Listen: ‘We’ve agreed on a research fund for coronavirus vaccine’

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

The Council of Health Ministers has agreed on the setting up of a research fund to develop a coronavirus vaccine, Deputy Prime Minister and Health Minister Chris Fearne said during an interview on Newsbook Hour aired on 103fm.

The newly emerging virus was on top of the Council’s agenda. Fearne explained that while epidemic centres were set up in China, the situation in Europe was more contained. The European Member States agreed that each case should be isolated to avoid an epidemic of the coronavirus. Therefore whenever a new case is identified, the person who is infected is isolated.

The European Health Ministers agreed on coordinating efforts to ensure that possible infected coronavirus individuals are identified as soon as possible. Fearne added that there is a race to develop a vaccine against the deadly virus. To this end, the Health Ministers agreed on the setting up of a fund to help accelerate its pursuit of a vaccine for Covid-19.

Fearne explained that during the council meeting the distribution of such vaccine was discussed to avoid a situation where the bigger markets would buy the vaccine, leaving smaller markets without access. This would mean that the vaccine would have to be bought from the European Commission to ensure equitable distribution of the vaccine among the Member States.

Individuals arriving from regions where the virus is present are being identified and screened. A quarantine zone was set up in Mater Dei in case someone was found to be infected. The test results for all those who were tested were negative so far, Fearne said.

Fearne explained that the isolation capacity at Mater Dei Hospital has been double in case someone is found to have coronavirus. Protective wear was also purchased to ensure the safety of health care professionals who would treat coronavirus infected patients.

Protocols have been put in place in the eventuality of having someone who would be carrying the virus.

Coronavirus will be discussed in the House of Representatives next week.