Hello and welcome to Al Jazeera’s continued coverage of the coronavirus pandemic. I am Kate Mayberry in Kuala Lumpur.
- Mainland China has reported 101 new cases of coronavirus, the highest number in more than three and a half months. Of the new cases, 89 are in the western Xinjiang region.
- A $ 1 trillion coronavirus relief plan is being discussed in the United States Congress, but the only item Republicans and Democrats can agree on is a one-time payment of $ 1,200 to all Americans. The country’s death toll, the highest in the world, is close to 150,000.
- More than 16.6 million people worldwide have been diagnosed with the coronavirus. Some 9.7 million patients have recovered, and nearly 659,000 have died, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
Here are the latest updates:
Wednesday, July 29
02:40 GMT – Modern vaccine worked well in monkeys: study
Moderna’s experimental COVID-19 vaccine worked well in monkeys and prevented the virus from replicating in their noses and lungs, according to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
In the Moderna study, three groups of eight rhesus monkeys received either the vaccine or a placebo in two different doses.
Everyone who received the vaccine developed high levels of antibodies to attack parts of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. The scientists said that the monkeys who received the vaccine even in the lowest dose produced more antibodies than people who had recovered from the virus, and that it seemed to stimulate an immune response from so-called T cells.
The study also found that two days after the vaccinated monkeys were exposed to the COVID-19 virus through the nose and directly into the lungs, no replicating virus was found in the lungs of seven of the eight animals, regardless of dose. , while those who had been given the placebo, all still had the virus.
None of the animals that received the highest dose of the vaccine had detectable levels of the virus after challenge.
“This is the first time that an experimental COVID-19 vaccine tested in non-human primates has been shown to produce such rapid viral control in the upper airway,” said the National Institutes of Health, which is jointly developing the vaccine.
02:10 GMT – Hong Kong warns on the verge of a large outbreak
Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam warns that the city is on the brink of a large-scale coronavirus outbreak.
Strict new measures to curb the spread of the virus went into effect on Wednesday with a ban on gatherings of more than two people, the closure of restaurants for all but take-out food and the mandatory use of masks.
Quarantine measures for ship crews and airlines have also been tightened.
01:55 GMT – Queensland closes the border to people in the Sydney area
Annastacia Palaszczuk, the prime minister of the state of Queensland, in northern Australia, says the state will be closed to people in the Sydney area from the early hours of Saturday.
Queensland residents returning home will also be required to spend 14 days in hotel quarantine at their own expense.
BREAKING: Queensland will close its borders to all of Greater Sydney. Starting at 1 a.m. on Saturday, more access points will be declared and no one from Sydney will be able to enter Queensland. # COVID19au pic.twitter.com/044iZeTZ1g
– Annastacia Palaszczuk (@AnnastaciaMP) July 29, 2020
01:15 GMT – China reports most new cases since mid-April
The Chinese National Health Commission has just released the latest coronavirus data for the country.
It has reported 101 new cases, compared to the previous 68, the highest since mid-April.
Of the new cases, 89 were found in the western Xinjiang region, where massive tests are underway.
Mainland China reported 101 new confirmed cases of # COVID19 (89 in Xinjiang, 8 in Liaoning, 1 in Beijing) and 27 new asymptomatic patients with COVID-19. pic.twitter.com/uOtWITJkho
– Global Times (@globaltimesnews) July 29, 2020
00:30 GMT – Australia deploys an emergency response team in nursing homes
The Australian Medical Assistance Team (AUSMAT) has been deployed to nursing homes in Melbourne, which are at the center of the current coronavirus outbreak in the state of Victoria.
AUSMAT teams are generally dispatched to disaster areas and include doctors, nurses, paramedics, radiographers, and pharmacists.
National Deputy Chief Medical Officer Nick Coatsworth told ABC Television that there were more than 679 active cases linked to nursing homes, and that it was crucial “to control these outbreaks as quickly as possible.”
Local media say Victoria is likely to announce some 295 cases on Wednesday.
#BREAKING: Victoria is expected to announce just under 295 new cases of coronavirus today, according to ABC.
– ABC News (@abcnews) July 29, 2020
00:00 GMT – Stark Divisions in Congress on aid plan
Republicans and Democrats in the United States Congress are divided into a $ 1 trillion coronavirus aid package that Republicans announced Monday.
Under the plan, unemployment benefits would drop to just $ 200 a week, compared to $ 600 a week expanded under previous relief measures that will end on Friday.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has touted the proposal as a “tailored and led” plan, which would give many Americans direct payments of $ 1,200 each, grant billions in small business loans, and help schools to reopen.
While Democrats agree to the payment, they say the package itself is too limited and too late. Some Republicans say it is too expensive.
You can read more here.
23:30 GMT (Tuesday) – MSF tells Cepheid to lower the price of the coronavirus test
Aid group Doctors Without Borders (Doctors Without Borders, or MSF) is urging US diagnostic firm Cepheid to “refrain from profiting from the pandemic” and reduce the price of its COVID-19 tests (Xpert Xpress SARS-CoV -2) at $ 5 per test, of the almost $ 20 that he currently charges in the world’s poorest countries.
“It is indefensible for Cepheid to benefit from this pandemic,” Sharonann Lynch, Senior HIV and TB Advisor for the MSF Access Campaign, said in a statement. “This is not the time to set the price based on what the market can bear. This critical test must be accessible to all who urgently need it at $ 5 per test to deal with this global health emergency. “
MSF said its research shows that the tests could be sold for a profit of $ 5 each.
“As countries struggle to treat suspected COVID-19 cases, having a rapid and accurate diagnostic test is essential for real-time management of people affected by the virus, to deal with this pandemic,” said Dr. Greg Elder, MSF Access Campaign Medical Coordinator. “So many lives could be saved if corporations like Cepheid made their test available urgently and affordable in all countries.”
Cepheid developed the Xpert Xpress SARS-CoV-2 cartridge with $ 3.7 million in public funds from the United States government’s Advanced Biomedical Research and Development Authority. The test delivers results in less than an hour.
Read all the updates from July 28 (yesterday) here.