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What you need to know about the coronavirus right now

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AstraZeneca finds no evidence of increased blood clot risk
AstraZeneca said on Sunday a review of safety data of people vaccinated with its Covid-19 vaccine has shown no evidence of an increased risk of blood clots. The review covered more than 17 million people vaccinated in the United Kingdom and the European Union.

The Netherlands has seen 10 cases of noteworthy adverse side effects from AstraZeneca's vaccine, a Dutch drug watchdog said on Monday, hours after the government put its vaccination programme on hold following reports of possible unexpected side effects in other countries.

A 60-year old Danish woman who died of a blood clot after receiving AstraZeneca's vaccine had "highly unusual" symptoms, according to the Danish Medicines Agency.

Regular booster vaccines are the future, says expert
Regular booster vaccines against the novel coronavirus will be needed because of mutations that make it more transmissible and better able to evade human immunity, the head of Britain's effort to sequence the virus's genomes told Reuters.

The virus mutates around once every two weeks, slower than influenza or HIV, but enough to require tweaks to vaccines.

Sharon Peacock, who heads the Covid-19 Genomics UK consortium which has sequenced half of all the novel coronavirus genomes so far mapped globally, said international cooperation was needed in the "cat and mouse" battle.

South Korean province orders testing for foreigners
South Korea's most populous province has ordered all of its foreign workers to be tested for Covid-19 by March 22, sparking complaints of long lines and logistical problems, as well as of implicit xenophobia in government messaging.

Last week, Gyeonggi province issued a sweeping administrative order mandating all international workers be tested after at least 275 foreigners tested positive, many in outbreaks at manufacturing plants.

The province says the order covers roughly 85,000 registered foreigners as well as an unknown number of potential undocumented workers, while those who don't comply could face fines of up to 3 million won ($2,640).

Hong Kong's tough rules see babies isolated
Families in Asia's financial hub of Hong Kong are suffering isolation and trauma after strict coronavirus rules have led to babies being separated from parents and those with newborns herded into tiny quarantine quarters for up to 14 days.

Hong Kong authorities have ordered that anyone testing positive must go to hospital, including babies, while all their close contacts, even those who test negative, are sent to makeshift quarantine camps.

"It’s crazy," said one mother, who said she had to abruptly stop breastfeeding following separation from her seven-month-old son last week after she was diagnosed with Covid-19.

Papua New Guinea faces crisis as infections rise
The Pacific island nation of Papua New Guinea (PNG) is facing a fresh wave of infections around the capital Port Moresby, which neighbouring Australia and aid groups fear could overwhelm the country's small and overstretched health system.

The Pacific Friends of Global Health warned if health services are overwhelmed by Covid-19 the treatment of malaria, HIV and tuberculosis would also collapse.

Half the Covid-19 tests from PNG processed by Australia have been positive, prompting calls for faster vaccine delivery.
(Reuters)

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