Doha (Qatar), 22 April 2020 (Qatar Tribune)
By Ashraf Siddiqui
Russia and Qatar have been working for the joint development of a vaccine against coronavirus (COVID-19), Russian Ambassador to Qatar HE Nurmuhammad Kholov has said.
“Russia and Qatar have been maintaining close cooperation since the beginning of the COVID-19 epidemic. There’s an active work going on between the medical institutes of the two countries for the joint development of a vaccine,” the ambassador told Qatar Tribune.
He said the Qatari government institutes are also exploring the possibility of using the Russian test system for COVID-19, which gives results within 2-4 hours.
The Russian test system for coronavirus detection has already been sent to 13 countries. “We highly appreciate the emergency measures undertaken by the Qatari leadership to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. We note the high professionalism of the Qatari doctors, and the authorities concerned who work around the clock and selflessly for the well-being of Qatar’s citizens and residents,” the ambassador said.
The envoy paid his gratitude to the Qatari authorities, especially Qatar Airways, for organising accommodation, meals and charter flights for groups of Russian citizens to Moscow and St Peterburg in the beginning of April 2020.
The Russian envoy said the friendly relations between Russia and Qatar will continue to develop steadily. “Our country is committed to further strengthening relations with Qatar in different fields,” he said, adding that there is regular dialogue between heads of the states on a wide range of issues.
He said on February 23 this year, a visa-waiver agreement between Russia and Qatar came into force, which will hopefully boost the tourism sector.
On the important role of World Health Organization in tackling the COVID-19 pandemic, the ambassador said, “The whole world is facing a serious threat from the coronavirus. Despite urgent measures taken by the international community, the number of cases and deaths continue to grow steadily. In our opinion, the current situation has confirmed the importance of developing and following a collective strategy to combat the pandemic, and to provide assistance to states that need emergency support.”
Despite some shortcomings by WHO at the very beginning of the epidemic, he said, the organization’s role remains relevant as never before as it remains key to providing relevant information on combating COVID-19.
He said Russia and Qatar are among the first to come up with an initiative to assist other countries in their fight against the coronavirus pandemic.
At the end of March, under the directions of Russian President Vladimir Putin, military mobile aviation aircraft of the Russian Aerospace Forces delivered eight mobile teams of Russian military virologists and doctors, automotive complexes for aerosol disinfection of transport and territory, as well as medical equipment to Italy. Several military medical teams were also sent to Serbia.
From the beginning of April, Russian specialists are sharing their experience and organising training courses for Serbian medics working directly with coronavirus patients, as well as providing assistance in treatment and quarantine measures.
The Russian envoy lauded the role of Qatar in sending medical staff and two field hospitals to Italy. Virology institutes in Qatar and Italy are conducting joint research on the virus genome and the development of effective drugs.
“We can overcome difficulties and defeat the coronavirus by joint efforts,” he concluded.