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What you need to know about the coronavirus right now

10/18/2021 | 01:38am EDT

Oct 19 (Reuters) - Here's what you need to know about the coronavirus right now:

Moscow imposes new COVID curbs as daily deaths break record

Moscow's mayor announced four months of stay-home restrictions for unvaccinated over-60s on Tuesday and the Russian government proposed a week-long workplace shutdown as the national death toll from COVID-19 hit yet another daily high.

The moves reflected a growing sense of urgency from authorities as they confront fast-rising cases and widespread public reluctance to get injected with the Russian-made Sputnik V vaccine.

Moscow, a city of 12.7 million, ordered people over the age of 60 to stay home for four months starting on Oct. 25 unless they are vaccinated or have recovered from COVID, and for businesses to move at least 30% of their staff to remote work.

"The number of people hospitalized with a severe form of the disease is increasing every day," Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin wrote on his website.

Dutch coronavirus cases jump 44% as hospitals feel strain

New coronavirus infections in the Netherlands jumped 44% in the week through Tuesday, forcing several hospitals in the country to cut back on regular care to deal with a rising number of COVID-19 cases.

Infections reached their highest level since the end of July at 25,751, official data showed, rising for the third consecutive week following the easing of many social distancing measures in the Netherlands last month. Some 48 COVID-19 deaths were recorded, twice as many as in the previous week.

Children fuel English COVID case rise after slow vaccine start

The spread of COVID-19 among children in England is fueling a rise in cases nationally and causing concern among some scientists that vaccines are being rolled out in schools too slowly, risking the welfare of children and adults alike.

COVID-19 cases in Britain as a whole are much higher than in other European countries and are rising. On Friday one survey suggested prevalence was at its highest level since January, with 8% of secondary school children infected.

Britain on Tuesday reported 223 deaths within 28 days of a positive test for COVID-19, the highest figure since March, according to official data.

Romania's COVID-19 deaths hit record

Romania reported record numbers of daily coronavirus deaths and infections on Tuesday, as a hospital system stretched to breaking point by the EU's second-lowest vaccination rate ran out of intensive care beds.

New infections in the preceding 24 hours topped 18,800 while 574 people died of the virus, official data showed.

With emergency beds fully occupied across the country, television footage from Bucharest hospitals showed patients lying on mattresses on the floor or holding oxygen tanks on crowded benches in hallways. Morgues were also running at full capacity.

Singapore reports highest single-day rise in COVID-19 cases

Singapore reported 3,994 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, the highest since the beginning of the pandemic, while it recorded seven new deaths from the disease.

A recent spike in infections after the relaxation of some restrictions has prompted Singapore to pause further reopening. In September, it also tightened curbs that limited social gatherings to two people and made work from home a default.

Germany may miss COVID-19 vaccine donation goal

Germany may miss its target to donate 100 million COVID-19 vaccine doses this year due to conditions imposed by manufacturers and delivery shortfalls, a health ministry official said in a letter to Brussels seen by Reuters.

The 100 million doses account for half of the total promised by European Union member states to poorer countries this year, according to the European Commission.

But on Oct. 19, the foreign office said Germany had only donated just over 17% of that amount.

In a letter on Monday to the European Commission's Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Authority, health ministry state secretary Thomas Steffen said there were "ongoing bureaucratic, logistical and legal problems" imposed by vaccine makers on EU countries wanting to donate surplus shots.

They make "a quick response to international requests for help almost impossible," Steffen added.

India delays COVID-19 vaccine supplies to WHO-backed COVAX, sources say

India has delayed committing supplies of vaccine to the COVAX global sharing platform, two sources told Reuters on Tuesday, a day after one of its key backers, the WHO, said the agency could not "cut corners" to approve a domestically developed vaccine.

The world's biggest vaccine maker resumed exports of COVID-19 doses this month for the first time since April. It has sent about 4 million to countries such as neighboring Bangladesh and Iran, but none to COVAX.

(Compiled by Karishma Singh and Nick Macfie)


© Reuters 2021
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