Fears are growing that South America is fast becoming the epicentre of coronavirus as is confirm 518,498 cases and 26,599 deaths. Brazil reported 291,579 cases and 18,859 deaths as of Wednesday, while Peru has one of the fastest-growing death rates in the world.
Meanwhile, in Chile cases of COVID-19 trebled since the start of the month, while Ecuador has also seen deaths from coronavirus rise threefold in May.
Doctors across the continent have warned the countries already-high death and confirmes cases are not showing the real picture and are not being reported because a lack of testing.
Isabella Rêllo, a doctor from a hospital in Rio de Janeiro, said: “What is happening is a huge underreporting.
“There are many more cases.”
While South Korea, which has managed to stabilise an increase in infections and is gradually reopening schools, has reported 20 new cases of coronavirus.
Nine of the cases were reported in Seoul.
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7.43am update: Next phase of testing to begin in older adults
The next phase of coronavirus vaccine testing will focus on the immune response in older adults, the director of the Oxford University vaccine group said.
Professor Andrew Pollard told BBC Breakfast the first phase of the testing looked at the vaccine’s safety in people aged under 55.
Speaking about the next steps in the trials, he said: “Now we are looking at whether older adults have a similar immune response, then looking at those in the front line.
“There are two groups, the first are those over the age of 55, and they are divided into those being 55 and 70, and those who are over 70.
“And in that group we are looking very closely at immune responses, particularly in the oldest adults where often immune responses are a bit weaker than in younger adults.”
7.32am update: Next phases begin in vaccine trial
Southampton researchers have begun recruiting volunteers for the next two phases in clinical trials they hope could bring a coronavirus vaccine this year.
Scientists at University Hospital Southampton (UHS) and the University of Southampton want to recruit up to 10,260 people from the area to trial the vaccine, the university said in a statement.
Work began in January on the vaccine, which uses a virus taken from chimpanzees and has been developed by the University of Oxford’s Jenner Institute and the Oxford Vaccine Group.
The first phase of trialling involved 160 health volunteers between 18 and 55.
Phases II and III involve vastly increasing the number of volunteers while expanding the age range to include older adults and children.
7.24am update: India reports biggest 24-hour rise in virus cases as lockdown eases
India registered some 6,000 new cases of the novel coronavirus on Friday, the country’s biggest jump in 24 hours, as New Delhi eases a nationwide lockdown and airlines prepare to resume some domestic flights.
The country of 1.3 billion people reported a total of over 118,000 confirmed cases on Friday, a roughly 5 percent increase from Thursday’s figures. Included in the total are 3,583 deaths.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has extended a lockdown, begun on March 25, to May 31, but relaxed rules in areas with lower numbers of cases and allowed state governments to issue their own guidelines on some matters.
7.18am update: UK extends COVID-19 mortgage payment holiday by three months
Britain has extended its mortgage payment holiday scheme for homeowners in financial difficulty during the coronavirus pandemic for another three months.
The Treasury said over 1.8 million mortgage payment holidays had been taken up from a scheme that was launched in March.
Homeowners still struggling financially could also have the option of making reduced payments.
John Glen, economic secretary to the Treasury said in a statement: “Everyone’s circumstances will be different, so when homeowners can pay some or all of their mortgage, they should work with their lender on a plan; but if they are still struggling, I want them to know that help is there.”
Published at Fri, 22 May 2020 06:14:00 +0000