Brazil Reports the Highest COVID-19 Cases in 2 Weeks

Published September 16th, 2020 - 08:44 GMT
A projection on a building honouring the 100,000 victims who died of the novel coronavirus COVID-19 in Brazil reads "100,000 Victims of (Brazilian President Jair) Bolsonaro" as the country became the second in the world to pass the grim milestone, in Botafogo neighbourhood in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on August 8, 2020. Mauro PIMENTEL / AFP
A projection on a building honouring the 100,000 victims who died of the novel coronavirus COVID-19 in Brazil reads "100,000 Victims of (Brazilian President Jair) Bolsonaro" as the country became the second in the world to pass the grim milestone, in Botafogo neighbourhood in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on August 8, 2020. Mauro PIMENTEL / AFP
Highlights
The coronavirus pandemic has killed over 939,000 people and infected more than 29 million worldwide. Here are the coronavirus-related developments for September 16:

Mainland China reports 12 new cases

Mainland China reported 12 new cases on September 15, up from eight a day earlier, the country's national health authority said on Wednesday.

The National Health Commission said in a statement that all of the new cases were imported infections involving travellers from overseas. 

The number of new asymptomatic infections rose to16 from nine a day earlier, but China does not count them as confirmed cases.

Total number of confirmed cases in the mainland now stands at 85,214, while the death toll remained unchanged at4,634.

Trump says vaccine could be weeks away 

US President Donald Trump said a vaccine could be three or four weeks away, underscoring predictions made by US public health officials and Pfizer Inc earlier this month.

Trump, speaking at a town hall hosted by ABC News in Philadelphia, defended his handling of the coronavirus crisis, and said a vaccine could be ready for distribution soon.

"We're very close to having a vaccine," he said. 

"If you want to know the truth, the previous administration would have taken perhaps years to have a vaccine because of the FDA and all the approvals. And we're within weeks of getting it you know could be three weeks, four weeks."

Mexico's death toll rises to 71,678 

Mexico reported 4,771 new confirmed cases and 629 additional fatalities, bringing its totals to 676,487 infections and 71,678 deaths, according to updated Health Ministry data.

The government has said the real number of infected people is likely to be significantly higher than the confirmed cases.

Australia's Victoria state reports 42 new cases, 8 deaths

Australia's hot spot of Victoria state on Wednesday said eight people died from in the last 24 hours and 42 new cases were confirmed.

Victoria, Australia's second-most populous state, a day earlier reported no deaths for the first time in more than two months and logged 42 cases.

With daily infections falling to double digits over the last several days from highs of 700 in early August, Victoria state authorities have relaxed some lockdown restrictions put in place to contain the virus.


Brazil registers highest virus death toll in two weeks

Brazil on Tuesday registered 1,113 new coronavirus deaths, the health ministry said, the highest number since Sept 2.

Deaths now total 133,119. Cases rose by 36,653 to 4,382,263.

Brazil authorises additional 5,000 volunteers for AstraZeneca's vaccine

Brazil's health regulator Anvisa authorised AstraZeneca PLC to test its vaccine on an addition 5,000 volunteers in the country for clinical Phase III trials, the Sao Paulo university running the test said.

The increase, in addition to 5,000 volunteers already recruited and being vaccinated, will help provide more solid results on the safety and efficacy of the vaccine, the Federal University of Sao Paulo said in a statement. 

It said volunteers over the age of 18 are being sought in the states of Rio Grande do Norte and Rio Grande do Sul, at opposite ends of Brazil.

Pfizer's vaccine study shows mostly mild-to-moderate side effects

Pfizer Inc said participants were showing mostly mild-to-moderate side effects when given either the company's experimental coronavirus vaccine or a placebo in an ongoing late-stage study.

The company said in a presentation to investors that side effects included fatigue, headache, chills and muscle pain. Some participants in the trial also developed fevers - including a few high fevers. The data is blinded, meaning Pfizer does not know which patients received the vaccine or a placebo.

Kathrin Jansen, Pfizer's head of vaccine research and development, stressed that the independent data monitoring committee "has access to unblinded data so they would notify us if they have any safety concerns and have not done so to date."

The company has enrolled more than 29,000 people in its 44,000-volunteer trial to test the experimental vaccine it is developing with German partner BioNTech.

Over 12,000 study participants had received a second dose of the vaccine, Pfizer executives said on an investor conference call.

Canada not ruling out lockdown amid surge 

Canada's health minister said she could not rule out another full lockdown if needed amid a surge in new cases, but added Ottawa was significantly more prepared to manage the virus than during the first wave.

Patty Hajdu's comments followed a pledge she made to take a "surgical approach" to tackling outbreaks. 

Canada reported 1,351 new cases on September 14, the highest single daily addition since May 1, amid school reopenings and flare-ups tied to group gatherings.

"We see those numbers rising, but a full economic shutdown would be very difficult for this country. Not to rule it out, because ... listen we will protect the health of Canadians and we will do what it takes," Hajdu told reporters on Tuesday.

Canada's 10 provinces are responsible for introducing health restrictions, though the federal government could use emergency laws to impose a lockdown if deemed necessary.

China suspends poultry imports from second US plant over Covid-19

China has suspended imports from an OK Foods poultry plant in Fort Smith, Arkansas, because of coronavirus cases among workers, the USA Poultry & Egg Export Council said on Tuesday.

China, the world's top meat importer, has blocked products from some plants in foreign countries as part of an all-out effort to control the spread of Covid-19.

The OK Foods plant is the second US poultry facility to be blocked because of an outbreak among employees, aft er Beijing suspended imports from a Tyson Foods Inc plant in June.

"We don't think that either one of these two are justified, especially considering the fact that the virus cannot be transmitted in poultry meat," said Jim Sumner, president of the USA Poultry & Egg Export Council.

Chinese customs authority GACC suspended imports from the OK Foods facility, he said.

OK Foods, owned by Mexico's Industrias Bachoco , did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Minnesota urges campaigns to follow virus rules

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz is urging the campaigns of President Donald Trump and Democrat Joe Biden to abide by the state’s guidelines for slowing the spread when the candidates visit Minnesota on Friday.

In a letter to both campaigns Tuesday, the Democratic governor wrote, “Partner with us in the fight against Covid-19.”

Trump has an airport rally scheduled for Friday in the north-central Minnesota city of Bemidji. 

Biden’s campaign has not yet announced a city or venue for his visit.

Walz noted that Minnesota requires face masks inside public places and strongly encourages them for outdoor gatherings. 

Trump has largely shunned face masks, while Biden has encouraged their use.

The governor did not say in his letter how state and local officials will respond if either campaign fails to follow the guidelines for their events. 

Walz spokesperson Teddy Tschann said they hope to hear back from the campaigns soon, and that they’ll comply voluntarily.

This article has been adapted from its original source.


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