AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine trial suspended: Live news

Clinical trials of one of most promising candidate vaccines suspended after patient develops unexplained illness.

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

03:05 GMT – Greece’s Moria refugee camp evacuated after fire

The Moria camp on the Greek island of Lesbos has been partially evacuated after a series of fires.

About 13,000 people live in the camp and are currently under a two week quarantine after a case of coronavirus was confirmed on September 2. 

Officials say there were “scattered fires” inside and outside Moria, which was designed to hold no more tha 3,000 people.  

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.

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

Read all the updates from yesterday (September 8) here.

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