What you need to know about the coronavirus right now

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

People queue at the Central Vaccination Center as Thailand opens walk-in for first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccination scheme for elders, people with a minimum weight of 100 kilograms and pregnant women amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in Bangkok, Thailand, July 26, 2021. REUTERS/Soe Zeya Tun

Southeast Asia COVID-19 cases touch new highs

Thailand reported a record number of coronavirus cases on Monday while Malaysia has notched up more than 1 million infections, as the virulent Delta variant carves a deadly path through Southeast Asia – now a global epicentre for the virus.

Malaysia will not extend state of emergency declared in January to curb the spread of COVID-19. Critics accused Prime Minister Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin of using the measure to cling to power amid a slim majority.

Singapore, meanwhile, is looking to allow quarantine-free travel for those who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 from September, when 80% of the city-state’s population should be inoculated.

With $4 billion in losses, Heathrow tells UK: open up travel

London’s Heathrow Airport urged Britain on Monday to open up travel to vaccinated passengers after its recovery fell behind Europe, pushing its cumulative pandemic losses to $4 billion.

The travel industry continues to be plagued by surging COVID-19 cases at home and government caution, causing last-minute rule changes and cancellations.

Britain could drop quarantine for travellers from France as soon as next week, The Times reported.

France’s parliament approved a bill which will make COVID-19 vaccinations mandatory for health workers as well as require a bolstered health pass as it battles with a fourth wave of coronavirus infections.

Mixed AstraZeneca-Pfizer shot boosts COVID-19 antibody level – study

A mixed vaccination of first AstraZeneca and then a Pfizer COVID-19 shot boosted neutralising antibody levels by six times compared with two AstraZeneca doses, a South Korean study showed.

The study involved 499 medical workers – 100 receiving mixed doses, 200 taking two doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech shot and the remainder getting two AstraZeneca shots.

All showed neutralising antibodies, which prevent the virus from entering cells and replicating, and the result of the mixed schedule of vaccines showed amounts of neutralising antibodies similar to that of the group that received two Pfizer shots.

Aspen to start J&J COVID-19 vaccine supplies to South Africa

South Africa’s Aspen Pharmacare will supply the first batch of Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine to the country from July 26, the drugmaker said.

India will miss a target to administer over a half billion COVID-19 vaccine doses by the end of the month as Bharat Biotech – maker of its only approved homegrown shot – struggles to boost output.

South Korea said it has been informed by Moderna of an unspecified production issue involving its COVID-19 vaccine, as the country expands its inoculation campaign for people aged 55-59 amid a fourth wave of infections.

Tokyo Games organisers report 16 new COVID-19 cases

Tokyo Olympics organisers on Monday reported 16 new Games-related COVID-19 cases, bringing the total number since July 1 to 148.

The Dutch rowing team has agreed to separate itself from other competitors after one of its athletes, a coach and a staff member all tested positive for COVID-19.

Source: Read Full Article