A lab technician holds an experimental vaccine against HIV in Soshanguve, near Pretoria, as South Africa launched a major clinical trial of the vaccine, which scientists hope could be the key to fighting the disease. Picture: AFP
A lab technician holds an experimental vaccine against HIV in Soshanguve, near Pretoria, as South Africa launched a major clinical trial of the vaccine, which scientists hope could be the key to fighting the disease. Picture: AFP

Covid-19 global wrap: US death toll may double; Russian vaccine passes early tests

By Reuters Time of article published Sep 5, 2020

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The World Health Organization does not expect there to be widespread vaccinations against Covid-19 until the middle of next year, a spokeswoman said on Friday, stressing the importance of rigorous checks on their effectiveness and safety.

ASIA-PACIFIC

* India's total coronavirus cases surged beyond 4 million with a rise of 86 432 infections on Saturday, making it the third country in the world to surpass that mark, following the United States and Brazil. The number of deaths rose by more than 1 000 to 69 561.

* The state of Victoria reported 76 new infections and 11 deaths on Saturday, as trends in Australia's hot spot for the disease continued to gradually improve after nearly five weeks of a hard lockdown in the state capital Melbourne.

EUROPE

* Spain came close to clocking half a million coronavirus cases on Friday after authorities registered 4 503 new infections, bringing the total to 498 989 - the most in Western Europe. The new wave of contagion has been less deadly than early in the pandemic, however.

* Surging cases in Ankara are stretching hospitals to the limit and Turkish authorities need to impose a fresh lockdown to bring the virus under control, doctors in the Turkish capital say.

AMERICAS

* White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said on Friday he thinks the Trump administration will in a matter of weeks unveil additional aid for US airlines, which have been dealt a blow by the pandemic that has grounded most flights.

* US deaths from the virus will reach 410 000 by the end of the year, more than double the current death toll, and deaths could soar to 3 000 per day in December, the University of Washington's health institute forecast.

* Cuba rolled out the red carpet for the first planeload of tourists to arrive on the island in months as it struggles toward a post-pandemic new normalcy.

MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA

* Gaza has reported hundreds of coronavirus infections since the first case emerged in the general population last week, and a UN aid group warned that a lack of key medical items could make it hard to treat the disease effectively.

MEDICAL DEVELOPMENTS

* WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said "vaccine nationalism" would only slow the effort to quash the pandemic and called for vaccines to be used fairly and effectively.

* Russia's "Sputnik-V" Covid-19 vaccine produced an antibody response in all participants in early-stage trials, according to results published on Friday by The Lancet medical journal that were hailed by Moscow as an answer to its critics.

* Several Covid-19 vaccine developers, including Pfizer Inc, Johnson & Johnson and Moderna Inc, plan to issue a public pledge not to seek government approval until their vaccine candidates are proven to be safe and effective, the Wall Street Journal reported.

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