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"We have perfectly effective polio and measles vaccines, and we still struggle to eradicate or eliminate those diseases. You've got to be able to deliver that vaccine to a population that want and demand to have that vaccine," he said.

Virus pushes Britain into record recession, NZealand mulls election delay

Britain's economy shrank more in the second quarter than any other country in the Group of Seven

The global coronavirus pandemic pushed Britain into its deepest-ever recession, data showed Wednesday, as New Zealand warned the re-emergence of COVID-19 could delay its upcoming election.

The British economy -- the world's seventh in size -- contracted by an unprecedented 20.4 percent in the period from April to June, far worse than any of its European neighbours and also well below the so-called Group of Seven richest countries in the world.

By comparison, France's economy contracted by 13.9 percent in the second quarter, Canada 12 percent, Germany 10.1 percent, the United States percent and Japan 7.6 percent.

The news that the virus has knocked down a fifth of its economy came as Britain continues to grapple with one of the highest death tolls in the world from the pandemic, which some observers blame on the government's early dithering over the imposition of strict confinement measures.

Nevertheless, the subsequent lockdown brought activity shuddering to a halt particularly in the key services, production and construction sectors.

"It is clear that the UK is in the largest recession on record," said the Office for National Statistics, which compiles the data.

Even if some experts are still predicting a "V-shaped" rebound, Britain's economic woes could not come at a worse time as it still has to reach a trade deal with the EU following its exit from the 27-country bloc.

Experts agree that the absence of any trade deal with the EU would only further exacerbate Britain's problems.

- Second wave looms -

On the other side of the world, New Zealand's prime minister Jacinda Ardern said the upcoming election in September could be postponed as the coronavirus seems to have re-entered the Pacific country.

With 1.5 million people under stay-at-home orders, and millions more at risk of a wider outbreak, Ardern said she was seeking advice on delaying the election currently scheduled for September 19.

Parliament was due to be dissolved on Wednesday to allow the election to take place, but the centre-left leader held off the move until Monday to monitor how the crisis evolves.

"At this stage, it's too early to make any decision but this means there is some flexibility if required," said Ardern, who is well ahead in opinion polls and expected to win a second term.

With the number of coronavirus cases worldwide surpassing 20 million and the number of deaths fast approaching 750,000, the World Health Organization has warned that a second wave is "almost inevitable".

So, with no vaccine still in sight, countries across the globe are starting to reintroduce restrictions as the number of infections tick higher.

In Belgium, which is battling one of the most serious coronavirus outbreaks in Europe, authorities made the wearing of face masks in public compulsory in the Brussels region from Wednesday.

Belgium has one of the highest per capita death rates from COVID-19 in the world and infections are again rising after earlier success in bringing the epidemic under control.

In Italy, too, regions have begun to order new quarantines for people returning from higher-risk European countries such as Spain and Greece, as they hope to stem new outbreaks of coronavirus.

- Marathon cancellations -

In the sporting world, the organisers of the Paris marathon said this year's race has been cancelled.

The race through the French capital, moved from its original date of April 5 to November 15, joins a long list of elite marathons across the world to be cancelled this year.

The marathons in New York, Boston, Chicago and Berlin have been scrapped and London announced that it would only hold a race for elite runners because organisers say it would be unsafe for 45,000 runners to compete.

- Vaccine guinea pig -

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte will be a guinea pig for a controversial Russian coronavirus vaccine, his spokesman said on Wednesday, as the Southeast Asian nation emerged as a frontrunner for overseas clinical trials.

On Tuesday, Russia had claimed it had developed the world's first vaccine offering "sustainable immunity" against the coronavirus, despite mounting scepticism about its effectiveness.

President Vladimir Putin insisted the vaccine was safe and that one of his own daughters had received the inoculation, dubbed "Sputnik" after the pioneering 1950s Soviet satellite.

But western scientists have concerns about the speed of development of Russian vaccines, suggesting that researchers might be cutting corners.

The World Health Organization's spokesman in Geneva Tarik Jasarevic said it was in "close contact" with Russian health authorities but that it was too soon for any WHO stamp of approval.

"Pre-qualification of any vaccine includes the rigorous review and assessment of all the required safety and efficacy data," he said.

Indonesia is meanwhile launching a Phase 3 human trial of a vaccine candidate from China's Sinovac Biotech.

Phase 3 refers to trials involving large numbers of human test subjects and is usually the last step before regulatory approval.

The WHO says that 165 candidate vaccines are being worked on around the world, with six reaching Phase 3.

But emergencies director Michael Ryan warned that finding a vaccine would not automatically spell the end for COVID-19.

"We have perfectly effective polio and measles vaccines, and we still struggle to eradicate or eliminate those diseases. You've got to be able to deliver that vaccine to a population that want and demand to have that vaccine," he said.
Thailand News / Re: Covid-19: More Restrictions Lifted
« Last post by thaiga on Yesterday at 07:37:14 PM »
Restrictions on schools, public transport, sports events to be lifted

Existing virus-related restrictions on educational institutions, public transport and sporting events will be lifted from tomorrow (August 13), the government’s Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration announced today.

Here are some details:

1) Educational institutions across the country will be allowed to reopen to conduct teaching and learning as normal. However, this measure is voluntary and could be applied according to the situation and decision by school officials.

2) Public transport – by land and water – can go back to operating at normal capacity, allowing for a full number of passengers.

3) Outdoor or indoor sporting events will be allowed to increase their audiences in stadiums but must still have a limit on the number of entrants to keep the situation from getting out of control.
Health Care / Re: Covidcare: "it's like reading the tea leaves."
« Last post by thaiga on Yesterday at 05:57:04 PM »
Russia becomes first country to approve a Covid-19 vaccine, says Putin

Russia Just Approved The First Coronavirus Vaccine Without Completing Crucial Clinical Trials
Russian President Vladimir Putin said the vaccine "passed all necessary tests," but it has not yet undergone a key step in trials to determine how safe and effective it is.

Paul Offit, the director of the Vaccine Education Center at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, who sits on the FDA vaccine advisory committee, told BuzzFeed News "it's like reading the tea leaves."

"I am certain that they could not have possibly completed a phase 3 trial for efficacy. At most, they have limited immunogenicity data," Offit said. "Putin has made this political. And when he says the vaccine is effective, he can't possibly know that."

Offit also noted that he was concerned about how President Donald Trump, who some have feared might rush a vaccine to save his own presidency, will respond to Putin's announcement.

full article
Philippines talking to Russian vaccine maker on trials, seeks 'complete dossier'

Reuters/THE RUSSIAN DIRECT INVESTMENT FU A handout photo shows samples of a vaccine against the coronavirus disease developed by the Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology, in Moscow

(Reuters) - Philippine scientists were set on Wednesday to meet representatives of the Russian research facility that developed a coronavirus vaccine, to discuss possible participation in clinical trials and access to its research data.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has lauded the vaccine and offered to be "injected in public" with the Russian COVID-19 vaccine, to allay public fears about its safety.

Russia on Tuesday became the world's first country to grant regulatory approval for a COVID-19 vaccine, to be named "Sputnik V" in homage to the world's first satellite launched by the former Soviet Union.

Russia's decision to grant approval before completing trials has raised concerns among some experts, who fear it may be putting national prestige before safety.

Health Undersecretary Rosario Vergeire said Philippine experts would meet representatives of the state research facility Gamaleya to discuss trials and would request a "complete dossier" on the vaccine.

"We will see if the allegations are true," she told a regular briefing, referring to concerns that its approval was hasty.

"That is why were talking with them to understand this vaccine," Vergeire said, adding that local regulatory approval is required for trials to take place.

The Philippines has among Asia's highest coronavirus case numbers, which rose to 143,749 on Wednesday, two days after having hit a daily record of 6,958 infections. Areas in and around the capital have returned to a strict lockdown to contain the spread.

In July, Duterte made a plea to his Chinese counterpart to make the Philippines a priority if it develops a vaccine, amid concern in developing countries about availability.

More than half a dozen drugmakers globally are conducting large-scale, advanced human trials of their potential COVID-19 vaccines, each with tens of thousands of volunteers.

The Russian vaccine's approval comes before trials that would normally involve thousands of people, commonly known as a Phase III trial. Such trials are usually considered essential precursors for a vaccine's approval.
Australia suffers deadliest day of COVID-19 pandemic, cases rise
Australia recorded its deadliest day of the COVID-19 pandemic on Wednesday (Aug 12) and the biggest daily rise in infections in three days, denting hopes that a second wave gripping the state of Victoria may be stabilising.

Victoria reported 21 deaths - two more than the previous deadliest days earlier this week - and 410 new cases in the past 24 hours, ending a run of three consecutive days with new infections below 400.

A cluster of infections in Melbourne, the Victorian capital and Australia's second-largest city, forced authorities last week to impose a night curfew, tighten restrictions on people's daily movements and order large parts of state economy to close.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said that while the number of cases were trending down, the impact of the strict new lockdown measures was yet to show up in the case numbers.

"We all know that a week is not the life cycle of this virus ... and our experts remain firm in the view that this will drive the numbers down," he told reporters.

Only Victoria and the country's most populous state, New South Wales (NSW), reported fresh COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, with a total of 428 infections detected in the past 24 hours.

The coronavirus has been effectively eliminated outside of Victoria and NSW.

Authorities in NSW are scrambling to trace infections linked to a new cluster at a school in Sydney, which has raised fears of more widespread community transmission than previously known in the country's biggest city.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said businesses could face additional restrictions to prevent further clusters developing.

"We've given certainly a grace period for businesses, for organisations, for different establishments to step up their COVID safe plans and if they don't do that we will have to go a step further," Berejiklian said at a media briefing.

Australia has reported just over 22,000 infections and 352 deaths from the virus, far fewer on a per capita basis than many other developed countries.
Korat News / Innocent threat has Korat residents petrified
« Last post by thaiga on Yesterday at 04:24:38 PM »
Innocent threat has Korat residents petrified

Nakhon Ratchasima residents were terrified when a man, dressed in civil servant uniform, pulled out something that looked like a heavy weapon to threaten someone who had cut the queue at a local automobile repair shop on Tuesday (August 11).

A video clip of the incident has gone viral.

The shop’s staff said the man dressed as a civil servant argued with the person who had cut the queue for 10 minutes before heading to his car to pull out something that looked like a combat weapon.

These terrified people in the shop, who were afraid of there being a repeat of the shopping mall shooting, which had taken place in the province earlier this year, when an angry soldier went on a rampage.

Chok Chai Police Station later said that the “civil servant” was the deputy director of a school in Khon Buri district and that the so-called combat weapon was a modified music instrument.

The teacher told reporters that he had been angered by the person cutting the queue and wanted to scare them. Though he has apologised, the other party has insisted on filing a police complaint, which may lead to prosecution in the future.
Mother found with throat slit after daughter leaves for school

A mother in Nakhon Ratchasima province was found dead at home with her throat slit today (August 12), in what police suspect was a murder stemming from a romantic affair.

Nat, 29, lived with her 6-year-old daughter, who was at school when the incident happened. The dead woman’s Singaporean husband was also away.

A forensic team said she died for three hours before police discovered the body, which was sent to Maharat Nakhon Ratchasima Hospital for an autopsy.

Police found no sign of forced entry but there was evidence of a fight in a bedroom. The house was also ransacked.

Investigators are working on the theory that the motivation for the murder involved a romantic affair, since the victim was “good looking and had several relationships in the past”.
No plans to open Thai skies yet: Aviation authority
The Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand (CAAT) has yet to consider allowing international commercial flights to enter Thailand but was monitoring the improving Covid-19 situation in many countries, said director-general Chula Sukmanop.

It will need to consult with the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) before deciding whether to open Thai skies to international traffic, he added. CAAT has given the green light for certain groups of foreigners to enter Thailand from July 1.

The 11 groups permitted to fly into the country range from Thai nationals to foreigners and their carers seeking medical treatment in Thailand (except for Covid-19). All arrivals will be tested for Covid-19 and must follow CCSA and Department of Disease Control rules, including mandatory two-week quarantine.

Airports of Thailand posts worst quarter
(Reuters) - Airports of Thailand Pcl on Tuesday booked its worst quarter ever after volumes plummeted due to coronavirus-related restrictions.

State-owned AOT reported a loss of 2.96 billion baht ($95 million) for the three months to June 30 versus a profit of 5.89 billion a year earlier.

The shortfall was larger than the 2.1 billion baht loss expected, according to four analysts polled by Refinitiv.

Foreign tourist arrivals in Thailand fell 66% in the first half of 2020 reflecting global travel restrictions, including some from Thailand’s aviation regulator.

The country has put discussions of a ‘travel bubble’ on hold.

AOT’s revenue, including landing charges and concessions, fell 88% to 1.7 billion baht, it said.

Flight and passenger numbers fell by 88% and 95%, respectively, said AOT, which manages the country’s main Suvarnabhumi Airport and five others.

For the nine months to June 30, it recorded 438,000 flights and 65.15 million passengers, down 35% and 39%, respectively.

It will proceed with the construction of a satellite terminal in Bangkok, it said, but delay its opening until 2022.
Scams & Crime / Re: Deputy Attorney-General in Red Bull Heir case quits
« Last post by thaiga on Yesterday at 01:05:03 PM »
Well there's a surprise  ;)

Deputy Attorney-General in Red Bull Heir case quits
Thailand’s Economic Index Falls - Household Debt Rises
(NNT) - Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the employment rate, debt and other financial burdens have been affecting the economy and Thailand’s cost of living. The country’s economic index has also decreased.

It’s predicted that the economic index for the next three months will decrease from 37.4 to 36.8. Meanwhile, Thai families are increasingly concerned with all aspects of changes, especially the costs of products and services after food and energy capital costs were raised. Another factor that might play a major part in the economic conditions is the possibility of a second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Kasikorn Research Center has predicted that Thailand’s economic situation and cost of living for the rest of this year is slowly regenerating but is still fragile, even though the Bank of Thailand and the government have been launching financial support of various types.

The main reasons are the low employment rate and global economic woes.

However, the survey found that if there is a second wave of the pandemic, the majority of Thai citizens still want the government to lockdown only places affected by the outbreak.
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