What you need to know about the coronavirus right now

Volunteers in protective suits are seen a checkpoint at the entrance to a residential compound following the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Jilin, Jilin province, China May 25, 2020. Picture taken May 25, 2020. China Daily via REUTERS reuters_tickers
This content was published on May 26, 2020 - 07:05

(Reuters) - Here's what you need to know about the coronavirus right now:

'Jump up at any time'

Countries where coronavirus infections are declining could face an "immediate second peak" if they let up too soon on measures to halt the outbreak, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Monday.

"We need also to be cognizant of the fact that the disease can jump up at any time," said WHO emergencies head Dr Mike Ryan. "We cannot make assumptions that just because the disease is on the way down now, it is going to keep going down."

Vaccine prospects

Novavax Inc said on Monday it has started the Phase 1 clinical trial of a coronavirus vaccine candidate with preliminary results slated for July.

The Maryland-based firm in April said it identified the candidate, NVX-CoV2373, with which it planned to use its Matrix-M adjuvant to enhance immune responses.

Adjuvants are mainly used to make vaccines induce a strong immune response and provide longer-lasting protection against viral and bacterial infection.

COVID-19 guards

A loosely-knit volunteer group of data scientists and health experts has emerged in Indonesia's West Java province as an increasingly important source of information and guidance in the face of patchy data and conflicting advice from the central government over measures to fight coronavirus.

The group, Kawal COVID-19 (Guard against COVID-19), also counters online misinformation, such as that smelling red onions is effective against coronavirus, and uses crowdsourcing to help hospitals find protective gear.

Suspending hydroxychloroquine tests

The WHO has suspended testing the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine in COVID-19 patients due to safety concerns.

It has previously recommended against using hydroxychloroquine to treat or prevent coronavirus infections, except as part of clinical trials.

Not for kids under two

Children under the age of two should not wear masks because they can make breathing difficult and increase the risk of choking, a Japan medical group said, launching an urgent appeal to parents as the country reopens from the coronavirus crisis.

"Masks can make breathing difficult because infants have narrow air passages," which increases the burden on their hearts, the association said, adding masks also raise the risk of heat stroke for the young ones.

Cuba's Corona Town

A skeleton reaches up from the ground to clutch at a fantastical winged creature. A hunched figure wearing a face mask drags behind it an entangled mass of stricken faces and lanky limbs. A butterfly flutters out of the mouth of a body laid to rest.

Welcome to "Ciudad Corona" (Corona Town), a collection of murals by Cuban artist Yulier Rodriguez in the backyard of a friend's home in southern Havana.

Rodriguez is one of several urban artists who have taken to Cuba's walls to express anguish but also hope regarding the pandemic - some in public spaces, others, like his, in private for fear of running into trouble with Communist authorities.

(Compiled by Karishma Singh; Editing by Ana Nicolaci da Costa)

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