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Russian emergencies ministry plane with sanitary watchdog’s lab lands in South Africa
The Russian Emergencies Ministry’s Ilyushin Il-76 aircraft carrying the national sanitary watchdog’s experts and a mobile laboratory has landed in the South African city of Johannesburg, a TASS correspondent reported.
The aircraft has delivered a group of virologists, infectious disease experts, doctors from the sanitary watchdog and the Russian Health Ministry and the Emergencies Ministry’s task force, as well as a mobile lab created on the basis of a KamAZ vehicle.
The sanitary watchdog said earlier that the Russian experts would carry out joint research with their South African colleagues and exchange experience in combating the coronavirus.
The flight was conducted under Russian President Vladimir Putin’s order based on South African President Cyril Ramaphosa’s request.
On November 25, the South African Health Ministry announced the discovery of a new coronavirus variant. The World Health Organization (WHO) named it after the Greek letter omicron on November 26. According to the WHO, "this variant has a large number of mutations, some of which are concerning." Omicron cases have already been detected in more than 60 countries, including Russia, with most patients identified in South Africa. The country’s most densely populated Gauteng Province has so far reported the majority of new infections. Scientists have already figured out that the Omicron variant is highly contagious but does not cause severe forms of the coronavirus in vaccinated people. A number of researchers believe that all of Omicron’s features aren’t clear yet so the coordinated efforts of specialists are crucial for promptly studying the strain and its impact on human health.
The Russian specialists will join the research of the Omicron strain
The Russian Il-76 plane carrying sanitary medics, which departed from Russia on December 11, continued its travel to South Africa, following a transitional landing in a Central African country, air traffic control service told TASS Monday.
The plane is expected to enter the South African airspace in a couple hours. The plane will land in the Johannesburg International Airport. The Russian specialists will join the research of the Omicron strain, as South Africa became the global ground zero for the spread of this new coronavirus variant.
This mission is being carried out under Russian President Vladimir Putin’s order, which came in response to a request from South African President Cyril Ramaphosa.
[Source: Tass, Johannesburg and Pretoria, Saf, 13Dec21]
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