(Reuters) – Here’s what you need to know about the coronavirus right now:
UK says vaccines have saved more than 100,000 lives
COVID-19 vaccines have saved more than 112,000 lives and averted 24 million cases of the disease, British officials said on Tuesday as they recommended all vulnerable people, frontline health staff and those aged over 50 be offered a booster shot.
The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation’s recommendation of a third dose six months after a second shot, paves the way for a broad revaccination programme in Britain, which has one of the world’s highest death tolls from COVID-19.
It comes ahead of an announcement by the government on its strategy for taming infections this winter, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson and other officials warning that the battle against the virus was not over.
Study finds big drop in antibodies within four months of jab
A study of 614 fully vaccinated health workers in India found a “significant” drop in their COVID-fighting antibodies within four months of the first shot.
The findings could help the Indian government decide whether to provide booster doses as some Western countries have done.
Waning antibodies do not necessarily mean that immunised people lose their ability to counter the disease, as the body’s memory cells may still kick in to offer substantial protection, said the director of a state-run institute that did the study.
Cases in southeast China more than double
New local infections more than doubled in China’s southeastern province of Fujian, health authorities said on Tuesday, prompting officials to quickly roll out measures including travel restrictions to halt the spread of the virus.
The National Health Commission said 59 new locally transmitted cases were reported for Sept. 13, up from 22 infections a day earlier. All of them were in Fujian, a province bordered by Zhejiang to the north and Guangdong to the south.
In just four days, a total of 102 community infections have been reported in three Fujian cities, including Xiamen, a tourist and transport hub with a population of 5 million.
Sydney infections ease
Sydney’s COVID-19 cases rose at the slowest pace in nearly two weeks on Tuesday, but officials said they needed to see a steady drop before deciding whether infections had peaked after 12 weeks in lockdown.
New South Wales state reported 1,127 new local cases, the majority in state capital Sydney, down from 1,257 on Monday. Two deaths were reported.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern asked New Zealanders on Tuesday to get vaccinated as soon as possible, as it was the only way to beat the spread of coronavirus and see curbs lifted in the biggest city of Auckland.
Philippines to test localised lockdowns
The Philippines’ capital region will exit wide-scale restrictions from Thursday, as the government launches a pilot test of localised lockdowns, amid efforts to balance reopening the economy and containing the spread of the coronavirus.
The localised lockdown would be accompanied by five alert levels designating the range of businesses allowed to operate, including activities targeted at fully vaccinated individuals, officials said.
If successful, the same formula could be applied across the Philippines, which is battling one of Asia’s worst coronavirus outbreaks.
Russian President Vladimir Putin is self-isolating as a precaution after several members of his entourage fell ill with COVID-19, but is “absolutely” healthy and does not have the disease himself, the Kremlin said on Tuesday.
(Compiled by Linda Noakes; Editing by Edmund Blair)