US concerned about safety of Chinese and Russian vaccines as race against coronavirus increases

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The top US chief for infectious diseases has raised concerns about the safety of the covid-19 vaccines being developed in China and Russia as the world searches for answers to a pandemic that the WHO says will be felt for decades.

Six months after the World Health Organization (WHO) declared a global emergency, the new coronavirus has killed more than 680,000 people worldwide and infected more than 17.6 million, according to an AFP balance based in official sources.

In Latin America and the Caribbean, the region with the highest number of infections, Mexico reached a new maximum of cases in 24 hours, with 8,458 infections on Friday, and Colombia now exceeds 10,000 deaths.

While in Europe the states announced new restrictions and historical economic recessions, the WHO made it known that the pandemic is a crisis “that is only lived once a century” and that its effects would be felt for decades.

Many Chinese companies are leading the race to develop immunization against the disease, and Russia has set September as the deadline to launch its own vaccine.

But American infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci said his country is unlikely to use a vaccine developed by one of these countries, where regulatory systems are more opaque than in the West.

“I hope the Chinese and the Russians are really testing the vaccine before giving it to someone,” he said during a hearing in Congress on Friday.

“Claims that they have a vaccine ready to distribute before testing are, to say the least, problematic,” he added.

As part of its “Operation Warp Speed” project, the US government will pay Sanofi and GSK laboratories up to $ 2.1 billion to develop a covid-19 vaccine, the pharmaceutical companies said.

– Record infections –

One of the countries that will participate in the large-scale trials (the third and final phase of vaccine testing) of Sanofi is Mexico, where a new record of daily infections was registered on Friday, with 8,458 infections.

The North American country is already the third most affected in the world by the virus, with 46,688 deaths (424,637 cases), surpassing the United Kingdom.

The Latin American and Caribbean region has the highest number of cases of covid-19 on the planet, with more than 4.7 million infections and almost 195,000 deaths.

In Brazil, its president Jair Bolsonaro, recently cured of covid-19, said on Friday that probably everyone will end up catching the new coronavirus, and urged Brazilians to “face it” and that there is nothing to fear.

His statements come when the country already regrets almost 92,500 deaths and more than 2.5 million cases, the second most affected in the world, and after the Brazilian-Chilean airline LATAM announced the dismissal of at least 2,700 employees.

Colombia is also facing an unbridled advance of the virus, which was first detected on March 6 in the country, and on Friday exceeded 10,000 deaths from covid-19.

The country, which is close to 296,000 infections, is confined from March 25 to August 30 by government order.

In an attempt to curb the spread of the disease, Bolivia decided to extend a flexible quarantine until August 31, implying that its land and air borders will remain closed.

Argentina also halted the relaxation of confinement measures for at least two weeks, given the increase in infections.

– New measures –

Measures that also apply in other countries such as Canada, which announced a new extension in the closure of its borders, except for Americans, until August 31.

The border with the United States, the country hardest hit by the pandemic with 153,314 deaths and more than 4.5 million, has been closed to non-essential travel since March 21 and will remain so until August 20.

The Congress of the world’s largest economy, which suffered a historic 32.9% drop in GDP in the second quarter, failed to agree to a new stimulus package within hours of the expiration of the $ 600 weekly allowance for the unemployed. .

In Florida, one of the US states with a balance of almost 6,600 dead, residents also face the arrival of Hurricane Isaías this weekend.

On the other hand, France, Spain, Portugal and Italy also announced record contractions for their economies in the second quarter. The Old Continent entered a recession after a collapse of 12.1% of the GDP of the euro zone.

For its part, the United Kingdom, which accumulates more than 46,000 deaths (303,181 cases), imposed a new confinement on millions of people in the north of England on Friday due to a spike in infections.

In East Asia, countries that had controlled the epidemic are also experiencing worrying new outbreaks.

Japan’s Okinawa region declared a state of emergency after seeing an “explosive spread” of the new coronavirus, and Hong Kong opened a temporary hospital for covid-19 patients.

Since July, the number of cases brought by people who were exempt from serving a quarantine in the former British colony, which had managed to control local transmissions, has increased.

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