Five dead after fire breaks out at world’s biggest Covid vaccine facility in Pune, India
Five people have died after a blaze erupted at the headquarters the world’s largest coronavirus vaccine manufacturer. Huge plumes of smoke were seen today billowing from the Serum Institute of India (SII) complex, in the western city of Pune. The site is producing millions of doses of the Covishield Covid vaccine, developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University. It is not known what caused the blaze, which was brought under control after about three hours but is still not fully extinguished.
The SII have said the production of the vaccine would not be affected by the blaze. Pune’s police department tweeted: ‘We mourn the unfortunate demise of the five people.’ The force said it would ‘conduct a thorough screening of the premises once the fire is doused’.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted: ‘Anguished by the loss of lives due to an unfortunate fire at the @SerumInstIndia ‘In this sad hour, my thoughts are with the families of those who lost their lives. I pray that those injured recover at the earliest.’ The Maharashtra government said the fire could have been caused by an electrical fault during construction work. SII is manufacturing a vaccine developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca for India and many other low- and middle-income countries. The company is also getting ready to produce a vaccine being developed by the U.S. company Novavax Inc.
SII Chief Executive Adar Poonawalla tweeted: ‘I would like to reassure all governments & the public that there would be no loss of COVISHIELD production due to multiple production buildings that I had kept in reserve to deal with such contingencies.’ Poonawalla, whose family owns SII told media the fire would mean delays in launching new products and revenue losses of more than 10 billion rupees (£100million), adding that equipment worth millions of dollars has been damaged. But a source familiar with the matter said manufacturing of Covid-19 shots would not be affected and that none of the new production equipment for vaccines was housed in the building that caught fire. The company announced a compensation of 2.5 million rupees (£25,000) for families of the people who died at the ‘under-installation facility’.
This month Indian regulators approved two vaccines, Covishield, produced by the Serum Institute, and Covaxin, made by Bharat Biotech, based in Hyderabad. India launched one of the world’s largest vaccine rollouts on Saturday, with the aim of inoculating 300million people by July. The country exported its first batch of the Covishield vaccine on Wednesday, to Bhutan and the Maldives. It has also sent 2million doses to Bangladesh and 1million to Nepal. India plans to offer 20million doses to neighbouring countries in South Asia, followed by Latin America, Africa and Central Asia.
Courtesy of metro.co.uk
‘Extremely loud’ explosion in city centre – at least three people dead in Madrid, Spain
At least three people have died and six others were injured after an “extremely loud” explosion destroyed a residential building belonging to the Catholic Church in Madrid’s city centre.
The blast happened near a nursing home and a school – and videos and images shared on social media showed rubble scattered in the street.
The city’s mayor said early information indicated the blast was caused by a gas leak, and confirmed that one of the bodies has been discovered under the rubble. Someone was working on a boiler at the time.
Two people have been transferred to hospital for further treatment – and one of them is in a serious condition with a head injury.
Rescue teams, firefighters and police are all at the scene.
Mayor Jose Luis Martinez-Almeida said there was an ongoing fire in the six-storey building devastated by the blast.
It was a complex that provided residential training for priests and also gave meals to homeless people, a neighbour said.
The mayor said a nearby school had suffered minor damage.
The school was believed to be empty at the time, according to TVE, because classes had not resumed yet following a record snowfall in the Spanish capital on 9 January.
All nursing home residents were safe and evacuated, according to police sources.
The mayor said the residents were being taken to a hotel across the street.
A witness, Leire Reparaz, said she heard a loud explosion a few minutes before 3pm local time as she headed to her home near the Puerta de Toledo landmark.
She told the AP news agency: “We didn’t know where the sound came from. We all thought it was from the school.
“We went up the stairs to the top of our building and we could see the structure of the building and lots of grey smoke.”
Another witness, Tania Tapia, said: “Suddenly there was a brutal explosion behind my back and that pushed me forward.
“I didn’t know where it came from, my ears were ringing so I turned around and I saw a lot of smoke and the sidewalk full of debris.”
The explosion happened in Toledo Street. Footage on Twitter showed smoke coming from the building, a number of wrecked cars and debris strewn in the road.
A police spokeswoman said the area was being evacuated but could not confirm the cause of the explosion.
Courtesy of Sky News
Ukraine rocked as huge gas pipeline explosion ‘leaves entire villages shaking’
A giant gas explosion has been reported in the Ukraine – with the explosion believed to have happened on a main gas pipeline in the Urengoy – Pomary region.
Local news reports have suggested the explosion occurred near the village of Kalaydyntsi – while footage and photos from the area showed a giant ball of fire lighting up the sky.
No casualties have been reported – with the giant explosion taking place on Saturday.
A local news update stated: “Emergency gas shutdowns are possible. Please, if the gas is turned off, make sure that all gas burners are closed.”
Footage shared on Twitter showed a giant ball of fire erupting skywards as locals reported a deafening explosion.
One Twitter user, sharing footage, wrote: “The explosion thundered on the gas pipeline of the Lubnygaz enterprise in the #Poltava region of #Ukraine.”
Another video uploaded to Twitter showed the flames erupting on the horizon while a roar from the fire could be clearly heard.
Locals filming the incident could be heard gasping and exclaiming in the background of the video.
While further footage from a busy motorway showed flames and dark smoke leaping from the source of the explosion near the village of Novaki.
The BBC reports Ihor Mosiychuk, who resides in the vicinity of the explosion, said that the incident occurred between the villages of Yenkivtsi and Tarandyntsi.
He is reported stating via Facebook: “The explosion was so strong that the windows in the neighboring villages were shaking.”
He added: “You can see the fire.”
Meanwhile, local emergency services have warned that some towns, cities and regions will be affected by emergency gas shut downs.
Kyiv Post reports local authoritie warning: “The list of settlements that have been disconnected or will be disconnected from the gas supply is being specified.”
They add: “JSC Lubnygaz is putting all emergency services on duty in an operational mode.”
Courtesy of dailystar.co.uk
Five dead, 15 injured in plastic factory explosion in West Bengal’s Malda, India
Five persons were killed and 15 critically injured in a blast in a plastic factory in West Bengal’s Malda district on Thursday, police said.
The incident took place in Sujapur area around 11 am, a senior police officer said.
“Four factory workers were killed and four others critically injured in the explosion that ripped the establishment apart,” he said.
A huge police contingent has been sent to the spot to bring the situation under control. Fire tenders are trying to douse the blaze and rescue survivors from beneath the debris, he said, adding an investigation is underway.
Courtesy of thestatesman.com