New cases of Covid-19 infections around the world have continued to rise to an all-time high of more than 330,000 per day, Associated Press (AP) has reported.
This increase has forced many governments to reimpose tough restrictions that they had eased just a few months ago, the World Health Organisation announced on Wednesday.
The head of the WHO, Tedros Adhanom, warned against the idea that herd immunity might be a realistic strategy to stop the pandemic. He dismissed such proposals as simply unethical. At a media briefing on Monday, he said that health officials typically aim to achieve herd immunity by vaccination. In order to obtain herd immunity from a highly infectious disease such as measles, he pointed out, about 95 per cent of the population must be immunised.
Meanwhile, Russia has announced that human trials of its controversial coronavirus vaccine have started in the Middle East. “The UAE is the second foreign country to trial Russia’s ‘Sputnik V’ vaccine following tests in Belarus,” Reuters reported on Monday. Additional trials are reportedly set to begin in Venezuela, another country allied to Russia.
As a participant in the Oxford vaccine trial I find Russia's comments particularly pathetic. Russia is telling people to take their vaccines without any trials, while we are laboriously going through months of testing and monitoring, and all as volunteers.https://t.co/z7ocdZILT2
— Sarah Hurst (@Life_Disrupted) October 16, 2020
According to the Times in London, though, Russia is engaged in a disinformation campaign to undermine the Oxford University coronavirus vaccine. The newspaper said that pictures, memes and video clips depicting the British-made vaccine as dangerous have been produced in Russia to be spread on social media.
One Russian analyst who participated in the Oxford Covid-19 vaccine trial, called Moscow’s disinformation campaign “pathetic”. The Russians, added the analyst, “Are telling people to take their vaccines without any trials, while we are laboriously going through months of testing and monitoring, and all as volunteers.”
Britain’s Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab told BBC Radio 4 on Thursday that this is a “shabby piece of disinformation” from Russia.