Pfizer postpones delivery of new batches of Covid-19 vaccines to 8 EU nations: Spain KSA extends suspension of int’l flights; Sri Lanka reopens airport



Saudi Arabia announced on Monday the extension of the suspension of international commercial flights for an additional week, the Saudi Press Agency reported. The Interior Ministry also announced the suspension of land and sea entry to the kingdom for the same period.
Saudi Arabia decided on Dec. 20 to suspend international flights for travelers, except in exceptional cases, temporarily for a week, which can be extended for another week. Also, the suspension of entry through the land and sea ports.
The decision was parts of precautional measures against COVID-19 after the spread of a new strain of the virus in some countries. The decision excludes the movement of goods, commodities, and supply chains. Non-Saudis could leave the country through flights, according to the precautionary measures adopted by the Ministry of Health.
Sri Lanka kicked off a pilot program to welcome tourists into the island country on Monday by re-opening a southern airport, after its international airports have been shut since March due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Chairman of the Bandaranaike International Airport, G.A. Chandrasiri told Xinhua that a group of over 200 Ukrainian tourists arrived in the Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport in order to see the possibility of re-opening the airports for all travelers next month.
Pfizer has postponed the delivery of new batches of its coronavirus vaccine to eight European nations including Spain, the Spanish health ministry said Monday, a day after the EU began its immunisation campaign.
The Spanish branch of Pfizer informed Madrid on Sunday night of the delay in shipments to the eight nations due to a ‘problem in the loading and shipment process’ at its plant in Belgium, the health ministry said in a statement. It did not specify which European nations aside from Spain were affected.
Pfizer has informed the ministry that the problem ‘was already resolved’ but the next delivery of vaccines ‘will be a few hours late’ and arrive in Spain on Tuesday, a day later than expected, the statement said. Asked about the delay during an interview with radio Ser, Health Minister Salvador Illa said it was due to a problem ‘linked to the control of the temperature’ of the shipments which was ‘apparently fixed’.
The vaccine must be stored at ultra-low temperatures of about -70 degrees Celsius (-112 Fahrenheit) before being shipped to distribution centres in specially designed cool boxes filled with dry ice.
Once out of ultra-low temperature storage, the vaccine must be kept at 2 Celsius to 8 Celsius to remain effective for up to five days.
Spain is scheduled to received 350,000 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine per week over the next three months. Most European Union nations began their immunisation campaigns against the virus this weekend with the Pfizer-BioNTech jab, beginning with the elderly, health care workers and politicians.—APP

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