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

What you need to know about the coronavirus right now

FILE PHOTO: Commuters leave a train station during the coronavirus
FILE PHOTO: Commuters leave a train station during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Singapore

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

WHO backs Pfizer’s oral COVID therapy for high-risk patients

The World Health Organization (WHO) on Thursday endorsed the use of Pfizer’s oral COVID-19 antiviral treatment in high-risk patients after an analysis of trial data by the U.N. agency showed the therapy dramatically cut the risk of hospitalisation.

The recommendation comes as thousands of people die of COVID-19 every week, despite a waning global infection rate. Of existing COVID-19 treatments, Pfizer’s Paxlovid is by far the most potent, the WHO said.

Nerves fray in Shanghai’s lockdown purgatory

Stiffening resolve after three weeks of strict lockdown, authorities warned Shanghai’s 25 million frazzled residents on Friday that their purgatory would go on until the COVID-19 virus was eradicated neighbourhood by neighbourhood.

“I have no idea whether I will ever be allowed to go out again in my lifetime, I’m falling into depression,” one user commented on China’s Twitter-like Weibo beneath a report by state news agency Xinhua on the latest measures announced in Shanghai late on Thursday.

Offering a glimmer of light, the city government said on its official WeChat account that infections were showing a “positive trend” and that life could return to normal soon as long as people stuck to strict rules to curb the spread of the virus.

Hong Kong to allow international travellers for first time since 2020

Hong Kong will allow non residents to enter the financial hub from May for the first time in more than two years, a small step in unwinding stringent restrictions which have turned the city into one of the world’s most isolated places.

Hong Kong’s rules for airlines that carry infected COVID-19 patients will also be eased slightly, the government said in a statement on Friday, with the threshold for suspending incoming flights rising to five infected passengers from three currently.

Singapore to remove most COVID curbs next week

Singapore will remove most remaining COVID-19 restrictions from April 26 and ease its entry requirements for travellers, its health ministry said on Friday, in response to a decline in new daily infections.

The measures include removing limits on group sizes and allowing the full return of employees to workplaces, while lowering the Southeast Asian financial hub’s alert level for the first time since the pandemic started.

Thailand to scrap on-arrival COVID tests from May

Thailand will next month remove a requirement for arrivals vaccinated against COVID-19 to undergo a test and brief quarantine on arrival, an official said on Friday, the latest measure to revive its battered tourism industry.

Visitors are encouraged to perform antigen self-tests during their stay, instead of the current “Test & Go” scheme, where arrivals must isolate in a hotel while awaiting the result of a test on arrival.

Philadelphia to end indoor mask mandate days after imposing it

Philadelphia is ending its indoor mask mandate, health officials said late on Thursday, reversing its decision just days after imposing the order.

The city reinstated its mask mandate on Monday for indoor public settings such as restaurants, schools and businesses, responding to what appeared to be a fresh wave of coronavirus transmissions.

(Compiled by Linda Noakes; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)

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