(Reuters) – Here’s what you need to know about the coronavirus right now:
Downtown Sydney, Bondi head for lockdown
Downtown Sydney and the city’s eastern suburbs, which include Bondi Beach, will go into a one-week lockdown from midnight Friday as authorities struggle to contain a spike in the highly contagious Delta variant of coronavirus in the city.
The Australian Medical Association said the move was not enough and called for a complete lockdown of the country’s biggest city.
People who live or have worked in the four local government council areas in Sydney in the last two weeks have been ordered to stay at home except for urgent reasons, New South Wales state Premier Gladys Berejiklian told reporters.
Emergency tents erected outside Jakarta hospitals
Indonesia is shifting medical emergency units in Jakarta to tents outside hospitals to create more room for COVID-19 beds, the health minister said, as authorities scramble to boost hospital capacity amid a spike in cases.
Indonesia reported that overall coronavirus cases topped 2 million this week, while Thursday’s 20,574 rise in infections was the biggest since the start of the pandemic.
The virus surge has piled pressure on a fragile healthcare system, with hospitals in some cities nearing full capacity, while hundreds of healthcare workers have tested positive and at least 10 who were fully vaccinated have died.
Uganda team coach arriving in Tokyo had Delta variant
A member of the Ugandan Olympic team who tested positive for the coronavirus upon arrival in Japan had the Delta variant, Japan’s Olympics minister said on Friday, adding to concern the Games – less than a month away – may trigger a new wave of infections.
A coach in the delegation tested positive after arriving in Japan on Saturday, while a second member, an athlete, tested positive on Wednesday after arriving in the team’s host city of Izumisano, officials said previously.
Israel requires masks indoors again
Israel told its citizens on Friday they must again wear masks indoors, 10 days after being allowed to ditch them, amid a sustained surge in infections attributed to the Delta variant.
First case could have emerged in China in Oct 2019
The virus that causes COVID-19 could have started spreading in China as early as October 2019, two months before the first case was identified in the central city of Wuhan, a new study showed on Friday.
Researchers from Britain’s University of Kent used methods from conservation science to estimate that SARS-CoV-2 first appeared from early October to mid-November 2019, according to a paper published in the PLOS Pathogens journal.
The most likely date for the virus’s emergence was Nov. 17, 2019, and it had probably already spread globally by January 2020, they estimated.
U.S. approves Roche drug for emergency use
U.S. health regulators have approved Roche’s arthritis drug Actemra for emergency use to treat hospitalized COVID-19 patients, giving an extra boost to a medicine that was already allowed to be administered on compassionate grounds.
(Compiled by Linda Noakes; Editing by Frances Kerry)