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What you need to know about the coronavirus right now

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Covid-19 spreading in rural India
India reported a record 412,262 new Covid-19 cases on Thursday and a record 3,980 daily deaths, as a second wave of infections swamps the health system and spreads from cities into the vast countryside. Medical experts say India's actual figures could be five to 10 times the official tallies.

As India's healthcare system teeters on the verge of collapse, young doctors are having to make tough decisions during long workdays at hospitals across the country.

Covid curbs reinstated in Sydney
Australian officials reinstated social-distancing measures across greater Sydney on Thursday, as they scrambled to find missing transmission links in a Covid-19 case connected to an Indian variant of the virus.

With many people expected to gather over the weekend for annual Mother's Day celebrations, the New South Wales state government restricted household gatherings to 20 guests and limited aged-care facility visitors to two people per resident. Masks will be mandatory on public transport and at indoor venues. All the restrictions, which cover around 5.3 million people in the country's biggest metropolitan area, take effect at 5 p.m. local time and are scheduled to last until Monday morning.

Moderna booster increases antibodies against Covid-19 variants
Moderna Inc said on Wednesday early human trial data shows that a third dose of either its current Covid-19 shot or an experimental new vaccine candidate increases immunity against variants of Covid-19 first found in Brazil and South Africa.

The early data comes from a 40-person trial testing both Moderna's existing shot and a version developed to protect against the South African variant of Covid-19 called mRNA-1273.351. Moderna is also studying a shot that combines both the new and existing vaccine.

Mutant variants on the rise in Tokyo
Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike said on Thursday that the number of new Covid-19 cases among younger people are on the rise and called on residents to further curtail their movements. Mutant variants of the virus are becoming dominant, and fears are growing that the surge could exceed the third wave that crested in January, Koike said at a meeting of health experts.

Tokyo plans to ask the central government on Thursday to extend the current state of emergency, local media reported, citing unnamed officials.

Vaccine tourism: Canadians fly south for shot
With Covid-19 vaccine demand declining in the United States, some Canadians facing third-wave lockdowns are flying south to get inoculated, perhaps months earlier than they would be able to at home.

While almost a third of Americans have been fully vaccinated, Canada has inoculated only 3% of its almost 38 million people, though more than 34% have received a first dose. Canada is allowing for a four-month gap between doses, while Americans are getting their second shots three or four weeks after the first to reach optimal protection much sooner.
(Reuters)

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