(Reuters) – Here’s what you need to know about the coronavirus right now:
Borders open in Australia, Thailand
Australia eased its international border restrictions on Monday for the first time during the coronavirus pandemic, allowing some of its vaccinated public to travel freely and many families to reunite, sparking emotional embraces at Sydney’s airport. While travel is initially limited to Australian citizens, permanent residents and their immediate families, it sets in motion a plan to reopen the country to international tourists and workers, both much needed to reinvigorate a fatigued nation.
Hundreds of vaccinated foreign tourists are scheduled to arrive in Bangkok on Monday, the first wave of visitors to Thailand in 18 months who will not have to undergo quarantine for the coronavirus. Seeking to resurrect its pandemic-ravaged tourism economy, Thailand’s government has given the green light to vaccinated tourists from more than 60 countries, including the United States and China.
FDA needs more time to complete review of Moderna teen shot
Moderna Inc said on Sunday it has been told that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration will require additional time to complete its assessment of the company’s COVID-19 vaccine for use in adolescents aged 12 to 17 years.
The FDA informed Moderna that the review may not be completed before January 2022, the company said in a statement, dealing a potential setback to the timing of an emergency use authorization (EUA) for that age group.
China outbreak developing rapidly, health official says
China’s latest COVID-19 outbreak is developing rapidly, a health official said, as the authorities demanded high vigilance at ports of entry amid growing infections in northeastern Heihe border city caused by the virus arriving from abroad.
Some 377 domestically transmitted cases with confirmed symptoms were reported from Oct. 17-29, National Health Commission (NHC) data showed. China has tackled a series of outbreaks this year since it largely contained a national spread in early 2020.
China says U.S. COVID origins report is without credibility
A declassified U.S. intelligence report saying it was plausible that the COVID-19 pandemic originated in a laboratory is unscientific and has no credibility, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said in a statement on Sunday.
The updated U.S. intelligence briefing, published on Saturday, said that a natural origin and a lab leak were both plausible hypotheses to explain how SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for COVID-19, first infected humans, but that the truth may never be known.
A joint study by China and the World Health Organization published this year all but ruled out the theory that COVID-19 originated in a laboratory, saying that the most likely hypothesis was that it infected humans naturally, probably via the wildlife trade.
Cheap antidepressant shows promise against COVID-19
Fluvoxamine, an inexpensive antidepressant, might help keep patients with COVID-19 from developing severe disease, according to a new study published in The Lancet Global Health on Wednesday.
The researchers suspect the drug is helping by limiting the ability of the virus to cause inflammation. However, more research is needed to determine the impact of fluvoxamine because “composite outcomes” – where a variety of results are lumped together for analysis – are unreliable, according to an editorial by Otavio Berwanger of Hospital Israelita Albert Einstein in Sao Paulo.
(Compiled by Karishma Singh; Editing by Himani Sarkar)