Russia accused of hacking coronavirus vaccine trials

  • India’s coronavirus cases have surged another 32,695, taking the nation closer to one million and forcing a new lockdown in the popular western beach state of Goa two weeks after it was reopened to tourists.

  • Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro is again touting the supposed benefits of malaria drug hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for COVID:19, as he tests positive for the virus again.

  • More than 13.5 million people around the world have been diagnosed with COVID:19, while more than 7.5 million have recovered and more than 582,000 have died, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

    Thursday, July 16

    14:05 GMT – Republicans to limit national convention attendance in Florida

    Republicans will significantly limit the number of attendees at the party’s national convention in Jacksonville, Florida, in August, as coronavirus cases continue to spike sharply across the state.

    Only the approximately 2,500 regular delegates will be permitted to attend the first three nights of the four-night event, according to a Republican source with knowledge of the plans.

    On the final evening, when President Donald Trump is scheduled to formally accept the Republican presidential nomination and address the convention, delegates will be allowed to bring one guest, and alternate delegates will also be invited, bringing the crowd to around 6,000 to 7,000 people.

    The bulk of the convention had already been moved from Charlotte, North Carolina, last month after the state’s governor refused to permit a full-capacity crowd.

    Since then, however, Florida has seen an explosion of coronavirus cases. The state has limited indoor gatherings to 50 percent of a venue’s capacity.

    13:53 GMT – UK, US, Canada accuse Russia of hacking virus vaccine trials

    Britain, the United States and Canada accused Russia of trying to steal information from researchers seeking a COVID-19 vaccine.

    The three nations alleged that hacking group APT29, also known as Cozy Bear and said to be part of the Russian intelligence service, is attacking academic and pharmaceutical research institutions involved in coronavirus vaccine development.

  • “It is completely unacceptable that the Russian Intelligence Services are targeting those working to combat the coronavirus pandemic,” Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said in a statement.

    “While others pursue their selfish interests with reckless behaviour, the UK and its allies are getting on with the hard work of finding a vaccine and protecting global health.”

    TASS cited Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov as saying Russia had nothing to do with any alleged hacker attacks on pharmaceutical companies and research institutes in Britain.

    RIA cited Peskov as saying the Kremlin rejected London’s allegations, which he said were not backed by proper evidence

    12:35 GMT – France imposes indoor public mask-wearing

    France will make the wearing of face masks compulsory in indoor public spaces from next week, the government has said, as officials noted signs of an uptick in the coronavirus outbreak.

    Already obligatory gear on collective transport, masks will also become mandatory in shops and other indoor places frequented by the public, Prime Minister Jean Castex said in the Senate.

    “The wearing of a mask, along with barrier measures (such as social distancing and regular hand-washing) is an effective method of prevention and protection,” he said.

    12:20 GMT – Netanyahu faces pushback on money-for-all coronavirus plan

    Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has gotten a lukewarm reception from his main coalition partner and the head of the central bank to a plan to grant money to all Israelis to revive the economy during the coronavirus crisis.

    Netanyahu announced the 6 billion shekel ($1.75bn) package amid public anger and protests over his handling of the pandemic

    Under the plan, which requires cabinet approval, individuals and households without children will receive one-time payments of just 750 shekels ($218), while families will receive roughly $600 to $900, depending on the number of children they have.

    But the Bank of Israel Governor Amir Yaron and Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi, of the centrist Blue and White party that has partnered with Netanyahu’s Likud in the government, said the money should instead be targeted at the poorest citizens.

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