Covid-19 wrap | India passes 8 million cases, UK doing everything it can to avoid national lockdown

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  • A company in Singapore has developed a breathalyser test for the new coronavirus which it says will enable results in under a minute.
  • Housing minister Robert Jenrick said the British government will do everything it can to avoid putting the country into a second national lockdown.
  • India on Thursday passed eight million coronavirus cases and the world's second-worst-hit country is bracing for a new wave.


Singapore firm invents coronavirus breathalyser with results in seconds

A company in Singapore has developed a breathalyser test for the new coronavirus which it says will enable people to know whether they are infected in under a minute.

Breathonix, a startup firm from the National University of Singapore, says its test achieved more than 90% accuracy in a pilot clinical trial of 180 people in the city-state and hopes to get regulatory approval early next year.

Countries worldwide are looking to develop alternative tests to the Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) nasal swab, which is invasive and in short supply in some places where demand has outstripped manufacturers' production capacity.

Breathonix is currently expanding its trial in Singapore and hopes to improve accuracy and get the green light to go commercial in the first quarter of next year.

Reuters

UK doing everything it can to avoid national lockdown, minister says

The British government will do everything it can to avoid putting the country into a second national lockdown and believes it can control the virus with tough local measures, housing minister Robert Jenrick said on Thursday.

The minister added that the government kept everything under review but it wanted to avoid a second full national shutdown because of the damage it creates to livelihoods and the economy.

"The very clear policy of the government is to do everything we can to avoid a full national lockdown," he told Sky News.

Reuters

India passes eight million coronavirus cases

India on Thursday passed eight million coronavirus cases and the world's second-worst-hit country is bracing for a new wave in the pandemic.

There have now been 8 040 203 cases and 120 527 deaths across the country of 1.3 billion people, according to the latest government figures.

New Delhi recorded 5 000 new cases on Wednesday, which was the highest daily figure since the outbreak of the pandemic. Officials have warned that the capital could see more than 10 000 cases a day in the next wave.

Financial capital Mumbai, India's worst-hit city with more than 250 000 cases and over 10 000 deaths, is currently adding about 2 000 cases a day.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has warned the population in recent speeches that they are being "careless" in giving up social distancing and other precautions.

AFP

France is latest nation to return to lockdown amid Covid-19 surge

France will go back into a nationwide lockdown starting this week to try to contain the Covid-19 pandemic that is again threatening to spiral out of control, French President Emmanuel Macron said in an address to the nation on Wednesday.

The new measures announced by Macron – which come into force on Friday and will last until 1 December – will mean people have to stay in their homes except to buy essential goods, seek medical attention, or use their daily one-hour allocation of exercise.

Anyone leaving their home will have to carry a special document justifying being outside, which can be checked by police, Macron said.

Restaurants, cafes and shops not selling essential goods will have to close down for at least the next two weeks, Macron said.

Aljazeera

Mexico passes 90 000 virus deaths, Argentina records 30 000     

Two Latin American countries hard hit by coronavirus each recorded another bleak moment in the pandemic on Wednesday with Mexico exceeding 90 000 deaths from its outbreak and Argentina surpassing a toll of 30 000.

Mexico has the fourth-highest death toll in the world and recorded another 495 fatalities on Wednesday, while Argentina's health ministry reported a new total of 30 071 deaths in the country with the seventh-largest number of confirmed infections.

Both countries still lag well behind Brazil, the region's worst-hit nation with five million recorded cases and almost 160 000 deaths. Peru and Colombia have each recorded more than 30 000 deaths.

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador expressed his concern over his country's recent spike in Covid-19 cases in a Wednesday press conference and urged the public to stay vigilant.

AFP

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