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What you need to know about the coronavirus right now

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U.S. urges vaccinated Americans to wear masks indoors in many places

Americans fully vaccinated against Covid-19 should go back to wearing masks in indoor public places in regions where the coronavirus is spreading rapidly, U.S. health authorities said.

U.S. coronavirus cases have been rising due to the highly contagious Delta variant, which emerged in India but has quickly spread and now accounts for more than 80% of U.S. coronavirus cases.

U.S. President Joe Biden said that increased vaccination and mask wearing would help the United States avoid the pandemic lockdowns, shutdowns and school closures the country faced in 2020.

Biden is meanwhile considering whether to require U.S. federal employees to be vaccinated.

UK's Johnson wants U.S. travellers back as restrictions set to ease
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson wants U.S. citizens to come to England "freely" and is discussing a travel corridor with the United States, LBC radio said on Wednesday, before an expected easing of Covid-19 restrictions for visitors from abroad.

A decision to allow fully vaccinated EU and U.S. travellers into England without having to isolate is expected shortly and the new rules could come into force as early as next week, a government source said on condition of anonymity.

The chief executive of British airline easyJet said the rules were changing too late and expensive testing requirements would prevent a full reopening of travel.

Olympic host Tokyo's Covid-19 daily cases hit record for second straight day
Olympic host city Tokyo recorded 3,177 new Covid-19 cases on Wednesday, authorities announced, hitting a daily record high for a second straight day as a spike in infections puts pressure on hospitals.

Three prefectures around Tokyo are set to ask the government to call a state of emergency there.

The International Olympic Committee's spokesperson said the Japanese public should be reassured by anti-virus measures taken by Olympics organisers, even as they reported 16 new Games-related Covid-19 cases, bringing the disclosed total to 169.

Sydney adds four weeks to lockdown as Australia's Covid-19 cases grow
Australia's biggest city, Sydney, extended a lockdown by four weeks on Wednesday after an already protracted stay-at-home order failed to douse a Covid-19 outbreak, with authorities warning of tougher policing to stamp out non-compliance.

Far from a planned exit from lockdown in three days, the city of 5 million people and neighbouring regional centres spanning 200 km (120 miles) of coastline were told to stay home until Aug. 28 following persistently high case numbers since a flare-up of the virulent Delta variant began last month.

U.S. to ship 4 mln Covid-19 vaccine doses to Nigeria, 5.66 mln to South Africa
The U.S. government on Wednesday will ship nearly 10 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines to two of the most populous African countries - Nigeria and South Africa - as the continent battles a third wave of infections, White House officials said.

But vaccine donations to India have been held up as New Delhi dithers over legal protection sought by companies like Pfizer and Moderna.

AstraZeneca finds small clot risk after 1st Covid-19 shot, less after 2nd
AstraZeneca's Covid-19 vaccine carries a small extra risk of rare blood clots with low platelets after the first dose and no extra risk after the second, a study led and funded by the drugmaker showed on Wednesday.

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