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

What you need to know about the coronavirus right now

People shop in an official Olympics store amid the coronavirus
People shop in an official Olympics store amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Tokyo

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

Japan expands state of emergency as COVID-19 surge shadows Olympics

Japan decided on Friday to expand states of emergency to three prefectures near Olympic host Tokyo and the western prefecture of Osaka, as COVID-19 cases spike in the capital and around the country, overshadowing the Summer Games.

Tokyo, already under its fourth state of emergency since the pandemic began, on Friday announced 3,300 new cases, after a record 3,865 the day before. The surge is beginning to strain the medical system, with 64% of Tokyo’s hospital beds available for serious COVID-19 cases already filled as of mid-week.

Japan has avoided a devastating COVID-19 outbreak, but is now struggling to contain the highly transmissible Delta variant, with daily cases nationwide topping 10,000 for the first time on Thursday.

Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga and Olympics organisers have denied there is any link between the Summer Games and the recent sharp spike in cases.

Unlike the voluntary restrictions and low vaccination rates elsewhere in Japan, the Olympic village in Tokyo for athletes and coaches boasts more than 80% vaccination, testing is compulsory and movement is stringently curtailed.

Philippines to place Manila area in lockdown to curb Delta variant

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday approved the imposition of lockdown measures in the capital region in a bid to contain the spread of the Delta coronavirus variant and to shield the country’s medical system.

The Manila capital region, a sprawl of 16 cities home to more than 13 million people, will be placed under the tightest quarantine curbs from Aug. 6 to 20.

The highly transmissible Delta variant, first detected in India, has spread rapidly across much of Southeast Asia.

Vietnam’s health ministry issued an urgent appeal on Friday for private hospitals to treat COVID-19 patients as the country battles a surge in infections.

Mixing Russia’s Sputnik V, AstraZeneca shots proves safe in small trial -RDIF

Trials mixing a first dose of the Russian-made Sputnik V vaccine with AstraZeneca’s shot revealed no serious side effects and no subsequent cases of coronavirus among volunteers, the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) said on Friday.

The trial involved 50 people and began in Azerbaijan in February, RDIF, which is responsible for marketing Sputnik V vaccine abroad, said in a statement.

China’s CanSino Biologics meanwhile may start a clinical trial using Sputnik V followed by a shot of its own COVID-19 vaccine as early as next month.

Australia PM wants 80% of adults vaccinated before border opening

Australia will have to vaccinate 80% of its adults against COVID-19 before it can consider reopening its border, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Friday.

Australia has handled the coronavirus crisis much better than many other developed countries. But that has been achieved largely by sealing its border to all but a trickle of people since the pandemic began.

India’s Serum Institute ties up with industry in push to vaccinate rural areas

The Serum Institute of India said on Friday it had partnered with an industry body to expand the reach of COVID-19 shots in India’s countryside as it had “plenty of supply” of the AstraZeneca drug.

While some 452 million vaccine doses have been administered, the pace of inoculations in rural areas, where two-thirds of India’s 1.35 billion people live, has lagged that of urban centres.

(Compiled by Joe Bavier; Editing by Giles Elgood)

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