Today, Sunday, a World Health Organization team of experts investigating the emergence of the Covid-19 epidemic visited a market in Wuhan, China, which was the first focus of the Corona virus. On the other hand, disputes between major countries are intensifying in the context of what Western media describe as a “vaccine war”.
The French Press Agency said that WHO experts arrived at the “Huanan” seafood market, which was closed since January of last year, and entered the fenced-off place, while the guards prevented other people from entering.
As part of its mission, the team, which has experience in virology, epidemiology and veterinary medicine, visited two of the city’s hospitals earlier, and the health organization said that they intend to visit other hospitals and markets, as well as the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
Meanwhile, controversy and questions are increasing about Western countries ’competition for vaccine supplies, especially what the British press describes as a” vaccine war “between Britain and the European Union.
And a German feast
The German government has promised laboratories that “do not honor their commitments” to deliver the anti-Covid-19 vaccines to the European Union with legal measures, amid escalating tensions due to a delay on the part of the British company, AstraZeneca.
German Economy Minister Peter Altmaier said in an interview with the German newspaper Die Welt published on Sunday, “If it turns out that there are companies that have not honored their obligations, we will have to make a decision about the legal consequences,” adding that “no company can favor another country.” On the European Union. “
Meanwhile, British Cabinet Affairs Minister Michael Gove said that his country wants its citizens to receive the Corona vaccine first before others.
He continued, saying, “I think that the European Union recognized his mistake after trying to restrict some exports of the Corona vaccine to non-members of the bloc, citing a clause in the Brexit agreement. The European Commission did not consult us and did not consult our friends in Northern Ireland.”
The European Union – which is facing a delay in receiving the AstraZeneca vaccine – decided to prevent the export of vaccines that are produced on its soil without prior authorization.
Vice President of the European Commission Valdes Dombrowsks said that the aim of the decision is to secure an adequate number of vaccines for the citizens of the bloc, “because the protection and safety of European Union citizens is our priority.”
However, Brussels was forced to backtrack on Friday night’s threats to suspend Article 16 of the Protocol on Northern Ireland of the Brexit Agreement, and stop the free passage of vaccines across the Irish border.
The UK imports Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines from a factory in Belgium. The European Union asked the AstraZeneca laboratory to resort to the factories in the United Kingdom to provide the doses it promised to supply to member states, which would affect the British vaccination program.
For his part, Michel Barnier, the chief European negotiator on the Brexit file, told The Times that Brussels and London “must preserve the spirit of cooperation.”
Suspension of vaccinating Guantanamo detainees
On the other hand, the US Department of Defense (the Pentagon) announced on Saturday the suspension of a plan to give Guantanamo detainees vaccines against Covid-19, after its announcement sparked a wave of discontent in the United States.
“No vaccine has been given to any Guantanamo detainee,” Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said – in a tweet on Twitter, adding, “We are suspending moving forward with the plan while we review troop protection protocols. We remain committed to our responsibility to keep our forces safe.”
Meanwhile, Arab and Islamic countries began vaccination campaigns against the Corona virus, after obtaining the first shipments of vaccines.
On Saturday, Algeria launched a vaccination campaign in Blida province, where the epidemic first broke out last March, using the Russian “Sputnik-V” vaccine.
Last Thursday, Morocco launched a campaign aimed at vaccinating 80% of the country’s population in stages.
In Pakistan, a Corona vaccination center has opened in the city of Karachi, where a nationwide vaccination campaign was launched.
However, despite the start of vaccination campaigns in many countries, concern is growing at the present time about the virulence of mutated versions of the Corona virus, and the effectiveness of vaccines in preventing them.
And new data showed that two of the Covid-19 vaccines are much less effective in South Africa, compared to other places where they were tested.
The American company, Novavax, said that although its vaccine was approximately 90% effective in clinical trials conducted in Britain, the percentage decreased to 49% in South Africa, where a new strain of the virus had spread.
For its part, the American company “Johnson & Johnson” announced that its new vaccine is 72% effective in preventing moderate or severe symptoms in the United States, compared to 66% in Latin America and 57% in South Africa.