Government, Bio Farma secure vaccine bulk supply from China’s Sinovac

first_imgUnder the first agreement, Sinovac is to start shipping the coronavirus vaccine to Indonesia in November.“First is the preliminary agreement [on] the purchase and supply of the COVID-19 vaccine [bulk], which is an agreed commitment to supply 40 million doses from November 2020 to March 2021,” Retno said.The second agreement is a memorandum of understanding that extends the cooperation until the end of 2021, under which Sinovac commits to providing priority access to Bio Farma to purchase more vaccine bulk.Sinovac last week launched the final stage of the phase three clinical trial for the CoronaVac vaccine it is developing with Bio Farma, with the final stage involving 1,620 patient volunteers in Bandung, West Java. Southeast Asia’s largest economy has secured priority access to the COVID-19 vaccine bulk developed by China’s Sinovac Biotech through a deal with state-owned pharmaceuticals Bio Farma.A vaccine bulk is an aqueous form of the purified antigens, or vaccine, provided in a large container from which the individual vials are filled.Foreign Minister Retno LP Marsudi announced the deal on Thursday evening at a virtual press conference in Sanya in China’s south, where Bio Farma signed two agreements on the vaccine cooperation with Sinovac. The six-month clinical trial of the vaccine in Indonesia comes as the country continues to struggle with rising infection, recording 2,266 new cases on Thursday to bring the cumulative nationwide tally to 147,211 confirmed cases.Read also: Sinovac launches late-stage trial for potential COVID-19 vaccine in IndonesiaState-Owned Enterprises Minister Erick Thohir accompanied Retno to the meeting with Chinese officials in the resort city on Hainan Island, the Chinese outpost in the South China Sea. The two ministers also met with representatives from China Railway during the overseas visit, Retno’s first in six months.Earlier this month, Erick claimed that Bio Farma would be ready to produce 250 million doses of CoronaVac per year once the trials had been completed by the year-end.Retno is the first foreign minister China has received amid its ongoing COVID-19 response efforts on the mainland. According to a statement from the Chinese foreign ministry, her reception “shows that China and Indonesia both attach high importance to bilateral relations”.The Indonesian delegation also explored potential collaboration opportunities with other Chinese drug manufacturers, including Sinopharm. The state-owned Chinese pharmaceuticals has said that its candidate vaccine may cost no more than 1,000 yuan (US$144.27) for two injections once it had completed its clinical trials and began mass production, reports Reuters.CanSino Biologics is another Chinese company that Indonesia is considering for possible cooperation. The company has started late-stage clinical trials for its candidate vaccine in a number of countries, while Beijing has already approved its use for the nation’s military.In a meeting with Chinese counterpart State Councilor Wang Yi to follow up a virtual meeting in late July, Retno stressed the importance of an effective, safe, timely and affordable vaccine for COVID-19.“Indonesia has seen strong commitment from a number of pharmaceutical manufacturers in China to collaborate on the vaccine [development] with Indonesia. We are also seeing the commitment of the Chinese government in supporting this cooperation,” she said.Meanwhile, Erick said that the visit intended to ensure that any transformation of Indonesia’s health industry through this cooperation would result in a win-win solution.“This is so Bio Farma won’t just be seen as a tailor [whose job is just to piece together garments], but as a party to an agreement with Sinovac that includes transfer of knowledge and technology,” he said. The minister issued similar remarks to CanSino and Sinopharm as well.“Hopefully, we can soon rise above COVID-19 in step with the time frame […] and [achieve] mass immunization of the Indonesian people by early next year,” Erick added.Retno was quick to add that Indonesia would continue shopping around for initiatives with other countries and that it was already in touch with parties other than China, “so that we can get better results amid the very tight competition”.Read also: Indonesia teams up with global manufacturers in vaccine huntIndonesia is also developing its own COVID-19 vaccine prototype, dubbed Merah Putih, toward achieving vaccine self-sufficiency.With nearly 23 million confirmed cases around the world, hundreds of pharmaceutical research institutes are scrambling to come up with a vaccine while dozens of governments are taking aggressive steps to secure any future stockpiles.The alarming pace at which pharmaceutical firms are fast-tracking vaccine development has prompted the World Health Organization to warn drugmakers that proper vaccine development could take 12 to 18 months.To further clear the path in supply and distribution, Indonesia and China have also agreed to arrange a “travel corridor” for essential businesses.“This is the third travel corridor for essential businesses that we have made with other countries, after the United Arab Emirates on July 29 and South Korea on Aug. 17,” said Retno, who is heading to the UAE with Erick after the China visit.Other bilateral issues discussed during the visit included trade as well as the ongoing investigation over alleged human trafficking of Indonesian crew aboard Chinese fishing vessels. Regional issues included the China-ASEAN dialogue partnership, which will mark 30 years next year.“Indonesia is confident that the ASEAN-China partnership will stay strong as long as it is always carried out [according to] international law, including when we discuss the South China Sea issue,” Retno said.Topics :last_img read more

New Dutch coalition aims for pensions reform in early 2018

first_imgThe four coalition partners making up the Netherlands’ new government have said they aim to conclude an accord for a new pensions contract early in 2018.Their governing agreement – presented yesterday – made clear that the cabinet would also provide clarity about how a transition from average to age-related “degressive” pensions accrual would take shape.The necessary legislation must be approved by parliament by 2020 before the implementation of the new arrangements can start.In the governing accord, the coalition partners – the liberals (VVD), the Christian democrats (CDA), liberal democrats (D66) and small religious-right party CU – said that they would increase the freedom of choice for pension fund participants by introducing the option of a lump sum at retirement. They also promised that the government would contribute to the transition costs – largely as a compensation for the affected participants – to degressive pensions accrual. Costs have been estimated at between €25bn and €100bn.The coalition agreement also indicated that the new cabinet, which is still to be constructed, would keep the principle of mandatory participation. This comes despite three of the coalition partners initially advocating freedom to pick a pensions provider.The four parties also said that they would facilitate the collective transition of existing pension claims into individual pension assets.The new pensions contract is most likely to comprise individual pensions accrual combined with a certain amount of collective risk sharing, and is to be added to the existing range of pension arrangements.Recently, the coalition partners said they wanted to enable the social partners of employers and workers – which have been discussing the issue in the Social and Economic Council (SER) for the past two years – to come up with their own proposals.Commenting on the government’s plans, the Netherlands’ Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis (CPB), said that abolishing average pensions accrual would be bad for purchasing power. It estimated that combined pension contributions would have to rise by €1bn.The coalition agreement also said that deploying pension assets to pay off a mortgage would not be possible for the time being. This option would be looked at after the reform of the pensions system has been completed, the parties said.The governing accord did not mention plans to further limit the tax-facilitated pensions accrual either. Currently, the annual tax-friendly accrual is 1.875% for a salary of up to €103,317.The agreement explicitly stated that the new government rejected additional European pension rules, emphasising that “the pensions system would remain a local competence”.The new coalition government must operate cautiously, as it has the smallest possible majority in parliament.As a consequence, three of the four political leaders won’t take up a ministerial post, but instead will stay on as chair of their respective parliamentary parties.The new cabinet will again be headed by VVD leader Mark Rutte, who has been prime minister for the past two Dutch parliaments.last_img read more

Pardew ready to hit the Toon

first_img He said: “I didn’t think we deserved to lose the game, but we didn’t do enough to win it. We had enough of the ball, we had good movement in front of the ball, we just lacked maybe that wee bit of creativity and invention in the final third of the field. “Anything we had to deal with until the goal, we dealt well with defensively, there were no real issues. But we made a mistake and the mistake, unfortunately, has cost us the game and that’s the biggest disappointment of it all.” Rodgers, however, was unhappy that referee Andre Marriner only booked Sissoko for a second-half challenge on Joe Allen when he felt a red card was the only option. He said: “The only one I have seen was Sissoko’s challenge on Joe Allen where he should have been sent off, if you watch that again. “That was the only challenge I thought that probably looked not as bad at the time, but when you see it again, it was a bad challenge.” While Pardew can enjoy another week on the training ground – albeit without midfielder Gabriel Obertan, who suffered a serious thigh injury – Rodgers faces the task of raising spirits for Tuesday night’s daunting Champions League trip to Real Madrid. He said: “We have worked very hard for a couple of years to get to this level and playing against Real Madrid in the Bernabeu says we’ve been doing okay. “We are in a transitional phase and have to do better. It’s a wonderful game for us. It is a big week against the best in the world at the moment. We will go into the game hoping to get something out of it.” Pardew said: “It is Halloween! Bobby Robson had some dark days here, don’t worry about that. If you are Newcastle manager, it is not all gin and tonics and aperitifs. There will be rough days. “I always knew, and I kept saying it, that we have good spirit and good talent. I am not saying I saw the wins coming, but I knew there was talent. “Our fans are brilliant. It will be fantastic in the town tonight – I might even go in myself, the first time for a while. “That is what this city is about. It breathes and loves football. When it does not go well, they let you know, and when it is going well, they let you know. You take the good with the bad.” Pardew, who celebrates four years in the job next month, sent out his team brimming with confidence after victories over Leicester, Tottenham and Manchester City. And while it was a commendable defensive solidity which limited the visitors, for whom Mario Balotelli and Raheem Sterling were largely anonymous, it was Newcastle who found the cutting edge. There were 17 minutes remaining when the once again impressive Moussa Sissoko played a one-two with full-back Paul Dummett before sending in a low cross which was cut out by Alberto Moreno, but swiftly dispatched into the back of the net by Perez. It would have been 2-0 four minutes later had Liverpool keeper Simon Mignolet not managed to keep out Remy Cabella’s goal-bound effort with his foot and Newcastle emerged as deserved winners, although not in the view of Reds boss Brendan Rodgers. The 53-year-old, who has come under intense pressure from disaffected fans in recent weeks, saw striker Ayoze Perez come off the bench to fire the Magpies to a 1-0 win at St James’ Park, their third on a trot in the league inside a morale-boosting fortnight. He wore a broad smile at the final whistle as one fan dressed as a skeleton paraded around the stand behind him holding a placard which said, “Pardew, back from the dead”. Alan Pardew was in good enough spirits to consider a rare night out among Newcastle fans after guiding them to a fourth successive victory as Liverpool became their latest victims. Press Associationlast_img read more