The World Health Organization (WHO) hopes to develop a vaccine for the coronavirus within 18 months.
WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the vaccine for the virus, which the organization dubbed Covid-19, will take time to develop and said countries will have to make do with available resources in the meantime.
“The development of vaccines and therapeutics is one important part of the research agenda. But it’s not only one part. They will take time to develop — but in the meantime, we are not defenseless,” he said. “The first vaccine could be ready in 18 months, so we have to do everything today using the available weapons to fight this virus.”
The global death toll from the virus rose to 1,107 on Tuesday, according to health officials in the Chinese province of Hubei. Officials reported that 94 more people died in the province which is considered the epicenter for the disease. To date, there have been at least 1,105 deaths in mainland China, including 1,068 in Hubei, as well as one death in Hong Kong and one in the Philippines.
The Chinese government removed the director and Communist Party secretary of Hubei’s provincial health committee on Tuesday, the highest-level officials known to be removed for the government’s response to the outbreak.
Wang Hesheng, deputy commissioner of the Chinese National Health Commission, was tapped to replace both officials, according to the commission.
The city of Wuhan, in Hubei province, announced on Tuesday new restrictions on citizens, allowing only one member of a household to make one shopping trip every three days while also quarantining entire buildings in some cases.
Beijing also called on countries that have placed a restriction on travel to China in an effort to curb the spread of the virus to restore normal relations for the benefit of the global economy.
The Chinese government said Tuesday that businesses have faced worker shortages, transport disruption and a lack of medical supplies as they attempt to return to operation in the wake of the outbreak.
“We have also noticed difficulties in fully resuming work,” Cong Liang, a senior official at China’s National Development and Reform Commission said.
Dozens of cities were placed on lockdown at the end of last month and many factories and other businesses were shut down to prevent the spread of the virus.
Singapore has also anticipated a drop in tourism as the country has reported 45 cases of the virus.
“The situation this year will be at least as severe as SARS and possibly worse,” Singapore Tourism Board CEO Keith Tan said.
Two British inmates at HMP Bullingdon were being tested for Covid-19 on Tuesday, including one who had been recently transferred from a jail in Thailand.
Public Health England is on site to manage the situation and the prison has restricted access to a wing where the affected prisoners are, but the facility remains operational.