foreign minister said Monday the rights to coronavirus vaccine research were
not for sale, following reports Donald Trump wanted the US to buy exclusive
access to a potential vaccine developed by a German biotech firm.
The comments, made in an
interview with media group Funke, come as scientists raced to develop a vaccine
against the deadly coronavirus that has killed some 6,000 people, seen millions
placed under lockdown and devastated global markets.
“German researchers play a
leading role in drug and vaccine development and we cannot allow others to seek
exclusive results,” Heiko Maas told Funke.
sources close to the German government, it has been reported that Trump had
offered “a billion dollars” to secure research into a vaccine by German biotech
firm CureVac “only for the United States”.
“Germany is not for sale,”
economy minister Peter Altmaier told broadcaster ARD on Sunday, reacting to the
At a news conference, interior
minister Horst Seehofer was asked to confirm the attempts to court the German
“I can only say that I have
heard several times today from government officials today that this is the
case, and we will be discussing it in the crisis committee tomorrow,” he said.
CureVac said in a statement
Sunday that it “abstains from commenting on speculations and rejects
allegations about offers for the acquisition of the company or its technology”.
Hassan Rouhani accused the United States on Wednesday of trying to spread
“fear” in Iran over a deadly outbreak of the novel coronavirus.
Coronavirus has claimed the
lives of 19 people among 139 infections in Iran, including the deputy health
minister — making it the deadliest outbreak outside China.
“We shouldn’t let America
mount a new virus on top of coronavirus that is called… extreme fear,” Rouhani
told a weekly cabinet meeting, a day after US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo
accused Iran of suppressing information about the outbreak.
The Americans “themselves are struggling with coronavirus. Sixteen
thousand people have died of influenza there but they don’t talk about their
own (dead),” Rouhani said.
been scrambling to contain COVID-19 since Wednesday last week when it announced
the first two deaths in Qom, a centre for Islamic studies and pilgrims that
attracts scholars from abroad.
Its authorities have closed
schools, universities, cultural centres, sporting events and deployed teams of
sanitary workers to disinfect buses, trains and public spaces.
On Tuesday, Pompeo accused the
Islamic republic of concealing the true extent of the outbreak.
“The United States is deeply
concerned by information indicating the Iranian regime may have suppressed
vital details about the outbreak,” he told reporters in Washington.
Rouhani said Iran had been
making progress in the fight against the virus as “we witness fewer (hospital)
visits and progress in treatment”.
“If 100 people were
hospitalised in the early days, seven to eight could have died, but this number
has dropped very much today,” he said.
Iranian president also vowed to be transparent about the numbers of deaths and
infections caused by the virus.
Iran has reported at least one
death from coronavirus and two cases every day since February 19.
The United States
government has given the federal government conditions under which the recent
visa policy affecting six countries, including Nigeria, could be reviewed. The
US government maintained that once Nigeria improves her data intelligence, such
that it would be easy to investigate any immigrant wishing to visit the United
States and meet information-sharing systems, the ban might likely be reviewed.
The US Ambassador
to Nigeria, Her Excellency, Mary Beth Leonard, restated this yesterday when she
paid a courtesy visit to the Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris
Ngige, at the ministry’s headquarters, Abuja. Recall that the US recently announced
that it was extending visa restrictions to six more countries, including
Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation. Other countries are Eritrea, Sudan,
Tanzania, Kyrgyzstan and Myanmar. But people from those countries will still be
able to visit the US as tourists. Mrs Leonard explained that the immigration
policy does not affect people currently resident in the US. She said: “I think
I need to clarify something for you here. The immigrant visa ban does not
affect people who are currently resident in the US. It does not cancel the
status of anyone currently in the US.
“What Secretary Pompey
said was something that was meant to be temporary. And it is about problems
with information sharing which are investigable, achievable and resolvable and
we look forward to Nigeria in a very short while being able to meet those
information-sharing goals so that the decision can be reviewed.
“Students’ visas are not affected by the current visa ban”. On diversification policy, the US Ambassador to Nigeria said there was a need for Nigerians with skills to export them so that they will not be seen as illegal immigrants when they go abroad to work.
“I think for Nigeria, you have an interesting story about the diversification of your economy and the prosperity of your economy and its people. You know Nigerians are so well known at home and abroad for their industriousness.
“You know you hear about much of the activity in the informal sector. So I wonder how you think about capturing that entrepreneurial spirit and bring it into the formal sector in service and to enhance employment. “I am happy you raised it, we talk to you on what we are doing about it. We are trying to make Nigerians have their skills so that we can even export those skills, so they will be formalized when they go out, they will not be illegal immigrants.
“We want to go out as formalized persons, whether they are carpenters, electricians, welders. So we have our schools here. We have skills acquisition centres and we are upgrading all of them so that the certificates that come out of our skills departments will be generally accepted. So we want to Internationalize it.
“We are upgrading so that they can even become entrepreneurs”. Ngige, while interacting with the Ambassador, said a total of 14,000 labour inspections had been done, out of which about 3,900 child labour defaulters were detected and empowered economically. He said some were encouraged to go to school or learn skills. The Minister said,
“We call on the US to help us build schools in those areas where child labour is endemic. You can also help in setting up clinics and empowerment programmes in those localities”. Ngige also spoke on the economic downturn, saying the country made a mistake depending on a single revenue source for decades.
Chika Ofili, a 12-year-old Nigerian boy based in the United
Kingdom, has received the ‘TruLittle Hero Awards’ for discovering a new
‘TruLittle Hero Awards’ is an annual ceremony that recognizes, celebrates, and
rewards outstanding achievements of remarkable children and young people under
the age of 17 years all over the UK.
At the 2019
edition of the award, which held over the weekend, Ofili secured an award for
discovering a new formula with which to test for divisibility by seven.
Chika’s math teacher, who is also the head of the mathematics department at the
Westminster Under School, said he discovered the new formula while solving a
reportedly given the young boy a book, which contained several divisibility
tests used to quickly work out if a figure is exactly divisible by the numbers
2 to 9, but the book had no memorable test for checking divisibility by 7.
Chika was said to have solved this by devising a new formula,
which involves taking the last digit of any whole number, multiplying it by 5
and then adding it to the remaining part of the number to get a new number.
scholar also worked out an algebraic proof to back this up. If this new number
is divisible by 7, then the original number is divisible by 7, he found.
the only Nigerian in the diaspora to have earned the accolades for a phenomenal
achievement in recent times.