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What you need to know about the coronavirus right now

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UK calls for conflict zone ceasefires to roll out vaccines
Britain will on Wednesday call for a United Nations resolution to help negotiate ceasefires so that people in conflict zones can be vaccinated against Covid-19, saying member states have a moral duty to protect the vulnerable.

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab will chair a virtual meeting of the U.N. Security Council on Wednesday to discuss the threat facing the more than 160 million people living in areas of instability and conflict, such as Yemen, South Sudan, Somalia and Ethiopia.

Victoria state to end snap lockdown, allow fans at Australian Open

A five-day snap lockdown in Australia's Victoria state will end on Wednesday, officials said as they reported no new cases in a cluster linked to a quarantine hotel in the city of Melbourne. State Premier Daniel Andrews said most mobility restrictions will be lifted at midnight, but masks will remain mandatory both indoors and outdoors when social distancing rules cannot be followed.

The lifting of restrictions will allow at least some spectators at the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne, where players have competed in empty stadiums during the lockdown.

Japan kicks off vaccination, amid heightened Olympic fears
Japan launched its Covid-19 inoculation drive on Wednesday, administering the Pfizer-BionTech vaccine to Tokyo hospital workers, as Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga attempts to defy the odds and host the Olympics this summer.

Separately, the governor of Japan's Shimane prefecture said on Wednesday the Olympics torch relay should be reconsidered, adding he was against the Games being held and worried about coronavirus infections.

NZ reports 2 new local coronavirus cases, will lift lockdown
New Zealand will lift a Covid-19 lockdown in its largest city of Auckland and ease restrictions in the rest of the country from midnight on Wednesday, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said, even though two new locally transmitted cases have been identified.

Auckland's nearly 2 million residents were plunged into a snap three-day lockdown on Monday, after a more contagious Covid-19 variant that first emerged in Britain was detected in a family of three - two adults and a child. The two latest cases are siblings studying at the same school as the child, Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins told members of a health select committee.

UK could give two doses of vaccine to all adults by Sept
The United Kingdom could give two doses of Covid-19 vaccine to all adults by August or September, helped by its portfolio approach of buying from several different producers, the interim head of the country's vaccine taskforce told Sky News on Tuesday.

Britain has vaccinated 15.6 million people with a first dose and 546,165 with a second dose, the fastest roll-out per capita of any large country so far.
(Reuters)

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