August 12, 2020 - 5:22 PM

New Zealand to make decision on coronavirus restrictions Friday

New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said her cabinet will decide on Friday on the next steps with regards to the new restrictions placed across the country, as it reported four new probable cases of coronavirus in the community.

Of the four new probable cases, two are work colleagues of a man who tested positive, and two are related to the household that one of the cases stayed at.

August 12, 2020 - 5:21 PM

Russia’s vaccine claims draw scepticism

Scepticism of Russia’s fast-track effort to develop a vaccine against the coronavirus is growing, with senior health officials abroad casting doubt on the country’s claims of success.

Russian President Vladimir Putin surprised the medical community on Tuesday by announcing the regulatory approval of a vaccine after less than two months of testing.

Putin touted the vaccine as a world first, but US Health Secretary Alex Azar poured scorn on Russia’s claims. He said vaccine development was “not a race”, and that safety and effectiveness were more important than speed.

Meanwhile Dr Anthony Fauci, the US’s top infectious diseases expert, said he had serious doubts about Russia’s vaccine.

Criticism of Russia’s move has also come from Europe. German Health Minister Jens Spahn warned that it would be “dangerous to start vaccinating millions” if the vaccine had not been sufficiently tested.

August 12, 2020 - 5:17 PM

Philippines talking to Russian vaccine maker on trials, seeks ‘complete dossier’

Philippine scientists were set to meet representatives of the Russian state research facility that developed a coronavirus vaccine, to discuss participation in clinical trials and access to its research data.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has lauded the Russian vaccine and offered to be “injected in public”, to allay public fears about its safety.

Health Undersecretary Rosario Vergeire said Philippine experts would meet representatives of research facility Gamaleya to discuss trials and would request a “complete dossier” on the vaccine.

August 12, 2020 - 5:17 PM

Sharp rise in cyber-attacks amid Covid-19

Global distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks tripled in the second quarter of 2020, said a report by global cybersecurity firm Kaspersky.

Kaspersky experts believe that behind the increasing malicious activity is the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

During the second quarter of 2020, DDoS attacks jumped 217 percent year-on-year, up 30 percent from the first quarter.

“The DDoS attack will send multiple requests to the attacked web resource – with the aim of exceeding the website’s capacity to handle multiple requests, and prevent the website from functioning correctly,” Kaspersky’s website said.

August 11, 2020 - 2:32 PM

Trump postpones G7 summit until after November

US President Donald Trump said he has asked that the G7 meeting be postponed until after the US presidential election in November, after a previous delay due to Covid-19 concerns.

The summit was slated to be held at Camp David in June, and after a tentative plan to postpone the meeting and switch to a virtual conference, Trump had floated in May the idea of doing it in person in the fall.

Trump said the White House had not yet formally invited leaders.

August 11, 2020 - 2:27 PM

Australia reports 331 new cases, 19 deaths

Australia’s second-most populous state of Victoria on Tuesday reported 19 new deaths from the coronavirus in the last 24 hours and 331 new cases, according to Reuters News Agency.

The state reported 322 infections and 19 deaths, its biggest one-day rise in casualties, a day earlier.

Victoria last week began a six-week total lockdown, closing down shops and businesses to contain a second wave of infections requiring its five million residents to stay home.

August 11, 2020 - 2:26 PM

Trump weighs blocking US citizens coming home if coronavirus infection feared

The administration of US President Donald Trump is considering a measure to block US citizens and permanent residents from returning home if they are suspected of being infected with the new coronavirus, according to the New York Times and Reuters News Agency.

The draft regulation would give the government authorisation to block individuals who could “reasonably” be believed to have contracted Covid-19 or other diseases.

Trump has instituted a series of sweeping immigration restrictions since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, suspending some legal immigration and allowing US border authorities to rapidly deport migrants caught at the border without standard legal processes.

August 11, 2020 - 2:24 PM

VIDEO: the world’s most expensive mask

Yvel Jewelery in Israel is making a $1.5 million face mask, complete with 18-karat white gold and 3,600 diamonds to help a businessman fight Covid-19.


August 11, 2020 - 2:22 PM

Bhutan orders first coronavirus lockdown

Bhutan ordered its first nationwide lockdown on Tuesday after a returning resident tested positive for coronavirus after being discharged from quarantine and coming into close contact with people in the capital Thimphu.

The lockdown was ordered after a 27-year-old Bhutanese woman, who returned from Kuwait and was discharged from quarantine after testing negative, tested positive at a clinic on Monday.

The case took the total in the tiny Himalayan kingdom to 113, still the lowest in South Asia, and it has yet to record a fatality.

August 11, 2020 - 2:21 PM

UK’s Heathrow Airport passenger numbers down 88 percent

Britain’s Heathrow Airport renewed its call for Covid-19 testing at airports as it reported an 88 percent plunge in July passenger numbers due to ongoing restrictions on travel which it said were strangling the UK economy.

Despite thousands of Britons holidaying overseas after months of lockdown, the government has already reimposed quarantine on arrivals from Spain, Luxembourg, Belgium, the Bahamas and Andorra.

“Tens of thousands of jobs are being lost because Britain remains cut off from critical markets such as the US, Canada and Singapore,” said Heathrow CEO John Holland-Kaye.

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