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NZ Government Could Provide Indemnity For COVID-19 Vaccine Supplier

The Deciport Daily Quick-Look: 30 July 2020

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Pfizer has launched a 30,000 person trial of its vaccine and hopes to have it approved by the end of this year. Photo: AFP

Vaccine suppliers could receive indemnity from claims resulting from use.

Security (Health) // BLUF: New Zealand's (NZ) Ministry of Health is reportedly planning to fast track the approval process for a COVID-19 vaccine, and won't rule out providing vaccine suppliers with indemnity against claims made resulting from the vaccine's use.

A similar line was taken by the previous Labour government, who had purchased 100,000 Bird Flu vaccines from Baxter Healthcare, with part of the purchase agreement seeing Baxter receive indemnity from the government.

The report of potential indemnity for vaccine suppliers in NZ comes as Twitter, YouTube and Facebook recently came under fire for systematically deleting a video of front-line doctors in the United States claiming the drug Hydroxychloroquine, widely criticised by media, as being effective (along with other drugs) in treating a variety of COVID-19 cases.

(See Point 8 Below for Further Information)

The Daily Quick-Look for 30 July 2020

The Deciport Daily Quick-Look is your at-a-glance look at several key events and situations around the world over the last 24 hours. Each headline contains the link to its source report.

BLUF = Bottom Line Up Front.

FYSA = For Your Situational Awareness.

1. UNITED STATES, GERMANY - Political, Security: U.S. to withdraw about 12,000 troops from Germany but nearly half to stay in Europe

FYSA: The U.S. military on Wednesday unveiled plans to withdraw about 12,000 troops from Germany, in fallout from President Donald Trump’s long-simmering feud with Berlin but said it will keep nearly half of those forces in Europe to address tension with Russia. Trump announced his intention last month to cut by about a third the 36,000-strong U.S. troop contingent in Germany, faulting the close U.S. ally for failing to meet NATO’s defense spending target and accusing it of taking advantage of the United States on trade. “We don’t want to be the suckers any more,” Trump told reporters at the White House on Wednesday about the decision. “We’re reducing the force because they’re not paying their bills; it’s very simple.” (Reuters. See link in heading for further reading)

2. SPAIN - Security (Health), Political: After backlash, Madrid rows back on COVID 'immunity card'

FYSA: Authorities in the Spanish capital Madrid backtracked on Wednesday (Jul 29) over a highly-criticised plan to give an "immunity card" to people testing positive for coronavirus so they can enjoy higher-risk areas like gyms, bars and museums. Politicians, rights groups and epidemiologists condemned the project, announced by regional leader Isabel Diaz Ayuso, as potentially discriminatory and medically unsound. (CNA. See link in heading for further reading)

3. NETHERLANDS - Security (Health), Political: Dutch government will not advise public to wear masks - minister

FYSA: The Dutch government on Wednesday said it will not advise the public to wear masks to slow the spread of coronavirus, asserting that their effectiveness has not been proven. The decision was announced by Minister for Medical Care Tamara van Ark after a review by the country’s National Institute for Health (RIVM). The government will instead seek better adherence to social distancing rules after a surge in coronavirus cases in the country this week, Van Ark said at a press conference in The Hague. “Because from a medical perspective there is no proven effectiveness of masks, the Cabinet has decided that there will be no national obligation for wearing non-medical masks” Van Ark said. The decision bucks the trend as many European countries have made masks mandatory in stores or crowded outdoor areas. (Reuters. See link in heading for further reading)

4. JORDAN - Security, Political: Jordanian police beat and arrest protesting teachers

FYSA: Jordanian anti-riot police clashed with protesting teachers in the capital Amman on Wednesday, with several demonstrators being beaten with clubs and arrested. Hundreds of protesters headed toward the prime minister's office were met by hundreds of riot police who pushed the crowd back as they chanted “peaceful, peaceful,” and called for the prime minister’s resignation. Clad with clubs, police beat some of the protesters, several of whom fell to the ground after the clash. Dozens were arrested, according to an Associated Press video journalist at the scene. The journalist, Omar Akour, was also beaten on the head with a club, despite telling police he was a journalist, a declaration that was ignored. Akour fell to the ground after being struck, where another policeman kicked him. Police smashed his cellphone, destroying the footage he filmed of the clashes. (ABC News. See link in heading for further reading)

5. KUWAIT - Security (Health): Kuwait allows citizens, residents to travel to and from the country starting Aug 1st

FYSA: Kuwait will allow citizens and residents to travel to and from the country, starting August 1st, the government communication center tweeted on early Thursday, citing a cabinet decision. The decision excludes residents coming from Bangladesh, Philippines, India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Iran, Nepal. Last month, Kuwait announced it would partially resume commercial flights from August, but does not expect to reach full capacity until a year later, as its aviation sector gradually recovers from a suspension sparked by the COVID-19 crisis. (Reuters. See link in heading for further reading)

6. HONG KONG - Security, Political: Hong Kong police arrest four under new security law in move slammed by rights group

FYSA: Hong Kong police have arrested four people aged 16-21 for suspected offences under the city’s new national security law, the first such detentions outside of street protests since the legislation took effect a month ago. In a press conference shortly before midnight on Wednesday, a police spokesman said the three men and a woman, all students, were suspected of being involved in an online group that pledged to use every means to fight for an independent Hong Kong. “We arrested for ... subversions and for the organizing and also the inciting (of) secession,” said Li Kwai-wah, police superintendent at the national security department. “They wanted to unite all the independent groups in Hong Kong for the view to promote the independence of Hong Kong.” China considers Hong Kong to be an “inalienable” part of the country, so calls for independence are anathema to China’s Communist Party leaders. (Reuters. See link in heading for further reading)

7. AUSTRALIA - Security (Health): Victoria to announce over 700 new cases and 13 deaths overnight

FYSA: Victoria is reportedly set to announce a new record of over 700 cases today, marking a shocking new record for the nation. It’s understood that 13 new deaths will also be announced at a press conference later today. The state’s virus record last peaked on Monday, when 532 cases were announced. (News.com.au. See link in heading for further reading)

8. NEW ZEALAND - Security (Health), Political: Government may provide indemnity to NZ supplier of Covid-19 vaccine

FYSA: The Ministry of Health is planning to fast-track the approval process for a Covid-19 vaccine, and won't rule out offering a supplier indemnity from any potential claims resulting from its use. It said Medsafe will ensure a vaccine is safe for use, and it will not be used on people unless clinical data suggests it is safe and effective. A vaccine is the golden ticket back to normality, and is eagerly sought by people throughout the world. This week, pharmaceutical companies Moderna and Pfizer announced they were launching trials of a Covid-19 vaccine which they say, if successful, could lead to approval and widespread use by the end of the year. More than 150 coronavirus vaccine candidates are in various stages of development, with some two dozen prospects already conducting human testing. The Ministry did not rule out offering indemnity to a vaccine supplier, as has happened previously. Documents obtained under the Official Information Act show the previous Labour government accepted liability when it sourced a bird flu vaccine. In May 2007, the Ministry of Health obtained 100,000 vaccines from Baxter Healthcare, at a cost of up to $3.4 million. But as part of the purchase, the government had to provide indemnity to Baxter.(RNZ. See link in heading for further reading)

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