What you need to know about the coronavirus right now

(Reuters) – Here’s what you need to know about the coronavirus right now:

New Zealand tracking community cases

New Zealand was scrambling to trace the source of its first coronavirus outbreak in more than three months, reporting 13 new community infections on Thursday, bringing the total number of active cases to 36. Tight movement restrictions have been reimposed in Auckland and social distancing measures across the rest of the country.

The resurgence of COVID-19 comes just weeks before a scheduled general election, increasing pressure on Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to get the outbreak under control amid growing criticism.

Ardern said it was a positive sign that all 13 new community cases were linked back to one infected family, either via work or broader family connections, and that all were being transferred into quarantine facilities.

Producing and testing Russian vaccine

A Brazilian technology institute said on Wednesday it expects to produce the controversial Sputnik V coronavirus Russian vaccine by the second half of 2021, shortly after the state of Parana signed a memorandum of understanding with Moscow. Jorge Callado, director of Parana’s Technology Institute known as Tecpar, said Parana would likely participate in the phase three testing, subject to Brazilian regulatory authorization.

The Philippines plans to start clinical trials for a Russian coronavirus vaccine in October, with President Rodrigo Duterte expected to be inoculated as early as May 2021, presidential spokesman Harry Roque said on Thursday.

Phase three clinical trials in the Philippines are due to run from October to March 2021, after a panel of vaccine experts completes its review on Russia’s phase one and two trials in September, Roque told a briefing.

Coronavirus on more frozen food

A sample of frozen chicken wings imported into the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen from Brazil has tested positive for coronavirus, the city government said in a notice on Thursday.

In addition to screening all meat and seafood containers coming into major ports in recent months, China has suspended some meat imports from various origins, including Brazil, since mid-June.

Li Fengqin, who heads a microbiology lab at the China National Center for Food Safety Risk Assessment told reporters in June that contaminated food put in cold storage could be a potential source of transmission.

Despair and denial in rural India

Interviews with dozens of staff, patients and relatives at the 900-bed Jawahar Lal Nehru Medical College and Hospital in India’s Bihar state, paint a picture of conditions that might shock those accustomed to images of hermetically sealed ICUs during the pandemic, with relatives not even allowed to touch their dying loved ones. They tell instead of a chronic shortage of manpower and resources such as blood and medicines.

The state government’s response to the outbreak has been so dire that it has prompted public interest litigation asking that India’s federal government, led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, take over management of the pandemic here.

Elsewhere, in two dozen small Indian towns and villages visited by Reuters reporters in recent weeks, people have largely given up on social distancing and masks after months of sticking to the rules, believing the virus is not such a serious threat. The change in behaviour in rural India – where two-thirds of its 1.3 billion people live, often with only the most basic health facilities – has come as infections in the countryside have surged.

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