The global coronavirus pandemic has killed over 903,000 people and infected nearly 28 million. Here are coronavirus-related developments for September 9:

A scientist filters out samples during the research and development of a vaccine against Covid-19 at a laboratory in St Petersburg, Russia. June 11, 2020.
A scientist filters out samples during the research and development of a vaccine against Covid-19 at a laboratory in St Petersburg, Russia. June 11, 2020. (Reuters)

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Russia starts giving new vaccine to volunteers in Moscow

Russia began inoculating volunteers in Moscow with the country's new coronavirus vaccine, the capital's deputy mayor said.

Russia announced last month that its vaccine, named "Sputnik V" after the Soviet-era satellite that was the first launched into space in 1957, had already received approval.

"The first participants have already had the vaccination at clinics in the capital," Deputy Mayor Anastasia Rakova, responsible for social development, said in a statement.

France reports 8,577 cases

French health authorities reported 8,577 new confirmed virus cases, the second-highest number of daily additional infections on record since the disease started to spread in the country at the end of the winter.

The number of people in France who have died from virus infections increased by 30, to 30,794, after rising by 38 on Tuesday. The cumulative number of cases now totals 344,101. 

UK reports 2,659 cases 

The United Kingdom has reported 2,659 confirmed new cases of the virus, according to government data published, compared with 2,460 a day earlier.

Eight new deaths were recorded compared with 32 deaths a day earlier.

Case numbers have started to increase in recent days but Britain's testing capacity has also grown since the peak of the first wave of the virus earlier this year.

Morocco extends health emergency as cases spike

Morocco's government extended a medical state of emergency until next month in the face of a sharp rise in virus cases.

"Today, the cabinet approved a project for a decree extending until October 10 the duration of the medical state of emergency to combat the virus," Prime Minister Saad Eddine El Othmani tweeted.

Morocco's economic capital of Casablanca, with 3.3 million residents, has been under lockdown since Monday, including a night-time curfew and closure of schools.

Turkey records 1,673 new cases

Turkey confirmed 1,673 new cases of virus, bringing the nationwide tally to 284,943, the top health official said.

The total number of recoveries reached 254,188 nationwide, with 943 new additions over the past 24 hours, according to Health Ministry data.

Meanwhile, the death toll rose to 6,837 as 55 more people lost their lives to the virus, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said.

Healthcare professionals in Turkey have conducted a total of over 8.1 million tests to diagnose the virus, Koca said.

Safety paramount in vaccine trials, suspensions "not unusual"

Safety is paramount in vaccine clinical trials and temporary suspensions are not unusual to evaluate any unexplained illness in a participant, the World Health Organization said regarding the pause in an AstraZeneca virus trial.

AstraZeneca has suspended global trials of its experimental virus vaccine after an unexplained illness in a participant, knocking the British drugmaker's shares as prospects for an early rollout dimmed.

EU reserves 200 million more vaccines

The European Commission announced it has reached a deal with a sixth pharmaceutical firm, this time BioNTech-Pfizer, to reserve a further 200 million doses of a potential virus vaccine.

"Our chances to develop and deploy a safe and effective vaccine have never been higher, both for Europeans here at home, or for the rest of the world," European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen said.

Russia's RDIF to sell 32M vaccine doses to Mexican firm

Russia's sovereign wealth fund said it had signed a deal to supply Mexican pharmaceutical firm Landsteiner Scientific with 32 million doses of the Russian-produced vaccine, Sputnik V.  the fund said in a statement.

Deliveries of the vaccine to Mexico are expected to start in November, pending approval by Mexican regulators, the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) said.

Russian regulators licensed the vaccine for domestic use in early August after initial, small-scale human trials. It is currently being tested on 40,000 people in Russia in a trial that launched on August 26.

Germany extends travel warning 

Germany will extend until September 30 its travel warning for countries outside Europe due to the coronavirus pandemic, a spokesman of the foreign ministry said. 

Pope Francis urges social distancing among faithful

Pope Francis, in his weekly general audience, appealed to people to look out for the health of others as well as themselves during the pandemic.

The Pope removed his face mask as he arrived at the San Damaso courtyard inside the Apostolic Palace, where last week he resumed his weekly public audiences after a nearly six-month shutdown.

While chairs were spaced out in the courtyard, the limited crowd massed along the barriers as Francis passed by and some lowered their masks to call out to him.

Coronavirus hits Belgian government coalition talks

A key negotiator trying to cobble together a Belgian coalition government has tested positive for the virus, co-negotiator Conner Rousseau said Wednesday, dampening hopes that one of the country's longest political impasses could be broken soon

Dutch-speaking Liberal Egbert Lachaert has the virus, forcing key politicians from six other centre-left and centre-right parties to resort to video conferencing as they try to hammer out a government program. Later Wednesday, Rousseau said the other six party leaders tested negative.

Rousseau said in a Tweet that everyone “is sticking to the quarantine rules while we work at a distance to find solutions for our country." He added there will be no formal physical meetings ahead of September 18.

Illinois university quarantines all student body

Bradley University in central Illinois is requiring its entire student body to quarantine for two weeks because of clusters of Covid-19 on campus and is reverting to remote learning, officials announced.

Officials of the private university said they have linked a spike of the virus to off-campus gatherings. The Peoria university is requiring students to limit nonessential interactions, stay in their off-campus apartments, residence halls and take classes remotely beginning Tuesday.

The university said it has tallied about 50 cases so far, adding emergency measures are needed to respond to the outbreak without disrupting academic progress.

Czech Republic reports 1,164 new cases

The Czech Republic reported its largest one-day spike in infections, with 1,164 new cases.

It was the first time since the March outbreak that the number of new daily cases topped 1,000, amid a surge over the past month, although the government wants to avoid strict lockdowns of the kind imposed at the start of the pandemic.

NFL starts overshadowed by virus

The NFL kicks off its new season shrouded in trepidation as America's most popular sport grapples with the new realities of life in the age of the virus.

An array of carefully crafted safety protocols designed to mitigate the threat, face their first serious test when the reigning Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs host the Houston Texans.

It marks the start of a five-month campaign that is scheduled to culminate with the Super Bowl next February in Tampa, Florida, one of the states worst affected by the pandemic which has claimed around 190,000 American lives.

China's CanSino defends coronavirus vaccine candidate 

China's CanSino Biologics Inc said that expert opinion on its high-profile vaccine candidate should not be followed "blindly" without sufficient clinical trial data.

Scientists outside the company have expressed concern that the effectiveness of CanSino's candidate Ad5-nCoV, which is based on a common cold virus to which many people have been exposed, could be limited. They said existing antibodies against the common cold virus might undermine Ad5-nCoV.

"Vaccine development is a practice-based science, and we should not blindly follow experts," Zhu Tao, chief scientific officer, said during an investor conference.

He said there were instances in which vaccines created using methods doubted by experts had obtained regulatory approvals after clinical trials proved they worked.

Germany reports 1,176 new cases

The number of confirmed cases in Germany increased by 1,176 to 253,474, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed.

The reported death toll rose by nine to 9,338, the tally showed. 

China airshow cancelled over virus measures

The organiser of China's biggest airshow, set for November in the southern city of Zhuhai, has cancelled the event because of coronavirus measures.

The biennial China International Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition, which usually draws key suppliers, such as Airbus SE , Boeing Co and Commercial Aircraft Corp of China, is now set for 2022, the organiser said in a statement.

The news follows the cancellation of this year's largest aerospace expo, Britain's Farnborough Airshow, because of travel curbs and an industry downturn resulting from the pandemic.

India's Covid-19 infections surges past 4.3 million

India added another 89,706 cases to the second-highest tally in the world, and the government said schools would reopen later this month for senior students after more than five months closed.

India’s famed white marble Taj Mahal in the northern city of Agra will also reopen September 21 with access restricted to 5,000 tourists daily to prevent overcrowding.

According to the Health Ministry, India’s total caseload on Wednesday reached 4.37 million. 

The ministry also reported 1,115 deaths in the past 24 hours, taking total fatalities up to 73,890. India has the second-most cases in the world and the third-most deaths behind the United States and Brazil.

Hawaii's Honolulu to extend lockdown

Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell says he will extend the city’s stay-at-home order for two weeks to control the coronavirus.

The stay-at-home order will be kept in place through September 24. 

But the mayor says he will modify the rules to allow solo activity at beaches, parks and trails. Individuals will be able to run, sit or eat by themselves in these public places beginning Thursday.

Caldwell says he extended the order because the number of new cases hadn’t declined as much as he wanted.

He says he wants to discuss how to cautiously reopen more activities.

South Korea daily figures stay below 200

The number of new infections in South Korea has stayed below 200 for the seventh straight day, amid elevated social distancing rules.

The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Wednesday the 156 cases added in the past 24 hours took the country’s tally to 21,588 with 344 deaths.

The agency says 100 of the new cases were locally transmitted patients in the densely populated Seoul metropolitan area, which has been at the center of a viral resurgence since early August.

Authorities in the Seoul area have recently ordered the shutdown of churches, night establishments and after-school academics while allowing restaurants to provide only takeouts and deliveries after 9pm.

South Korea on Monday reported 119 new cases in its lowest daily jump in more than three weeks.

AstraZeneca puts vaccine trial on hold over safety concern

AstraZeneca Plc has put a hold on the late-stage trial of its highly-anticipated Covid-19 vaccine candidate after a suspected serious adverse reaction in a study participant, health news website Stat News reported.

It quoted an AstraZeneca spokesperson as saying in a statement that the "standard review process triggered a pause to vaccination to allow the review of safety data."

The study is testing a Covid-19 vaccine being developed by AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford researchers at sites including the United States and the United Kingdom, where the adverse event was reported.

The nature of the safety issue and when it happened were not immediately known, although the participant is expected to recover, according to Stat News.

The report said the suspension of the trial was having an impact on other AstraZeneca vaccine trials - as well as on clinical trials being conducted by other vaccine makers.

Australia state Victoria sees 76 new cases

Australia's coronavirus hot spot of Victoria state on Wednesday reported 76 new cases and 11 deaths from the virus in the last 24 hours.

Victoria, the country's second-most populous state, a day earlier reported eight deaths and 55 cases.

The state, which extended its tough movement restrictions in its largest city of Melbourne until Sept. 28 to contain a second wave, is deepening its contact tracing programme to further ease a rise in daily new cases. 

UK plans hiring spree to harness big data in virus recovery

Britain is planning to train hundreds of data scientists as part of a new strategy to drive an economic recovery after the Covid-19 pandemic through smarter use of data and technology in policy-making.

The National Data Strategy project reflects calls from Prime Minister Boris Johnson's top adviser Dominic Cummings for an overhaul of the way the government makes decisions, and an appeal earlier this year for "weirdos and misfits" to shake up official thinking.

The government promises to train up 500 data scientists by 2021, announced new fellowships to work inside the prime minister's office, and proposed new ways of working with data, including sharing information with the private sector.

Brazil eyes vaccine rollout in January

Brazil's acting Health Minister Eduardo Pazuello has said that a Covid-19 vaccine would be rolled out for all Brazilians in January 2021.

"We are closing contracts with vaccine manufacturers and the forecast is that a vaccine will arrive for us starting in January next year and we will start vaccinating everyone," Eduardo Pazuello said in a video posted to social media.

Pazuello and other ministers were responding to questions from Esther Castilho, a 10-year-old YouTuber wearing a cowboy hat. Pazuello did not give details on which vaccine would be rolled out.

Brazil recorded 14,279 additional confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus, as well as 504 deaths from the disease.

Brazil has registered more than 4.1 million cases of the virus since the pandemic began, while the official death toll has risen to 127,464, according to ministry data.

New Mexico reassures teachers about being sued

New Mexico officials are reassuring teachers that they can’t be sued by students who get the coronavirus as some of them head back to the classroom.

Like most public servants in the US, teachers are protected by insurance that covers court costs. Officials with the state's school insurance authority say it’s too soon to say how great the risk of lawsuits against schools will be.

Many large districts have opted to stay online for now. But Tuesday marked the first day of in-person learning for some younger students in 20 districts and charter schools around the state.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies