12.03.21 - 18.03.21 Sup SEAkers!
Police place barricades in front of the Chinese Embassy in Yangon, Myanmar p, as protesters march past on 12th Feb 2021. Beijing is being pulled into the ulcerous crisis in Myanmar, a country China had carefully stitched into its big plan for Asia.
This Week's News Spotlight:
Vietnam starts trials for second homegrown vaccine candidate | Thailand suspends AstraZeneca vaccine because of ‘adverse symptoms’ | Singapore plans ‘immunisation certificates’ for Malaysian cargo drivers | New bribery charge against Aung San Suu Kyi means she could be jailed for 15 years | Silent Chinese companies weigh costs of Myanmar’s growing chaos
Vietnam starts trials for second homegrown vaccine candidate - Nikkei Asia
Vietnam is reportedly considering obtaining vaccines from Russia, with the Health Ministry announcing on Tuesday that Rusia donated 1,000 doses of its Sputnik V vaccine.
Vietnam has kickstarted the first phase of clinical trials for its second homegrown COVID-19 vaccine candidate, with about 120 volunteers between the ages of 18 to 59 receiving doses of Covivac. The trials will end by April 20 and an interim report will be released by July; all trials for the vaccine will be finished by the end of the year.
The Covivac trials come in the wake of the first domestically developed vaccine Nanocovax, which began its second phase of trials in February. If effective, Nanocovax could receive emergency approval to begin distribution by May.
The country started mass vaccinations on March 8 using a vaccine developed by British-based company AstraZeneca. So far, more than 24,000 healthcare workers have been vaccinated, but Germany, France, and other European countries have suspended the AstraZeneca vaccines after reports of recipients forming potentially deadly blood clots, though no association with the vaccine has been established.
Thailand suspends AstraZeneca vaccine because of ‘adverse symptoms’ - FT
The country has procured approximately 61 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine and will be importing 2 million doses of the Chinese-made Sinovac vaccine.
Thailand has postponed its prime minister’s vaccination with the AstraZeneca vaccine after Denmark, Norway, and Iceland paused their rollout of the inoculation, due to concerns about adverse health effects. Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha and members of his government had been originally scheduled to receive the public vaccinations on Friday morning.
Thailand is the first country in Asia to suspend its vaccination drive. The three European countries suspended the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine after a small number of recipients were reported to have developed blood clots; however, the European Union’s medicines regulator said that there has been no indication thus far that the clots were due to the vaccine.
Singapore plans ‘immunisation certificates’ for Malaysian cargo drivers - SCMP
About 549,000 Singaporean residents have received their first COVID-19 vaccine jabs.
Singapore is set to issue ‘immunisation certificates’ for Malaysian cargo drivers who have received both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, which some experts say is a precursor to a broader vaccine passport. These certificates will allow drivers who have been fully inoculated in Singapore to be exempt from daily on-arrival tests 14 days after their final dose of the vaccine.
Drivers who were not vaccinated in Singapore will still be allowed to enter, but are subject to border health measures, such as on-arrival tests. The border between Singapore and Malaysia is one of the busiest in the world, with about 300,000 Malaysians entering Singapore daily before the pandemic.
New bribery charge against Aung San Suu Kyi means she could be jailed for 15 years - SCMP
Multiple countries have condemned the coup, which started on Feb 1.
Myanmar’s military regime has piled more charges on ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi. The military junta has charged Suu Kyi with violating an anti-corruption law, which means she could face up to 15 years behind bars, on top of four other offences.
Suu Kyi’s lawyer has denied the allegations, but authorities have prevented Suu Kyi from meeting her legal team.
The junta accused Suu Kyi of using funds from the Daw Khin Kyi Foundation for personal gain, leasing state-owned land for the foundation’s office, and purchasing land for a training centre in Naypyidaw at a price lower than the market value.
Silent Chinese companies weigh costs of Myanmar’s growing chaos - Nikkei Asia
China has received criticism for its implied support of the military coup and regime; products of Chinese companies have been targets of boycott movements and protests have been held outside the Chinese embassy in Yangon.
Chinese companies, Myanmar’s largest investors, have remained silent on their views towards the military coup and subsequent violence in Myanmar, even as Beijing reportedly ordered its state enterprises to evacuate nonessential workers.
Several Chinese companies have been the targets of arson attacks and 32 factories with Chinese investment suffered damage over the weekend. Although the perpetrators were not identified, the attacks have intensified public scrutiny on the stance of Chinese companies on the coup and confrontations between the military and protestors, which has led to more than 200 civilian deaths as of Tuesday.