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EU Tightens COVID-19 Vaccine Export Rules

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The European Commission has presented a revised version of its export transparency mechanism for COVID-19 vaccine.  Executive vice president Valdis Dombrovskis says it does not constitute an export ban.

The mechanism takes aim at vaccine produced in European Union-based facilities of pharmaceutical companies that are bound by an advance purchase agreement with the EU.  The new version includes two new criteria—reciprocity and proportionality—for assessing whether these vaccines can be exported to non-EU countries.

The principle of reciprocity will be applied to non-EU countries having at their disposal a large production capacity.  The European Commission and the EU member-states will examine if the flow of imports and exports of vaccine and vaccine substances between the bloc and destination country is even.

The commissioner explained that proportionality is about finding the right balance.  The European Commission and the member-states will take into account the specific situation of the country of destination, including its vaccination rate and the existing availability of covid-19 vaccines.

Vaccine exports towards low and middle income countries covered by the Covax facility remain exempted.

The export and transparency mechanism was launched in January and was to have expired two weeks ago.  It has been extended until the end of June.

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Disruption In Oxygen Supply Kills Many COVID Patients In India

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Twenty-two COVID-19 patients on ventilators have on Wednesday died in a hospital in western India after a disruption in the supply of medical oxygen caused by a leak.

According to Reuters news agency quoting the Nashik district’s collector, Suraj Mandhar said an oxygen tanker leaked outside a hospital in the city, halting its supply for about half an hour before it later resumed for nearly 150 other patients in the hospital.

Media reports said all the victims were on ventilators and in need of constant oxygen supply in the hospital dedicated for COVID-19 patients.

Fire officer Sanjay Bairagi said the leak was halted by the fire service within 15 minutes, but there was supply disruption in the Zakir Hussain Hospital in Nashik, a city in Maharashtra state that is the worst hit by the latest surge in coronavirus cases in the country.

Television images showed white fumes spreading in the hospital area, causing panic.

Surinder Sonone, a police officer, said the leak occurred in a pipe connecting the oxygen supply to the main tank in the hospital complex.

India with the second highest confirmed cases of COVID-19 behind the United States has reported more than 15.6 million infections as the total number of fatalities stood at 182,553.

State Health Minister Rajesh Tope said the state government has ordered an investigation into what caused the leak.

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WATCH: South Korean Fishermen Protest Against Japan Over Plans To Dump Treated Radioactive Water In Sea

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South Korean Fishermen Protest Against Japan

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Biden On George Floyd Verdict: ‘A Giant Step Forward

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United States (US) President Joe Biden has on Tuesday said the conviction of a former police officer in the killing of George Floyd “can be a giant step forward in the march toward justice in America” but he warned “we can’t stop here”.

After a three-week trial, the jury in the murder trial of Derek Chauvin has on Tuesday found the former Minneapolis police officer guilty in the killing of George Floyd, a Black man on May 25 last year

45-year-old Chauvin was filmed with his knee on Floyd’s neck for nine minutes and 29 seconds, sparking mass protests against racism.

Chauvin was found guilty on all three counts: second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter, a decision Biden said he hoped would become a “moment of significant change”.

After the verdict, Biden speaking on Tuesday from the White House alongside Vice President Kamala Harris, with the pair saying the country’s work is far from finished with the verdict.

Biden further said “we can’t leave this moment or look away thinking our work is done. We have to look at it as we did for those nine minutes and 29 seconds.”

Vice-President Kamala Harris urged lawmakers to pass the George Floyd bill aimed at reforming policing in the US saying “this bill is part of George Floyd’s legacy. This work is long overdue.”

The Reuters news agency quoting the Floyd family’s lawyer Benjamin Crump said “Justice for Black America is justice for all of America,” adding that “this case is a turning point in American history for accountability of law enforcement and sends a clear message we hope is heard clearly in every city and every state.”

People gathered outside the courtroom and on the intersection in Minneapolis where Mr Floyd was killed to celebrate the verdict while some also gathered in other cities to celebrate.

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