What you need to know about the coronavirus right now

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

Shoppers wait to get inside stores with limited capacity at a city centre mall as businesses re-open to vaccinated patrons in the wake of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) regulations easing, following months of lockdown orders to curb the rise in the number of cases, in Sydney, Australia, October 12, 2021. REUTERS/Loren Elliott

Sydney COVID-19 cases ease further

Sydney’s COVID-19 cases fell to the lowest in two months on Tuesday as authorities rolled out support measures for businesses, shifting their focus to rejuvenating the economy after the city exited a nearly four-month lockdown a day earlier.

New South Wales Premier Dominic Perrottet said businesses will be compensated for any COVID-19 lockdowns in December and January, encouraging them to stock up ahead of the busy summer holiday period. Under the plan, small firms can access grants of up to A$20,000 ($14,690) if they are forced to close then.

Texas governor bars all COVID-19 vaccine mandates in state

Republican Texas Governor Greg Abbott, responding to what he called “bullying” by the Biden administration, on Monday barred all COVID-19 vaccine mandates in the state by any entity, including private employers. Abbott’s order states that “no entity in Texas” could compel proof of vaccination by any individual, including employees or customers. He called on state lawmakers to take up the issue in an upcoming special session.

Abbott’s move sets him up for a clash with President Joe Biden, a Democrat who last month called on businesses nationwide to order their workers to be vaccinated or lose their jobs. At least several thousand people have since been fired for refusing to comply. The White House had no immediate comment.

Dangerous blood clots can occur in moderate COVID-19

A European study has found an elevated risk of a life-threatening blood clot called venous thromboembolism (VTE) in COVID-19 patients who were not critically ill. The blood clot risk had previously been associated with severe COVID-19.

The researchers tracked 2,292 patients who came to hospital emergency rooms with mild or moderate COVID-19 but without VTE. Four weeks later, VTE had developed in roughly 1 of every 200 mildly ill patients who had not been hospitalized and nearly 5 of every 200 moderately ill patients overall, the researchers reported on Friday in Thrombosis Research.

High-dose blood thinners prevent clots in moderate COVID-19

In hospitalized, moderately ill COVID-19 patients who have high levels of the d-dimer protein in their blood – indicating a higher-than-average risk for dangerous blood clots – treatment with high doses of the blood thinner low-molecular weight heparin (LMWH) significantly reduced the odds of clot formation and death, according to data from a clinical trial.

The incidence of venous thromboembolism (VTE) or death was 28.7% in the high-dose group, compared to 41.9% in patients getting a standard dose. After accounting for patients’ various risk factors, that was a 32% reduction in risk with high-dose heparin, the researchers said on Monday in a report published in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Thailand to end quarantine for some vaccinated visitors

Thailand will end coronavirus quarantine requirements for vaccinated visitors from 10 low-risk countries starting Nov. 1, Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha said on Monday, as the Southeast Asian nation tries to revive its pandemic-hit economy. Thailand last year suffered its deepest economic contraction in more than two decades, with the key tourism sector still struggling.

Visitors from at least 10 countries including the United Kingdom, Singapore, Germany, China and the United States will be exempted from quarantine on arrival, Prayuth said in a televised speech. More countries will later be added to the list, he said.

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