Coronavirus

More than 30 African countries reached out to Russia to ask for assistance in tackling coronavirus outbreaks, Andrei Kemarsky, an official said.

Kemarsky, who is Head of the Department of Africa at the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday.

“More than 30 African states have asked Russia for assistance in fighting the pandemic and their number continues to grow,” Kemarsky told the News.ru news portal.

The assistance they have asked for includes testing kits, personal protection equipment, ventilators, ambulance vehicles, field hospitals, vaccines, therapeutics and other medical supplies.

Others are the deployment of Russian health experts to Africa where they can assist in the development of COVID-19 vaccines, according to the official.

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Russia strives to “feasibly respond” to these requests, including by means of public-private partnerships with participation of African-based Russian businesses, considering such assistance Moscow’s contribution to “strengthening the African national potential in the fight against threats and pandemics.”

With regard to the vaccine, in particular, Kemarsky said Moscow was reviewing the requests on a one-by-one basis with consideration of Russia’s current production capacity.

Russia was the first country to register a coronavirus vaccine, labeled Sputnik V, which is currently completing the last phase of clinical trials.

“In general, we remain open for mutually beneficial cooperation in this area and we are ready to consider the supply of vaccines to foreign markets and should there be interest, the possibility of localising their production,” Kemarsky said.

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As noted by the diplomat, Russia has already provided coronavirus-related humanitarian assistance of various kinds to Guinea, South Africa, Sierra Leone, Djibouti, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Central African Republic, Angola and Cabo Verde.

The World Health Organisation currently categorises Africa as the second least affected region to Western Pacific.

As of Tuesday, close to 1.3 million COVID-19 cases were confirmed across the African continent, including 29,191 deaths.