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What you need to know about the coronavirus right now

A paramedic holds a test tube containing a blood sample at a coronavirus antibody testing program at the Hollymore Ambulance Hub of the West Midlands Ambulance Service in Birmingham.

Sydney records deadliest day of Covid-19 pandemic
Australia's biggest city of Sydney recorded its deadliest day of the Covid-19 pandemic on Monday, while residents in Melbourne face a nightly curfew and a further two weeks of lockdown amid a surge in infections.

With only 26% of people above 16 years of age fully vaccinated, Australia is vulnerable to the highly infectious Delta variant that has steadily spread across the country. While Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra and Darwin - which begun its curbs on Monday - are all in lockdown, cases have proved stubbornly difficult to suppress.

Japan to extend "state of emergency" lockdown through mid-Sept -report
The Japanese government is set to extend its "state of emergency" soft lockdown in regions including Tokyo to the middle of September as well as adding several other regions, the Sankei Shimbun daily reported on Monday.

The current state of emergency is due to expire on Aug. 31, but a continuing surge in cases has spurred calls to extend it. Pandemic fatigue and summer vacations have also been blamed for contributing to the latest Covid-19 surge in a nation where only around 36% of people have been fully vaccinated.

Children hospitalised with Covid-19 in U.S. hits record
The number of children hospitalised with Covid-19 in the United States hit a record high of just over 1,900 on Saturday, as hospitals across the South were stretched to capacity fighting outbreaks caused by the highly transmissible Delta variant.

Children currently make up about 2.4% of the nation's Covid-19 hospitalisations. Kids under 12 are not eligible to receive the vaccine, leaving them more vulnerable to infection from the new, highly transmissible variant.

Third vaccine dose 'substantially' aids transplant patients
A third dose of an mRNA Covid-19 vaccine provided immunocompromised organ transplant patients with "substantially" improved protection, according to a trial published on Wednesday in The New England Journal of Medicine.

In the new trial, researchers found that 60% of patients who were given a third dose of the Moderna mRNA vaccine developed antibodies that could neutralize the virus, compared to only 25% of the placebo group. The extra dose, administered two months after the second dose, was well-tolerated with mostly mild side effects, and it also prompted substantial improvement in patients' T-cell responses, another aspect of immunity. The results "quite convincingly" suggest that a third shot is worthwhile for transplant patients, said co-author Dr. Atul Humar of the University Health Network in Toronto.

S.Korea sets up 'bus walls' as protesters defy warnings
South Korean police mobilised hundreds of buses and set up dozens of checkpoints on Sunday to head off political rallies in Seoul, as some groups pushed ahead with annual protests in defiance of warnings over the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Footage from local TV networks showed several groups still encouraging demonstrations by individuals and marches where participants maintain distance from each other, to protest issues as varied as government policy and worker rights.

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