‘There might never be’ a COVID-19 vaccine


Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General of the United Nations’ agency, the World Health Organization (WHO), has warned “there might never be” a vaccine to eliminate COVID-19.

At a virtual media briefing from WHO’s headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, Dr Tedros spoke about the progress of immunisation for the coronavirus.

“A number of vaccines are now in phase 3 clinical trials, and we all hope to have a number of effective vaccines that can help prevent people from infection,” Dr Tedros said.

“However, there is no silver bullet at the moment, and there might never be.

“For now, stopping outbreaks comes down to the basics of public health and disease control: testing, isolating and treating patients, and tracing and quarantining their contacts.”

There are more than six million people globally known to be infected with COVID-19. On Monday, India recorded the most confirmed number of new cases of COVID-19 (50,629), followed by the US (48,622). The two countries accounted for almost half of all new recorded cases on Monday.

US President Donald Trump said, not for the first time, that the US was slowly getting on top of the coronavirus pandemic.

“We are beginning to see evidence of significant progress nationwide,” Trump said in a White House briefing. It was “an encouraging sign, very encouraging, I have to add, that the virus is receding”.

In latest developments:

  1. Residents in Melbourne, Australia’s second biggest city, now endure some of the strictest lockdown measures in the world as the state of Victoria tries to suppress the hundreds of new cases of COVID-19 being recorded daily. A curfew from 8pm to 5am has been applied across Melbourne and residents can only leave their home for four reasons: shopping for groceries and essential items; medical needs and caregiving; daily exercise in your local area; and work where it’s not possible to do so from home.
  2. The number of deaths from coronavirus in Iran is nearly three times higher than the number Iran’s government claims, leaked data reveals. The government’s own records state almost 42,000 people died with COVID-19 symptoms up to 20 July, compared to 14,405 reported by its health ministry.
  3. Norway is stopping all cruise ships with more than 100 people on board from disembarking passengers for at least 14 days after at least 41 passengers and crew on cruise ship MS Roald Amundsen tested positive for COVID-19. Hundreds more passengers are in quarantine and awaiting test results. The ship, which belongs to the Norwegian firm Hurtigruten, docked in the port of Tromso in northern Norway on Friday.
  4. Mexico, where more than 48,000 people have died, registered more than 9,000 daily cases for the first time on Saturday. The figures have fallen in the last 48 hours (4,767 on Tuesday) and (4,853 on Monday). The United Nations has warned the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on Latin American economies could amount to a 10-year setback in terms of gross domestic product.
  5. Japan reported more than 1,000 COVID-19 cases for the fifth straight day. Japan’s state of emergency ended in late May and the economy fully reopened and life returned to normal. “This is the result of the government prioritising economic activity by getting people to move around again over infection control,” said Yoshihito Niki, a professor of infectious diseases at Showa University School of Medicine, on the new wave of infections.

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