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: A medical worker prepares to administer a test at the Bondi Beach drive-through coronavirus disease (COVID-19) testing centre in the wake of new positive cases in Sydney, Australia, June 17, 2021. REUTERS/Loren Elliott/File Photo

Tests show Chinese shots less effective on Delta variant

Antibodies triggered by two Chinese COVID-19 vaccines are less effective against the Delta variant compared with other strains but the shots still offer protection, a Chinese disease control researcher told state media.

The Delta variant of the new coronavirus, first detected in India, is becoming the globally dominant variant of the disease with its increased transmissibility, the World Health Organization’s chief scientist warned last week.

In an interview aired by China Central Television late on Thursday, Feng Zijian, researcher and former deputy director at the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, did not provide further details.

Olympics-Ugandan team member in Tokyo had Delta variant

A member of the Ugandan Olympic team who tested positive for the coronavirus upon arrival in Japan had the Delta variant, Kyodo News said on Friday, adding to concern that the Games – less than a month away – may trigger a new wave of infections.

A coach in the African nation’s delegation tested positive after arriving in Japan on Saturday, while a second member, an athlete, tested positive on Wednesday after arriving in the team’s host city of Izumisano, Kyodo said.

Downtown Sydney, Bondi head for lockdown

Downtown Sydney and the city’s eastern suburbs, which include Bondi Beach, will go into a one week lockdown from midnight Friday as authorities struggle to contain a spike in the highly contagious Delta COVID-19 virus variant.

The Australian Medical Association (AMA), which represents doctors, said the move was not enough and called for a complete lockdown of the country’s biggest city to prevent the virus spreading and causing possible deaths.

Japan to give vaccines to Taiwan, 5 Southeast Asia nations

Japan said on Friday it would send 2 million additional doses of AstraZeneca Plc’s COVID-19 vaccine to Taiwan and Vietnam and arrangements were being made to send 1 million doses each to Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines.

The direct donations, which should help Japan to increase its diplomatic influence in Asia, come as wealthy nations are being pushed to provide more doses to the global vaccine-sharing scheme COVAX to cover a 200-million dose shortfall.

Roche’s Actemra gets U.S. FDA approval for COVID-19 patients

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued an emergency use authorization (EUA) for the drug Actemra for the treatment of hospitalized COVID-19 adults and pediatric patients, the health agency said on Thursday.

The EUA was issued to Genentech, a subsidiary of Roche Holding AG.

The drug can be used to treat patients who are receiving systemic corticosteroids and require supplemental oxygen, non-invasive or invasive mechanical ventilation, or extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, the FDA said.

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