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What you need to know about the coronavirus right now

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India and Pakistan suffer new Covid-19 surge
India and Pakistan reported a big jump in infections on Thursday, driven by a resurgence in cases in their richest states.

While authorities in India have mainly blamed crowding and an overall reluctance to wear masks for its spike, Pakistan says a variant of the virus first identified in Britain could also be a factor.

Maharashtra state, home to India's commercial capital Mumbai, reported 23,179 of the country's 35,871 new cases in the last 24 hours. In Pakistan, 3,495 people tested positive in the last 24 hours, the most daily infections since early December.

Germany reports biggest rise in cases in two months
The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany jumped by 17,504 to 2,612,268, the biggest daily rise since Jan. 22, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed on Thursday.

The reported death toll rose by 227 to 74,132, while the number of new cases per 100,000 people over seven days rose to 90, compared to 86 a day earlier.

Germany is in a third wave of the pandemic, driven by an easing of restrictions in recent weeks just as a more transmissible variant has spread, the RKI has said, predicting a big jump in cases in coming weeks.

UK vaccine roll-out to be slower than hoped
Britain said on Thursday that global supply bumps meant its vaccine roll-out would be slower than hoped in coming weeks, but it expected deliveries to increase again in May, June and July.

British health officials warned on Wednesday that the world's fastest big economy roll-out of the vaccine would face a significant reduction in supplies from March 29.

So far 25.27 million people in the United Kingdom have had a vaccine, around 48% of adults.

Reinfection rare, but more common in older people
The majority of people who have had Covid-19 are protected from getting it again for at least six months, a study published on Wednesday showed, but older people are more prone to reinfection than younger people.

The study, appearing in the Lancet medical journal, found that just 0.65% of patients tested positive a second time after previously being infected during Denmark's first and second waves. That was much lower than the 3.27% who were positive for the virus using highly accurate PCR tests after initially being negative.

However, the study found that people over the age of 65 had only 47% protection against repeat infection, compared to 80% protection for younger people.

Chile's red-hot inoculation drive reaches Antarctica
Chile's rapid vaccination programme has reached the icy shores of Antarctica, officials and researchers told Reuters on Wednesday, bringing a sense of relief to one of the most isolated and vulnerable outposts.

The pandemic hit Antarctica in December, making it the last of the world's continents to report an outbreak.
Chilean health and army officials scrambled to clear out staff from a remote region with limited medical facilities.

Chilean air force personnel, followed by staff at the Profesor Julio Escudero research base, were inoculated on Sunday with vaccine from China's Sinovac Biotech.
(Reuters)

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