(Reuters) – Here’s what you need to know about the coronavirus right now:
S.Korea nurse eligible for govt benefit after vaccine reaction
For the first time in South Korea, a nursing assistant who suffered paralysis after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine was recognised as a victim of an industrial accident, making her eligible for government benefits and financial compensation.
The nursing assistant, who has not been publicly named, received AstraZeneca’s shot on March 12 and later suffered from double vision and paralysis. She was diagnosed with acute encephalomyelitis, vibramycin ndc according to the state-run Korea Workers’ Compensation & Welfare Service. The woman did not have underlying conditions and there seemed to be “a reasonable causal link between the side effects and the vaccination,” the service’s statement said.
U.S. daily cases jump to 6-month high; focus on booster shots
Daily new COVID-19 cases have climbed to a six-month high in the United States, with more than 100,000 infections reported nationwide as the Delta variant ravaged Florida and other states with lower vaccination rates. “We’re seeing terrifying #COVID19 trends in our hospitals,” County Judge Lina Hidalgo wrote on Twitter. She is the top official of Harris County, the most populous county in Texas and home to the city of Houston. “At this point, if you’re unvaccinated by choice, you’re complicit in this crisis.”
The United States is working to give COVID-19 booster shots to Americans with compromised immune systems as quickly as possible, top U.S. infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci said Thursday. It will join Chile, Germany, France and Israel in giving booster shots, ignoring a plea by the World Health Organisation to hold off until more people around the world can get their first shot.
High daily case count in China, Sydney
China reported on Friday its highest daily count for new coronavirus cases in its current outbreak, fuelled by a surge in locally transmitted infections, with 124 new confirmed cases, up from 85 a day earlier.
Australian officials warned Sydney residents on Friday to brace for a surge in COVID-19 cases after the country’s largest city logged a record 279 locally acquired infections for the second straight day despite a weeks-long lockdown to stamp out an outbreak of the Delta variant. Of particular concern is the growing number of people positive with the highly infectious Delta strain moving around in the community, particularly in Sydney’s southwestern suburbs.
Moderna sees eventual need for boosters
Moderna Inc said on Thursday its COVID-19 vaccine was about 93% effective through six months after the second dose, showing hardly any change from the efficacy reported in its original clinical trial. However, the data does not include the vaccine’s performance against the more contagious Delta variant of the coronavirus, which has caused breakthrough infections among fully vaccinated people.
Given the variant’s impact and expectations that antibody protection will eventually wane, the company said it expects booster shots will be needed this winter.
Expats, other countries watch as Singapore weighs reopening
Singapore – long known as a global financial hub for highly mobile foreign professionals – has been one of the most successful countries in curbing COVID-19, with only 39 deaths. It has had especially strict border controls, quarantine and contact tracing. But for its legions of foreign workers, who make up one-fifth of the 5.7 million population, the restrictions have been a nightmare. Many have been stranded abroad despite having jobs and visas, and others are afraid to leave for fear of not being allowed to return.
The government recently said it was considering quarantine-free travel for fully vaccinated people starting in September, when 80% of the population should be inoculated. The tentative reopening moves are being closely watched – not only by anxious expatriates but also by other countries that are further behind in vaccinations.
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