Coronavirus: What’s happening around the world on Thursday

Coronavirus: What’s happening around the world on Thursday

The latest:

As the race for a vaccine against the novel coronavirus intensifies, rich countries are rushing to place advance orders for the inevitably limited supply to guarantee their citizens get immunized first — leaving significant questions about whether developing countries will get any vaccine before the pandemic ends.

Earlier this month, the United Nations, International Red Cross and Red Crescent and others said it was a “moral imperative” that everyone have access to a “people’s vaccine.” But such grand declarations are unenforceable, and without a detailed strategy, the allocation of vaccines could be extremely messy.

“We have this beautiful picture of everyone getting the vaccine, but there is no road map on how to do it,” said Yuan Qiong Hu, a senior legal and policy adviser at Doctors Without Borders in Geneva. She said numerous problems must be resolved to manage distribution and that few measures have been taken.

A lab technician works to find a vaccine for COVID-19 in a lab, in Buenos Aires on Thursday. (Agustin Marcarian/Reuters)

In the past, Hu said companies have often applied for patents for nearly every step of a vaccine’s development and production: from the biological material such as cell lines used, to the preservative needed to stretch vaccine doses and even how the shots are administered.

“We can’t afford to face these multiple layers of private rights to create a ‘people’s vaccine,”‘ she said, urging “very open conditions” so every manufacturer capable of doing so can produce a vaccine once it’s proven effective.

Worldwide, about a dozen potential COVID-19 vaccines are in early stages of testing. While some could move into late-stage testing later this year if all goes well, it’s unlikely any would be licensed before early next year at the earliest. Still, numerous rich countries have already ordered some of these experimental shots and expect delivery even before they are granted marketing approval.

Britain and the United States have sunk millions of dollars into various vaccine candidates, including one being developed by Oxford University and manufactured by AstraZeneca. In return, both countries are expected to get priority treatment; the British government declared that if the vaccine proves effective, the first 30 million doses would be earmarked for Britons.

According to a database maintained by Johns Hopkins University, there were more than 8.4 million reported cases worldwide as of Thursday afternoon, with more than 450,000 deaths.

The U.S. accounted for more than 2.1 million cases, with more than 118,000 deaths.

What’s happening with COVID-19 in Canada

WATCH | Students went to online classes, but it’s not clear how much:

After three months of schools being shuttered in the Atlantic provinces, a CBC News survey of school boards found most students used online learning, but there’s no data on how much school work was done or how often students were online. 2:06

As of 3:35 p.m.. ET on Thursday, Canada had 100,163 confirmed and presumptive coronavirus cases, with 62,448 considered recovered or resolved. A CBC News tally of deaths based on provincial data, regional health information and CBC’s reporting stood at 8,348. The number, which had been at 8,349, went down by one when public health officials in Ontario’s Peel Region revised their figures.

WATCH | Trudeau describes how Canada’s COVID-19 contact tracing app will work:

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau unveils a new smart phone application designed to warn people when they have come into contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. 2:39

African nations next week will hold a high-level conference on coronavirus vaccines to “position ourselves to not be left behind” in access, the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention chief said.

John Nkengasong said the World Health Organization director general will attend the discussion that also will focus on “how we can manufacture a vaccine ourselves.”

He said countries including Senegal, Egypt and South Africa already have vaccine manufacturing capabilities.

Concern has been high among Africa’s 54 nations about access to testing and medical supplies amid intense global competition.

Africa’s virus cases are now above 260,000, with South Africa representing about 30 per cent of infections.

Self-employed taxi driver Joseph Muthiani, left, drives a client as he sits behind a plastic sheet as a measure to protect himself and clients against the spread of the coronavirus in Nairobi. (Simon Maina/AFP/Getty Images)

More than 3.7 million tests for the virus have been conducted in Africa, where WHO has said the pandemic is “accelerating” on the continent of 1.3 billion people. Ten African nations account for about 80 per cent of testing, while the rest are “still struggling,” Nkengasong said.

India recorded the highest one-day spike of 12,281 COVID-19 cases, raising the total to 366,946 even as the government ruled out reimposing a countrywide lockdown.

India’s death toll reached 12,237, a rise of 334 in the past 24 hours, according to the Health Ministry. The number of recoveries touched 52 per cent, at 194,325.

India stands behind the U.S., Brazil and Russia in the number of cases.

A woman rolls up a protective sheet at the entrance of a house so health-care workers wearing personal protective equipment in Mumbai can check the temperature of residents. (Francis Mascarenhas/Reuters)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday rejected media reports that the government was considering reimposing lockdown. India has to think about further unlocking, while minimizing all possibilities of harm to people, he said.

The March 25 lockdown is now restricted to high-risk areas.

The worst-hit states are Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and New Delhi.

Turkish authorities have made the wearing of masks mandatory in three major cities to curb the spread of COVID-19 following an uptick in cases since the country allowed many businesses to reopen.

The governors of Istanbul, Ankara and Bursa announced the mask rule late Wednesday in line with a recommendation by the country’s scientific advisory council. Masks are obligatory in 47 of 81 provinces. The statements said masks must be worn in all public spaces.

Medical workers of the Bakirkoy District Health Directorate wearing protective suits arrive at a building during a coronavirus antibody testing program in Istanbul on Wednesday. (Murad Sezer/Reuters)

Turkey is seeing an upward trend in the daily number of infections after the government authorized cafes, restaurants, gyms, parks, beaches and museums to reopen, lifted inter-city travel restrictions and eased stay-at-home orders for the elderly and young at the start of June.

Turkey has reported 182,727 confirmed cases and 4,861 deaths from COVID-19 since March.

Britain’s government is scrapping its existing coronavirus tracing smartphone app and switching to a model based on technology supplied by Apple and Google, the BBC reports.

The government’s app is being trialled on the Isle of Wight, and was expected to be rolled out in the rest of the country later. But the program, previously hailed as a fundamental pillar of the United Kingdom response to the pandemic, has been delayed.

On Wednesday, the official responsible for the app said it may not be ready until the winter and that it is not the “priority” at the moment.

The data gathered by the Apple-Google design is expected to be less centralized, but it is said to have less privacy concerns than the government version.

The government was to brief reporters later Thursday about the next stage of development in the contact tracing app.

The Czech Republic is set to almost fully abandon its most visible tool of fighting the pandemic — face masks. Health Minister Adam Vojtech said that starting July 1, wearing masks on public transport and indoors such as in stores, theatres and cinemas will no longer be mandatory.

Vojtech said masks will remain mandatory only in regions with local clusters and outbreaks. Those places will be determined later in June.

Patrons wearing protective masks sit apart in observance of physical distancing measures inside a movie theatre in Prague. (Gabriel Kuchta/Getty Images)

Currently, they include the capital of Prague and two eastern regions. The country has registered several dozen new COVID-19 cases daily for a month while a total of 333 people have died.

Montenegro is reporting a resurgence of the coronavirus in the small Balkan country that had no infections for weeks.

Montenegrin health authorities said late Wednesday they have registered seven new cases after two more were confirmed earlier this week.

A country of some 620,000 people, Montenegro imposed strict lockdown measures during the outbreak. Montenegro recently started reopening, hoping to attract tourists to the Adriatic coast.

A Beijing government spokesperson said the city has recorded a total of 158 confirmed cases since the new outbreak was detected last week at a large wholesale market.

Hu Hejian said close contacts are being traced to locate all possible cases as quickly as possible amid strengthened testing and other prevention and control measures. Anyone who has been near the Xinfadi market since May 30, along with their close contacts, will be quarantined at home for 14 days and tested at least twice, said city government official Zhang Ge.

A man registers to undergo a swab test for the coronavirus at a testing centre in Beijing on Wednesday. (Greg Baker/AFP/Getty Images)

Beijing reported 21 cases Thursday, down from 31 a day earlier.

Beijing has barred entry to all confirmed and suspected cases, patients with fever and close contacts from abroad and other provinces, Zhang said. China also has barred most foreigners from entering, and even foreign diplomats arriving from abroad must undergo two weeks of home quarantine.

All indoor public venues remain closed, Zhang said. Offices, restaurants and hotels in high-risk areas also will be shut down, he said.

In the U.S., Florida has shattered its previous record for the number of COVID-19 cases recorded in a day, according to data released Thursday.

The Florida Department of Health on Thursday reported 85,926 cases statewide, a daily jump of 3,207 cases, the largest daily increase since the start of the pandemic in March. The previous record — 2,783 cases — occurred Tuesday. The state has had at least 3,061-related deaths.

Shoppers wear protective face coverings in Miami Beach, Fla., on Wednesday. (Lynne Sladky/Associated Press)

At least some of the increase reflects expanded testing especially among people who are younger and without symptoms. But the rate of positive tests also has been ticking upward in recent days, raising alarm.

The announcement came shortly after federal officials revealed that more than 86,000 Floridians applied for new jobless benefits last week, a drop of almost 30 per cent from the previous week as pandemic-related restrictions continued easing up across the state.

The easing of restrictions has accompanied new outbreaks around Florida, forcing some local leaders to pull back.

WATCH | Infectious disease specialist speaks about spike of cases in 23 U.S. states:

States that didn’t shut down fast enough and reopened too early are seeing a rising number of hospitalizations, says Dr. Teena Chopra of Wayne State University. 3:52

Dozens of people have gathered outside the prime minister’s office complex in Thailand to demand that the government scrap an emergency decree it enacted in March to deal with the COVID-19 outbreak.

The protesters believe Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha’s government no longer needs emergency powers to control the coronavirus and instead is using them to harass its political opponents.

Authoritarian leaders using the coronavirus crisis as an excuse to increase their power and quash dissent have become a concern in several countries, most notably in Hungary in Europe and the Philippines in Southeast Asia.

Published at Thu, 18 Jun 2020 12:29:06 +0000