Hello and welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the coronavirus pandemic. I’m Kate Mayberry in Kuala Lumpur.

  • United States President Donald Trump continues to claim there will be a coronavirus vaccine in weeks, contradicting the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  • More than 29.7 million people around the world have been diagnosed with the coronavirus and 938,820 have died, according to Johns Hopkins University. Some 20.2 million people have recovered.

Here are the latest updates: 

Thursday, September 17

01:35 GMT – Australia tensions rise over citizens stuck overseas

Australia’s prime minister Scott Morrison says the number of people allowed into Australia will rise by 2,000 from next Friday, according to public broadcaster ABC.

The states, who will have to house the arrivals in hotel quarantine have yet to give their approval.

About 4,000 people are currently allowed into Australia each week, but at least 25,000 are stranded overseas because of the cap on arrivals. Many Australians also say they have been bumped from flights home repeatedly.

00:30 GMT – New Zealand reports record fall in GDP

New Zealand has just released economic data for the second quarter when the country was in lockdown, and it’s not pretty.

The figures show gross domestic product shrank by 12.2 percent compared with the previous quarter, the biggest drop on record. The country is now in its worst recession since 2010.

00:00 GMT – Trump contradicts CDC chief over vaccine

US President Donald Trump has directly contradicted Robert Redfield, the director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) over the timing of any coronavirus vaccine.

While Redfield told a US Senate committee a vaccine was unlikely to be ready until mid to late 2021, Trump said it would be much sooner and accused the CDC chief of making a “mistake” and being “confused”. He told the news conference a vaccine could be announced as soon as October. 

Trump has been pushing for a vaccine ahead of the November election, raising concerns about safety. Vaccine development usually takes years, and there is no guarantee of success. The process has been accelerated for the coronavirus and there are a number of candidates currently in large-scale phase three human trials, which are designed to test efficacy and safety.

COVID-19 vaccine: Safety concerns as countries rush for protection

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Read all the updates from yesterday (September 16) here.

SOURCE: Al Jazeera and news agencies