What you need to know about the coronavirus right now - Metro US

What you need to know about the coronavirus right now

FILE PHOTO: People socially distance as they walk across London Bridge, in London

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

Asian countries scramble for vaccine supplies

Several Asian countries scrambled to find alternative sources for COVID-19 inoculations on Tuesday after export restrictions by manufacturer India left a World Health Organization-backed global vaccine-sharing programme short of supplies.

South Korea, Indonesia and the Philippines are among countries to be hit by shipment delays to vaccines they have been promised under the COVAX programme, which was created mainly to ensure supplies for poorer countries.

India, the world’s biggest vaccine maker, put a temporary hold on exports of AstraZeneca’s vaccine being manufactured by the Serum Institute of India, as officials focus on meeting rising domestic demand.

UK wants to vaccinate all adults before sharing shots

Britain will focus on vaccinating the whole of its adult population before it can provide any surplus shots to other countries such as Ireland, British business minister Kwasi Kwarteng said on Tuesday.

More than 30 million Britons have received their first shots in the fastest vaccine rollout in Europe, with the aim of offering shots to all adults by the end of July.

However, Britain has found itself involved in a public spat with the European Union, where the vaccination programme has been much slower, over the supply of doses.

Pfizer, Moderna vaccines highly effective after first dose

COVID-19 vaccines developed by Pfizer with BioNTech and by Moderna reduced risk of infection by 80% two weeks or more after the first of two shots, according to data from a real-world U.S. study released on Monday.

The risk of infection fell 90% by two weeks after the second shot, the study of nearly 4,000 U.S. healthcare personnel and first responders found.

The results validate earlier studies that had indicated the vaccines begin to work soon after a first dose, and confirm that they also prevent asymptomatic infections.

Queensland warns of more cases

Australia’s Queensland state warned on Tuesday that more cases of COVID-19 were expected to emerge as authorities scrambled to contain an outbreak linked to the virulent UK variant, throwing Easter travel plans into disarray.

Officials reported eight new locally acquired cases on Tuesday, taking the total in the latest outbreak to 15 so far. All of the cases were linked to two distinct virus clusters, one related to a doctor and the second to a nurse.

Brisbane, the state capital, has been placed under a three-day lockdown until Thursday, requiring more than 2 million city residents to stay home except for essential work, healthcare, grocery shopping or exercise.

Vietnam sentences flight attendant for spreading virus

A court in Vietnam handed a two-year suspended jail term to a Vietnam Airlines flight attendant on Tuesday after finding him guilty of breaking quarantine rules and spreading the virus to others, police said.

Duong Tan Hau, 29, was convicted of “spreading dangerous infectious diseases” at the one-day trial at the People’s Court of Ho Chi Minh City.

Vietnam has been praised for its efforts to contain the virus through mass testing and tracing and strict centralised quarantining. It has recorded fewer than 2,600 COVID-19 infections and only 35 deaths due to the disease.

(Compiled by Linda Noakes)

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