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Poverty ‘could surge to over 1 billion’: Coronavirus live updates | News

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  • A vaccine against COVID-19 developed by US biotech firm Moderna will enter the third and final stage of its clinical trial in July with 30,000 participants, the manufacturer has announced.

  • Russia surpassed 500,000 cases after 8,779 new infections were reported by health officials. The death toll stands at 6,532, a number the World Health Organization (WHO) has cast doubt over.

  • Neil Ferguson, an epidemiologist at Imperial College London, whose modelling helped set the UK’s coronavirus strategy, says the country’s death toll could have been halved if lockdown had been introduced a week earlier. The UK has more than 291,000 cases and at least 41,000 deaths.
  • Students’ mental health is in focus in post-lockdown China, amid an increase in the number of suicides. In one Shanghai district, there have been 14 suicides by primary and secondary school students so far this year.
  • More than 7.48 million people have now been confirmed to have the coronavirus and at least 420,000 have died, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

Here are the latest updates:

Friday, June 12

01:26 GMT – Famed Thai temple bars foreigners entry

One of Thailand’s major tourist attractions is barring entry to foreigners, professing fear that they could spread the coronavirus.

Signs seen Thursday morning at the main gate of Wat Pho, the Buddhist temple adjacent to the Grand Palace in Bangkok, said in English: “Open for Thai only,” “ONLY THAI PEOPLE,” and “NOW NOT OPEN FOR FOREIGNERS.”

The temple is one of the country’s grandest, with murals and gold trim covering many surfaces, but is best known for housing the 46-meter-long (151-foot-long) Reclining Buddha, which is covered in gold leaf.

One of Wat Pho’s administrative staff explained by phone that the temple committee decided to exclude foreigners because of concerns about COVID-19. However, there is no known government order to ban foreigners from the temple.

Thailand Wat Pho

In this March 13, 2020, photo, a tourist wearing protective mask walk in front of giant Buddha at Wat Pho temple in Bangkok, Thailand [Sakchai Lalit/ AP]

00:46 GMT – Hundreds of suspected child virus deaths in Indonesia

Hundreds of children in Indonesia are believed to have died from COVID-19, giving the Southeast Asian country one of the world’s highest rates of child deaths from the new coronavirus.

Since Indonesia announced its first coronavirus case in March it has recorded 2,000 deaths, the highest in East Asia outside China.

A total of 715 people under 18 had contracted the coronavirus, while 28 had died, according to a health ministry document dated May 22 and reviewed by Reuters news agency.

It also recorded more than 380 deaths among 7,152 children classified as “patients under monitoring”, meaning people with severe coronavirus symptoms for which there is no other explanation but whose tests have not confirmed the infection.




Indonesia’s Jakarta is reopening after weeks of lockdown (2:39)

Even the official figure for children who have died of the coronavirus, at 28 as of May 22, would give Indonesia a high rate of child death, at 2.1 person of its total. In comparison, deaths for those aged under 24 in the United States are a little over 0.1 percent of its fatalities.

“COVID-19 proves that we have to fight against malnutrition,” Achmad Yurianto, a senior health ministry official, told Reuters.

He said Indonesian children were caught in a “devil’s circle”, a cycle of malnutrition and anaemia that increased their vulnerability to the coronavirus. He compared malnourished children to weak structures that “crumble after an earthquake”.

00:17 GMT – Puerto Rico to reopen beaches, gyms

Wanda Vazquez, the governor of Puerto Rico, announced that she will lift nearly all restrictions aimed at curbing coronavirus cases, which means beaches, churches and businesses including movie theaters and gyms across the US territory will reopen after three months.

The changes will occur starting on June 16, Vazquez said, when businesses also will be allowed to operate seven days a week and restaurants at 50 percent capacity. However, she tweaked an ongoing curfew that will remain in place for two weeks from 10 pm to 5 am.

She also said Puerto Rico will be officially ready to welcome tourists starting July 15 and that airport screenings will continue.




Many stranded in Philippines capital after losing jobs amid pandemic (2:39)

00:07 GMT – Number of extreme poor ‘could rise to 1.1 billion’

The economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic could plunge an extra 395 million people into extreme poverty and swell the total number of those living on less than $1.90 a day worldwide to more than 1 billion, according to a new report.

The document – published by UNU-WIDER, part of the United Nations University – played through a number of scenarios, taking into account the World Bank’s various poverty lines – from extreme poverty, defined as living on $1.90 a day or less, to higher poverty lines of living on less than $5.50 a day.

Under the worst scenario – a 20 percent contraction in per capita income or consumption – the number of those living in extreme poverty could rise to 1.12 billion. The same contraction applied to the $5.50 threshold among upper-middle income countries could see more than 3.7 billion people – or just over half the world’s population – live below this poverty line.

“The outlook for the world’s poorest looks grim unless governments do more and do it quickly and make up the daily loss of income the poor face,” said Andy Sumner, one of the report’s authors.

“The result is progress on poverty reduction could be set back 20-30 years and making the UN goal of ending poverty look like a pipe dream.”


Hello and welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the coronavirus pandemic. I’m Zaheena Rasheed in Male, Maldives.

You can find all the updates from yesterday, June 11, here.

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COVID: How has the UK managed to master the vaccine roll-out? | Coronavirus pandemic News

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London, United Kingdom – When Ayesha Sharieff, a general practitioner in a south London surgery, administered the first COVID vaccines to her patients earlier this month, she was overjoyed.

“It was the best afternoon I’ve spent for a long time,” said Sharieff, who has been a doctor for 20 years. “After all these tough times we’ve been through recently, it was such a pleasure. I wanted to jump on top of my car and honk the horn.”

Each day, Sharieff and her team vaccinate up to 300 patients, currently focusing on elderly people from the area’s diverse urban population as a priority, as part of the United Kingdom’s rapid vaccine roll-out.

“I recently vaccinated a Caribbean nurse working in infectious diseases who must have been 88,” said Sharieff. “It just felt like such an honour to be doing that for her. I had tears in my eyes.”

The UK has earned cautious early praise for its vaccine roll-out, which has seen it produce double the number of vaccinations per person per day of any other European country.

This marks a significant turnaround because with the highest COVID-19 death toll in Europe, the UK government faces high levels of criticism for failing to contain the virus.

The UK became the first Western country to license a COVID-19 vaccine on December 2 when the medicines regulator approved the Pfizer-BioNTech jab [File: Phil Noble/Reuters]

More than six million people in the UK have received a first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine to date, as part of the largest vaccination programme in British history. The National Health Service (NHS) has vaccinated more than half of those aged 80 and over and more than half of elderly care home residents, both considered priorities, according to the Department of Health and Social Care.

Once those priorities have been treated, the UK will offer the vaccine to everyone over 50 and then everyone aged over 18.

‘Flexible, scalable system’

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government has said it plans to offer a first dose of vaccine to every adult in Britain, who make up 51 million of its total 67.5 million population, by September.

It will soon begin a trial of 24-hour injections as it continues to add more vaccination sites to increase the pace of delivery.

Good logistics planning and significant financial investment have underpinned the early positive vaccination numbers, according to Sarah Schiffling, a supply chains expert at Liverpool John Moores University.

“We can’t underestimate the fact the UK is devoting nearly £12 billion to the purchase, manufacture and roll-out of the vaccine,” she told Al Jazeera. “But the UK is seeing the benefit of having a coordinated approach. It’s started out really well and gotten up to quite a volume of patients vaccinated very quickly and that is very promising.”

Schiffling believes the centralised nature of the NHS as well the UK’s “far-reaching delivery network” – which spans from local GPs to mass vaccination centres – has also played a key role. “It’s a flexible, scalable system and that’s been working really well so far,” she explained.

The NHS, unlike some countries that have a federal approach, has departments already in place for bulk purchasing, says Schiffling, and the UK invested quickly into materials such as syringes that are now in high demand.

“One system can work along the supply chain, and that’s worked to the UK’s advantage here,” she said.

UK adopts first dose strategy

The UK became the first Western country to license a COVID-19 vaccine on December 2 when the medicines regulator approved the Pfizer-BioNTech jab. Since then, it has also approved vaccines produced by Oxford-AstraZeneca and Moderna, but doses of the latter are not expected for months.

But unlike other nations, the UK has decided to increase the time between vaccine doses given to people from 21 days to up to 12 weeks, a decision that is thought to mean more people will get their first dose more quickly.

“The UK has prioritised getting people the first doses,” said Mark Jit, a professor of vaccine epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. “This has enabled more people to be vaccinated quickly. From what we know about vaccines, the first dose gives quite good protection, especially with the Astra-Zeneca vaccine. It’s not that the second dose will be dropped entirely.”

Professor Jit says the UK’s history of previous successful campaigns has also helped the rapid roll-out.

“The UK has an advantage because it has a long history of successful vaccine introductions,” he said, pointing to the introduction of the Shingles vaccine to adults in 2013, the HPV vaccine for adolescents in 2008 and national flu campaigns. “Part of it is also good communication, so there is good public confidence in vaccines.”

Johnson poses for a photograph with a vial of the Oxford University-AstraZeneca COVID-19 candidate vaccine in Wrexham, Wales, on November 30, 2020 [File: Paul Ellis/Pool via Reuters]

But Jit added that while success in the UK’s vaccine roll-out is good news, the issue will persist while all countries still need vaccine supplies.

“This is a global issue and the pandemic won’t be solved until we address those worldwide concerns,” he said.

With England in a third national lockdown since January 2 after a highly transmissible variant helped push the number of people hospitalised with COVID-19 to record highs, for some, vaccination can’t come any sooner.

The UK is now rapidly approaching 100,000 coronavirus-related deaths, marking the worst death toll in Europe and the fifth-highest number worldwide, and some 50,000 health workers are off work due to COVID-19 infections and exposure quarantines.

“This vaccine roll-out has been one of the most uplifting things in my career,” said Sharieff, the GP. “But as it continues we will have to vaccinate larger, more diverse patient groups. We need to make sure everyone is protected equally.”



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