In Brief : Philippine minister tests positive for virus

Philippine Interior Secretary Eduardo Ano tested positive five months after an initial diagnosis.
Philippine Interior Secretary Eduardo Ano tested positive five months after an initial diagnosis.

Philippine minister tests positive for virus

MANILA • A Philippine government minister has tested positive for the coronavirus five months after an initial diagnosis, the authorities said yesterday, as experts investigate whether he had been reinfected.

Interior Secretary Eduardo Ano, who is helping to spearhead the country's virus response, said he returned a positive test last Saturday after experiencing flu-like symptoms last week.

He was first diagnosed with Covid-19 in March, but did not show any signs of the disease at the time.


Death toll in India surges past 50,000

NEW DELHI • India's official coronavirus death toll soared past 50,000 yesterday as the pandemic rages through smaller cities and rural areas where healthcare is feeble and stigmatisation rife.

Many experts say the real numbers may be far higher due to low testing rates and because deaths are often not properly recorded in the vast and impoverished nation of 1.3 billion people.

India last week overtook Britain with the world's fourth-highest number of fatalities, behind the United States, Brazil and Mexico, and as of yesterday recorded 50,921 deaths, according to the Health Ministry.


China records no new local cases in Xinjiang

SHANGHAI • China reported no new local coronavirus cases in the western region of Xinjiang on Sunday, according to national data, marking the first time the area's case count was zero since mid-July.

It marks a new low number for Xinjiang, which had become a hotbed for the virus as cases surged.

China yesterday reported 22 new coronavirus cases in the mainland for Sunday, compared with 19 cases a day earlier, the health authority said.

All of the new infections were imported cases, the National Health Commission said in a statement. There were no new deaths.


CanSino's vaccine gets patent nod from Beijing

BEIJING • China's vaccine specialist CanSino Biologics has won a patent approval from Beijing for its Covid-19 vaccine candidate Ad5-nCOV, state media reported, citing documents from the country's intellectual property regulator.

It is the first Covid-19 vaccine patent granted by China, state-owned newspaper People's Daily reported on Sunday.

Saudi Arabia said this month it plans to begin Phase III clinical trials for the CanSino vaccine. CanSino has said it is also in talks with Russia, Brazil and Chile to launch Phase III trials in those countries.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 18, 2020, with the headline 'InBrief'. Print Edition | Subscribe