Latest coronavirus updates from Singapore and Ukraine

Singapore medics have started giving remdesivir, an anti-viral drug originally developed to treat Ebola, to coronavirus patients as part of clinical trials, Dr Shawn Vasoo, the clinical director at the country’s National Centre for Infectious Diseases, told the CNA channel.

According to Vasoo, those patients who have agreed to take part in the clinical trials will receive either the drug or a placebo.

“Because they are as yet no proven therapies for COVID-19, it is important that robust clinical trials are conducted … We are still awaiting the publishing of the full results of the NIAID [the United States’ National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases] trial and further data on remdesivir, and also trial results (of) other agents,” Vasoo told the Singaporean channel.

Initially developed by US manufacturer Gilead Sciences as an Ebola drug, remdesivir has shown a positive effect in treating SARS and MERS.

Last week, the US Food and Drug Administration issued an authorization for emergency use of remdesivir in hospitalized patients. Russia, too, is conducting clinical trials of the drug.

Ukraine has recorded a further 366 new cases of COVID-19 and 13 deaths over the past 24 hours, Minister of Health Maksym Stepanov said Tuesday.

“During the day, 366 fell ill, including 26 children and 92 health care professionals,” Stepanov said at a press briefing, adding that 13 people had died.

According to the health minister, 256 people who had tested positive for the coronavirus disease were discharged over the preceding 24 hours.

Since the start of the outbreak, 12,697 people in Ukraine have contracted COVID-19 and 316 people have died.

On Monday, 418 new cases of the disease and 15 new deaths were reported by the country’s health authorities.

The Ukrainian government on Monday announced that a nationwide lockdown will be extended until May 22, although certain social distancing measures will be eased on May 11.

From this date, citizens will be allowed to walk in parks and recreation areas. Coffee shops will be allowed to open to serve takeaway customers, and lawyers, dentists, and notaries will be permitted to reopen. Furthermore, sports grounds will open for teams to train.

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