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Coronavirus: Brazil divided over suspended vaccine trials

November 11, 2020

President Jair Bolsonaro has hailed Brazil's suspension of vaccine trials by China's Sinovac Biotech after a volunteer died under unrelated circumstances, but his opponents are pushing back. Follow DW for the latest.

Sinovac Biotech CoronaVac
Image: Rafael Henrique/SOPA/ZUMA/picture alliance

Brazil’s decision to suspend the trials of a Chinese-developed coronavirus vaccine has divided the country after President Jair Bolsonaro claimed the suspension as a personal victory against his opponents who support the vaccine. 

Clinical trials for CoronaVac, a COVID-19 vaccine developed by Chinese pharmaceutical firm Sinovac Biotech, were called off by Brazilian health regulator Anvisa late Monday, after a "severe adverse incident" involving a volunteer was reported.

However, it was later revealed that the incident was a suicide, and not related to the trials.

Read more: Brazil: Struggling with life after COVID-19

CoronaVac is being backed by Sao Paulo Governor Joao Doria, one of Bolsonaro's most vocal critics. The President himself has thrown his weight behind the vaccine being developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca. 

Bolsonaro has faced criticism over his handling of the coronavirus, which he continues to downplay. With 162,000 people killed by the virus, Brazil has the second-highest COVID-19 death toll after the United States.


The United States has registered over 100,000 new infections for the seventh day in a row, recording over one million new coronavirus cases in the first 10 days of November. 

The country has also registered a record number of people in hospitals with 61,964 hospitalizations, according to the COVID Tracking Project. This comes amidst a glimmer of hope after pharmaceutical giant Pfizer and its partner BioNTech announced that their vaccine candidate was showing close to 90% effectiveness.

Read more: Coronavirus trend: The pandemic is far from over


Iran has imposed a nightly curfew across over 30 cities, including Tehran, as new infections threaten to overburden the country's health infrastructure. All restaurants and nonessential businesses will be closed at 6 pm for one month. 

"Do not leave your house for as long as you can and stay away from any crowded places," read a text message by Health Minister Saeed Namaki, which flashed in phones across the country. "Coronavirus is no joke."

Read more: Breakthrough on EU budget and associated COVID relief fund

Lebanon’s interim PM Hassan Diab has announced a countrywide lockdown starting Saturday, as the country breaks new daily records of coronavirus infections. The lockdown will last until the end of the month. 

"We have reached a very critical period regarding the spread of the virus and we are left with no other alternatives," Diab justified his decision, despite pushback from businesses. "We are worried that we might reach a point where people die in the streets with no places available at hospitals."

see/shs (AFP, AP, Reuters)