Coronavirus latest news: US 'undermining' pandemic efforts by buying global supply of remdesivir

Gareth Davies
Remdesivir can shorten the recovery time of coronavirus patients
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The United States is "undermining" the global effort to fight the coronavirus pandemic by buying up virtually the whole supply of a drug that could shorten the recovery time of patients, leaving hardly any for other countries.

Business minister Nadhim Zahawi said in buying all supplies of remdesivir the US was not helping the global effort, saying the UK was working "responsibility so we actually deal with pandemic in a way that helps all of the world."

He added: "By attempting to compete we ultimately undermine all our strategies."

Remdesivir, an antiviral drug, is made by biopharmaceutical company Gilead Sciences, based in California. America has secured more than 500,000 treatment courses through September. That represents 100 per cent of Gilead’s projected production for July, and 90 per cent for each of the next two months.

Alex Azar, the US health secretary, said: "President Trump has struck an amazing deal to ensure Americans have access to the first authorised therapeutic for Covid-19. To the extent possible, we want to ensure that any American patient who needs remdesivir can get it."

Oxford University's Professor Peter Horby, who chairs the new and emerging respiratory virus threats advisory group (Nervtag) said manufacturer Gilead would be under "certain political pressures locally" as a US company.

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06:51 AM

Stars of lockdown Olive and Mabel return

Sports commentator Andrew Cotter provided welcome relief from the bleakness of lockdown with play-by-play reports of his dogs Olive and Mabel going about their business. 

Here is his look behind the scenes. 

It is, as all of his videos have been, absolutely brilliant.

06:41 AM

Morning news quiz

How closely did you follow the news yesterday?

Here is your morning news quiz. Answers out later this morning.

  1. Boris Johnson has compared his stimulus package to help the economy recover from the Covid-19 pandemic to which US president's New Deal?
  2. Which of the UK's big museums has announced it will be the first to reopen after the coronavirus lockdown?
  3. Who has criticised the Prime Minister for giving the post of national security adviser to a political ally with "no proven expertise" in the field?
  4. What has Kanye West congratulated his wife Kim Kardashian on doing, saying he was "so proud" of her?

06:40 AM

Leicester 'just want clarity', says shadow health secretary

Shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth said people in Leicester "just want clarity" over the return of tighter lockdown measures for the city.

The Labour MP for Leicester South told ITV's Good Morning Britain on Wednesday that people were "really worried" about what the changes will mean for their children and businesses.

He said: "I don't think it's fair to the people of Leicester to announce at a press conference on a Thursday afternoon that Leicester has a problem, but then actually take 11 days to tell Leicester that they are going into lockdown and what they are going to do about it.

"People are really worried in Leicester, people are going to be anxious. People who are shielding are very, very scared.

"People who were planning to get their businesses open this Saturday are desperately worried about their livelihoods and what happens next with the economy.

"And every parent in Leicester is concerned about the safety of their children obviously, but is also deeply concerned about their children missing out on more education."

06:38 AM

Questions raised over US buing up stocks of remdesivir

A scientist advising the Government said that the US buying up stocks of coronavirus drug remdesivir raises concerns.

Oxford University's Professor Peter Horby, who chairs the new and emerging respiratory virus threats advisory group (Nervtag) said manufacturer Gilead would be under "certain political pressures locally" as a US company.

"It does raise two very important questions: what is a fair price for a drug and what is fair access to a drug, and those are common issues but are particularly important in a global crisis like this," he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

"That's part of the fair access question, the trial that gave the result that allowed remdesivir to sell their drug wasn't just done in the US, there were patients participating through other European countries, in the UK as well, and internationally, Mexico and other places.

"And I wonder how they would feel knowing now that the drug is going to have restricted availability in their own country and would they have volunteered for that trial if they had known that?"

It also raises questions if a vaccine is found, he said, telling the radio show: "Commercial companies are built to behave like this and we need a much stronger framework if we are going to develop these things and they're going to be used for national emergencies."

06:30 AM

Eurostar to restart direct services to Disneyland Paris

Eurostar is to restart direct services from London to Amsterdam and Disneyland Paris in the coming weeks.

The cross-Channel train operator announced it will resume its Anglo-Dutch route from July 9.

Although direct services will run to the Netherlands, passengers travelling in the reverse direction will need to change trains in Brussels, where passport checks and security screening will be carried out.

Eurostar will restart its services to Disneyland Paris from August 2.

The routes have been closed since March due to the drop in demand caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

06:24 AM

Upper Crust say 5,000 jobs are under threat

Upper Crust owner SSP has said up to 5,000 jobs are under threat as it shakes up the group following plunging passenger numbers at railway stations and airports due to the coronavirus pandemic.

06:23 AM

US buys up virtually entire global supply of key drug remdesivir

The United States has bought up virtually the whole supply of a drug that could shorten the recovery time of coronavirus patients, leaving hardly any for other countries.

Remdesivir, an antiviral drug, is made by biopharmaceutical company Gilead Sciences, based in California. America has secured more than 500,000 treatment courses through September. That represents 100 per cent of Gilead’s projected production for July, and 90 per cent for each of the next two months.

Alex Azar, the US health secretary, said: "President Trump has struck an amazing deal to ensure Americans have access to the first authorised therapeutic for Covid-19. To the extent possible, we want to ensure that any American patient who needs remdesivir can get it."

It came as America's top infectious disease expert warned Congress the country could see as many as 100,000 new coronavirus cases a day if its current spikes in infections are not contained.

06:17 AM

Medics 'bracing' themselves for reopening of pubs

The Royal College of Emergency Medicine has warned that medics are "bracing" themselves for the reopening of pubs during the coronavirus crisis.

President Dr Katherine Henderson told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "We're bracing ourselves, I think would be a fair way to say it.

"It actually is quite serious, we have emergency departments having to work in a very different way than they did before because we have to keep vulnerable patients safe so we can't have crowded emergency departments.

"What we can't do is have a department that gets overwhelmed by people who are injured because they have got themselves into a fight, they have fallen off something, they have drunk so much that they actually need the health service's help.

"People have been standing at doorways clapping the NHS, well more important than clapping the NHS is using the resources responsibly and anybody who goes out and gets so drunk that they need an ambulance and they need to come to an emergency department is not supporting the NHS."

06:09 AM

Matt of the day

With Leicester plunged back into lockdown, here's a light-hearted look at the story by Matt.

Matt

 See all of Matt's cartoons here.

06:06 AM

Second lockdown for 300,000 Australians

Authorities will lock down around 300,000 people in suburbs north of Melbourne for a month from later today to contain the risk of infection after two weeks of double-digit rises in new coronavirus cases in Australia's second most populous state.

Australia has fared better than many countries in the pandemic, with around 7,830 cases and 104 deaths, but the recent surge has stoked fears of a second wave of Covid-19, echoing concerns expressed in other countries.

Globally, coronavirus cases exceeded 10 million on Sunday, a major milestone in the spread of a disease that has killed more than half a million people in seven months.

From midnight, more than 30 suburbs in Australia's second-biggest city will return to stage three restrictions, the third-strictest level in curbs to control the pandemic. That means residents will be confined to home except for grocery shopping, health appointments, work or care, and exercise.

The measures come as curbs ease across the rest of the state of Victoria, with restaurants, gyms and cinemas reopening in recent weeks. Victoria's spike in cases has been linked to staff members at hotels housing returned travellers for which quarantine protocols were not strictly followed and state authorities have announced an investigation into the matter.

05:53 AM

Local authorities need data on spikes, BMA say

Giving local authorities accurate and up-to-date data on spikes in coronavirus cases could help save lives, leading doctors have said.

The British Medical Association (BMA) implored the Government to ensure that local leaders were given timely information about cases in their area to help contain the spread of the virus. It comes after ministers faced criticism for the handling of the surge of cases in Leicester.

The BMA urged the Government to share "timely, comprehensive and reliable" information to all those involved in the management of new cases at a local level. It also called for clarity about how regional spikes will be managed in the future.

Dr Chaand Nagpaul, chairman of the BMA Council, said: "The Prime Minister has talked about a 'whack a mole' strategy to tackle local outbreaks, but this is no use if the people leading the response on the ground - be they public health teams or local leaders - are not given the most accurate up-to-date data possible.

"This is crucial to allow swift action and to protect lives and the health service, and something that is not happening right now.

"This is all the more important given that the 'world leading' test and trace app is not in place, meaning local leaders and teams armed with up-to-date information will be vital in containing spread of outbreaks."

05:47 AM

Today's front page

Here is your Daily Telegraph on Wednesday, July 1.

dt

04:28 AM

300,000 Australians going into lockdown for a month

Authorities will lock down around 300,000 people in suburbs north of Melbourne for a month from late on Wednesday to contain the risk of infection after two weeks of double-digit rises in new coronavirus cases in Australia's second most populous state.

Australia has fared better than many countries in the pandemic, with around 7,830 cases and 104 deaths, but the recent surge has stoked fears of a second wave, echoing concerns expressed in other countries.

From midnight, more than 30 suburbs in Australia's second-biggest city will return to stage three restrictions, the third-strictest level in curbs to control the pandemic. That means residents will be confined to home except for grocery shopping, health appointments, work or caregiving, and exercise.

03:37 AM

Japan doesn't need to declare another state of emergency now

Japan is not in a situation now where it needs to declare another state of emergency over the coronavirus but could do so in a worst-case scenario, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said on Wednesday.

The capital Tokyo has sought to keep new cases below 20 a day since Japan lifted a state of emergency on May 25, but has had five straight days of more than 50 new cases as of Tuesday, when 54 infections were reported.

Still, Tokyo along with the rest of Japan has had a lower rate of infection than many countries. Japan has had nearly 19,000 diagnosed with 974 deaths.

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03:28 AM

Order for Brazil's president to wear a face mask dismissed

A judge in Brazil on Tuesday dismissed a court ruling requiring President Jair Bolsonaro to wear a face mask in public during the pandemic.

Judge Daniele Maranhao Costa said the order was unnecessary since face masks are already mandatory in the capital Brasilia.

In his appeal, Mr Bolsonaro simply asked to be treated as any other resident of the country's federal capital, where mask use has been mandatory since April.

Breaking the rule can result in a fine of 2,000 reales - about £ 295 - and so far, the president has not been fined for failing to wear a mask.

Mr Bolsonaro has regularly broken the social distancing measures in place in the capital, giving handshakes and hugs at rallies, hosting barbecues, hitting the shooting range and going out for hot dogs, generally without a mask.

Read more: Where do I need to wear a face mask? Latest Government advice on compulsory coverings 

 Jair Bolsonaro adjusts his protective face mask - Reuters

02:53 AM

A third of those with no symptoms may be immune

Up to a third of healthy people without symptoms of coronavirus may have developed immunity to it, international research suggests. 

The findings suggest that public immunity could be as much as twice that found in antibody tests, meaning infection hotspots such as London could be further along the path to herd immunity than thought, and come after a study of an Italian town that was among the first in Europe to be hit by the virus showed that 40 per cent of those infected had no symptoms. 

Until now, efforts to measure levels of protection against coronavirus have focused on antibodies, which have proved an unreliable measure. 

Read more: Hotspots could be further towards herd immunity than thought

Sweden where the research was carried out, is the only European country not to have a lockdown - EPA

02:05 AM

Another day of record new cases in US

New coronavirus cases rose by more than 47,000 in the US on Tuesday according to a Reuters tally, the biggest one-day spike since the start of the pandemic, as the government's top infectious disease expert warned that number could soon double.

California, Texas and Arizona have emerged as new US epicenters of the pandemic, reporting record increases in Covid-19 cases.

"Clearly we are not in total control right now," Dr Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told a US Senate committee. "I am very concerned because it could get very bad."

Dr Fauci said the daily increase in new cases could reach 100,000 unless a nationwide push was made to tamp down the resurgent virus.

According to Johns Hopkins University, the US recorded 1,199 fatalities from the coronavirus over the past 24 hours, as the country's death toll has started to climb again. The number of daily deaths had not exceeded 1,000 since June 10.

01:49 AM

Brazil delivers supplies to indigenous groups

Brazil's military has delivered protective supplies and medicines by helicopter to isolated Amazon indigenous communities bordering Venezuela and tested frightened members for Covid-19.

None tested positive to the rapid finger-prick tests, but the coronavirus pandemic is threatening to decimate hundreds of Amazon tribes that have no immunity to external diseases and whose communal lifestyle rules out social distancing.

The operation to help the Yanomami who live on Brazil's largest reservation is aimed at countering criticism that the right-wing government of President Jair Bolsonaro is not doing enough to protect indigenous people from contagion.

"The main goal of this joint operation by the armed forces is to track Covid-19s in the nearby villages," naval medic Captain Jarbas de Souza said.

The Army airlifted supplies from the Roraima state capital of Boa Vista on a Blackhawk helicopter to a military frontier post deep in the rainforest, with boxes of face masks, alcohol gel, aprons, gloves, tests and medicines, including 13,500 pills of the controversial anti-malaria drug chloroquine.

Doctors have been delivering tests to the Yanomani community in Auaris - EPA

12:31 AM

New cases fall in China

China on Wednesday reported three new coronavirus cases in the mainland for June 30, down from 19 a day earlier, the health authority said.

All the new infections were in Beijing, the National Health Commission said in a statement. The capital city reported seven new infections for June 29. There were no new deaths.

Mainland China also reported three new asymptomatic patients, who tested positive for Covid-19 but showed no clinical symptoms such as a fever, down from four a day earlier.

As of June 30, mainland China had a total of 83,534 confirmed coronavirus cases, it said. China's death toll from the coronavirus remained at 4,634.

All the new infections were in Beijing - AP

12:08 AM

Trump: 'I am getting more and more angry at China'

President Donald Trump has said he is growing "more and more angry at China" over the spread of the coronavirus, as American health officials warned they were not in "total" control of the virus.

The global pandemic, which Trump blames on Beijing, has intensified already strong tensions between the two countries over an ongoing trade war.

Amid a surge in US cases, particularly in the south and west, infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci told Congress on Tuesday that things were "going in the wrong direction," and that "clearly we are not in total control right now."

11:27 PM

Biden won't hold election rallies

Joe Biden has said he will not hold presidential campaign rallies during the coronavirus pandemic, an unprecedented declaration that stands in stark contrast with Donald Trump who has already held large campaign gatherings.

Mr Biden also ramped up his criticism of the president's handling of the pandemic, saying Mr Trump had "failed" the American people and "waved the white flag" of surrender in the fight against the coronavirus.

"This is the most unusual campaign I think in modern history," the former vice-president said in Delaware at his first press conference since securing his party's presidential nomination nearly four weeks ago.

"I'm going to follow the doc's orders - not just for me but for the country - and that means that I am not going to be holding rallies," said Mr Biden.

Biden said the White House response to Covid-19 had failed the American people - REUTERS

11:02 PM

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