Texas Children's Hospital admitting adults as coronavirus surges in Houston
French virus tracing app flops with only 14 alerts
Virus lockdown could fuel radicalisation: Europol
As coronavirus chaos has enveloped Pakistan, with hospitals overflowing, doctors dying and infections escalating at an unmanageable rate, a dangerous black market in blood plasma has emerged, write Hannah Ellis-Petersen and Shah Meer Baloch.
The blood plasma of recovered coronavirus patients is now being sold for upwards of £3,000 to those who are desperately looking for a cure, at a time when doctors say Pakistan’s healthcare system is on the brink of collapse.
Convalescent plasma is being trialled around the world as a possible treatment for the disease. It contains antibodies generated by the immune systems of people who have fought off the virus.
Doctors in government hospitals in Islamabad told the Guardian they had witnessed transactions between patients and intermediaries. The Guardian has also seen multiple text messages between people across Pakistan who are buying and selling the plasma of recovered patients.
“The hospitals are not involved but I have seen deals happen in front of me,” said a doctor at a government hospital in Islamabad, who asked not to be named. “Usually a patient’s attendants or family will approach someone who has recovered, asking them to donate blood. When a certain amount is agreed as payment, usually between 200,000 and 800,000 rupees (£950-£3,800), they go to a private lab and extract the plasma, which is then ‘donated’ to the patients.”
Brazilian judge orders Bolsonaro to wear face mask in public
A Brazilian judge has ordered Jair Bolsonaro to rectify his “at best disrespectful” behaviour by wearing a face mask when circulating in the capital, Brasília.
The president has sparked outrage by repeatedly flouting measures designed to slow the advance of a coronavirus pandemic that has killed more than 50,000 Brazilians.
The rightwing populist has made a succession of public appearances – at protests, shops and even a floating barbecue - wearing a mask incorrectly, or not at all.
On Monday, a federal judge ruled Bolsonaro was not above the laws of the federal district, which contains Brazil’s capital, and would face a daily fine of 2,000 reais (about £330) if he continued to break the rules. The use of masks has been compulsory there since late April.
According to a transcript published by the Estado de São Paulo newspaper, Renato Coelho Borelli ruled:
The president of the republic must take all necessary measures to avoid the transmission of Covid-19 – be that in order to protect his own health or that of those around him.
Even though there is no consensus within the medical/scientific community about the dissemination of Covid-19 by asymptomatic carriers, it is at best disrespectful to go out in public without using PPE – putting other people’s health at risk.
A straightforward Google search is enough to find numerous images of the defendant Jair Messias Bolsonaro moving around Brasília and the surrounding federal district without using a mask and exposing others to the spread of this infirmity that has caused a nationwide upheaval.
The judge cited Brazil’s oath of office in which presidents vow to “uphold, defend and fulfil the constitution, obey the laws [and] promote the well-being of the Brazilian people”.
“That’s to say, the president is constitutionally obliged to follow the country’s existing laws, as well as promote the wellbeing of the population, which means taking the necessary measures to … prevent the propagation of a virus that is spreading rapidly and often silently.”
“No one, not even the head of the executive, is above the constitution and laws of the republic,” the judge concluded.
Bolsonaro made no immediate comment on the ruling.
A vaccine against Covid-19 may not work well in older people who are most at risk of becoming seriously ill and dying from the disease, say scientists, which may mean immunising others around them, such as children, writes Sarah Boseley, the Guardian’s health editor.
Prof Peter Openshaw, from Imperial, one of the members of the UK’s Sage scientific advisory sub-group NERVTAG, told the House of Lords science and technology committee it was this week considering a paper on targeting different groups in the population with vaccines.
“Sometimes it is possible to protect a vulnerable group by targeting another group and this, for example, is being done with influenza,” he said. “In the past few years, the UK has been at the forefront of rolling out the live attenuated vaccine for children.”
Giving the nasal spray flu vaccine to children who do not often get severe flu protects their grandparents, he said. Immunising health and care workers – who are likely to be the first to get the vaccine – would also help protect older people who have the most contact with them.
Virus pushing millions of South Asia children into poverty, says UN
Russia is holding its postponed Victory Day military parade on Wednesday despite steadily rising coronavirus infections, as Vladimir Putin seeks a popularity boost in the run-up to a referendum on extending his time in office.
The parade celebrates the defeat of Nazi Germany and has grown to outsize proportions in the years since Putin came to power at the turn of the century.
On 1 July, Russians will vote on amending their country’s constitution to allow Putin to run twice more for president, potentially extending his stay in the Kremlin to 2036,
Online voting will begin less than 24 hours after an estimated 14,000 Russian troops, as well as tanks, artillery, and aircraft, traverse Red Square in a patriotic display of the country’s military prowess.
The preparations for the parade have involved complex political considerations over Russia’s hurried exit from coronavirus shelter-in-place measures to accommodate the crucial political season.
The Moscow mayor, Sergei Sobyanin, appeared to yield to pressure to end Moscow’s lockdown earlier this month but he has urged spectators to avoid crowding the streets to catch sight of the passing military hardware.
“It’s better to watch it on television,” he said. “There shouldn’t be any crowds, there shouldn’t be spectators there.”