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Almost a million people inoculated with Chinese COVID-19 vaccine: firm

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Doctor holding vaccine. (AFP)

Nearly a million people have taken an experimental coronavirus vaccine developed by Chinese company Sinopharm, the firm said, although it has not yet provided any clear clinical evidence of efficacy.

China has been giving experimental Covid-19 vaccines to people including state employees, international students and essential workers heading abroad since July.

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“We have not received a single report of severe adverse reaction, and only a few had some mild symptoms,” Liu Jingzhen said in an interview re-published by the state-owned firm on Wednesday.

China has been bullish about the development of its vaccine for the new virus — which first emerged in the centre of the country late last year — with four vaccines now in late-stage testing.

Many of the trials are taking place overseas, as China has largely brought the virus under control within its borders.

Sinopharm is testing two vaccines in late-stage trials in countries including the UAE, Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Peru and Argentina.

The company claimed this week to be “leading the world in all aspects” of vaccine development, although it did not offer clinical evidence from ongoing trials.

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Instead it cited anecdotal experiences from those who have been inoculated, including “construction personnel, diplomats, and overseas students” who it said have gone on to visit more than 150 countries after vaccination without being infected.

President Xi Jinping has declared that any Chinese vaccine would be a “global public good”, after the country came under criticism, particularly from the US, for its early handling of the outbreak.

Many who have been inoculated in China are not formal participants in drugmakers’ trials and are said to have done so voluntarily.

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Competition has intensified among pharmaceutical companies racing to develop a Covid-19 shot, with two vaccines — one by US company Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech, and another by US firm Moderna — publishing large-scale trial data this month that showed their jabs were around 95 percent effective against Covid-19.

© 2020 AFP


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San Francisco imposes curfew after spike in coronavirus cases

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A surge in coronavirus cases will put San Francisco under a curfew beginning on Monday and trigger other restrictions related to the virus, the city announced.

The curfew requires non-essential businesses to close and prohibits members of different households from gathering between 10 pm and 5 am until December 21, Mayor London Breed said Saturday.

San Mateo county outside San Francisco will also be subject to the same rules after the state of California classified both under its most restrictive tier of locations based on the spread of the virus.

In addition to the curfew, certain indoor businesses will be required to either close or reduce capacity beginning on Sunday at noon, Breed said.

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McConnell to suspend in-person GOP lunches to keep Republicans from infecting each other with COVID: report

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Republican senators are taking action to protect caucus members from infecting each other with COVID-19 as cases soar across America.

"Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will temporarily suspend in-person lunches for the GOP caucus, amid a nationwide spike in coronavirus cases," Politico reported Saturday.

"McConnell’s decision comes as the Senate’s seen a recent uptick in members contracting the disease. Both Sens. Rick Scott (R-FA) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) have tested positive for the virus in recent weeks, while Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-GA) announced she’d received a positive test before proceeding to test negative," correspondent Marianne Levine reported.

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Anti-vax groups online are helping to radicalize the QAnon movement

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The alliance between anti-vaxxers and QAnon followers is rapidly increasing as they continue their efforts to spread massive amounts of disturbing misinformation amid the pandemic. One glaring example centers around one incident that occurred last week.

Facebook opted to nix a massive anti-vaccination propaganda group with more than 200,000 members last week. However, the group was not shut down for the dangerous public health misinformation its members posted, but rather, the disturbing promotion of QAnon, reports Huffington Post.

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