Staunton, February 7 – The Russian Direct Investment Foundation says it expects Russia’s Sputnik-5 vaccine to be approved for use in 25 countries by the end of next week and more thereafter (ura.news/news/1052470640). In some of them, Moscow has reached agreement with governments and companies there to produce the Russian medication on a licensed basis.
But this process has not been without problems. In Argentina, a newspaper reports that the approval process has not been transparent or followed normal rules, raising questions as to how the contract was let (meduza.io/feature/2021/02/07/kak-rossiyskaya-vaktsina-sputnik-v-popala-v-argentinu).
And in other countries, including Lithuania, officials have criticized the Russian vaccine effort, prompting a sharp response from Russian officials and demands that the vaccine effort not be politicized (kp.ru/online/news/4178745/ and politobzor.net/228893-reshenie-o-registracii-sputnik-v-es-budet-prinimat-s-ogljadkoj-na-ssha.html).
Today, Russian officials reported registering 16,048 new cases of infection and 432 new deaths from the coronavirus, both numbers down from recent days and at levels not seen since last fall (t.me/COVID2019_official/2451). But in many places, the figures continued at a high plateau (regnum.ru/news/society/3182472.html).
In St. Petersburg, for example, officials reported that hospitalizations had increased “almost 88 percent” over the last week despite declines in infections and deaths there over the same period (kp.ru/daily/27236.5/4363891). Moscow officials said all Russians who want the vaccine will be able to get it by the summer (echo.msk.ru/news/2786660-echo.html).
Russians are looking forward to the reestablishment of face-to-face instruction in universities in the coming week (echo.msk.ru/news/2786736-echo.htmlregnum.ru/news/3184287.html). But some epidemiologists are worried about a new, third wave of the disease (svpressa.ru/health/article/289282/).
Economists warn that Russian businesses are continuing to close at a high rate and that their closures are driving down rents for commercial real estate in many places (kommersant.ru/doc/4674089 and krizis-kopilka.ru/archives/83561). Individual Russians are taking out more micro-loans in an effort to maintain their standard of living (krizis-kopilka.ru/archives/83546).