While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, June 16

China’s new coronavirus outbreak needs further testing after ‘hypothesis’ on cause: WHO

The origins of a new cluster of coronavirus infections in Beijing are uncertain, World Health Organisation officials said on Monday, but the claim that it might have been caused by imports or packaging of salmon was not the “primary hypothesis”.

Several districts of the Chinese capital put up security checkpoints, closed schools and ordered people to be tested for the coronavirus on Monday after an unexpected rise in cases linked to the biggest wholesale food market in Asia.

State-run newspapers reported that the virus was discovered on chopping boards used for imported salmon at Beijing’s Xinfadi market amid worries about a second wave of the pandemic in China.

Mike Ryan, head of the WHO’s emergencies programme, stopped short of saying packaging needs to be tested systematically following the new infections.


US FDA revokes emergency use status of hydroxychloroquine for Covid-19 treatment

The US Food and Drug Administration on Monday revoked its emergency use authorization for hydroxychloroquine to treat Covid-19, the drug championed by US President Donald Trump to stave off the coronavirus, and for an older related medicine.

Based on new evidence, the FDA said it was no longer reasonable to believe that oral formulations of hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine may be effective in treating the illness caused by the novel coronavirus.

The move comes after several studies of the decades-old malaria pills suggested they were not effective, including a widely anticipated trial earlier this month that showed hydroxychloroquine failed to prevent infection in people who had been exposed to the virus.


Sweden’s reputation takes a hit over approach to coronavirus pandemic

Sweden has long enjoyed a strong reputation as a world leader on issues like gender equality and human rights, but its reputation is taking a beating over its softer approach to the new coronavirus, with Swedes now unwelcome across much of Europe.

As many European nations reopened their borders on Monday, at least seven countries have barred Swedes from entering – including closest neighbours Denmark, Norway and Finland – and five others require them to quarantine if they do enter.

As of Monday, the Scandinavian country had 4,891 Covid-19 deaths – and one of the highest death rates in the world at 484 deaths per million.


Oscars delayed to April 2021 due to movie industry coronavirus chaos

The 2021 Oscars ceremony was moved to April from February on Monday due to the havoc caused in the movie industry by the coronavirus pandemic.

The ceremony for film’s highest honors will take place on April 25, 2021, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences said in a statement. It had originally been scheduled for Feb 28.

The coronavirus pandemic shut down movie theatres worldwide in mid-March and brought production of films to a halt.


Qatar virtually unveils World Cup 2022 venue

Qatar inaugurated its latest new World Cup stadium on Monday not with a sold-out football fixture, but with a socially-distanced tribute to the workers on the frontline of the fight against coronavirus.

Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra musicians sporting masks and gloves surrounded by candles played a soaring orchestral piece on the turf of the new Education City Stadium in a clip broadcast to mark the stadium’s opening.

It was interspersed with images of medical professionals and other frontline workers who made their way through the 40,000-capacity ground, which was shown with eerily empty stands, to applause from the Qatar national team.


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