Vaccine trials resume as cases surge in Europe


Clinical trials of one of the most advanced experimental COVID-19 vaccines have resumed after a brief safety pause, as infection numbers continued to march upward in countries across the globe.

The world's hopes for a reprieve from the pandemic were dealt a blow earlier last week when pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca and Oxford University announced they had "voluntarily paused" their vaccine trial after a UK volunteer developed an unexplained illness.

But on Saturday the trial was given the all clear by British regulators to resume following a safety review. The company also announced it was resuming clinical trials in Brazil next Monday after being given the green light there as well.

Sokor eases virus curbs

South Korea will temporarily ease coronavirus curbs in the greater Seoul area after a decline in cases, officials said Sunday.

The country largely overcame an early COVID-19 surge with extensive tracing and testing, but has battled several spikes in recent weeks raising concerns of a second wave of infections.

The new cases—mainly in the greater Seoul region, home to half the country's 52 million population—prompted authorities to tighten social distancing measures last month.

But the measures on the metropolitan area will be eased starting Monday for two weeks, South Korean Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun told a government meeting, as new local cases declined.

Dozens nabbed at Melbourne anti-lockdown rally

Authorities in Melbourne arrested more than 70 people for flouting stay-at-home orders to protest against lockdown restrictions Sunday, with some demonstrators clashing with riot police at a market in the city.

About 250 people attended the illegal protest—the second in as many days in the city—promoted by coronavirus conspiracy groups on social media.

The demonstrators ignored official warnings and public health orders to gather at the central Queen Victoria market, calling for an end to a weeks-long lockdown of Australia's second-biggest city. They were met by a heavy police presence, with scuffles breaking out as the riot squad swept through the market's fruit and vegetable aisles.

Police arrested 74 people and fined 176, saying in a statement that "many protestors were aggressive and threatened violence towards officers."

Austria reports second wave

Austria is experiencing the start of a second wave of coronavirus infections, its chancellor said Sunday, as cases spike upwards in line with other EU countries.

"What we are experiencing is the beginning of the second wave," Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said in a statement, appealing to the population to stick to anti-virus measures and reduce social contacts.

Kurz announced the government would expand mandatory mask-wearing and slap new restrictions on events from Monday.