as high blood pressure.
The "lung-clearing and detoxing soup," as the herbal compound he was given is called, was part of the Chinese government's push to use Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) in the fight against the novel coronavirus outbreak.
As scientists race to find a cure and vaccine, China is increasingly turning to its traditional remedies. As of late last month, more than 85% of all coronavirus patients in China -- about 60,000 people -- had received herbal remedies alongside mainstream antiviral drugs, according to the Ministry of Science and Technology.
"We are willing to share the 'Chinese experience' and 'Chinese solution' of treating Covid-19, and let more countries get to know Chinese medicine, understand Chinese medicine and use Chinese medicine," Yu Yanhong, deputy head of China's National Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine, said at a press conference last week.
But even in China, where TCM has a large number of adherents, the government has been unable to quell its skeptics -- like Xiong. Abroad, the herbal remedies could face even more skepticism from Western medical experts, who have long questioned their safety and effectiveness.
Search for a cure
There is no known cure for the coronavirus which has killed more than 4,000 people, sickened over 115,000 and spread to 75 countries and regions worldwide.
Scientists are working to find ways to stamp out the deadly virus. But for now, the mainstream antiviral treatments focus on relieving the symptoms -- and that's where China believes its ancient remedies can help.
"By adjusting the whole body health and improving immunity, TCM can help stimulate the patients' abilities to resist and recover from the disease, which is an effective way of therapy," she said, adding that traditional medicine had helped fight viruses in the past, such as the SARS pandemic in 2002 and 2003 that killed hundreds in China.
So far, more than 50,000 novel coronavirus patients have been discharged from hospital, and the majority of them used TCM, Yu said, citing it as evidence for the efficacy of using Chinese and Western medicine in tandem In a clinical trial of 102 patients with mild symptoms in Wuhan, patients with combined treatments compared with the control group of patients receiving only Western medicine, Yu said. Their recovery rate was 33% higher, she added.
In another study of more serious cases, patients receiving combined treatments also left hospital sooner than the control group and had greater levels of oxygen in their blood and a higher lymphocyte count -- an important indicators of the health of recovering patients, according to Yu.
But not everyone is convinced. Xiong, the recovered patient who refused to drink the TCM soups, questioned the rigorousness and fairness of the trials.
"We must conduct double blind tests with large enough samples -- and they have to be chosen completely randomly," he said.
TCM treatments are not just being carried out in Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak.
In eastern Zhejiang province, more than 95% of coronavirus patients had been given traditional medicines as of late February, according to the state run Global Times.
In Beijing, that ratio stood at 87%. Among those who had received TCM, 92% had shown improvement, said Gao Xiaojun, a spokesperson for the Beijing Health Commission.
"Traditional Chinese medicine has played an active role in improving the recovery rate and lowering the fatality rate among patients," he told a press conference late last month.
However, Yanzhong Huang, a senior fellow for global health at the Washington-based Council on Foreign Relations, said the claimed improvement rate of 92% should be taken with a pinch of salt.
"You have to be mindful that 80% (of the coronavirus patients) are mild cases. Even if they don't do anything they might eventually recover," he said.
The front and center role TCM has taken in fighting the coronavirus outbreak dovetails with the Chinese government's recent efforts to promote TCM at home and abroad.
China's State Council estimated last year that the TCM industry could exceed 3 trillion yuan ($430 billion) by 2020 -- a 71% increase from 2017. Beijing has also sought to promote TCM alongside its "Belt and Road Initiative," a massive global infrastructure and investment program.
Ancient remedies have been repeatedly hailed as a source of national pride by Chinese President Xi Jinping, himself a well-known TCM advocate.
"Traditional medicine is a treasure of Chinese civilization embodying the wisdom of the nation and its people," Xi told a national conference on TCM in October last year.
In this outbreak, Xi has repeatedly exhorted doctors to treat patients with a mix of Chinese and Western medicines.
The Chinese leader made his first public call for the "combination of Chinese and Western medicine" in the diagnosis and treatment of Covid-19 in late January, at a meeting of the Communist Party's Politburo Standing Committee, the country's supreme ruling body.
Two days later, China's National Health Commission issued a notice asking medical institutions to "actively promote the role of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) during treatment" of coronavirus.
Last month, the commission recommended a TCM prescription in an updated version of the guideline: the "lung-cleansing and detoxifying soup" -- the remedy being handed out in the makeshift hospital Xiong was in.
The prescription is promoted by the National Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine and the National Health Commission as a suitable remedy for patients with mild to serious symptoms, and has since been widely used in Wuhan and other provinces.
Feng Yibin, acting director of the School of Chinese Medicine at the University of Hong Kong, said the prescription was based on four herbal formulas from ancient China, with one dating back as far as 1,800 years ago.
"After being first adopted in four provinces, clinical observations show that the remedy has desirable results, so it was promoted nationwide," he said.
In addition, Feng said research had shown that the 29 herbs used in the remedy will interact with ACE2 -- a receptor used by the novel coronavirus to infect host cells, and are thus an effective method to treat Covid-19.
Is it safe?
Nevertheless, public health experts say it could be a long shot for China to convince other nations -- especially Western countries -- to adopt TCM treatments to fight the coronavirus outbreak.
"I think the effort to promote TCM worldwide is likely to make way in certain regions, like Africa. But unless the development and marketing of TCM (conform) to the modern standards, like what was done to artemisinin, it is unlikely to be so well-received in the Western world," said professor Huang from the Council on Foreign Relations.
Artemisinin is a globally recognized remedy for malaria derived from sweet wormwood, a plant used in TCM. Tu Youyou, the Chinese scientist who turned to ancient Chinese medical texts to find artemisinin, was awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 2015.
The safety and effectiveness of TCM is still debated in China, where it has both adherents and skeptics. Though many of the remedies in TCM have been in use for hundreds of years, critics argue that there is no verifiable scientific evidence to support their supposed benefits.
"Almost all TCM products in China do not go through the rigorous procedures Western modern medicine typically goes through. That's partly why people don't trust TCM in the Western world," Huang said.
Skepticism over its safety and effectiveness persisted after the World Health Organization gave its first-ever endorsement of TCM in 2018 -- by including the ancient practice in its influential book classifying thousands of diseases.
Some in the biomedical community say WHO overlooked the toxicity of some herbal medicine and the lack of evidence that it works, while animal rights advocates say it will further endanger animals such as the tiger, pangolin, bear and rhino, whose organs are used in some TCM cures.
For the coronavirus, the WHO originally advised against using TCM on its website, saying those with Covid-19 should avoid "taking traditional herbal remedies."
But that line was later removed.
"On 4 March at an editorial meeting of the news and risk communications teams in Geneva, a decision was made to remove that line as it was too broad and did not take into account the fact that many people turn to traditional medicines to alleviate some of the milder symptoms of COVID-19," the WHO said in a statement published on its official account on WeChat, a popular Chinese social media site.
'A symbol of patriotism'
Earlier this month, students and teachers in Lincang city in southwestern Yunnan province were instructed to drink TCM soup as a prerequisite for returning to school. They were also told to post photos and videos as proof they were taking the medicine, which was meant to strengthen their immunity, the state run Global Times reported.
The move sparked criticism online, with many questioning why the medicine was forced upon healthy people indiscriminately.
"The problem is, a key concept in TCM is (patients should be treated) case by case. The same disease may have different symptoms on different people. It is surely problematic to force people to drink it without knowing (their conditions) first," said Feng, the Chinese medicine expert at Hong Kong University.
Following the backlash, the Lincang education authority apologized and withdrew the request, Global Times reported.
Amid the government's heavy promotion of TCM, its critics have also faced strong backlash online.
Xiong, the recovered patient who refused to take the herbal soup, said he was subjected to online abuse after publicly questioning its effectiveness on Weibo, China's Twitter-like platform. Another influential user on Weibo and prominent critic of TCM got his account deleted last week.
Xiong said the government is seizing upon rising nationalist sentiments in China to push for TCM.
"Many people are blinded by this kind of nationalism -- an extreme and narrow-minded nationalism," he said.
"So no matter what you try to tell or reason with them, they don't care about facts."
Huang said throughout modern China, there has always been an "interesting marriage between TCM and politics" in China. And under Xi's government, it is now "evolving into a symbol of patriotism."
"You won't be considered patriotic if you don't believe in traditional Chinese medicine," he said.
CNN's Katie Hunt contributed to reporting.
This is how far those brain-dead gooks will go...
Chinese physician released after 3 months in jail for criticizing a traditional medicine - Lawyers and physicians fear the case could silence scientific debate on traditional remedies.
A Chinese doctor who was arrested after he criticized a best-selling traditional Chinese remedy has been released, after more than three months in detention. Tan Qindong had been held at the Liangcheng county detention centre since January, when police said a post Tan had made on social media damaged the reputation of the traditional medicine and the company that makes it.
On 17 April, a provincial court found the police evidence for the case insufficient. Tan, a former anaesthesiologist who has founded several biomedical companies, was released on bail on that day. Tan, who lives in Guangzhou in southern China, is now awaiting trial. Lawyers familiar with Chinese criminal law told Nature that police have a year to collect more evidence or the case will be dismissed. They say the trial is unlikely to go ahead.
The episode highlights the sensitivities over traditional Chinese medicines (TCMs) in China. Although most of these therapies have not been tested for efficacy in randomized clinical trials — and serious side effects have been reported in some1 — TCM has support from the highest levels of government. Criticism of remedies is often blocked on the Internet in China. Some lawyers and physicians worry that Tan’s arrest will make people even more hesitant to criticize traditional therapies.
Tan’s post about a medicine called Hongmao liquor was published on the Chinese social-media app Meipian on 19 December. It has since been removed, but according to the police report it alleged that Hongmao liquor, which purports to treat dozens of conditions, is a “poison”. The post also contained health advice for ageing patients.
Three days later, the liquor’s maker, Hongmao Pharmaceuticals in Liangcheng county of Inner Mongolia autonomous region, told local police that Tan had defamed the company. Liangcheng police hired an accountant who estimated that the damage to the company’s reputation was 1.4 million Chinese yuan (US$220,000), according to official state media, the Beijing Youth Daily.
In January, Liangcheng police travelled to Guangzhou to arrest Tan and escort him back to Liangcheng, according to a police statement.
Xia Nan, a criminal lawyer at Beijing Huayi law firm, says that the statute under which the police arrested Tan, Criminal Law Article 221, calls for punishment of those who spread “falsified information”. “Tan is a specialist with a doctor’s credentials, who commented from a scientific perspective,” says Xia. “His comments clearly were not illegal.” The Liangcheng police department did not pick up the phone when Nature called.
Upon his release, Tan told an online Chinese news outlet The Paper that he did not deserve to be arrested. Tan said he considers his stint in detention a form of “life training” and does “not regret writing the post, which is something I am supposed to do as a doctor”. Nature's attempts to contact Tan were unsuccessful.
Sales of Hongmao liquor reached 1.63 billion yuan in 2016, making it the second best-selling TCM in China that year. It was approved to be sold by licensed TCM shops and physicians in 1992 and approved for sale over the counter in 2003. Hongmao Pharmaceuticals says that the liquor can treat dozens of different disorders, including problems with the spleen, stomach and kidney, as well as backaches.
But Tan’s arrest has also drawn significant media attention on the company. More than two dozen provincial or city health authorities have reprimanded Hongmao Pharmaceuticals over the past decade for misleading advertisements about the therapy's health benefits. This led to temporary suspension of sales in several cities until the advertisements were removed.
On 16 April, China’s drug regulator issued a statement calling on the company to explain punishments it has received for false advertisements in the past five years, to report all adverse effects recorded in that period and to provide further explanation of the liquor’s safety and efficacy to address public concerns.
The drug regulator also requested that the Inner Mongolian drug agency, which is tasked with enforcing the regulator's rules, take a closer look at Hongmao Pharmaceuticals to ensure its products are safe. The agency has threatened to revoke the company's license to make drugs if the company is found to have violated any regulations.
Hongmao Pharmaceuticals did not respond to Nature’s request for an interview. However, Wang Shengwang, general manager of the production center of Hongmao Liquor, and Han Jun, assistant to the general manager, gave an interview to The Paper on 16 April. The pair said the company did not need not publicize clinical trial data because Hongmao liquor is a “protected TCM composition”. Wang denied allegations in Chinese media that the company pressured the police to pursue Tan or that it dispatched staff to accompany the police.
Han said that only 137 cases of people experiencing adverse side effects from the liquor have been reported in the past 13 years, and most of those were mild. Wang also said that local distributors of Hongmao liquor — not the company — were responsible for many of the advertisements that led to temporary suspensions of liquor sales.
Li Qingchen, a paediatric surgeon at the Harbin Children’s Hospital and a prominent critic of TCMs, says that the Tan case might make Chinese people more sceptical about the safety and effectiveness of Chinese medicine. “But most will probably think this is just a problem with Hongmao liquor, and still think Chinese medicine is reliable,” he says.
Xia is worried that the case could further silence public criticism of TCMs, environmental degredation, and other fields where comment from experts is crucial. The Tan arrest “could cause fear among scientists” and dissuade them from posting scientific comments, he says.
Hannity: Once we beat back coronavirus, China must be held accountable.
Mar 18, 2020 Fox News
China's massive cover-up in the critical early stages of the coronavirus outbreak is unforgivable.
Russophobic obsession more important than coronavirus: Kremlin slams ‘unfounded’ EU report on Russian pandemic disinformation.
RT.com 18 Mar, 2020 12:41
An EU report which accuses Russia of waging a disinformation campaign around Covid-19 isn’t backed by a single fact and has nothing to do with common sense. That's according to Vladimir Putin’s spokesman.
Earlier, the Financial Times claimed that it obtained findings by the European External Action Service (EEAS), which insist that the “Russian pro-Kremlin media” is running a “significant disinformation campaign” to stoke “confusion, panic and fear” in the EU and the US to “aggravate the coronavirus pandemic crisis.”
“I can’t comment on this from the point of view of common sense,” Dmitry Peskov said when asked by journalists about the controversial paper.
“One might expect that this Russophobic obsession would decline in the current situation, but as we see it’s not happening.”
The EEAS’ report didn’t even include a single example or a reference to a specific media outlet, so all the accusations are “unfounded,” Peskov concluded.
Russia ... again! EU accuses Moscow of COVID19 disinformation
RT Mar 19, 2020
To date, Russia has registered 148 coronavirus patients, with the majority in Moscow, as well as the first death – an elderly woman with pre-existing medical conditions.
At the same time, coronavirus-hit Europe managed to shovel some of the blame onto Russia. The EU alleges there has been a Russian government-backed disinformation campaign, based on… 80 internet memes.
Russia testing MULTIPLE prototype Covid-19 vaccines.
RT.com 20 Mar, 2020 01:41
Russia’s research center of virology and biotechnology, known as the Vector Institute, is testing multiple different vaccine prototypes against Covid-19 in a race to find a cure for the virus behind a global pandemic.
This week, it “began immunogenicity studies in sensitive laboratory animals... of all developed vaccine prototypes,” said consumer watchdog agency Rospotrebnadzor in a statement on Friday.
“The composition, dose, route of administration of the future vaccine will be determined [through the tests]. Scientists expect that the introduction of the vaccine will be possible in the fourth quarter of 2020.”
The Russian Health Ministry's Research Institute of Influenza previously said a prototype vaccine could take between four and six months to develop, with a three-year timetable for the final product, but researchers at the institute suggest it could come much sooner.
The World Health Organization – which declared Covid-19 a pandemic last week – has estimated a 12 to 18 months timeframe to roll out a vaccine, with early trials starting within four months.
As of Friday, Russia has confirmed 199 cases of the coronavirus, with the total jumping by some 35 percent on the previous day. The country’s first death linked to the virus was announced on Thursday, but an autopsy later revealed that a 79-year-old woman with pre-existing health conditions had actually died of a blood clot.
Worldwide, Covid-19 is on track to hit 250,000 cases this week, killing over 9,800 people in scores of nations since the outbreak began in the Chinese city of Wuhan last December. While there is no vaccine and few effective treatments to date, more than 85,000 patients have recovered from the illness, many of them in China.
Russian military planes carrying medics and equipment fly to devastated Italy to help combat Covid-19 pandemic (VIDEO)
RT.com 22 Mar, 2020 14:32
Seven of the nine military transport planes prepared by Russia to deliver help to Italy in its desperate fight against the Covid-19 infection have departed an air base near Moscow.
The Ilyushin Il-76 planes are heading to the Pratica di Mare Air Base of the Italian Air Forces near Rome, the Russian Defense Ministry reported. The planes are carrying Russian military medics and specialists in infectious diseases, as well as equipment necessary for diagnostics and disinfection of the deadly coronavirus.
Earlier, the ministry prepared nine transport planes on the Chkalovskiy base near Moscow, flying some of them overnight from other parts of Russia, to airlift emergency aid to the coronavirus-stricken nation. The deployment was ordered by President Vladimir Putin after a phone call with Italy's Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte on Saturday.
Italy has officially surpassed China as the nation hit worst by the Covid-19 pandemic as the death toll there reached 4,825 on Sunday. Worldwide, the virus has claimed over 13,000 lives.
Holiday week, financial support for Covid-19 victims & taxes for rich: Putin lays out emergency virus plan.
RT.com 25 Mar, 2020 16:07
Russians will get a week of paid leave, with a boost to benefits for those most in need, while the wealthiest will have to pay more taxes. All among the measures announced by Vladimir Putin to deal with the effects of coronavirus.
Speaking during a televised address on Wednesday, the Russian President outlined a number of policies designed to support the Russian people and the national economy amid the increasingly serious threat posed by the pandemic.. He said there was no feasible way to keep the virus out, but that an efficient, coordinated effort to preempt and mitigate the damage will help protect people from the worst outcomes.
One of the immediate decisions taken by the government was to declare next week a long national holiday in Russia. Salaries for the days off will still be paid, Putin said. This is expected to help slow the spread of the coronavirus.
The president warned against underestimating the threat posed by the virus and said everyone should act responsibly.
“Please, don’t think like people often do: ‘This cannot touch me.’ It may touch anyone.”
Constitution vote postponed
Russia will also postpone the national vote on constitutional amendments, which was planned for April 22. The amendments package was tabled by Russia’s president back in January and given the green light by legislators earlier this month.
The proposed changes include the transfer of some presidential powers to Russia’s legislature, as well as the creation of a new governing body – the State Council. The package also ‘resets’ the term count for the sitting president and, if adopted, will allow Putin to run for office again, if he so desires.
Benefits & frozen credits
A big chunk of the measures announced by Putin deal with various benefits. The usual means tests for eligibility will be suspended for six months, while some of the payments – like paid sick leave and unemployment payments – will be given a boost.
Russians who suffer a sharp drop income for whatever reason will be able to ask for a suspension of payments on any credits they owe. Similar support will be given to small businesses, which will also get tax breaks and protection from bankruptcy to help keep them afloat during the economic slowdown.
Taxing the rich
Wealthier individuals and big companies are expected to cover some of the cost of the emergency measures, according to Putin’s plan. Russians who have money in bank accounts and have invested in equities over a certain threshold will have to pay income taxes on their revenues – this previously came under an exemption.
The tax on corporate dividends paid to foreign jurisdictions will get a hike from two percent to 13 percent. Putin said most of this money goes directly to individual business owners, who avoid paying due taxes in Russia this way.
“It will require changing our agreements with certain nations on avoiding double taxation,” Putin said. “If our foreign partners do not accept our suggestion, Russia will withdraw from such agreements unilaterally.”
Brace for impact
Russia has so far largely been spared by the Covid-19 pandemic. It currently has 658 cases of the coronavirus, and the country was quick to implement certain crucial measures – like restricting international travel – to keep the disease in check.
However, the number of infected people has jumped by 163 in 24 hours, fueling concerns that an explosion in positive tests may lie ahead.
Analysts note that the national economy is also beginning to experience the effects of the global economic slowdown. As Russian officials have pointed out, the country came to the crisis better prepared than many thanks to its large reserves and macroeconomic stability – but concerns remain that Russia still must brace itself to navigate through the storm.
Russian military medical convoy makes 600km march to the heart of Italy's Covid-19 outbreak (PHOTO, VIDEO)
RT.com 26 Mar, 2020 12:57
Russian military medics have made a lengthy journey from Rome to Bergamo where they're going to be helping Italy in its fight against the coronavirus.
Some 22 trucks, loaded with equipment and one hundred Russian military disease specialists were flown to Italy over the weekend as the country remains the worst-hit among European nations.
The khaki-colored trucks, with stickers, reading “From Russia with love,” have covered some 600 kilometers from the capital to the city of Bergamo in the northern province of Lombardy in the very epicenter of the epidemic.
The convoy was escorted by police and carried mobile laboratories, disinfection equipment, coronavirus test kits and other tools to fight the disease. The hardware is capable of decontaminating up to 20,000 square meters or 360 vehicles.
Decontamination will be the main task for the Russian servicemen in Bergamo as the whole city needs to be cleansed from the infection, the military said.
Driving his Kamaz-truck along European roads was “an unusual feeling,” one of the drivers told Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper. He reported a smooth journey, with the convoy only making a scheduled stop for refueling in Florence.
The roads were empty because of the quarantine, but “the few cars that we've met greeted and sounded their honks,” he added. Some of the Italian drivers filmed the Russian trucks.
There have been 7,503 deaths from the coronavirus in Italy so far, with the number of those infected exceeding 74,000.
Russia confirms 182 new Covid-19 cases, bringing total to 840.
RT.com 26 Mar, 2020 09:01
For the second day in a row, Russia has announced a sharp rise in coronavirus infections. On Thursday, officials reported 182 new cases, over the preceding 24 hours, bringing the total to 840, 136 of them in Moscow.
The update came as Moscow shut down international flights to stop the spread of the virus, and a day after President Vladimir Putin used a televised address to urge people to stay at home.
The suspension of aviation affects all regular and charter international routes and starts on Friday. Only journeys to repatriate Russian citizens from abroad will be allowed.
Non-essential businesses in the Russian capital, including restaurants and cafes, will be closed from the weekend. The measure is expected to last until April 5. Authorities had already banned public gatherings of more than 50 people, closed cinemas, fitness clubs, and other establishments.
In the capital, elderly people – believed to be the most at-risk of becoming seriously ill from Covid-19 – have been urged to remain in their homes.
Cases worldwide have surpassed 470,000, with more than 21,300 deaths.
Number of COVID-19 Cases in Bulgaria Reaches 264
BTA 26 March 2020 / 17:47
Sofia, March 26 (BTA) - The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Bulgaria has reached 264, with eight recoveries, national coronavirus task force chief Maj. Gen. Ventsislav Moutafchiiski said, speaking at a regular afternoon briefing on Thursday. Since the last briefing on Thursday morning, there have been 21 new confirmed cases, two of which are the first for the towns of Kurdzhali (Southern Bulgaria) and Haskovo (Southeastern Bulgaria).
Earlier in the day, Moutafchiiski said that there are coronavirus patients in 18 out of Bulgaria's 28 regions.
Moutafchiiski told the press that the peak of the epidemic in Bulgaria could be with lower than initially expected and within the capabilities of the healthcare system to cope with it. "If we leave things without control, we will need 500,000 ventilators which cannot be sourced in the whole of Europe," he said.
US overtakes China as country with highest number of confirmed Covid-19 cases – Johns Hopkins University.
RT.com 26 Mar, 2020 21:41
The US has topped the list of nations with the most coronavirus cases, as the number of those infected within the country crept past 85,000 cases, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
The grim milestone was achieved on Thursday, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University, which puts the US at 85,840 cases of the virus, surpassing Italy at 80,589 and China at 81,782.
With 150 new fatalities reported so far on Thursday alone, Covid-19 has killed a total of 1,177 Americans to date. Thursday also saw cases worldwide soar beyond half a million, with more than 525,000 infections reported around the globe.
US President Donald Trump, when asked about the new tally, said the uptick in cases was “a tribute to our testing,” suggesting ramped-up screenings for the virus throughout the country had driven the surge in newly confirmed infections. The president also sounded skepticism over figures provided by China, where the outbreak originated, stating “I’m sure you’re not able to tell what China’s testing and not testing.”
Though China led the world in infections from December, when the outbreak erupted in the city of Wuhan, till now, the sweeping quarantine measures appeared to pay off and daily tallies fell.
As restrictions grow tighter across American communities, China has gradually lifted its own, allowing 60 million residents in Hubei province – Covid-19’s first epicenter – to return to work and businesses to reopen this week. An influx of coronavirus cases imported from abroad, however, prompted authorities to temporarily close China’s borders to foreigners on Thursday, also limiting all airlines to a single weekly flight in and out of the country starting this weekend.
Italy has since become the top Covid-19 hot spot, facing one of the world’s highest fatality rates and a wave of patients that overwhelmed the country’s healthcare system. With a population around five times greater than Italy’s, however, the US has rapidly overcome the Mediterranean nation, with major clusters spreading across dozens of states.
Widespread lockdowns and stay-at-home orders have ground large sectors of the US economy to a halt, driving more than 3 million Americans to apply for unemployment benefits, smashing previous records – including at the height of the 2008 financial meltdown. A $2 trillion stimulus package passed by the Senate on Wednesday night looks to alleviate some of the pressure, sending $1,200 checks to anyone earning less than $75,000 annually, providing billions in loan guarantees to small businesses and setting aside funds for expanded testing for the virus, among other measures.
Sixth Covid-19-related death in Slovenia confirmed.
STA, 26 March 2020 - An resident of the Metlika nursing home died last night of complications caused by the new coronavirus, bringing the total number of Covid-19-related deaths in Slovenia to six. The person had several underlying conditions, the head of UKC Ljubljana's infectious disease clinic Tatjana Lejko Zupanc announced on Thursday.
There are currently 41 persons at the infectious disease clinic treated for Covid-19, of which 11 are in intensive care. One of the patients from the intensive therapy unit no longer needs artificial ventilation, UKC Ljubljana said on Twitter.
"This is exceptionally good news, which we had awaited eagerly," said Lejko Zupanc, adding that additional beds were being prepared at the orthopaedic clinic. A total of 20 beds have been prepared, and the capacity will be further expanded, if necessary.
She said that it was hard to predict how things would develop and that more would be known next week. "The next week will be critical, and then it will be easier to assess the situation," but "the end will not come over night."
Lejko Zupanc noted that all patients undergoing intensive therapy needed several weeks to be unplugged from artificial ventilation. Patients in other wards also need oxygen and hospitalisation takes a long time, which is why the number of patients in increasing.
She added that doctors at UKC Ljubljana spent a lot of time on duty and that they were under immense stress, but that they remained very optimistic for now.
The UKC Maribor hospital reported that 19 patients were being treated there, including four persons in intensive care, who are connected to ventilators. Two patients are also in intensive care in the Golnik Clinic for Respiratory and Allergic Diseases.
Nine Covid-19 patients are currently hospitalised in Celje, with one in intensive care, the Celje general hospital said on Twitter.
A total of 36 new Covid-19 cases were confirmed on Wednesday, bringing the total number to 562. A total of 17,294 tests have been conducted so far.
Slovakia's New Government to Sharply Ramp up Coronavirus Testing.
March 26, 2020, at 10:05 a.m.
BRATISLAVA (REUTERS) - Slovakia aims to sharply increase daily coronavirus testing in the next few weeks by bringing bringing in laboratories as the new government seeks to put a clamp on the coronavirus outbreak.
Prime Minister Igor Matovic, whose team took office this past weekend, said the government would seek in coming days to double testing capacity to as many as 4,000 daily tests.
Since the first coronavirus infections surfaced in the central European state of 5.5 million people earlier this month, only around 300 people have been tested daily, he said, and "that is well below our needs" to help detect and isolate cases.
Slovakia has reported 226 positive cases out of a total of 4,751 tests so far. The first two patients recovered this week. Neighbouring Czech Republic, with 10.7 million people, has tested 26,698 and reported 1,775 cases as of Thursday.
There have been far fewer diagnoses of coronavirus in central Europe so far than in bigger western neighbours like Germany. But the region's economies have been hard hit due to shutdowns of borders, most shops and restaurants, and an increasing number of business idling or limiting factory output.
Slovakia's parliament approved legislation on Wednesday allowing public health authorities to use data from telecommunications operators to ensure people quarantined due to coronavirus exposure remain isolated.
(Reporting by Tomas Mrva; Writing by Jason Hovet; Editing by Mark Heinrich)
Last Edit: Mar 28, 2020 9:11:55 GMT -5 by TsarSamuil
Cat contracts coronavirus FROM sick owner in new case of human-to-animal transition.
RT.com 27 Mar, 2020 13:13
As scientists around the world battle for a cure or vaccine to Covid-19, a new case of human-to-animal transmission has arisen in Belgium, where health experts say a cat contracted the disease from its coronavirus-stricken owner.
Just one week after the pet owner in Liege, Belgium was diagnosed with Covid-19, their cat also started showing symptoms of the disease, including respiratory problems and diarrhea.
As panic over the outbreak keeps gaining ground, spokesman for Belgium's coronavirus crisis center, Emmanuel Andre, tried to reassure the public that the infected animal was an “isolated case.”
“There is no reason to think that animals are vectors of the epidemic,” he told local media, and the risk of people becoming sick from their pet remains extremely low. Andre added that the cat contracted the disease due to “close contact between the animal and the master.”
There has only been one other known case to date involving a pet becoming infected with Covid-19 by its owner. In early March, a dog in Hong Kong was placed in quarantine after it tested “weakly positive” for the virus.
As for the human toll of the coronavirus in Belgium, 289 people have died, with 1,049 new cases confirmed in the last 24 hours bringing the total cases there since the pandemic began to 7,284.
Belgian academic slams German media over coverage of Polish response to coronavirus: report.
theNews.pl 27.03.2020 14:30
David Engels, a Belgian historian, philosopher and academic with ties to Poland, has argued that various German news organisations have criticised the way Poland has been dealing with the crisis even though Germany appears to be harder hit by the COVID-19 outbreak than Poland, the tysol.pl website reported.
It cited Engels as arguing that influential German publications, such as the weekly Der Spiegel and Süddeutsche Zeitung daily, have unfairly suggested that Poland’s "right-wing populist" government is making nothing but mistakes amid the crisis.
The Polish website quoted Engels as asserting that “leading German media outlets, who like to invoke European solidarity, tolerance and multiculturalism so much,” should desist from using a “patronising tone” toward their eastern neighbour.
Such criticism is especially out of place in a situation where Germany is reporting more coronavirus cases and deaths than Poland, Engels argued, according to tysol.pl.
A total of 1,244 people have tested positive for the Covid-19 disease in Poland, with 16 deaths from the coronavirus so far, officials said on Friday morning.
Meanwhile, in Germany, more than 43,000 coronavirus cases have been confirmed, with the death toll at 264 as of Friday morning, public broadcaster Polish Radio’s IAR news agency reported.
Tysol.pl said Engels was a historian of antiquity, philosopher and “researcher of Europe’s identity crisis."
The website added that the Belgian professor was a lecturer at the Institute for Western Affairs in the western Polish city of Poznań.
Coronavirus cases in N. Macedonia increase to 219
SKOPJE (North Macedonia), March 27 (SeeNews) - The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in North Macedonia has reached 219, health minister Venko Filipce said on Friday.
Over the past 24 hours, the country has registered 18 new coronavirus cases, Filipce said in a Twitter post.
The country has so far confirmed three deaths from the disease. Three patients have so far recovered.
Last week, North Macedonia's president Stevo Pendarovski declared a 30-day nationwide state of emergency over the coronavirus outbreak.
The country also imposed a curfew in an effort to limit the spread of the disease. The movement of all citizens is restricted across the country from 9 pm to 5 am.
In addition, people under 18 are not allowed to leave their homes from 9pm until noontime the following day, while people over 67 years of age are restricted from leaving their homes between 11 pm and 5 am the next day.
North Macedonia's government decided on Wednesday to implement a 13-hour curfew on weekends, from 4 pm to 5 am.
And what is Sweden doing? Nothing.
Not a god damn thing!
They are not having tests, the government plan is that it has no plan! It simply hopes, alone in Europe, that the virus will just blow over, be kind..I don't even...Every time something bad happens, Sweden develops another retarded self-defeating syndrome..
Coronavirus: Man jailed three years in Serbia for not staying home.
Friday, 27 March 2020, 14:31
A Serbian court has sentenced a man to three years in jail for flouting self-isolation orders.
The state Serbian TV says the first such sentence in the Balkan country was handed out during a video linked court session in an eastern Serbian town.
The TV says there are 112 people in detention in Serbia for ignoring the orders to stay at home and are awaiting trials. Some 50,000 people are under lockdown, most of them Serbs who have returned to the country from abroad after the March 15 introduction of the nationwide state of emergency.
Serbia, which has recorded 435 coronavirus cases and seven deaths, has introduced some of the most restrictive measures in Europe. They include a 12-hour police enforced curfew and a 24-hour ban for leaving their homes for those older than 65.
Nothing to post about Belarus, they consider themselves isolated enough to ride out the storm..at least they have some logic behind their lack of actions, in contrast to Swe..
WATCH thousands of Ukrainians swarm border to get back home ahead of coronavirus lockdown.
RT.com 27 Mar, 2020 21:35
With Ukraine’s borders scheduled to slam shut to cope with the Covid-19 contagion, thousands of Ukrainians who had been working in Europe risked infection by crowding at crossings to get back into the country.
Endless lines of mostly men, many wearing face masks but some without, waited for hours at border crossings between Ukraine and Poland on Friday, hours before the lockdown was to take effect. RT’s news agency Ruptly captured some of the footage in Lublin Voivodeship, on the Polish side of the crossing in Dorohusk.
Similar scenes unfolded at other border crossings, with photos widely shared on social media showing tightly packed crowds – the exact opposite of “social distancing” advised across the world as the best way to slow the spread of the potentially deadly virus.
Reports from Korczowa, in the Subcarpathian Voivodeship, were just as dire. As of 2pm local time on Friday, about 3,500 people had queued up at the crossing on foot. It was estimated that processing them all would take up to 15 hours, clearly implying that some might be stranded there. With the Ukrainian embassy’s website down, it appeared that there was no solution to their plight, Gazeta Wyborcza reported.
However, Ukrainian officials reportedly told their Polish counterparts they would admit their citizens even after the border officially closes, regional spokeswoman Małgorzata Waksmundzka-Szarek is quoted by the newspaper as saying.
One European country after another slammed their borders shut as the coronavirus continued to spread. As of Friday, Ukraine had 226 officially confirmed cases, while Poland had over 1,389 – but the authorities have been operating on the assumption that the actual number of people infected must be much higher.
Announcing the border closure, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky thanked those citizens who heeded his call to return two weeks ago, and some 80,000 people who were evacuated by the government by airplane, train and bus.
“But today we have no time to wait,” Zelensky added, saying that Ukraine was “facing a difficult choice between citizens who are still abroad and the safety of the 40 million citizens in the country.”
Millions of Ukrainians emigrated to Poland and further west for work after the 2014 coup in Kiev touched off an economic collapse and civil war in the country’s east. Zelensky was elected in a landslide last April on a promise to end the conflict, but has not been able to overcome extreme nationalist forces to do so.
Russian military support ‘much needed’ in Italy's 'critical' battle against Covid-19 – Lombardy VP.
RT.com 28 Mar, 2020 06:33
Russian help is “very much needed” in Italy’s ongoing battle against the Covid-19 virus, the VP of the Lombardy region Fabrizio Sala has said, as the country recorded its worst yet single-day spike in fatalities.
Sala said on Friday that the presence of Russia’s military in Italy proves that the pandemic has become “a problem for the whole world” and that its scale indicates that countries “need to combine our efforts” and work “side-by-side” to beat it, according to a statement released by Russia’s Defense Ministry.
A contingent of 100 Russian military personnel arrived in Italy at the weekend after Rome requested Moscow’s help in battling the outbreak. The Russian servicemen face a tough job as they assist Italy’s nuclear, biological and chemical (NBC) defense forces in Bergamo, the epicenter of the country’s Covid-19 outbreak.
“A lot” needs to be done to get the outbreak under control, Italy’s NBC defense forces chief Dario de Masi said at a joint press conference in Lombardy, adding that the “situation is really critical.”
Masi said the cooperation with the Russian medics will be “mutually beneficial” and that “we’ll be able to help our country and learn from each other’s experience.” On Friday, the visiting medics carried out reconnaissance at health facilities in Bergamo and compiled a list of urgent measures to help contain the spread.
The Russian servicemen will first be providing assistance to 65 of Bergamo’s homes for the elderly, which are suffering from a lack of qualified personnel, according to the deputy head of Russia’s own NBC defense forces, Sergey Kikot.
When a Russian field hospital is established in the city, the medics will then move their operations there, Kikot said.
So far, eight Russian medical brigades have arrived in Italy, each consisting of a therapist, an anesthetist-resuscitator, an epidemiologist and a nurse as well as a military unit, equipped with high-performance disinfecting tools. The Russian military also brought in a mobile laboratory, which allows for swift diagnosis of the Covid-19 virus and other diseases.
Kikot also debunked some fake news which had circulated in Italian media suggesting that many of the Russian personnel in Italy were ill with “severe” cases of coronavirus. That is “not true” and the personnel are “healthy” and “ready to perform their tasks,” he said.
Russian Consul General to Milan Alexander Nurizade, who was also at the press conference, said that throughout history it has “always been” that Russia would come to Italy’s aid in a crisis.
“When trouble came to one house – a house in Italy or a house in Russia – friends always came to the rescue.”
Nurizade recalled the 1908 Messina earthquake when Russian sailors came to the aid of the city’s inhabitants. Likewise, Russia was there in 2009 after the devastating L’Aquila earthquake to help with rescue and restoration work, he said, adding that now “only by common efforts” can the Covid-19 battle be won.
LATEST: Croatia now at 635 coronavirus cases in total, four deaths.
by croatiaweek March 28, 2020 inNews
ZAGREB, March 28 (Hina) – Forty-nine new coronavirus cases have been confirmed in Croatia, which puts the total number of cases at 635, and four people have died, the national civil protection authority said on Saturday morning.
“If we compare this figure to yesterday’s increase, we see that it is lower. Most new cases come from a microlocation where we have introduced special epidemiological measures, which is why we expect that the rate at which the disease is spreading there will decline,” Health Minister Vili Beros said at a news conference.
A total of 4,938 samples have been tested. Four people have died, the fourth victim being a 92-year-old woman from Pula. Nineteen patients are on respirators and 45 people have recovered.
“The epidemiological situation in Croatia is still satisfactory and encouraging. Optimism, solidarity and faith are necessary in overcoming this global threat,” Beros said, thanking everyone actively involved in those efforts.
Minister of the Interior Davor Bozinovic, who heads the national civil protection authority, said that the authority was currently not planning the introduction of new measures.
“We have been analysing the situation carefully. The measures we have introduced are rather strict and they are yielding certain results, their success depends on how they are implemented. That is the duty of all citizens, the more we comply with them, the easier it will be for us to deal with this situation. This is a fight for all of us,” said Bozinovic.
Asked if reports about the outbreak of COVID-19 in the Split prison of Bilice had been confirmed, Bozinovic said that epidemiological measures in prisons were implemented strictly.
“Some people were in self-isolation, there was one suspect case but it turned out negative. There is no information in the system about anyone having tested positive for the coronavirus,” said Bozinovic.
The Czech Republic had 2,422 confirmed coronavirus infection cases this morning, their number rose by 373 on Friday,
ČTK March 28, 2020 9:18 am
Prague, March 28 (CTK) – The Czech Republic had 2,422 confirmed coronavirus infection cases this morning, their number rose by 373 on Friday, which is the so far highest daily increase, according to the data from the Health Ministry’s website.
The number of tests for the novel coronavirus has been rising, too. On Friday, healthcare staff carried out 5,247 tests, that is some 800 more than a day before. A total of 36,374 coronavirus tests have been made in the Czech Republic so far.
The number of the recovered from the COVID-19 disease increased by one to 11 on Friday. This was a patient treated with COVID-19 at the Central Military Hospital in Prague. The number of the COVID-19 fatalities has remained the same, nine, since Thursday.
The Czech Republic reported the first three COVID-19 patients on March 1.
The previous highest daily rise in the number of the new coronavirus cases was on Wednesday (291). On Thursday it dropped to 259.
In the world, the highest number of the confirmed novel coronavirus infection cases is recorded in thee United States. According to the data of the Johns Hopkins University, monitoring the pandemic developments, their number is approaching 105,000 in the USA. It is followed by Italy with almost 86,500 COVID-19 patients and China with some 82,000.
Daily numbers of tested samples and rise in number of people tested positive for coronavirus in Czechia in past week:
Date: Daily number of performed tests (Daily number of confirmed cases)
March 21: 1,880 (158) March 22: 1,793 (114) March 23: 2,247 (126) March 24: 2,976 (185) March 25: 4,098 (291) March 26: 4,429 (259) March 27: 5,247 (373)
Source: Health Ministry
COVID-19 | Russia steps up its fight against coronavirus.
RT Mar 28, 2020
Restaurants, cafes, and shops are suspending their work to help contain the spread of the virus, only supermarkets and pharmacies will remain open.
Earlier, president Putin announced a 'week-long paid holiday' for non-essential workers.
Last Edit: Mar 28, 2020 9:14:46 GMT -5 by TsarSamuil
Post by TsarSamuil on Apr 23, 2020 15:27:28 GMT -5
It's like it's the flu for them, people keep doing what they are doing n hope it magically goes away..there's no testing, no restrictions, you don't get help unless ur really old, it's not treated like it's a priority..Government is useless and the PM is some incompetent welder that somehow got into office...probably because he's just a stupid puppet of the party..
Worst hit areas are those with lots of muslim immigrants, arabs don't understand social distancing and they reject society so they are the most oblivious, they go around coughing on elderly Swedish people for fun...
German FM threatens Hungary with 'financial consequences’ after PM Orban gains emergency powers to fight coronavirus.
RT.com 3 Apr, 2020 17:45
Germany’s foreign minister has said that Hungary’s PM Viktor Orban may literally pay for what his opponents called “a power grab.” Orban, well used to criticism from Brussels, has brushed off the anger.
Viktor Orban secured the power to rule by decree on Monday in a bid to stem the outbreak of the deadly Covid-19 pandemic. The Hungarian leader – whose party holds a two-thirds majority in parliament – was cleared to rule without constraint until parliament withdraws his right to do so.
Branding the move “unacceptable,” German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas took a jab at Orban, saying his powers may come with a heavy cost.
“It should also have financial implications,” Maas told reporters on Friday, adding that “this is the only way we can ensure that fundamental rights are upheld.”
While several other European countries have restricted civil liberties in the name of combatting the virus, Hungary is the only nation thus far to grant its leader an open-ended remit to rule by decree. France has enacted an unprecedented restriction of movement, while Britain has granted healthcare workers new powers to detain “potentially infectious persons” indefinitely.
Orban’s measures triggered a stern response from Brussels, though. 13 political parties in the European People’s Party have called for his Fidesz party to be expelled from the bloc, and urged the European Commission to “address the situation in Hungary forcefully.” Meanwhile, Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has said that the Hungarian populist went “too far” with his coronavirus powers.
Orban is well used to criticism. Fidesz has already been suspended from the EPP for its anti-immigration policies and for Orban’s verbal attacks on the institutions of the EU. In addition, the Hungarian leader has been castigated by the liberal press and left-wing think-tanks for years, mostly due to his uncompromising stance on migration and vocal opposition to liberal financier George Soros.
“With all due respect I have no time for this,” he fumed in a letter to EPP Secretary General Antonio Lopez-Isturiz White sent on Friday.
"I can hardly imagine any of us having time for fantasies about the intentions of other countries. This seems to me to be a costly luxury these days," he wrote.
“I am ready to discuss this once the pandemic is over," he added.
Last Edit: May 9, 2020 12:42:33 GMT -5 by TsarSamuil
These US intel reports ACCURATELY PREDICTED pandemic years ago. Why was NOTHING done?
By Danielle Ryan, RT.com 14 Apr, 2020 06:59
A “highly transmissible” and “virulent respiratory illness” for which there is no cure may incite a global pandemic. That was the assessment of a 2008 US intelligence report. The prediction was accurate — but no one was prepared. The 2008 report by the US National Intelligence Council (NIC) warned that this new disease could be “extremely contagious” and that there would be “no adequate treatment” available at the time of its spread, leading to worldwide pandemic. It suggested that highly pathogenic strains of bird flu like H5NI were “likely candidates,” but a “coronavirus or other influenza strains” could have the same potential.
It said this outbreak would begin in an area of high population density and where humans and animals often live in close quarters, giving China as a specific example. The Covid-19 virus is said to have originated at a wet market in Wuhan, where live and dead animals are sold and where hygiene standards are poor.
When the virus began to spread, a "slow public health response" would hinder the realization that a highly dangerous pathogen was spreading. "Weeks might pass" before laboratory results could confirm its existence, and by then clusters would be appearing in the population. Asymptomatic travelers could then carry the disease to other continents resulting in “waves” of new cases internationally. In the most extreme scenario "tens to hundreds of millions" of Americans could become ill.
A pandemic was also cited in a separate 2004 NIC report as something that could "derail globalization," noting that experts believe such an event is "only a matter of time."
While these predictions might sound spookily psychic to the layperson, they were merely common sense to virologists and other experts who have been warning about the inevitability of a new pandemic (and the world’s lack of preparedness) for years.
In 2005, infectious disease expert Michael Osterholm wrote that "time is running out" to prepare for the next pandemic and that it was time to act. In his 2017 book 'Deadliest Enemy: Our War Against Killer Germs,' he attempted to sound the alarm on emerging threats and he laid out a nine-point strategy to protect populations.
Similarly, influenza expert Robert Webster warned in his 2018 book Flu Hunter of the "enormous social disruption and substantial economic cost" that could result from another worldwide pandemic.
Experts closer to the halls of power have been raising the alarm, too.
Dennis Carroll headed a USAID program called PREDICT, which led research into viruses in animals that could be transmitted to people. He championed the cause of investing in research into wildlife, not just livestock — and as we know now, the novel coronavirus is believed to have passed from bats to humans. PREDICT lost its funding in 2019. Now, the Trump administration is trying to revive the program.
It’s not only US government agencies that have been forewarning about a new viral outbreak, either.
A 2012 German government risk analysis also highlighted the threat. In its pandemic simulation, the new virus would spread rapidly to overwhelm health systems and intensive care units. As a result, it said many patients would be cared for in emergency hospitals — exactly the scenario we are seeing play out today. Like the US report, it too predicted the virus would begin in Asia — and even that it would be transmitted from wild animals to humans.
The report predicted that the spread of the virus would be slowed by “anti-epidemic measures” including quarantining, contact-tracing and self-isolation — in addition to school closures and bans on large gatherings. Most of the population, it said, would behave “largely in solidarity” but anti-social behavior could not be “ruled out.” It did not give concrete estimates on economic impact, but said it would be “immense.”
The German government report also suggested the virus would spread through the country over a three-year period before a vaccine became available. It assumed 7.5 million deaths based on an extremely high mortality rate of 10 percent. As of now, we don’t yet know the overall mortality rate for Covid-19. For a variety of reasons, it has ranged from over 7 percent in Italy to a very low 1.6 percent in Germany. The World Health Organization predicted a global average death rate of 3.4 percent.
With all of these prescient and uncannily precise warnings, why then, was the world so unprepared? The Covid-19 crisis has unsurprisingly stirred many new conspiracy theories; from the suggestion that the virus is a bioweapon created in a Chinese lab, to the theory that there is a link between the illness and 5G technology, or that the US army unleashed it in Wuhan at the 2019 Military World Games — there have been no shortage of wild theories as to where it came from and how it was born.
But none of those theories can explain why the entire world was unprepared to confront a scenario experts have been consistently warning about for years.
‘It won’t happen to us’
Perhaps the explanation is less conspiratorial and more...human. Perhaps it is as simple as the fact that humans are reluctant to prepare for "maybes" and nebulous future crises, preferring instead to deal with problems only as they arrive at the front step and begin breaking down the door.
One of the only exceptions to this rule seems to be military preparedness: There may be no money to prepare for a pandemic, but there’s always plenty of money to prepare for war — even during a pandemic. A Declassified UK analysis published last month found that the UK had done no planning for a pandemic, despite repeated warnings by policy-making officials over 15 years that an influenza outbreak was the "gravest threat" to UK security.
Despite ample warning, the response to the spread of the virus was painfully slow in the West. While Trump and British PM Boris Johnson have been rightly panned by experts for not taking the outbreak seriously enough in its early stages, Brussels too sleep-walked into the crisis. There may be a kind of hubris attached to that sluggish Western response. Even the NIC forecast flew mostly under the radar, but quotes from the prescient National Intelligence Council (NIC) report were published in a 2009 book by French historian and philosopher Alexandre Adler. As Adler commented, it’s easier to assume that these things will “happen to others” but never us — and only when people realize that they are all in the same sinking boat can progress begin.
Trump halts WHO funding, accuses health body of conspiring with China to ‘cover up’ Covid-19 outbreak.
RT.com 14 Apr, 2020 22:22
US President Donald Trump has cut funding for the World Health Organization, insisting the agency be held accountable for its ‘failures’ in responding to the Covid-19 crisis, and accusing it of promoting ‘Chinese disinformation.’
“Today I’m instructing my administration to halt funding of the World Health Organization while a review is conducted to assess the… organization’s role in severely mismanaging and covering up the spread of the coronavirus,” Trump said at a White House briefing on Tuesday, adding that the US has a “duty to insist on full accountability” from the public health body.
Arguing the world health body “failed to obtain, vet and share information in a timely and transparent fashion,” the president said the agency kept vital data under wraps in the early stage of the Covid-19 pandemic for fear of offending authorities in Beijing.
The WHO failed to investigate credible reports from sources in Wuhan that conflicted directly with the Chinese government’s official accounts.
Trump first floated the idea of halting the WHO’s funding last week, accusing the organization of being “China-centric” and vowing to place a “very powerful hold” on funds while the administration assessed its response to the crisis. The US is the WHO’s top contributor, giving between $400 million and $500 million each year, but the president said there were now “deep concerns” that the money has gone to waste.
The WHO and Beijing maintain that their response to the pandemic has been appropriate and timely, with both releasingtimelines detailing their actions step-by-step beginning in late December. Chinese officials have also repeatedly denied accusations of a “cover up,” insisting health authorities worked with the international community from the very beginning to understand and contain the outbreak in Wuhan.
Addressing President Trump’s previous threat to pull the WHO’s funding, Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus urged him not to “politicize the virus,” warning it would only result in “many more body bags.”
Eastern Europe beats West in Covid-19 fight, but West can’t acknowledge it because of Cold War SUPERIORITY complex.
Neil Clark, RT 23 Apr, 2020 07:04
By any objective assessment, governments in the eastern half of Europe have dealt with the Covid-19 outbreak better than many in the west. Yet, because of deep-seated attitudes of superiority, few are giving credit where it’s due.
Europe is divided again, but this time not by a wall.
Compare the Covid-19 deaths worldwide per one million population, as of April 22, by country.
Top of the list is Belgium with 525.12 deaths per million. Then comes Spain (445.49), Italy (407.87), France (310.45), the UK (261.37), the Netherlands (227.26), Switzerland (173.54), Sweden (173.33), and then Ireland (150.41). Spot anything? They’re all western European countries.
You have to scroll down quite a way before you get to countries in central or eastern Europe.
Romania has had 25.57 deaths per million. Hungary, 23.03; Czechia, 18.92; Serbia, 17.9; Croatia, 11.74; Poland, 10.6; Bulgaria, 7.02; Belarus, 5.8; Latvia, 4.67; Ukraine, 3.61; Russia, 3.16; Albania, 2.87; and Slovakia, 2.57 (amounting to just 14 deaths).
How can we explain this new division of Europe? Well, it’s clear that geography has played its part. The main vector for the spread of Covid-19 has been population movements and, in particular, international air travel. More people visit western Europe than the east. There’s more coming and going. Covid-19 can be seen accurately as a virus of turbo-globalization, and western European countries are more turbo-globalised than those to the east. They also tend to be more densely populated, with some very large cities, which the virus likes, as it allows it to spread quicker.
But while eastern Europe has a number of ‘natural’ advantages, this doesn’t, I think, tell the whole story. Governments in eastern Europe have generally shown more common sense than most of their western counterparts. They quickly did the most obvious thing that you need to do when a virus has got its walking boots and rucksack on: they closed borders.
On March 12, Czechia declared a state of emergency and barred travelers from 15 countries hit by the novel coronavirus, including Iran, Italy, China and the UK. It then went into a ‘lockdown.’ On the same day Slovakia closed its borders to non-residents and imposed a mandatory quarantine for anyone returning from abroad.
Poland closed its borders on March 15 and Hungary followed suit one day later. Russia’s far east border with China had already been closed since the end of January.
Compare the decisiveness with which eastern European countries pulled up their drawbridges, with the hesitation in the west. On March 12, French President Emmanuel Macron declared “this virus has no passport”. As I wrote at the time, liberal ideology and virtue signaling were being put before public health.
The virus might not have a passport, but the people carrying it in from China, and then from Italy, most certainly did! It was only on March 17 that there were signs that western European states were going to do what their eastern neighbors had already done. “The less we travel, the more we contain the virus,” said EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen. You don’t say!
At least western continental Europe did take some action on borders, albeit a week or so too late. Britain, by contrast, while imposing a 'lockdown' on domestic citizens, has continued to allow into the country unchecked flights from all over the world, including from New York, Iran and China.
It’s not just shutting borders and imposing strict quarantine measures that eastern European countries did right.
Generally, they’ve been quicker to act than their western counterparts. The culture of government undoubtedly plays a part.
I lived in Hungary for several years in the 1990s and was impressed by what I call the ‘administrative class.’ The people who work for the government, the civil servants, the old communist ’bureaucracy’, if you like, were very competent. They got the job done, with a minimum of fuss. In so many ways because of this efficient administration and a very high level of general and technical education, eastern European countries are actually better-run than many in the west, particularly Britain, where incompetence seems to lead on to great rewards. Countries where there was a 'five-year-plan' political culture not surprisingly are better at planning than those where there wasn't. Or, as the old saying has it, if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.
Another legacy of the much-maligned socialist era might also have played a big part in minimizing the impact of Covid-19 in eastern Europe. As RT reported earlier in the month, ‘striking’ evidence has emerged showing that the BCG tuberculosis vaccine might be protective against Covid-19.
Vaccinating their populations against TB was enthusiastically taken up by the socialist-bloc countries in the 1950s and remains mandatory in many, even though communism is gone. In Russia for instance, it is still given to children from three to five days old. By contrast, the USA and Italy never had a universal BCG programme, and, while Spain doesn’t have one either, its neighbour Portugal still does, and has had only 74.11 Covid-19-related deaths per million, compared to neighboring Spain’s 455.49.
The BCG programme may yet prove to be at least among the reasons why the old state of East Germany has a lower Covid-19 death toll than the western part of the country.
Germany is the only western European country that had a ‘socialist’ half – and it’s that socialist half which has helped bring its per-capita death rate down.
The failure to properly credit eastern Europe for its low Covid-related death rates reeks of bad sportsmanship.
Let me give you one example. On Monday evening I tweeted how Hungary had less than 220 deaths from Covid-19, compared to the UK’s 16,000. By any objective assessment, Hungary had done better than the UK.
“I guess that settles it” @justicetyrwhit tweeted. “Orban is actually ok then and we were wrong to oppose fascism all along….?”
For a certain type of superior westerner, eastern Europe’s governments can never do any good. If you say they have handled something well, you are ‘dog whistling’ your support for ‘fascism’ or ‘communism.’
Draconian Covid-19 lockdowns in the west of Europe are ‘sensible’ and police overreach is played down, draconian Covid-19 lockdowns in the east are displayed as signs of proof that these countries are run by ‘dictators’ and have a ‘long authoritarian tradition.’
It’s time that those with the Cold War mindset of ‘Order of The Coif‘ stopped patronizing the east and showed a little more humility. For, when it comes to dealing with Covid-19, governments in ‘backward’ eastern Europe have generally served their populations better than those in ‘advanced’ western ones.
Last Edit: Jul 9, 2020 5:06:28 GMT -5 by TsarSamuil
Putin approves first steps for Russia to loosen coronavirus lockdown, warns regional governors to tread carefully.
RT.com 6 May, 2020 18:18
Russia will begin to partially lift its Covid-19 lockdown from Monday when restrictions on industrial and construction businesses are removed, Sergey Sobyanin announced during a government meeting chaired by Vladimir Putin.
The Moscow mayor, who also heads the national effort to fight coronavirus, told the video conference that the self-isolation regime in the capital will not be relaxed until the spread of infection there is under control. Moscow, together with its surrounding region, is home to just under two-thirds of Russia’s Covid-19 cases.
However, as the rest of the country has fared better, Putin instructed regional leaders to develop timetables to implement the process, warning them to be careful to avoid risking a second wave of infection. “In some places tough, [but] justified preventive measures will need to be maintained or even supplemented. And in others, perhaps, there will be different levels of severity,” he observed. “You can’t steam ahead with undue haste, because any negligence can bring a rollback and the price of the slightest mistake is the safety, lives, and health of our people.”
The president said the policies of Russian authorities in battling Covid-19 had been successful. “Experience has shown that we have acted absolutely correctly, moreover, many foreign countries have taken the same path, we can see this, and it will be good if they also succeed,” he opined.
Putin revealed that Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin is recovering from his brush with coronavirus. “He's on the mend, Everything is normal,” the president disclosed. “He’s still got a temperature, as often happens in such cases, but he is recovering.” He added that Mishustin is still working and helping with the preparation of all policy decisions, saying “we are in touch with him every day.”
After Mishustin was infected, First Deputy Prime Minister Andrey Belousov was selected to temporarily replace him. Last Friday, it was announced that the Minister of Construction Vladimir Yakushev and his deputy Dmitry Volkov had both been diagnosed with Covid-19. Culture Minister Olga Lyubimova delivered similar news on Wednesday.
“80,000 people are in hospitals in the country with a confirmed or suspected diagnosis of coronavirus infection, including 1,133 patients on mechanical ventilation, four of them children,” Health Minister Mikhail Murashko told Putin. He added that men are more vulnerable than women to its effects.
Sobyanin was encouraged by the stabilization in the numbers seeking critical care. “For two weeks now, the amount of patients who require placement in a hospital has not increased. It is approximately at the same level,” he informed the meeting.
“I believe that plans to open a significant number of enterprises, primarily industrial and in the construction sector, are absolutely justified,” he added, noting that Putin had approved the plan. However, he warned that the service sector will remain frozen for the foreseeable future.
Sobyanin cautioned that the likes of hairdressers and beauty salons – where people come into contact with each other – could trigger a new wave of infections. “So far, the situation means it’s not possible to restore services, everyday life, and so on,” he insisted.
Anna Popova of Rospotrebnadzor, the state health watchdog, presented a three point plan for removing the wider lockdown, in stages. The time scale for the easing will depend on local circumstances and be up to regional governors and their health officials, she explained.
1. Outdoor sports will be allowed; small shops and services can open.
2. Walking on the street with family members will be permitted, large-scale trade operations and some educational organizations will be opened.
3. Parks and squares will be made available again subject to social distancing rules; all educational institutions, hotels, and catering establishments will open.
Belousov warned that Russia’s economic health is also beginning to noticeably suffer. “We are now entering a more difficult period from the point of view of the economy,” he noted, admitting that the number of small businesses applying for ‘salary loans’ to pay their workers has exceeded the government's expectations.
Minister for Labor Anton Kotyakov told his colleagues that 735,000 Russians had joined the unemployment register in the past two months, bringing the national total to 1.2 million out of work. Yet, this doesn’t tell the full story as many Russians earn their living in the informal economy, which amounts to over 30 percent of GDP according to the IMF, and their status isn’t recorded in official statistics. Kotyakov has previously warned that the economic recession caused by Covid-19 could leave between five and six million Russians unemployed, or seven to eight percent of the workforce. Such figures were last seen a decade ago, following the Great Financial Crash.
As of Wednesday evening, Russia has reported over 166,000 coronavirus infections, with 1,537 deaths. The Moscow area has accounted for around 92,000 of the cases, and was home to over 1,000 of the deceased. Russia has carried out over 4,633,731 tests. A higher per capita rate (31,752) than Germany (30,400), Britain (20,385) or the United States (23,522).
Post by TsarSamuil on May 29, 2020 10:44:27 GMT -5
'Everything's up for grabs': Soros sees big opportunities after Covid-19 'endangers our civilization'
RT.com 11 May, 2020 19:12
Billionaire currency speculator George Soros has hailed the Covid-19 pandemic as the crisis of his lifetime, all but salivating over the chance to remake society amid the “revolutionary moment” he claims preceded the virus.
“Even before the pandemic hit, I realized that we were in a revolutionary moment where what would be impossible or even inconceivable in normal times had become not only possible, but probably absolutely necessary,” Soros told Project Syndicate on Monday. “And then came Covid-19.”
Acknowledging the “unprecedented event that probably has never occurred in this combination…really endangers the survival of our civilization,” the philanthropist warned “we will not go back to where we were when the pandemic started.”
“Everything else is up for grabs. I do not think anybody knows how capitalism will evolve.”
While he didn’t specify what exactly defined the pre-coronavirus “revolutionary moment” he was referring to, Soros has in recent months poured $1 billion of his prodigious fortune into setting up a university network to fight “nationalism” and climate change, calling the initiative “the most important project of my life.”
And he returned to that subject in Monday’s interview, hinting that the political lives of both Chinese President Xi Jinping and US President Donald Trump – whom he slimed as “dictator” and wannabe-dictator, respectively – were coming to an end. The crisis would bring nations closer “in the long run,” he predicted, even if in the short term they “hurt themselves” out of fear.
China’s battle with the coronavirus had left Xi “perhaps vulnerable,” Soros speculated, declaring himself to be “on the side of those who believe in an open society. And there are many people in China who are very much in favor of an open society too.” Soros’ Open Society Foundations have played a prominent role in fomenting “color revolutions” in societies lacking in Soros-determined “openness,” adding a potential layer of threat to what on the surface sounded benign.
But despite essentially agreeing with Trump that “we must protect our democratic open society” by not working too closely with China, Soros maintained his revulsion for the American leader. “I will also say that I have put my faith in Trump to destroy himself, and he has exceeded my wildest expectations,” he said.
Soros-funded groups have been working to remove Trump from power practically since he took office, more recently focusing their efforts on a mail-in voting campaign Republicans have claimed would open the door to unprecedented levels of voter fraud. Soros himself, meanwhile, had accused Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg of colluding with the Trump campaign to help Trump secure reelection, going so far as to demand his removal from control of the social media platform if he did not halt all political advertising.
In fact, Soros sees dictators everywhere, especially menacing the EU. In his native Hungary, he said, “Viktor Orban has already used the Covid-19 emergency and a captured parliament to appoint himself dictator.” He also seemed pained by the notion of Germany’s legal challenge to Brussels on quantitative easing, expressing concern that other countries might “follow its example” and start placing their own laws above the EU’s if the alliance didn’t immediately slap down upstarts like Hungary and Poland when they “violate EU law.”
“If the German court’s verdict prevents the EU from resisting these developments, it will be the end of the EU as we know it,” he warned. Italy leaving the EU would also kill the alliance, he added.
The coronavirus pandemic exposed cracks in the continental alliance as European nations turned on one another in the scramble for supplies and closed their borders in a bid to keep out the virus. Italy in particular was hit hard, only to have its cries for aid largely ignored by its neighbors and Brussels. When help did come, it came from unexpected quarters – Russia, China, Cuba – or in the form of token gestures bordering on the insulting, as with Germany’s offer to take in a few dozen of Italy’s 80,000-plus coronavirus patients to relieve the strain on its healthcare system. Along with Spain and France, Italy faces a ruined economy as its citizens emerge from lockdown – some 700,000 children under 15 lack adequate food, according to an Italian farming organization – while the EU has remained reluctant to provide financial assistance.
Post by TsarSamuil on May 29, 2020 11:39:34 GMT -5
Not just humans: Moscow quarantines CAT after it tests positive for Covid-19.
RT.com 27 May, 2020 11:41
While most people are socially distancing and staying home, it might not just be humans needing to self-isolate. Last week, for the first time in Russia, a cat tested positive for Covid-19 – and it is now in quarantine. Nikolai Vlasov, the deputy head of Russia’s national veterinary service Rosselkhoznadzor, explained that the poorly pussy was diagnosed after its owner took the animal to a Moscow vet clinic, where it was tested with throat and nose swabs. The cat was sent home and ordered to be quarantined at the owner’s place of residence.
According to Vlasov, Covid-19 is transmitted from person to person, and there is no scientific evidence that anyone could catch Covid-19 from a pet, calling it an “epidemiological dead end.”
“Now, there is no reason to take measures concerning either domestic or wild animals that could jeopardize their well-being and health, or may have a negative impact on biodiversity,” he said.
A scientific study published earlier in May revealed that cats are able to infect each other with coronavirus but probably won’t get sick. According to the new research, published by the New England Journal of Medicine, the felines all tested clear of the virus within six days.
Last month, Konstantin Savenkov, another official at Rosselkhoznadzor, explained that coronavirus can be transmitted to both cats and dogs, although dogs are far less susceptible. However, for the safety of all pets, this means the malaised moggy won’t be able to meet with any feline friends or canine companions for at least 14 days.
Hungary set to rescind rule-by-decree powers given to MSM-dubbed ‘Dictator Orban’
RT.com 27 May, 2020 13:47
Hungary's government will submit legislation to remove emergency powers granted to PM Viktor Orban, which set off hysterical reactions from EU officials and Western media which warned the country was sliding into "dictatorship."
Justice Minister Judit Varga said on Tuesday she would bring legislation to parliament on June 20 to end the state of emergency which has allowed Orban to rule by decree during the Covid-19 crisis.
Varga slammed those who "attacked us with unjust political accusations" and called on them to apologize for leading a "slander campaign” against the country.
Orban himself demanded apologies earlier this month, saying there was “no basis for the criticisms.” Varga also slammed the opposition, which refused to support what they viewed as a power grab as there was no sunset clause embedded in the emergency legislation.
The European Parliament had even approved a statement declaring the legislation “incompatible with European values,” while EU Commission president Ursula von Der Leyen warned that the measures went "too far."
"I can't wait to see the headlines of papers who cried ‘Dictatorship’ only a few weeks ago," German journalist Boris Kalnoky tweeted on Tuesday, noting that Hungary is now "one of the fastest" countries in the EU to move to rescind Covid-19 emergency powers.
However, there has been no mea culpa from the news organizations that issued dramatic warnings about Hungary’s imminent slide into dictatorship. Many have been conspicuously quiet on the news that the powers are set to be revoked, while others have continued in the same vein as before.
The UK's Independent put an interesting spin on the story, announcing in its headline that Hungary “seeks to remove autocratic rule” from Orban, implying that Orban himself was not willing to give up his powers — even though the bill to remove the new powers is being submitted by Orban’s own Fidesz party.
"The 82-Day Dictatorship," declared the National Review, before going on to admit worries about authoritarianism in Hungary were "overblown” after the so-called dictatorship “voluntarily extinguished itself.”
There appears to be little interest among Western journalists, however, in assessing whether Orban’s government, which imposed an early lockdown, was successful in containing Covid-19 or not.
As of May 27, Hungary has fewer than 4,000 confirmed cases of the infection and approximately 500 deaths, which is significantly below the EU average.
The Orban government contends that the temporary powers allowed it to make "quick and effective decisions" to curb the spread of the virus. The opposition has suggested, however, that the government’s refusal to include a sunset clause was a deliberate trap, which forced them to oppose the emergency powers setting up an unavoidable confrontation with the government.
FUCK YOU CHINA
Russian economy shrinks 12 percent in April as coronavirus restrictions paralyzes business activities.
RT.com 29 May, 2020 10:37
Russia’s gross domestic product (GDP) fell by 12 percent year-on-year in April, when the countrywide non-working period to contain the spread of Covid-19 was in place.
The steep decline eliminated the modest economic growth seen during the first three months of 2020, when the Russian economy expanded by 1.6 percent compared to the same period last year, according to the Ministry of Economic Development.
Given the disappointing April results, the ministry now estimates that Russia’s GDP shrank by 1.9 percent over the first four months of this year.
The ministry explained that the negative growth came as non-essential businesses remained closed for the whole month and negative economic conditions prevailed worldwide.
Russia introduced coronavirus-related restrictions in late March and has prolonged the measures several times since then in order to battle the spread of infection. The paid non-working period ended on May 12.
Sectors of the economy focused on consumer demand suffered most. For example, consumer services fell by more than a third due to restrictions on leisure, culture and sporting activities, while retail sales dropped by a nearly a quarter. Although stores and food retailers remained open the whole time, their turnover also fell by 9.3 percent.
According to an earlier forecast, the second quarter could be the most painful for the Russian economy, as it is expected to shrink by more than nine percent. The nation’s annual GDP contraction is set to stand at five percent, while the country expects to return to pre-coronavirus levels no sooner than the first half of 2022.
Bulgarians Amongs the Citizens with the Biggest Financial Lost amid Pandemic.
Novinite.com Business » FINANCE | May 29, 2020, Friday // 14:10
The citizens of Hungary, Bulgaria, Italy, Greece and Spain suffered biggest financial loss amidst the coronavirus pandemic.
The nationals of Denmark, Sweden, the Netherlands, Finland and Austria suffered least damages, a survey of the European Parliament shows. 58% of the surveyed said they experienced financial difficulties during he pandemic.
30% of the EU citizens complain of loss of income, 23% complain of becoming unemployed and 14% said they were unable to cover loans and pay rents. 9% of the respondents said they could not buy food. Six out of ten respondents say the EU members showed enough solidarity during the pandemic.
Italians, Spaniards and Greeks are most dissatisfied with the role of the EU during the crisis, followed by citizens of Austria and Bulgaria./BNR
‘Difficult to understand’: World Health Organization official can’t explain Russia's low Covid-19 death rate.
RT.com 11 Jun, 2020 12:00
Russia’s relatively low number of Covid-19 fatalities has been labeled “unusual” by Michael Ryan, a World Health Organization (WHO) official. He said the low count could be down to the way the country is classifying deaths.
Speaking at a press conference, the executive director of the WHO Health Emergencies Programme said Russia’s stats are an outlier compared to other European nations, but that he does not believe the country is covering up the scale of pandemic.
“The low death rate is difficult to understand in the context of the population and the health systems across the European region being quite similar in terms of their sophistication and availability,” Ryan said. “The age profile of people in the Russian Federation is not greatly different to that of other nations; neither is the profile of people with underlying conditions.”
Despite having the third most confirmed cases, Russia is 13th in terms of official Covid-19 deaths, which makes it a significant outlier. For example, Russia (with 502,436) has almost double the known infections of the United Kingdom (290,143), but one sixth the number of deaths (6,532 compared to 41,128).
Ryan stressed that the approach to counting fatalities varies from country to country, and that he does not believe Russia is purposefully downplaying its figures, saying: “I don't think that’s been done in any negative way, not in a systematic fashion.”
The WHO official said one reason for Russia's low mortality rate could be mass testing, which was ramped up early on, but noted that in other countries with a large number of tests, mortality is still higher. Russia has conducted at least 13.8 million tests – the second highest number in the world.
Speaking to journalists on Thursday, President Vladimir Putin’s official spokesperson Dmitry Peskov disagreed that the statistics were “unusual” and said the media should wait for Russian “epidemiologists to give appropriate explanations” about the methodology.
Earlier this month, in an interview with TV network CNN, Peskov denied any statistical manipulation by the Russian authorities, saying the low mortality rate reflects the “effective” functioning of the healthcare system.
Last Edit: Jul 9, 2020 5:01:35 GMT -5 by TsarSamuil
Putin orders creation of national genetic database as Russia prioritizes genetic research.
RT.com 7 Jun, 2020 11:34
President Vladimir Putin has ordered the creation of a national database of genetic information as part of a major push to advance genetic research in Russia.
The future database will be one of the tools that Russia hopes to use to assume a leading position in the biomedical industry. The government sees it as crucial for keeping the country competitive on the world stage going forward.
The Kurchatov Institute, which is best known for nuclear research, has been tasked with laying the foundation for the database, choosing the storage format and making tools for search and analysis. The institute has experience in the secure handling of large amounts of sensitive data and operates a number of data centers across Russia which are used for scientific collaboration projects.
The decree on genetics research issued this week is a follow-up to a top level government meeting on the subject in mid-May. “We all realize how powerful genetic technologies can be. That is why we need a system that would keep their use under control,” Putin said during the session.
The president also ordered a boost in the education of specialists in genetics and genome sequencing and the domestic production of necessary laboratory equipment, as well as tax cuts for biomedical research. Russia will also open world-class genome research centers which will, among their immediate goals, work on the development of treatments and vaccines for Covid-19.
Large databases of genetic information are a useful tool in many scientific areas, from tracing historical migration to assessing the effectiveness of drugs in a population. For some types of studies, like tracking hereditary diseases on a national level, these databases are indispensable.
Few details about the national database have been made public so far, but it might not be limited to human genomes, based on what was discussed at the meeting in May.
Aleksandr Blagov, the director of the Kurchatov Institute, suggested the mass sequencing of genomes of microbes that various research organizations in Russia store in their collections, and offering access to the data through his institute’s network.
SECOND night of clashes in Serbia as government & opposition blame each other for protests over Covid-19 lockdown.
RT.com 8 Jul, 2020 23:52
Thousands of people gathered in Belgrade and other major cities to protest the Serbian government’s intent to reimpose coronavirus lockdowns. Stones and teargas flew as they clashed with riot police long into the night.
Police in Belgrade have reportedly dispersed the bulk of the demonstrators by midnight local time on Wednesday, after nearly five hours of standoffs and clashes with a crowd of mostly young men and women.
What started on Tuesday as a protest against the announced second round of Covid-19 lockdowns quickly turned into an attempt to storm the parliament and fights with the police.
Demonstrators used garbage bins and planters to set up barricades and blocked streetcar and vehicle traffic in downtown Belgrade for several hours, local media reported. The government responded with riot police, armored vehicles of the Gendarmerie, and horse cavalry sent to push back and disperse the crowd.
Interior Minister Nebojsa Stefanovic said 10 officers were injured on Wednesday, including one who broke both legs after being pushed down a flight of stairs. He added that police only used force when the protesters tried to “lynch” them, using fence posts, clubs, shovels, rocks, teargas canisters and even Molotov cocktails to attack the officers.
Meanwhile, videos shared by protesters on social media showed a group of riot police beating up a demonstrator curled up on the ground.
Speaking after the first night of protests, President Aleksandar Vucic blamed the violence on “right-wing extremists” who took over when “decent citizens” angry with the coronavirus restrictions withdrew.
He also pointed the accusing finger at “all kinds of influence from foreign security services,” without elaborating.
Accusations of foreign meddling are a sore topic in Serbia, ever since the US-backed October 2000 “color revolution” that brought into power the ‘Democratic Opposition’ coalition. It went on to lose power to Vucic’s Progressive Party in 2012. The Democrats boycotted last month’s parliamentary election, claiming it would be stolen.
Some opposition leaders indeed tried to take over the protests on Tuesday; video showed former Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic getting booed and slapped upside the head when he tried to join the crowd outside the parliament.
On Wednesday, Democrats blamed “regime provocateurs” for that incident and organized a small protest themselves. However, when former President Boris Tadic attempted to join the main crowd, he was booed, insulted and chased off.
Local media showed photos of demonstrators carrying a cross and waving all manner of Serbian flags, including the one dedicated to Kosovo, a breakaway province run by NATO and ethnic Albanians since the 1999 war. Vucic is supposed to meet with French and German leaders later this week to arrange negotiations with the ethnic Albanian leadership, and many of the protesters accuse him of “treason” for allegedly planning to recognize their secession.
Some of the hand-made signs carried by protesters did feature the “Otpor fist” that became notorious in 2000, but also said “This is for you, dad” – quoting a young man who told reporters on Tuesday that his father had died of Covid-19 because there weren’t enough ventilators.
Vucic has disputed that claim, but insisted that a new lockdown may be necessary because the number of both new cases and deaths from the coronavirus has spiked and hospitals are reaching full capacity.
In addition to Belgrade, there were reports of protests in Nis and Novi Sad as well.
Even if it is, current regime is illegitimate, run by homo-sexuals puppets answering to Washington, not the Serbian people, good riddance, hang them in the streets
Serbian defense minister says protests are ‘COUP ATTEMPT’, aim to spark CIVIL WAR.
RT.com 9 Jul, 2020 11:19
Violent clashes that rocked Belgrade and other cities this week were “carefully prepared,” and are aimed at seizing power and igniting a civil war in Serbia, the Balkan country’s defense minister has alleged.
What started as a demonstration against the government-planned curfew over the coronavirus eventually got out of hand and snowballed into massive riots that saw mostly young people assaulting police squads in Belgrade and other major Serbian cities.
The brewing unrest is actually a coup attempt, Serbian Defense Minister Aleksandar Vulin opined on Thursday while speaking on local television. The “terrible street violence” has purely political backgrounds, he argued.
“We have a coup attempt, we have an attempt to seize power by force and an attempt to provoke a civil war in Serbia. It cannot be described in any other way.”
President Aleksandar Vucic announced on Tuesday that a curfew would be put in place this Friday and run throughout the weekend. Right after, thousands of people gathered outside the parliament.
They clashed with police while apparently trying to get into the building. Riot squads fired tear gas to force the crowds back.
According to Defense Minister Vulin, the protests were a coordinated action and “did not happen by accident.” He noted that media coverage across the Balkans was generally hostile toward the Serbian government, which, again, “is not accidental.”
It is obvious that there is an orchestrated [media] campaign because they do not want a successful and stable Serbia.
The Balkan nation has reported over 17,000 Covid-19 cases and over 340 fatalities. Mass protests, in which people didn’t keep apart, have only increased the risk of spreading the contagion, Vulin warned.
“I wonder who will be responsible for the fact that hundreds and thousands of people became infected yesterday and the day before yesterday,” he said.
Meanwhile, President Vucic backtracked on the curfew. The government is expected to try other measures, including shortened hours for public spaces and fines for those not wearing protective masks.
Last Edit: Jul 9, 2020 7:25:50 GMT -5 by TsarSamuil
How did Russia get a possible Covid-19 vaccine so fast? It took decades of research & won't be for political gain says scientist.
RT.com 27 Jul, 2020 14:20
Five months into the pandemic, Russia's first Covid-19 vaccine is in its final development stages, already proven safe. Decades of research – not spying on foreign know-how – led to the breakthrough, a top scientist told RT.
Like their colleagues in the world's other leading nations, Russian scientists have traveled a bumpy road from the discovery of coronavirus to the development of a promising vaccine in record time.
This month, Moscow's famed Sechenov University announced that the first phase of clinical trials for a vaccine had been a success. Some 38 volunteers who took part in human trials have been released with little or no side effects recorded.
Researchers will now push forward, testing the vaccine's efficiency, and prepping it for registration with the Health Ministry. Other prototypes are to follow, with some about to finish phase-one trials – which usually demonstrates the new vaccine's safety for use in humans.
It's fairly easy to grasp why Russia is so keen to get a Covid-19 vaccine. Having reported more than 811,000 cases and 13,249 fatalities, it is among the five countries worst affected by the epidemic. But how did it make a vaccine so fast, given that the coronavirus – or its deadly, crown-shaped SARS-CoV-2 strain – wasn't known to scientists before 2020?
'Nothing can be done from scratch'
Russia has over 20 years of experience in developing technology for producing vaccines. This helped to create the unique Covid-19 vaccine in a very short period of time by normal drug-development standards, Vadim Tarasov, head of Sechenov University's Institute for Translational Medicine and Biotechnology, told RT Arabic in a comprehensive interview.
"Nothing can be done from scratch," he explained. Virologists at the Sechenov Institute and the Gamalei Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology – another coronavirus research hub in Moscow – benefited from that "huge backlog" to decode the genome and structure of Covid-19 and quickly create a vaccine prototype.
"Having a technological platform and understanding of what is transmitting the virus, you can design a vaccine against almost any disease. The only question is how effective it will be."
The technology behind the Russian vaccine in question is based upon adenovirus, the common cold. Created artificially, the vaccine proteins replicate those of Covid-19 and trigger "an immune response similar to that caused by the coronavirus itself," Tarasov revealed.
In other words, getting immunized is slightly similar to having survived the coronavirus, but without its life-threatening risks. The vaccine, of course, won't be a magical wand preventing everyone from getting sick. It may not stop the entire spread of coronavirus, but will make the symptoms much milder.
Tarasov said the 38 volunteers received the tested vaccine in the form of a standard injection in the shoulder – "a standard procedure, not very painful, which many people go through – therefore, there is nothing terrible here and nothing fundamentally new."
Russia may claim a breakthrough, but isn't into scoring profit out of it
The vaccine, tested on volunteers aged between 18 and 60, has shown good results "in terms of tolerance," Tarasov revealed. Hence, phase-one trials "have clearly shown that this vaccine is safe and can be used." For the scientist, this was a huge leap in their enormous scientific effort.
"We can really talk about a breakthrough as our country has shown itself to be one of the leaders in the global pharmaceutical industry due to the fact that it has retained and developed new competencies in drug development."
Russian researchers have now proceeded to phase-two trials, which will test the vaccine's efficacy and dosing. Other nations using the same technology are also progressing, with the UK, China, Japan, and the US being the notable other frontrunners.
While their respective health officials insist the preventive cure will become a common public good, there's room for ambition and prestige in the undeclared race to unveil the world's first coronavirus vaccine.
Challenged to give his take on this, Tarasov replied: "The key issue here is who will be the first to help its own citizens and those who need it, because the sooner we get a vaccine, a good and efficient one which can be applied at the required scale – and we're talking a large scale – the faster we can overcome coronavirus."
He insisted that the rationale behind producing the vaccine first is purely humanistic, not political. "Perhaps it's not entirely correct to raise the issue of satisfying political ambitions or [striving] to be the first. It is important to help people and prevent the spread of the pandemic," the scientist concluded.
Last Edit: Aug 6, 2020 15:00:16 GMT -5 by TsarSamuil
Orban says ALL illegal immigrants pose potential health risk to Hungary amid Covid-19 pandemic.
RT.com 7 Aug, 2020 14:34
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has said that while immigration advocates may disagree, all illegal immigrants trying to enter Hungary during the Covid-19 pandemic pose a possible health threat and should be treated as such.
The PM, known for his tough approach to undocumented migrants, made the comments during an interview with Hungary’s Kossuth Radio on Friday. He said all of those attempting to enter the country “pose a biological and health risk to Hungary” due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
Orban clarified that he didn’t consider every individual migrant “a biological bomb,” but said some of them may be infected with Covid-19 and not even realize it themselves. In that case, while the dignity of people trying to cross the border should be respected, Hungary has every reason to see them as a potential threat.
“This is too strong a statement for social justice warriors … but Hungarians have to think about self-defence.”
The prime minister was responding to a question about remarks made on Thursday by Hungary’s Chief Medical Officer Cecilia Muller. She said that in recent months, the majority of people who had flocked to the fence erected by Hungary along its southern border in 2015, were coming from nations with high Covid-19 infection rates and thus posed “an extreme danger” to Hungary’s public health.
In the interview, Orban also said his government has a fast-response team ready to intervene if an outbreak happens in the country and called on Hungarians to do their part by acting responsibly and not take unnecessary risks.
TsarSamuil: Russia becomes stronger, but you...will face an eternity of serfdom n be dictated like the colony you are. You lost. And Eastern Europe will embrace Russia, you will see.
Apr 7, 2022 13:23:59 GMT -5
Zormovich: No Slavic nation will ever accept savages such as russians. It is modern times, murderers cannot hide and be anonymous anymore. I am not Ukranian, but I am Slavic. I van guarantee you that Russians will not exist and all other Slavic will gladly fight you
Apr 7, 2022 14:34:56 GMT -5
Zormovich: Russia thinks it can win by brute force and that it can enslave other countries. It can only enslave weak Russians who are scares to fight for their own freedom in their country. All ture Slavic people will gladly kill all Russians. Stay being a slave.
Apr 7, 2022 14:36:30 GMT -5
Zormovich: You hate ukranians for no reason other than wanting Russians to rule them and power. Cannot wait for your mixed Mongolian blood to sstarve soon. Enjoy your corruption and cheap Chinese food.
Apr 7, 2022 14:38:18 GMT -5
SlavsAgainstNaziRussians: This Tsar talking about serfdom when russian people starve and are killed by their own government. hahahah Russians are slaves living in fear everyday 🤣
Apr 7, 2022 18:12:29 GMT -5
BanningFreeSpeech: Hey morons, banning me means nothing. You are Nazi like your government you are slave to. Get on your knees and suck off your local officials slaves.
Apr 8, 2022 13:02:44 GMT -5
TsarSamuil: Considering how EU destroyed east european industry after the cold war, you think ukraine will get some marshal plan when eu has screwed over everyone so far? I mean, you are probably braindead americans who know nothing about anything..
Apr 9, 2022 19:18:34 GMT -5
Chorny-Vor: Zormovich, my Russian ass and your traitor tongue could become good friends.
Apr 12, 2022 13:49:08 GMT -5
Igor Malinovski: 70 days, and they're still fighting for Mariupol.
May 4, 2022 13:18:31 GMT -5
TsarSamuil: If it wasn't for Russian civilians, they could have carpet-bombed the area, turned it into a parking lot, in general there has been very small scale mass bombings, far below what they are capable of..
May 16, 2022 23:13:49 GMT -5
Lupul Dacic: Tanks seem to be quite outdated. They are too easy targets for drones and javelins.
May 25, 2022 6:08:38 GMT -5
Lupul Dacic: On the other hand, I know a shit about that.
May 28, 2022 4:40:48 GMT -5
구경꾼: Well by the looks of it, I believe that Ukraine will inevitably win the war. No way that the Russkies are going to get this far.
Jun 15, 2022 13:20:10 GMT -5
구경꾼: It is quite pathetic to support Russia unconditionally.
Jun 15, 2022 13:39:03 GMT -5
구경꾼: All their supporters rely on is their own echo chambers of misinformation.
Jun 15, 2022 13:39:32 GMT -5
구경꾼: Antagonisation of the West will only bring you down.
Jun 17, 2022 0:59:44 GMT -5
Boro: This war is a tragedy, and "the West" contributed a lot to the escalation.
Jun 19, 2022 1:18:23 GMT -5
Boro: Tsar, what's up?
Jun 25, 2022 17:41:13 GMT -5
TsarSamuil: hello, sorri, been busy, will be free whole july, will update posts fer sure then, or before then
Jun 27, 2022 10:16:49 GMT -5
TsarSamuil: seems like Russia is crushing the ukrainian twitter warriors
Jun 27, 2022 10:17:22 GMT -5