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China's biotech company BGI group will open two COVID-19 testing labs in Serbia to help fight the COVID-19 pandemic, according to an agreement it signed with the Serbian government Wednesday.The two "most modern, new" labs -- one in Belgrade and the other in the southern city of Nis -- will add a combined daily testing capacity of 3,000 to Serbia, said Prime Minister Ana Brnabic at the signing ceremony.
The additional testing capacity is more than triple Serbia's current capability, according to a press release by the Serbian government.Branislav Nedimovic, Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management signed the deal with Zhu Yanmei, executive director of the BGI Group, and Li Ning, BGI's Vice President, via video conference.The agreement foresees that Serbia provides and adapts the space for the new labs as well as testing kits, while the BGI, headquartered in the southern city of Shenzhen, pledged to supply key instruments.
The lab in Belgrade has already been adapted and will start working in several days, while the other one in Nis, the third-largest Serbian city, will be built anew in 45 days, Brnabic said at the ceremony."This is only a part of the enormous support in technology, protective equipment, ventilators, knowledge, and expert assistance that we received from China so far during this struggle [against COVID-19]," she said.
"Without such support and assistance, Serbia wouldn't be so successful in fighting COVID-19. Without your knowledge and assistance, Serbia wouldn't be able to resist this disease," she added.
Chinese ambassador Chen Bo, attending the signing ceremony at the Palace of Serbia, said Chinese technicians and equipment will arrive in Serbia in the following days.But investors seemed hopeful on Thursday, sending oil prices rising.
Last week US President Donald Trump claimed Russia and Saudi Arabia would step back from their stand-off and agree to slash output.Then OPEC kingpin Saudi Arabia called for an urgent meeting of producers "to try to reach a fair deal" to "stabilize the oil market" following a phone call between its Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Trump.
Thursday's meeting intended to conclude an agreement to cut production by between 10 and 15 million barrels per day, Kuwait's Oil Minister Khaled al-Fadhel said in an interview with the Kuwaiti Al-Rai Daily published Thursday.Late Wednesday a spokesman for the Russian energy ministry told the TASS agency that Moscow was "prepared to cut 1.6 million barrels a day," which would be the equivalent of 14 percent of Russia's production in the first quarter of 2020.