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Sunday, July 12, 2020, 18:16
Thailand plans Nov human testing for COVID-19 vaccine
By Agencies
Sunday, July 12, 2020, 18:16 By Agencies

A woman and a boy wearing face masks walk past Harrods' mascot bears wearing face masks in a shopping mall in Bangkok, Thailand, on July 10, 2020. (MLADEN ANTONOV / AFP)

DUBAI / JERUSALEM / ADEN / MUSCAT / ANKARA / MELBOURNE / DHAKA / KUALA LUMPUR / NEW DELHI / WELLINGTON / JAKARTA - Thai researchers plan to begin human trials of a potential vaccine for the new coronavirus in November and are preparing 10,000 doses, a senior official said on Sunday, aiming for a vaccine that could be ready for use by late next year.

Following favorable results in trials on primates, the next step is to manufacture doses for human trials, said Kiat Ruxrungtham, director of the Bangkok’s Chulalongkorn University vaccine development program.

“At first we were going to send them in June, but it was not easy to plan everything,” Kiat said at a news conference.

Thailand's first facility should complete production in October and send the products to a second facility, which should finish by November, he said. Originally the earliest target was September, but Kiat said not enough vaccine can be ready by then.

Facilities in San Diego and Vancouver will produce 10,000 doses for the trials for 5,000 people. The first group, aged 18 to 60, will receive different doses of the vaccine, he said.

Thai company BioNet-Asia is preparing its facilities for large-scale manufacturing if the trials prove successful, he said.

Thailand on Sunday had a total of 3,217 confirmed infections, with no local transmissions reported in over a month, and 58 COVID-19 deaths.


Armenia on Saturday reported 489 new COVID-19 cases, taking its tally to 31,392, according to the country's center for disease control.

Data from the center showed that 710 more patients have recovered in the past 24 hours, bringing the total number of recoveries to 19,419.

Meanwhile, 13 people died in the last 24 hours, raising the death toll to 559.


Australia's Victoria state marked a week of triple-digit increases in new coronavirus infections on Sunday, while a community outbreak in neighboring New South Wales (NSW) has put the state on high alert.

Victoria reported 273 new cases of the coronavirus and another COVID-19 death on Sunday, while NSW had nine cases linked to an outbreak at Sydney pub. Both states account for more than half of Australia's population of 25 million.

Sunday's increase partly reflects increased testing, with Victoria conducting more than 30,000 tests daily.

A man in his 70s died over the weekend of COVID-19, Victoria's Premier Daniel Andrews said, taking the national toll to 108.

Most primary and secondary school students in Melbourne will be learning remotely until at least Aug 19, with exceptions for students with special needs, among others, the premier said.

ALSO READ: Australia restricts number of citizens returning as virus surges

NSW, the most-populous state, recorded five new cases on Sunday, as it moved to charge all travellers flying in from overseas A$3,000 (US$2,100) for a mandatory two-week quarantine in hotels.


Bangladesh confirmed 30 more fatalities from COVID-19 on Saturday, bringing the country's death toll to more than 2,300.

Nasima Sultana, a senior Health Ministry official, said in a briefing in Dhaka that "2,686 new COVID-19 positive cases and 30 deaths were reported in the last 24 hours across Bangladesh."

She said the number of confirmed infections in the country totaled 181,129 while fatalities stood at 2,305. The number of recoveries rose by 1,628 to 88,034, she said.


Cambodia on Sunday confirmed 15 new imported COVID-19 cases, bringing the total number of infections in the country to 156, according to a statement issued by the Health Ministry.

Spokeswoman for the mnistry Or Vandine said in the statement that Cambodia has so far recorded 156 confirmed cases, of which 133 have recovered and 23 remained hospitalized.

Health workers in full protective gear screen residents for COVID-19 symptoms at the Deonar slum in Mumbai, India, July 11, 2020. (RAJANISH KAKADE / AP)


India's federal health ministry on Sunday morning reported 551 more deaths from COVID-19 and 28,637 new cases during the past 24 hours across the country, taking the death toll to 22,674 and the overall tally to 849,553.

This is said to be the highest single-day spike in the number of fresh cases in the country so far.

"The number of active cases in the country right now is 292,258, according to the ministry.

READ MORE: Virus: Bollywood star Amitabh Bachchan, son test positive

India's Biocon has received approval from the country's drug regulator to market Itolizumab injection to treat cytokine release syndrome (CRS) in moderate to severe acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) in COVID-19 patients, according to company statement issued Saturday.

In 2013, Biocon had launched Itolizumab, an anti-CD6 IgG1 monoclonal antibody biologic therapy for treating chronic plaque psoriasis, which it has now been repurposed for treating COVID-19 patients.


COVID-19 cases in Indonesia rose by 1,681 in a day to 75,699, with the death toll rising by 71 to 3,606, Achmad Yurianto, a Health Ministry official, said at a press conference on Sunday.

According to Yurianto, 919 more patients were discharged from hospitals, bringing the total number of recoveries to 35,638.

In the past 24 hours, seven provinces - South Kalimantan, Jakarta, West Java, Central Java, East Java, South Sulawesi and Papua - recorded high numbers of new cases, Yurianto said.

The provinces of Jambi, Bangka Belitung, North Kalimantan, East Nusa Tenggara and Central Sulawesi did not additional cases.


Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani called on Saturday for big gatherings such as weddings and wakes to be banned to stem a rise in coronavirus infections, but insisted the country's economy had to stay open.

Shortly after Rouhani’s televised speech, a police official in Tehran announced the closure of all wedding and mourning venues in the capital until further notice.

Iran's COVID-19 death toll on Saturday rose by 188 over the previous 24 hours to 12,635. The total number of diagnosed cases reached 255,117, up by 2,397 during the same period, Health Ministry spokeswoman Sima Sadat Lari said on state TV.

An advisor to Iran’s Coronavirus Task Force warned that if appropriate measures were not taken, between 50,000 and 60,000 people could die from the pandemic. “The second wave, which will occur in the fall, will be much more deadly,” said the advisor, Hossein Qenaati, according to the semi-official ISNA news agency.


The Iraqi Health Ministry on Saturday confirmed 2,734 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the country's tally to 75,194.

According to a statement issued by the ministry, 95 more deaths were registered, raising the death toll to 3,055.

The number of recoveries rose by 1,699 to 43,079, according to the statement.


Israel's Ministry of Health reported 1,197 new COVID-19 cases on Saturday night, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 37,463.

The ministry said the death toll rose from 351 to 354, and there are 471 patients currently hospitalized, of which 134 are in serious condition.

It also reported 201 new recoveries, increasing the total recoveries to 18,814, while the number of active cases reached a record high of 18,295.

On Saturday evening, thousands of self-employed people and business owners demonstrated in the coastal city of Tel Aviv, demanding support from the government following the difficulties they face amid the coronavirus crisis.

People wearing protective face masks to help curb the spread of the coronavirus walk at a pedestrian crossing in Tokyo, Japan, July 10, 2020. (EUGENE HOSHIKO / AP)


Japan needs to remain on high alert for further coronavirus outbreaks as the number of cases with unclear contagion routes increases, said Yasutoshi Nishimura, the country’s economy minister and virus czar.

Tokyo officials confirmed 206 new coronavirus infections on Sunday, public broadcaster NHK reported, making it the fourth straight day the Japanese capital has reported more than 200 cases.

The minister didn’t say the government was considering declaring a state of emergency, but warned of increased stress on public health centers’ resources, speaking on public broadcaster NHK on Sunday. Testing should be strategically and greatly increased, he said.

Second-quarter gross domestic product figures are likely to be “severe,” given the pandemic’s impact on the global economy and the depressed levels of domestic consumption, Nishimura said. Local spending is showing signs of recovery, according to the minister.

Japan is forging ahead with further steps to re-open the economy amid the increase in virus cases. Nishimura said that while those who show symptoms must stay home, in principle Tokyo residents are allowed to move to other prefectures.

ALSO READ: India's COVID-19 cases surpass 800,000, total deaths at 22,123

Meanwhile, the governor of Okinawa has sought tougher measures and more transparency from a top US military commander after officials were told that more than 60 Marines at two American bases have been infected over the past few days, the Associated Press reported Sunday.


Kyrgyzstan reported a record high of 719 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday, raising the tally to 10,629.

Among the new cases, 127 are medical workers, bringing the total number of infected medical workers to 1,656, including 552 recoveries.

The death toll rose by seven to 132 while the total number of recoveries increased by 151 to 3,387.


Kuwait on Saturday reported 478 new COVID-19 cases and three more deaths, raising the tally of infections to 54,058 and the death toll to 386, the Hhealth Ministry said in a statement.

Currently, 9,711 patients are receiving treatment, including 150 in ICU, according to the statement.

The ministry also said that 747 new recoveries were reported, raising the total number of recoveries in the country to 43,961.


Lebanon's number of COVID-19 infections increased on Saturday by 86 to 2,168 while the death toll was unchanged at 36, the National News Agency reported.


Malaysia has reported another eight new COVID-19 infections, the Health Ministry said on Saturday, bringing the national tally to 8,704.

Health Ministry Director-General Noor Hisham Abdullah said in a statement that four of the new infections were imported and the other four were local transmissions.

One more death was also reported, the first since mid-June, bringing the death toll to 122.


Mongolia reported three new cases of COVID-19 in the last 24 hours, taking its tally  to 230, the country's National Center for Communicable Diseases (NCCD) said Sunday.

The newly confirmed cases involve Mongolian nationals who returned home from Russia via Altanbulag border point on July 6, said NCCD's head Dulmaa Nyamkhuu.

Meanwhile, two more patients have recovered, raising the number of recoveries to 202, he added.


The number of COVID-19 cases in Myanmar has increased to 330 as of Saturday, according to latest figures from the country's Ministry of Health and Sports.

According to the ministry's data, four people tested positive for COVID-19 while under quarantine in the Yangon region after their recent arrivals from India and Britain.

According to the ministry, 260 patients have recovered in total while the death toll stood at six.


A downward trend of new COVID-19 cases in Nepal continued as the Nepali government reported less than 100 newly confirmed cases on Saturday.

"The number of new COVID-19 cases in the country in the last 24 hours stood at 70," said Jageshwor Gautam, spokesperson of Nepal's health ministry at a press briefing on Saturday.

Officials said the decreasing number of the inflow of Nepalis from abroad was behind the rapid decline in new cases.

"The number of Nepalis coming from abroad in a day has come down to around 3,000 a day from over 25,000 a day when the cases were surging," Gautam told Xinhua.

New Zealand

One new case of COVID-19 was reported in managed isolation facilities in New Zealand, said the Ministry of Health on Sunday.

The new case involves a woman in her 20s who arrived in New Zealand on July 4 from Rome, via Doha and Sydney, it said. She had previously been identified as a close contact of another case. 

The new case brings the total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases to 1,194.

There are currenyl 25 active cases in the country.


The Omani Ministry of Health announced on Saturday 1,083 new COVID-19 cases, raising the total number of confirmed cases in the country to 54,697.

Another four fatalities were reported, bringing the death toll to 248, while recoveries rose by 1,030 to 35,255, the ministry said in a statement.

In a separate statement, the ministry confirmed that it will from Sunday start a national survey of COVID-19 infections covering 20,000 people as random samples for different age groups, whether citizens or expatriates.

The survey will be held during four sessions and 380 to 400 samples will be selected for each session from each governorate, according to the statement. 


Palestine recorded 463 new COVID-19 cases in the West Bank and East Jerusalem in the past 24 hours, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 5,827 since March 5, the Health Ministry said Saturday.

The ministry said in an emailed press statement that the new infections were seen in East Jerusalem and the districts of Ramallah, Hebron, Bethlehem, Jenin and Nablus in the West Bank.

Two more deaths  were recorded in the districts of Bethlehem and Hebron, raising the death toll to 32, while 119 cases of recovery were reported in the districts of Hebron and Nablus, taking the number of recoveries to 829, according to the ministry statement.


Qatar's Health Ministry on Saturday announced 498 new infections of COVID-19, increasing the total number of confirmed cases in the Gulf state to 103,128.

Recoveries rose by 701 to to 98,934 while the death toll remained at 146, the official Qatar News Agency quoted a statement by the ministry as saying.

Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia announced on Saturday 2,994 new coronavirus cases, raising the total number of cases there to 229,480, the Health Ministry tweeted.

The number of recoveries increased by 2,370 to 165,396 while the death toll rose by 30 to 2,181.

South Korea

South Korea reported 44 fresh COVID-19 cases in the past 24 hours, raising the total tally to 13,417, according to data from Korea Centers for Disease Control & Prevention. 

Among the new infections, 23 were imported.

One additional death was reported, taking the toll to 289. 

Sri Lanka

The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Sri Lanka surpassed 2,500 on Sunday after 43 new ones were detected, mainly from a drug rehabilitation center in the north central part of the country, the government information department said.

The tally reached 2,511, of which 1,980 patients have recovered and have been discharged from hospitals.

The Health Ministry said the sudden spike in new cases was because over 300 inmates from the Kandakadu Rehabilitation Center and three counselors have tested positive for the coronavirus on Friday and Saturday.

Director General of the Government Information Department Nalaka Kaluwewa denied in a statement that a curfew or a holiday would be declared due to the spike in cases.

Sri Lanka has so far reported 11 deaths.


Turkey's confirmed COVID-19 cases rose by 1,016 in the past 24 hours, bringing the country's tally to 211,981, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said on Saturday.

Koca tweeted that 21 more people have died, taking the death toll to 5,344.

A total of 1,334 patients recovered in the last 24 hours, raising the total number of recoveries to 193,217, Koca said.


The United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Saturday announced 403 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in the country to 54,453.

The Ministry of Health and Prevention said in a statement that 679 more patients have recovered from the virus, taking the tally of recoveries in the UAE to 44,648.

It also confirmed one more death, pushing the country's death toll to 331.

Dubai has announced a new package to help the economy cope with the effects of the coronavirus outbreak, worth 1.5 billion dirhams (US$408 million), the crown prince of the emirate, Hamdan Bin Mohammed Al-Maktoum, said on Twitter on Saturday. The package is the third announced by Dubai, the second-largest and wealthiest member of the United Arab Emirates federation. The three packages are worth a total of 6.3 billion dirhams, Sheikh Hamdan said.


Vietnam reported one new case of COVID-19 infection on Saturday, bringing its total number of confirmed cases to 370, with zero deaths so far, according to the Ministry of Health.

The latest case involves a 29-year-old Serbian man recently entering the country from Oman, said the ministry, noting that he was quarantined upon arrival.

As many as 350 patients in the country have recovered from the disease, said the ministry.


The total number of COVID-19 cases in Yemen's government-controlled provinces increased to 1,389 on Saturday, as nine new cases were confirmed.

The Yemeni Health Ministry said in a brief press statement that the number of recoveries in the government-controlled areas has increased to 642.

The death toll climbed climbed to 365 in different areas under its control, including the southern port city of Aden.

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