• Saturday, Aug 15, 2020
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Millions face new virus curbs, but hope rises for US vaccine

  • Published at 11:53 pm July 15th, 2020
covid-19-coronavirus-vaccine-representational-image-reuters
File photo: Small bottles labelled with a 'Vaccine Covid-19' sticker and a medical syringe are seen in this illustration taken on April 10, 2020 Reuters

Countries around the world re-imposed lockdowns and curbs to contain new outbreaks, as global cases surged past 13.2 million with more than 576,000 deaths

Millions of people faced new coronavirus restrictions on Wednesday as infections surge, but in one sign of hope, an American firm said it would soon start final-stage human trials for a possible vaccine.

Countries around the world re-imposed lockdowns and curbs to contain new outbreaks, as global cases surged past 13.2 million with more than 576,000 deaths.

Parts of the Asia-Pacific region, which had been somewhat successful in fighting the pandemic, provided fresh evidence of the deadly threat still posed by the virus.

Vaccine hope 

American biotech firm Moderna says it will start the final stage of human trials for its vaccine candidate on July 27, after promising results from earlier testing. The study should run until October 2022 but preliminary results should be available long before then.

Staying home in Catalonia 

Following a standoff with the courts, the Catalan regional government in Spain tells residents to stay home in and around the city of Lerida, a measure affecting 160,000 people. 

Regional officials issue a similar call in several districts of Hospitalet de Llobregat, a city near Barcelona.

Hong Kong tones down 

Bars, gyms, and beauty salons close again in the city, a ban on gatherings with more than four people comes into force and while most residents voluntarily adopt facemasks, the government now requires passengers on public transport to wear them or risk a fine.

Tokyo top alert 

Tokyo is on its highest coronavirus alert level after a spike in new cases, the city's governor warns, as experts say the rising infections are a clear "red flag", though the move to a top alert does not mean the city will ask businesses to close or events to be postponed.

Australia urges caution 

Authorities in Australia plead with the public to heed social distancing guidelines, with some five million people locked down in Melbourne. The appeal comes days after a group was fined $18,200 when their house party was exposed by a large takeout food order.

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