The German government has warned of suspected attempts to disrupt the coronavirus vaccination campaign by foreign intelligence groups as well as conspiracy theorists, according to a media report. “Several suspected attempts to spy on German vaccine manufacturers have already become known,” newspapers of the Funke media group quoted the Interior Ministry as saying. The statement was in response to a Green party inquiry. The ministry added that the danger of cyberattacks was “classified as high.” The report said facilities for research, production, and approval of vaccines are considered potential targets for espionage and sabotage by foreign intelligence services. The ministry also warned of possible disruptive action by conspiracy ideologues. Former TV chef turned conspiracy theorist Attila Hildmann, for instance, wrote on his Telegram channel: “the syringes in vaccination centers resemble the bombs of the Dresden bombing,” and told his followers that protests are pointless and that they must instead take targeted action “against injustice.”
Clashes broke out on Sunday in Amsterdam, Eindhoven and Stein, a small city near the Dutch-Belgium border, over the introduction of a nationwide curfew to curtail the spread of the coronavirus. The violence came hours after a group of young people torched a viral testing center overnight in Urk, a fishing industry city northeast of the Dutch capital. Security forces in both cities used water cannon as well as batons, horses and dogs — and in Eindhoven tear gas — to quell the protests. Vehicles were also set ablaze and shops plundered near Eindhoven’s main railway station, reported regional broadcaster Omroep Brabant.
Brazil began distributing the 2 million ready-to-use AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines a day after they arrived from India following a major diplomatic effort. Until now, Brazil’s widely criticized vaccine rollout has depended on a shot developed by China’s Sinovac Biotech Ltd in partnership with Sao Paulo’s Butantan Institute. The government also has a deal with AstraZeneca to locally produce up to 100 million doses, but the delivery of the active ingredient needed to manufacture them has been plagued by delays from China. Meanwhile, support for President Jair Bolsonaro has fallen sharply, a Datafolha poll shows, amid a brutal second wave and a lack of vaccines. With more than 216,000 fatalities, Brazil has the world’s second-deadliest coronavirus outbreak.
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