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Covid-19: What you need to know about coronavirus right now

Reuters, AP

Published on October 26, 2020 at 09.44

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Here’s what you need to know about the coronavirus right now:
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The government also has closed schools, banned gatherings and imposed restrictions on public transport across the entire country.
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Surge in asymptomatic infections in ChinaChina reported the highest number of asymptomatic Covid-19 cases in nearly seven months, following a mass infection of an unknown origin in the northwestern Xinjiang region.
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Xinjiang health authorities found 137 asymptomatic cases on Sunday during a testing drive for the 4.75 million people in the Kashgar area triggered by an asymptomatic infection in a 17-year-old female garment factory worker reported on Saturday. It was not clear how she was infected, though all of the new cases were linked to the garment factory.
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More than 2.84 million people in the Kashgar area had been tested for COVID-19 as of Sunday afternoon and the rest are expected to be tested by Tuesday. The scale and speed of the testing is in line with those seen during other outbreaks including the most recent one in Qingdao earlier this month.
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South Korea urges flu vaccinationsSouth Korea urged citizens to get vaccinated against influenza and reduce the chances of an outbreak that coincides with the battle against the coronavirus, as it kicked off free inoculations for the last eligible group.
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Public anxiety over the safety of flu vaccines has surged after at least 48 people died this month following vaccinations.
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Authorities have said they found no direct link between the deaths and the flu shots and have sought to reassure South Koreans about the safety of the vaccines against flu, a disease that kills at least 3,000 each year.
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However, last month, about 5 million doses had to be disposed of after not being stored at recommended temperatures.
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Singapore has temporarily halted the use of two influenza vaccines as a precaution after these deaths, becoming among the first countries to publicly announce a halt of the vaccines’ usage. Singapore has reported no deaths linked to flu vaccinations.
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Vaccine verdict due by early December: FauciUS infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci said on Sunday it would be clear whether a Covid-19 vaccine was safe and effective by early December, but that more widespread vaccination would not be likely until later in 2021.
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“We will know whether a vaccine is safe and effective by the end of November, the beginning of December,” Fauci told the BBC.
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“When you talk about vaccinating a substantial proportion of the population, so that you can have a significant impact on the dynamics of the outbreak, that very likely will not be until the second or third quarter of the year.”
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Australia’s lockdown prevents about 400 deathsSocial distancing and lockdowns in Australia not only slowed the spread of Covid-19, they saved the lives of about 400 people who would have been expected to died in June from respiratory illnesses such as pneumonia, a research paper published on Monday showed.
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Examining Australia’s most recent official fatality data, the Actuaries Institute said there was a shortfall between verified deaths and the number expected during the mid-winter month, which it concluded was due to a decline in respiratory illnesses.
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“It is clear that lockdowns and other Covid-19 control measures have created great hardship for many in Australia,” said Jennifer Lang, Convenor of the Actuaries Institute’s Covid-19 Working Group.
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“These measures have not only saved very many Australians from Covid-19 disease and death, they have also reduced deaths from a number of other causes.”
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Sri Lanka shuts Parliament after case detectedSri Lanka’s Parliament was closed on Monday in order to disinfect the premises after a police officer at the complex tested positive for the coronavirus amid a new surge of the virus in the country.
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Sri Lanka has seen a fresh outbreak of the virus since early this month, when a new cluster emerged centered at a garment factory near Colombo, the capital. On Monday, 351 new cases were confirmed in the Indian Ocean island nation. Most of the new infections are related to the garment factory cluster, which has grown to 4,400 cases, more than half the country’s total of 7,872. One fatality was reported on Sunday, raising Sri Lanka’s death toll to 16.
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In a bid to contain the spread, the government has imposed curfews in many parts of densely populated Western province, where the garment factory and Colombo are located, and where most new cases have been detected.
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The government also has closed schools, banned gatherings and imposed restrictions on public transport across the entire country.
 
 
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