Hello and welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the coronavirus pandemic. I’m Kate Mayberry in Kuala Lumpur.
- AstraZeneca says it has suspended trials of the coronavirus vaccine it is developing with the University of Oxford after one of the trials’ volunteers fell ill with an unexplained illness.
- The UN says the disruption to routine child and maternal health services as a result of the pandemic could put millions of lives at risk and undo years of progress in reducing child mortality.
- Nearly 27.5 million people around the world have been diagnosed with the coronavirus and 894,796 have died. More than 18.4 million people have recovered.
Here are the latest updates:
Wednesday, September 9
01:50 GMT – Biden accuses Trump of using vaccine as ‘political tool’
Joe Biden and running mate Kamala Harris have weighed in on the issue of a COVID-19 vaccine.
In a joint statement they accused Republican rivals Donald Trump and Mike Pence of using the vaccine as a “political tool”.
“We see it as a product of science and research,” they said. “Its timing, approval, and distribution should be without regard to political calculation.”
Accusing Trump of a failure in leadership in every significant aspect of the COVID-19 response, they urged the administration to answer key questions on the vaccine including the criteria to be used to ensure any vaccine meets scientific standards of safety and efficacy, and a plan for distributing it ‘cost-free, safely, equitably and without politics.”
01:20 GMT – South Korea cases below 200 for a week
South Korea has now managed to keep coronavirus cases below 200 for a week.
Numbers just in show the country reported 156 new cases on Wednesday as it deals with a wave of infections that began in the middle of last month and have been linked to a church and a right-wing political rally.
Conservative groups have planned another demonstration for early October, coinciding with the Chuseok festivities, one of the country’s biggest traditional holidays.
01:00 GMT – Pandemic threatens millions of children’s lives: UN
The United Nations says disruptions caused to health services because of the pandemic could reverse decades of progress in reducing child mortality and put millions of lives at risk worldwide.
New mortality estimates published by UNICEF, the World Health Organization and the World Bank Group show deaths of under-fives fell to their lowest level on record in 2019.
Last year around 5.2 million children died due to preventable illness, compared with 12.5 million in 1990.
But the UN says the pandemic could undo the progress made because routine child and maternal health services were being disrupted.
“The global community has come too far towards eliminating preventable child deaths to allow the pandemic to stop us in our tracks,” said Henrietta Fore, UNICEF executive director.
“Without urgent investments to re-start disrupted health systems and services, millions of children under five, especially newborns, could die.”
00:45 GMT – ‘Safety is the prority’: Reactions to AstraZeneca vaccine trial suspension
Lots of reactions have been coming in to the news that the Phase III trials of AstraZeneca’s potential vaccine have been suspended.
Australia’s Deputy Chief Medical Officer Nick Coatsworth says he is “not worried about it” and that the temporary halt does not mean the vaccine is “off the table”.
“In some respects this is a very positive thing because it shows that despite the accelerated vaccine development, safety is the priority of the clinical trialists and investigators,” Coatsworth told Sky News.
Similar views are being shared by doctors and health experts on social media.
We have no idea whether this is a big deal or not
Science is hard. This is why we have to let the trials play out
I remain optimistic we will have a vaccine found to be safe and effective in upcoming months.
But optimism isn’t evidence
Let’s let science drive this process. https://t.co/1fBbMybC9W
— Ashish K. Jha (@ashishkjha) September 8, 2020
Hmmm—Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine trial temporarily suspended because of 1 adverse event. “hold was placed on trial out of “an abundance of caution”
— Eric Feigl-Ding (@DrEricDing) September 8, 2020
00:00 GMT – AstraZeneca vaccine trial suspended for safety review
AstraZeneca says it has “voluntarily paused” a clinical trial of the vaccine it is developing with the University of Oxford after one of the volunteers developed an unexplained illness.
“As part of the ongoing randomized, controlled global trials of the Oxford coronavirus vaccine, our standard review process was triggered and we voluntarily paused vaccination to allow review of safety data by an independent committee,” a spokesperson said in a statement.
The vaccine has been seen as one of the most promising of those in development. You can read more on the suspension here.
UK coronavirus vaccine triggers immune response in trials
23:30 GMT (Tuesday) – Australia’s Victoria reports 76 new cases, 11 deaths
Victoria has reported 76 new cases of coronavirus and 11 deaths over the past 24 hours.
The state in southeastern Australia has imposed a strict lockdown and curfew in Melbourne to try and bring the disease under control.
#COVID19VicData for 9 September, 2020.
Yesterday there were 76 new cases reported and we are sad to report 11 lives lost. Our condolences to all those affected. More information will be available later today. pic.twitter.com/ikKiuRV4ZW
— VicGovDHHS (@VicGovDHHS) September 8, 2020
Read all the updates from yesterday (September 8) here.
Al Jazeera and news agencies