21:29 GMT02 March 2021
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    Russian President Vladimir Putin has made several remarks on the current situation with the COVID-19 pandemic in Russia and around the world at the Council of the Heads of State of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation.

    Russia supports the idea of giving countries in need access to drugs and necessary goods, Putin said at the SCO meeting.

    The president continued on by saying that all of Russia’s vaccines against COVID-19 are efficient.

    "We have two registered vaccines in Russia, and the trials have already confirmed that the vaccines are safe, there are no side effects, and they are efficient. A third vaccine is in the pipeline. They are effective, the people who have been vaccinated and who have then had contact with people who have contracted the coronavirus have not contracted the coronavirus themselves, or they only have mild symptoms", he said.

    Putin has also agreed with Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan that a COVID-19 vaccine should be a global public good.

    "I fully agree with you that the vaccine should be a global good", Putin said, reacting to the speech.

    The Russian president also addressed Khan’s remark that it was unclear when the vaccine would be made available to everyone.

    "We are ready for cooperation ... and we propose abstaining from politicisation, being guided by the fact that people across the planet need vaccines today. We are ready to work with any country in the world", Putin stressed.

    The president noted that Russia chaired the SCO at a time when its member states were facing the coronavirus pandemic, which brought about adjustments to the organisation's agenda, including enhanced interaction between the SCO's member states in the fields of healthcare and protecting the life and health of citizens.

    "Today we are going to adopt a comprehensive plan of our organisation [the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation] on fighting the epidemic, as well as a special statement on the topic of the coronavirus", Putin said.

    According to Putin, Russia has donated about half a million kits for coronavirus diagnostic laboratories as well as devices for non-contact temperature measurement to SCO nations. Russian medical teams have been sent to Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan, the president added.

    Earlier today, the Russian response centre said that Russia had registered 20,977 COVID-19 cases in the past 24 hours, down from yesterday's record 21,798, bringing the total to 1,817,109. As many as 368 coronavirus patients died in the past 24 hours, up from 256 yesterday, raising the country’s death toll to 31,161.

    In August, Russia became the first country in the world to register a vaccine against the coronavirus, dubbed Sputnik V, and it was developed by the Gamaleya Research Institute. The vaccine is now nearing the end of phase three clinical trials.

    vaccine, coronavirus, COVID-19, Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), Vladimir Putin, Russia
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