Vaccines are being tested and companies around the world preparing to manufacture them. This Spanish factory plans to produce a COVID-19 vaccine being developed by a US firm [Salvador Sas/EPA]
Hello and welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the coronavirus pandemic. I’m Kate Mayberry in Kuala Lumpur.
- United States President Donald Trump continues to claim there will be a coronavirus vaccine in weeks, contradicting the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
- More than 29.7 million people around the world have been diagnosed with the coronavirus and 938,820 have died, according to Johns Hopkins University. Some 20.2 million people have recovered.
Here are the latest updates:
Thursday, September 17
02:45 GMT – ‘Punched, hit, kicked, shoved, deliberately spat at’
New research shows holders of temporary visas in Australia suffered increasing racist abuse after they were left out of the government’s economic support schemes and Prime Minister Scott Morrison said it was time to go home.
In a survey of more than 6,000 temporary visa holders, a quarter said they had experienced racist abuse, and a quarter reported people avoiding them because of their appearance.
“Over 1,600 participants described being targeted with xeonphobic slurs, treated as though they were infected with COVID because they looked Asian or haraassed for wearing a face mask,” said Prof Bassina Farbenblum, an associate professor at UNSW Law, who worked on the study with Laurie Berg, an associate professor at UTS Law. The two are co-directors of the Migrant Worker Justice Initiative. “Many reported that because off their Asian appearance they were punched, hit, kicked, shoved, deliberately spat at or coughed on by passers-by in the street and on public transport.”
More than one million people live in Australia on temporary visas including international students, backpackers, and refugees. The survey found 70 percent of respondents lost all or most of their work as a result of the pandemic, with one in three international students expecting their funds to run out by next month.
The government’s failure to support these vulnerable people has the potential to profoundly impact Australia’s global reputation – Latest research from UTS Law’s Laurie Berg and @UNSWLaw’s Bassina Farbenblum on COVID’s impact on international students: https://t.co/el0EZqPC4F pic.twitter.com/2SKtwF86Ho
— UTS Faculty of Law (@UTSLaw) September 16, 2020
02:15 GMT – Brazil’s Bolsonaro appoints general as new health minister
Brazil’s president Jair Bolsonaro has apppointed a general with no experience in health as the country’s new health minister.
General Eduardo Pazuello was given the job on a temporary basis four months ago, but will now be made permanent. He has been more willing to go along with Bolsonaro’s approach to the pandemic than his predecessors, including recommending doctors prescribe hydroxycholoroquine to treat COVID-19 despite there being no evidence of it being effective.
Bolsonaro, who’s dismissed the virus as a “little flu”, brandished a box of the drug as Pazuello was sworn into office in Brasilia.
01:35 GMT – Australia tensions rise over citizens stuck overseas
Australia’s prime minister Scott Morrison says the number of people allowed into Australia will rise by 2,000 from next Friday, according to public broadcaster ABC.
The states, who will have to house the arrivals in hotel quarantine have yet to give their approval.
About 4,000 people are currently allowed into Australia each week, but at least 25,000 are stranded overseas because of the cap on arrivals. Many Australians also say they have been bumped from flights home repeatedly.
The govt should leave no stone unturned; on top of increasing the cap they can charter additional flights, employ RAF resources, use airports other than Sydney, Perth, Adelaide, Brisbane, or use federal quarantine facilities to increase capacity for people to isolate themselves.
— Joel Clark 🕯️🏳️🌈 (@JoelM_Clark) September 17, 2020
00:30 GMT – New Zealand reports record fall in GDP
New Zealand has just released economic data for the second quarter when the country was in lockdown, and it’s not pretty.
The figures show gross domestic product shrank by 12.2 percent compared with the previous quarter, the biggest drop on record. The country is now in its worst recession since 2010.
00:00 GMT – Trump contradicts CDC chief over vaccine
US President Donald Trump has directly contradicted Robert Redfield, the director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) over the timing of any coronavirus vaccine.
While Redfield told a US Senate committee a vaccine was unlikely to be ready until mid to late 2021, Trump said it would be much sooner and accused the CDC chief of making a “mistake” and being “confused”. He told the news conference a vaccine could be announced as soon as October.
Trump has been pushing for a vaccine ahead of the November election, raising concerns about safety. Vaccine development usually takes years, and there is no guarantee of success. The process has been accelerated for the coronavirus and there are a number of candidates currently in large-scale phase three human trials, which are designed to test efficacy and safety.