Coronavirus live news: Close watch on Victoria, Australia, and record infections globally

Coronavirus live news: Close watch on Victoria, Australia, and record infections globallyJuly 25, 2020

WHO reports 284,196 new cases; France discourages travel to Catalonia region; South Africa shuts schools for a month

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  • US cases pass 4m cases, states dial back reopening
  • Trump cancels Republican convention events in Florida

Two people trying to get past a coronavirus checkpoint in Melbourne were caught with a stash of drugs, AAP reports.

The man and woman were nabbed attempting to evade the checkpoint at Lang Lang, south-east of Melbourne on Friday, Victoria police said.

The AP is reporting that two months after the US government awarded $21m to a study into whether a common heartburn drug was effective against Covid-19, government health officials have raised serious concerns about patient safety and scientific integrity:

The US Department of Health and Human Services outlined a long list of concerns in a June 8 letter, concluding there was “a high probability” that the companies doing the research would fail to honor the terms of the deal to assess famotidine, the active ingredient in Pepcid, as a coronavirus treatment.

Alchem Laboratories and its subcontractor, Northwell Health in New York, was the subject of ridicule by some government scientists who did not think the Pepcid study merited millions of federal research dollars. A federal whistleblower, Dr Rick Bright, cited the contract as a key example of what he called unethical conduct by agency leadership in deciding how to spend taxpayer dollars to combat the coronavirus.

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