WHO has 7-8 'top' coronavirus vaccine candidates: 12.05.2020 Live updates

UN health agency calls for more funds to accelerate vaccine development as eased lockdowns trigger spike in cases.

  • The World Health Organization (WHO) is appealing for more funding to accelerate vaccine development for about seven to eight "top" candidates, according to the UN agency's chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

  • More than 80,000 people are now known to have died in the United States from COVID-19, according to Johns Hopkins University. Globally, nearly 285,500 have died. 

  • Russia is due to start easing coronavirus restrictions on Tuesday, despite reporting a record number of cases the previous day. 

Here are the latest updates.

Tuesday, May 12

07:55 GMT - Several coronavirus patients killed in Russia hospital fire

Several coronavirus patients were killed and about 150 evacuated after a fire in the intensive care unit at a hospital in Russia, according to the country's emergency ministry.

Read more here.

07:48 GMT - China says it is not yet time to relax measures

China's health authority said that the reappearance of local clusters of coronavirus cases in recent days suggests that counter-epidemic measures cannot be relaxed yet.

While prevention and control efforts have normalised, that does not mean measures can be eased, Mi Feng, spokesman at the National Health Commission, said at a media briefing.

Wuhan on Monday reported its first cluster of coronavirus infections since a lockdown on the city, the original epicentre of the outbreak in China, was lifted a month ago.

07:30 GMT - 'It can't last forever': UK to unveil changes to furloughing scheme

Britain will announce changes to a programme that is paying the wages of more than six million workers at businesses affected by the coronavirus, its health minister said.

Britain's finance minister, Rishi Sunak, will make a statement on the government's economic package at 11:30 GMT.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Monday that Sunak would speak about the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, which pays employers 80 percent of the wages of staff who are on temporary leave.

"Obviously it can't last for ever and we are going to have to make changes. He's going to announce the details of that," Health Secretary Matt Hancock told LBC radio.

07:23 GMT - Spain orders two-week quarantine for all overseas travellers

Spain ordered a two-week quarantine for all overseas travellers coming to the country from May 15.

Travellers will have to remain locked in and will only be allowed to exit for grocery shopping, go to health centres and in case of "situation of need", an official order said.

The quarantine has been enforced for all travellers incoming to Spain between May 15 and May 24, when the state of emergency is due to end.

Spain emerges from lockdown as strict measures ease further

07:14 GMT - Singapore reports 884 new cases

Singapore's health ministry said it confirmed another 884 coronavirus cases, raising the total number of infections to 24,671.

06:43 GMT - UK to set out details on making worksplaces safer

The British government will set out details on how to make workplaces safer as some businesses start to return to work after Prime Minister Boris Johnson set out a plan on how to exit the lockdown.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the business ministry would set out details.

"We work not only with employers but also with the trade unions who last night called what we're coming out with a step forward," Hancock said.

UK's Johnson says shops, schools could partially reopen from June

06:37 GMT - Ryanair to restore 40 percent of flights from July

Ryanair will restore 40 percent of flights from July 1, the Irish low-cost carrier said, after running a skeleton service since mid-March as the pandemic grounded planes worldwide.

"Ryanair will operate a daily flight schedule of almost 1,000 flights, restoring 90 percent of its pre-COVID-19 route network," it said in a statement.

Crew and passengers will wear face masks and have to pass temperature checks, it said.


06:23 GMT - French economic activity down 27 percent in April

French economic activity dropped 27 percent in April compared with its expected trajectory before the pandemic, the Bank of France.

The economy was expected to grow 0.1 percent in the first quarter of the year, the central bank said, with the 27 percent drop counted from where it would have reached in April.


Hi, this is Mersiha Gadzo in Doha taking over the live updates from my colleague Kate Mayberry in Kuala Lumpur.


05:00 GMT - New Zealand sticks with Taiwan over coronavirus and WHO

New Zealand's foreign minister on Tuesday said the country had to stand up for itself after China warned its backing of Taiwan's participation at the World Health Organization (WHO) could damage bilateral ties.

Taiwan, with the backing of the United States, has stepped up efforts to be allowed to take part as an observer at next week's World Health Assembly (WHA), the WHO's decision-making body - angering China.

Senior ministers in New Zealand last week gave their backing to Taiwan, saying the island should be allowed to join the WHO as an observer given its success in limiting the spread of the novel coronavirus. China responded that the Pacific country should "stop making wrong statements".

"We have got to stand up for ourselves," Winston Peters, New Zealand's foreign minister, said at a news conference when asked about China's comment. More on that story here.

04:00 GMT - Seoul nightclub case cluster rises to 101

The number of coronavirus cases linked to a 29-year-old man who went clubbing in the district of Itaewon in the South Korean capital has risen to 101 nationwide, Yonhap news agency quoted Seoul mayor Park Won-Soon saying on Tuesday.

The man tested positive for coronavirus on May 1-2 after visiting five clubs and bars in Itaewon. The authorities are trying to to track down thousands of people who visited the area around the same time, but many of the clubs' entry logs turned out to have false information, Yonhap said.

Park says the city has now secured a list of 10,905 people who visited Itaewon through data provided by mobile phone companies and has sent text messages urging them to be screened. They also found 494 people through credit card transactions.

03:30 GMT - Novelist Murakami to host special radio show for Japan

Japanese novelist Haruki Murakami is to host a one-off radio show to try and lift the country's spirits amid the continuing coronavirus pandemic.

Murakami will play his favourite songs and welcome listener comments during the special on May 22.

"I'm hoping that the power of music can do a little to blow away some of the corona-related blues that have been piling up," the novelist wrote on a webpage announcing the plan.

03:10 GMT - Governments urged to ensure health and safety of frontline nurses

The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and the International Council of Nurses are calling on governments to commit to ensuring the protection and safety of nurses and other health workers, especially in resource-poor, disaster and conflict settings.

The organisations say healthcare workers' health and safety is vital for a "competent" medical response during the coronavirus pandemic. 

"The pandemic has seen frontline nurses rightly recognised as heroes, but they are also ordinary mothers and fathers with their own families to protect," International Council of Nurses President Annette Kennedy said in a joint statement issued by the organisations. "They deserve to be able to work free from fear, whether because of a lack of PPE or because of harassment and attack.”

We've reported previously on the stigma faced by medical workers in the Philippines. Read that story here. May 12 is International Nurses Day.

Outside image - blog - 06 May - Philippines headline
Health workers don protective clothing before treating patients at a COVID-19 isolation facility in Manila. Some nurses and doctors in the country say they have been abused or forced from their homes as a result of their work [Ezra Acayan/Getty Images]

02:55 GMT - Trump stomps out of media briefing after 'racist' exchange

US President Donald Trump abruptly ended Monday's coronavirus briefing after a testy exchange with an Asian-American reporter that was denounced by several observers, including other journalists, as "racist".

TV network CBS News reporter Weijia Jiang asked Trump why he continued to insist that the US was doing better than other countries when it came to testing for the virus.

His response was to tell her it was a question she should ask China.

Read more on the exchange and the reactions to it here.

02:40 GMT - 'Catastrophic failure': Oxfam's verdict on efforts to forge a global ceasefire

The international community's attempts to forge a global ceasefire to help curb the spread of the coronavirus have been a "catastrophic failure", Oxfam International said in a new report published on Tuesday.

Oxfam said fighting continues across many conflict-torn countries despite a March appeal from United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres for warring sides to lay down their weapons.

"We expected leadership from the Council as well as many of those countries who say they support a ceasefire, but who nevertheless remain active participants in conflicts around the world, conducting military operations, selling arms and supporting third parties," said Oxfam Interim Executive Director Jose Maria Vera. 

Read more on that story here.

02:20 GMT - Iran to re-open mosques from Tuesday for certain nights in Ramadan

All mosques in Iran are to reopen temporarily on Tuesday, the official IRIB news agency reported.

The decision was made in consultation with the ministry of health, IRIB quoted Mohammad Qomi, the director of the Islamic Development Organization, as saying.

Qomi said later on Monday that mosques would only be open for three days commemorating specific nights during Ramadan and it was unclear whether they would stay open, according to the Fars news agency.

The move comes even though some parts of the country have seen a rise in infections.

02:00 GMT - Indonesians receive rice rations from automated dispenser

Indonesia is rolling out "rice ATMs" in a bid to ensure those worst affected by the coronavirus outbreak can get the foods they need to survive. 

The vending machines are packed with rations of good-quality rice and operated by magnetic cards.

"Each day we prepare 1.5 tonnes (of rice]) for around 1,000 residents," said Ibrahim, an army official supervising distribution in a military camp on the outskirts of Jakarta told Reuters. "We will continue doing it every day, without rest, even on weekends, we will distribute non-stop."

Ten machines have been set up in the capital with daily wage earners, the unemployed, those who do not own a house and people who live below the poverty line eligible for the rations.

Indonesia rice
A man collects his rice ration from an automated dispenser in Jakarta last week [Ajeng Dinar Ulfiana/Reuters]

01:45 GMT - UK PM Boris Johnson forced to clarify confusing lockdown measures

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been forced to clarify his government's plans to ease lockdown measures in the United Kingdom after a pre-recorded speech on Sunday night led to confusion. chaos and parody.

More on that story here.

And the parody - courtesy of comedian and actor Matt Lucas, and now watched millions of times - below.

00:30 GMT - Seven or eight "top" vaccine candidates: WHO chief

The World Health Organization chief says there are approximately seven or eight “top” candidates for a vaccine to combat the coronavirus and work on them is being accelerated.

WHO Director-General Ghebreyesus told a UN Economic and Social Council video briefing on Monday the effort to find a vaccine had been helped by the 7.4 billion euros ($8 billion) pledged a week ago by leaders from 40 countries, organisations and banks for research, treatment and testing.

But he added more funds would be needed.


“We have good candidates now,” Tedros said. “The top ones are around seven, eight. But we have more than a hundred candidates.”

“We are focusing on the few candidates we have which can bring probably better results and accelerating those candidates with better potential,” he said.

Tedros did not identify the top candidates.

00:05 GMT - Trump insists his administration has 'met the moment' on coronavirus testing

US President Donald Trump is insisting his administration has “met the moment” and “prevailed” on coronavirus testing. 

Speaking in the Rose Garden at the White House, Trump reiterated that everyone who wants a test can get one, although officials later clarified that to everyone who “needs” a test. 

The White House has now ordered everyone entering the West Wing to wear a mask, after two cases of COVID-19 were confirmed among staff.

Post a Comment