What you need to know about the coronavirus right now

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

FILE PHOTO: People wait in line for a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) test at a testing site, temporarily set up at a railway station in Seoul, South Korea, July 7, 2021. REUTERS/ Heo Ran

Australia reports easing in new infections

New daily cases in Australia’s Victoria and New South Wales states, the epicentres of the country’s worst virus outbreak, fell on Wednesday as authorities look to start easing tough restrictions amid a rise in vaccination rates.

A total of 1,420 new locally acquired cases were reported in Victoria, most of them in the state capital Melbourne, down from a record 1,763 on Tuesday. Eleven new deaths were registered, the state’s highest daily number in the current outbreak.

South Korea races to 80% vaccination target

South Korea will begin taking reservations for coronavirus vaccines from pregnant women this week as the country accelerates its inoculation drive to reach its goal of immunizing 80% of all adults by the end of the month.

Health authorities see pregnant mothers as key to the campaign and sought to drum up participation through public notices and news conferences saying they have a greater possibility of serious illness and death if infected.

Vietnam to welcome more vaccinated travellers

Vietnam is planning from December to reopen key tourist destinations to vaccinated visitors from countries deemed a low COVID-19 risk, the government said on Wednesday, ahead of a full re-opening targeted for June next year.

Vietnam imposed tight border controls at the start of the pandemic, with some initial success, but that harmed its burgeoning tourism sector, which typically accounts for about 10% of gross domestic product.

Poland’s daily cases up by 70% in past week

Poland’s daily cases have risen by around 70% in the past week to over 2,000, a government official said on Wednesday, warning the country that a fourth wave is gathering pace.

Poland’s health service was stretched to its limits in the spring by a third wave of the pandemic that saw daily cases exceed 35,000, but authorities believe vaccinations will help control the number of infections this autumn.

Slovakia’s daily cases jump to highest since March

Slovakia reported 1,971 new cases on Wednesday, the highest daily tally since March 23.

The health ministry said three quarters of the cases confirmed by PCR testing were among people who had not been vaccinated.

The Czech Republic reported more than 1,000 new cases in one day for the first time since May 18, data from the health ministry showed on Wednesday.

Sweden pauses use of Moderna vaccine for younger age groups

Sweden will pause the use of Moderna’s vaccine for people born 1991 and later after reports of possible rare side effects, the Swedish health agency said on Wednesday.

The health agency said data pointed to an increase of myocarditis and pericarditis among youths and young adults that had been vaccinated.

“The connection is especially clear when it comes to Moderna’s vaccine Spikevax, especially after the second dose,” it said, adding the risk of being affected was very small.

Dutch court dismisses call to scrap ‘corona pass’

A Dutch court on Wednesday dismissed a call to scrap the “corona pass” required to enter restaurants, bars, museums, theatres and other public places in the Netherlands.

The court in The Hague said the government had the right to demand proof of a vaccination or a recent negative test to limit the spread of the coronavirus as most other social distancing measures were lifted last month.

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