Pakistan PM warns of more coronavirus deaths

  • Beijing reported its first instance of a local transmission in weeks – a 52-year-old man who said he had not left the Chinese capital for more than two weeks and had not been in contact with anyone from outside the city.

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

  • Neil Ferguson, an epidemiologist at Imperial College London, whose modelling helped set the United Kingdom’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.
  • 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.

    Friday, June 12

    07:40 GMT – Pakistani PM warns more deaths of coronavirus 

    Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan has warned citizens that the number of deaths from the coronavirus will continue to rise in the country, as the death toll hit a single day record of 107 on Thursday.

    Addressing the nation, Khan continued to rule out imposing any widespread lockdown, as per the World Health Organisation’s advice, saying that instead there would be greater monitoring of social distancing and hygiene directives, with businesses that do not comply being shut down.

    Pakistan saw 6,397 new cases of the coronavirus on Thursday, taking its total tally to 125,933.

    06:45 GMT – Australian clot-busting drug holds hope for COVID-19 treatment

    An experimental drug developed by an Australian researcher could help prevent deaths from COVID-19 by controlling the formation of blood clots responsible for breathing difficulties, organ failure, stroke and heart attack.

    About three in four of critical COVID-19 patients in ICUs develop clots with their recovery rate critically low, said Professor Shaun Jackson from the University of Sydney and the Heart Research Institute.

    Following successful phase-one trials in 72 healthy patients, the researchers now want to urgently move into phase two trials by testing the effectiveness and safety of the drug in critically ill COVID-19 patients.

    05:57 GMT – South Korea warns of tougher physical distancing measures

    South Korea will extend physical distancing guidelines until daily new infections drop to single digits, the health minister said, failing which he warned of a return to tougher measures.

    Park Neung-hoo urged residents of the Seoul metropolitan area to stay home as much as possible as new cases have persisted in the mid-double digits daily, with 56 new cases reported at the end of Thursday. Public facilities, including night life spots, religious establishments, museums, and parks, will remain closed.

    Tougher social distancing rules will be considered if 50 daily infections persist for more than two weeks, depending on the number of new outbreak clusters, Park added.

    05:31 GMT – Electronics firm PCI to make Singapore’s virus-tracing device

    Singapore-based electronics maker PCI has won a bid to supply 300,000 dongles for a government project that could eventually see everyone in the city-state given the wearable device to help identify people who have interacted with COVID-19 carriers.

    The $6m Singapore dollar ($4.3m) tender, equivalent to S$20 a unit for the bluetooth-enabled TraceTogether Tokens, was awarded by Singapore’s Government Technology Agency to the firm on May 14, according to a government notice.

    The pilot project comes after an earlier smartphone-based contact tracing app had limited take-up as it did not work efficiently on some devices.

    Like the app, the token will use Bluetooth signals to record nearby devices but cannot capture location data and does not have internet or cellular connectivity, according to the government, which has pledged to protect user privacy.

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