(Reuters) – Here’s what you need to know about the coronavirus right now:
Sydney’s lockdown to end sooner for the vaccinated
Australian authorities announced plans on Monday to gradually reopen locked-down Sydney, unveiling a two-tiered system that will give inoculated citizens more freedoms than their unvaccinated neighbours for several weeks.
Movement restrictions across New South Wales, the country’s most populous state and home to Sydney, will be lifted gradually between Oct. 11 and Dec. 1 as vaccination rates push through 70%, 80% and 90%.
However, people who are not fully inoculated will be barred from resuming community sports, dining out, shopping and other activities until the end of the period.
New Zealand to begin letting travellers isolate at home
New Zealand is to begin allowing small numbers of vaccinated travellers to isolate at home instead of in state-run quarantine facilities as part of a phased approach to re-opening its borders, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Monday.
The pilot project starting next month will be open to 150 people, who must be New Zealand citizens or residents and are fully vaccinated, Ardern said at a news conference.
“While this is a pilot, it gives you a sense of where we intend to go on our borders,” Ardern said.
Thailand to reopen to more vaccinated visitors
Thailand will waive its mandatory quarantine requirement in Bangkok and nine regions from Nov. 1 to vaccinated arrivals, authorities said on Monday, as the country tries to boost its immunisation rate and revive its battered tourism sector.
The regions include popular tourist areas Chiang Mai, Phangnga, Krabi, Hua Hin, Pattaya, and Cha-am, and follow the successful reopening of Phuket and Samui islands to vaccinated people in pilot schemes since July.
The country is keen to welcome back foreign visitors, after nearly 18 months of strict entry policies that contributed to a collapse in tourism, a key sector that drew 40 million visitors in 2019.
South Korea to vaccinate 12 to 17 year-olds
South Korea said on Monday it would begin inoculations next month for children aged 12 to 17 and offer booster shots to those 75 years and above as the country starts to transition to normalcy by the end of October.
South Korea, which has been battling a fourth wave of infections since early July, scrambled over the weekend to contain a surge in cases. Infections topped 3,000 for the first time fuelled by last week’s public holidays.
The vaccination advisory committee of the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency has ruled that the benefits outweigh the risks in vaccinating children.
Pandemic cut life expectancy by most since World War Two
The pandemic reduced life expectancy in 2020 by the largest amount since World War Two, according to a study published on Monday by Oxford University, with the life expectancy of American men dropping by more than two years.
Life expectancy fell by more than six months compared with 2019 in 22 of the 29 countries analysed in the study, which spanned Europe, the United States and Chile. There were reductions in life expectancy in 27 of the 29 countries overall.
(Compiled by Linda Noakes; Editing by Andrew Heavens)