(Reuters) – Here’s what you need to know about the coronavirus right now:
Rising infections in South America
Global coronavirus cases have surpassed 5 million, with Latin America overtaking the United States and Europe in the past week to report the largest portion of new daily cases globally.
A large number of those came from Brazil, which recently surpassed Germany, France and the United Kingdom as having the world’s third-largest outbreak behind the United States and Russia.
The first 41 cases of coronavirus were confirmed in Wuhan, China, on Jan. 10 and it took the world until April 1 to reach its first million cases. Since then, about 1 million new cases are reported every two weeks, according to a Reuters tally.
Don’t count on a vaccine
Governments should not count on a successful vaccine against COVID-19 being developed anytime soon, said William Haseltine, a groundbreaking researcher of cancer, HIV/AIDS and human genome projects.
While a COVID-19 vaccine could be developed, Haseltine cautioned that vaccines developed for other types of coronavirus had failed to protect mucous membranes in the nose where the virus typically enters the body.
However, he said the virus can still be controlled by careful tracing of infections and strict isolation measures, and urged people to wear masks, wash hands, clean surfaces and keep a distance.
China fur and traditional medicine trade to continue?
China’s parliament is preparing new laws to ban the trade and consumption of wildlife, following on from a temporary move in January after exotic animals traded in a Wuhan market were identified as the most likely source of COVID-19.
However, local action plans published this week suggest the country’s fur trade and lucrative traditional medicine sectors will continue as usual.
That means practices that lead to cross-species virus transmission could continue, said Peter Li, China policy specialist with Humane Society International, an animal rights group.
China’s annual national session of parliament, delayed from March, starts on Friday.
Sports and sleep wear over suits and ties
The new best sellers at Marks & Spencer are sports wear, sleep wear and bras, while sales of suits and ties are down to “a dribble”, as the coronavirus lockdown transforms shoppers’ priorities, Britain’s biggest clothing retailer said on Wednesday.
What customers are buying is “completely different from what it would have been a year ago,” M&S chairman Archie Norman told reporters, after the 136-year-old group published annual results and its response to the pandemic.
Along with surging sales of jogging pants, hoodies and leggings, an emphasis on home comforts and family needs has boosted bedding sales by 150% and children’s footwear sales by 98%.