Covid-19 Wrap: India's cases top 7 million, BCG vaccine to be tested on UK frontline workers

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UK study tests if BCG vaccine protects against Covid

The widely used BCG tuberculosis vaccine will be tested on frontline care workers in Britain for its effectiveness against Covid-19, researchers running the UK arm of a global trial said.

Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccine, used to protect against tuberculosis, induces a broad innate immune-system response and has been shown to protect against infection or severe illness with other respiratory pathogens.

The UK study is part of an existing Australian-led trial, which launched in April and also has arms in the Netherlands, Spain and Brazil. The BCG vaccine is also being tested as a protection against Covid-19 in South Africa.

Indonesia's capital to ease coronavirus curbs from Monday

The Indonesian capital of Jakarta will kick off a two-week "transitional" period of eased coronavirus curbs from Monday after the pace of infections slowed over the last two weeks, Governor Anies Baswedan said.

The city of about 11 million in southeast Asia's largest economy re-imposed tougher social restrictions from mid-September, after a spurt in virus infections put stress on its health services.

The new measures allow non-essential businesses to work from offices, but making use only of half their capacity, while dine-in customers at restaurants are also limited to 50% of capacity. Parks and museums will start opening with some curbs, while all businesses have to follow a strict hygiene protocol and keep data on their visitors for contact tracing purposes.

India's coronavirus infections cross 7 million

 India's coronavirus case tally topped 7 million after it reported 74,383 new infections in the last 24 hours, data from the health ministry showed on Sunday, even as the spread moderated in western states such as Maharashtra.

Deaths from Covid-19 rose by 918 in the last 24 hours to 108,334, the ministry said.

India added a million cases in just 13 days, according to a Reuters tally of government data, and it has the second-highest number of infections, behind the United States which is approaching the 8 million mark.

Trump seeks campaign comeback from Covid-19

President Donald Trump rallied hundreds of supporters for a comeback event at the White House, jumping back into the election race nine days after being stopped in his tracks by Covid-19 -- a disease his doctor says he is no longer at risk of spreading.

The White House doctor announced late Saturday the president was "no longer considered a transmission risk."

Tests showed there was "no longer evidence of actively replicating virus" and that Trump's viral load was "decreasing," Sean Conley said -- though he did not state that the president was virus-free.

Guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say that, for mild or moderate Covid-19 cases, isolation and precautions can be discontinued 10 days after symptom onset, and once patients have been fever-free for 24 hours. However, the severity of Trump's illness has not been confirmed.

South Korea eases social distancing

South Korea said on Sunday it will begin social distancing rules on Monday, allowing the reopening of nightly entertainment facilities and sports fixtures, as new coronavirus cases have been edging lower in recent weeks.

Daily infections of the virus that causes Covid-19 have largely been in the double digits over the past two weeks, down from as many as 440 during outbreaks following a church and a political rally in August. Those prompted authorities to tighten curbs on gatherings and some businesses.

The eased rules mean entertainment facilities such as nightclubs and karaoke bars can reopen and limited audiences will be allowed at sports matches such as the popular Korea Baseball Organization League, as long as they comply with anti-virus guidelines.

But some stricter rules will be kept in the heavily populated Seoul area and high-risk venues including religious gatherings and door-to-door sales businesses, the government said.

- additional reporting by AFP

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