Coronavirus news – live: Covid-19 being spread by asymptomatic young people, WHO warns as Chinese company says vaccine ready by end of 2020

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has warned that the coronavirus is being spread largely by young people in their 20s, 30s and 40s who are unaware they have been infected.

Takeshi Kasai, regional director for WHO Western Pacific, told a virtual briefing on Tuesday that young people driving the spread pose a risk to more vulnerable groups.

It comes as the number of Covid-19 infections worldwide surpassed 21.9 million people, with over 770,000 fatalities.

As the rush to find more effective treatment and a vaccine continues, a major state-owned Chinese pharmaceutical company has claimed its coronavirus vaccine will be commercially available by the end of the year.

SinoPharm has two vaccines in trial and an annual manufacturing capacity of 220 million doses, said its chairman, Liu Jingzhen.

He told a Chinese Communist Party newspaper the vaccine would cost less than 1,000 yuan (approximately £109) and be given in two shots, 28 days apart.

Coronavirus vaccine ready by end of year, says Chinese company

(AFP)
The head of a major state-owned Chinese pharmaceutical company has claimed its coronavirus vaccine will be commercially available by the end of 2020.

Liu Jingzhen, chairman of SinoPharm, said the vaccine would cost under 1,000 yuan (approximately £109) and would be administered in two shots, 28 days apart.

He told state-owned newspaper Guangming Daily that students and workers in major cities would have to get the vaccine, but “not all of the 1.4 billion people in our country have to take it”.

Mr Liu is also the company’s Communist Party secretary. He told the paper he had been injected with the vaccine.

Coronavirus spread driven by asymptomatic young people, warns WHO

The World Health Organisation (WHO) raised concerns that the spread of Covid-19 was being driven by people in their 20s, 30s and 40s, many of which did not show symptoms of having the virus.

WHO officials said this month the proportion of younger people among those infected had risen throughout the world and could put more vulnerable groups at risk.

WHO Western Pacific regional director Takeshi Kasai told a virtual briefing on Tuesday: “The epidemic is changing. People in their 20s, 30s and 40s are increasingly driving the spread. Many are unaware they are infected.

“This increases the risk of spillovers to the more vulnerable.”

Good morning, and welcome to The Independent‘s liveblog following coronavirus-related news in the UK and around the world.

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