What you need to know about the coronavirus right now

by Reuters
Tuesday, 27 July 2021 10:56 GMT

FILE PHOTO: A lone passenger wearing a protective face mask walks from a deserted train platform at Flinders Street during morning commute hours on the first day of a lockdown as the state of Victoria looks to curb the spread of a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Melbourne, Australia, July 16, 2021. REUTERS/Sandra Sanders/File Photo/File Photo

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July 27 (Reuters) - Here's what you need to know about the coronavirus right now:

Olympic host Tokyo hits record for new COVID-19 cases, seeks more hospital beds

Tokyo's 2,848 COVID-19 infections on Tuesday were the Olympic host city's highest since the pandemic began, officials said, as media reported that authorities had asked hospitals to prepare more beds for patients amid a Delta variant-driven surge.

The rise in cases threatens to further erode support for Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, whose ratings have slipped to their lowest level since he took office last September, in large part because of his handling of the pandemic.

Suga told reporters the record number of infections was "not a problem" for the Olympic games, where organisers reported seven new Games-related COVID-19 cases, including two athletes, bringing the total number since July 1 to 155.

Antibodies from Sinovac's COVID-19 shot fade after about six months - study

Antibodies triggered by Sinovac Biotech's COVID-19 vaccine declined below a key threshold from around six months after a second dose for most recipients, although a third shot had a strong booster effect, according to a lab study.

Chinese researchers reported the findings from a study of blood samples from healthy adults aged between 18-59 in a paper published on Sunday, which has not been peer reviewed.

Among participants who received two doses, two or four weeks apart, only 16.9% and 35.2% respectively still had neutralising antibodies above what researchers regard as a detectable threshold level six months after the second shot, the paper said.

Thailand reports record COVID-19 cases, Southeast Asia now an epicentre

Thailand reported a record number of coronavirus cases for a second consecutive day on Tuesday, amid public criticism that the pace of the country's vaccination rollout has fallen behind some neighbours.

After managing to contain virus cases for most of last year, authorities have struggled to deal with outbreaks driven by new variants in recent months, including the Delta variant first detected in India.

The virulent Delta variant is carving a deadly path through Southeast Asia - now a global epicentre for the virus.

The Philippines recorded 7,186 new coronavirus cases on Tuesday, the highest single-day increase in more than six weeks.

Flooding is meanwhile complicating efforts to fight the spread of COVID-19 in Myanmar, and a worsening crisis in Indonesia is threatening the country's hard-won fiscal discipline.

COVID-19 curbs to end in Australian state, though cases in Sydney rise

Australia's Victoria state said on Tuesday it will lift a strict lockdown after curtailing the spread of COVID-19, but neighbouring New South Wales faces an extension of restrictions after daily new cases spiked to a 16-month peak.

More than half of Australia's near 26 million population has been in lockdown in recent weeks after an outbreak of the highly infectious Delta variant took hold in the New South Wales capital of Sydney and spread to three states.

Former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull called Australia's vaccine rollout "a colossal failure", telling the BBC that the government failed to buy enough vaccines and its borders were therefore likely to remain closed until at least early 2022.

U.S. issues 'Do Not Travel' advisories for Spain, Portugal over COVID-19 cases

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and State Department on Monday both warned against travel to Spain, Portugal, Cyprus and Kyrgyzstan because of a rising number of COVID-19 cases in those countries. (Compiled by Joe Bavier; Editing by Alex Richardson)

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