Coronavirus Global Roundup April 14: Nearly 2 million cases, Russia braces for impact, China approves 2 more vaccines for clinical trials
The world is now approaching two million COVID-19 cases; at last count, 1.93 million people had been infected, and over 120,000 have died.
The world is now approaching two million COVID-19 cases; at last count, 1.93 million people had been infected, and over 120,000 have died. Some countries such as Spain, Austria and Italy are slowly easing lockdowns, but with major caveats; for example, only a few shops and business have opened in Italy, while the harder-hit areas remain on lockdown.
Emmanuel Macron, the French president said that restrictions would start being lifted in May provided that the decrease in cases persisted and the public respected physical distancing regulations.
Russia saw its second consecutive day with a record rise in cases - this time over 2,000 cases were reported in the last 24 hours. Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, warned the country of testing weeks ahead.
New York state now has over 10,000 deaths, however, the mayor Andrew Cuomo said that deaths and cases appear to be plateauing, indicating that the worst may be over.
China has begun to report cases from the North part of the country now; Heilongjiang, which shares a border with Russia reported 79 cases on Tuesday. Hubei province, the epicentre of the outbreak in China, reported no new cases or deaths.
China approves two vaccines for clinical trials
Two new experimental vaccines, one by Sinovac Biotech and the other by China National Pharmaceutical Group, have been approved for human trials according to local media.
According to China Daily, these experimental vaccines are the first inactivated COVID-19 vaccines to be accepted for clinical trials.
This takes the total vaccines under trial in China to three; a firm called CanSino Bio, in partnership with the military, had started trials in March, which have now progressed to the second phase.
Hydroxychloroquine study halted due to safety concerns
A part of a trial to use hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19 was withdrawn after patients in the high dosage group developed heart rhythm, or arrhythmia complications. After recruiting just 81 participants, researchers found that those who were being given a 600 mg dose twice daily were more likely to be showing signs of abnormal heart rhythm. Two patients developed severe cardiac problems before dying.
While hydroxychloroquine has been touted by various governments as a possible cure, medical experts across the world have expressed caution. The antimalarial drug is largely considered safe but is known to exacerbate cardiac conditions. Sweden has asked hospitals not to use the drug for COVID-19 patients.
Taiwan reports no new cases
Taiwan, which has been praised for its management of COVID-19 so far, had more positive news today as no new cases were reported in the last 24 hours. This was the first time in over a month since no cases were reported; the last time was on March 9th.
The country has 393 cases to date, along with six deaths. Health checks were started as early as the 31st of December on incoming passengers from China; this proactive measure has been credited for keeping the number of cases low.
There is no national lockdown in the country, but masks are recommended in public and physical distance is observed. Anyone entering the country is quarantined for 14 days as well.
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