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What you need to know about the coronavirus right now

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Amazon starts testing UK staff for coronavirus variants
Amazon is testing its front-line staff in Britain for coronavirus variants and feeding the data to public health officials, including in hotspots where a strain first found in India is spreading fast.

Amazon's testing is available to around 30,000 front-line staff in Britain, working in warehouses and logistics. The British lab has already processed more than 900,000 tests since it opened in September, including from its sites in Europe.

U.S. global vaccine distribution plan could be announced Thursday - Blinken

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Wednesday that President Joe Biden could announce as early as Thursday details of Washington's plan for distributing 80 million doses of coronavirus vaccine globally.
Blinken reiterated that the U.S. distribution plan would be coordinated with the COVAX vaccine-sharing facility and based on need "without any political strings attached."

Summit secures $2.4 bln for Covid shots for poor countries
Countries and private donors pledged nearly $2.4 billion on Wednesday to the COVAX vaccine-sharing plan during a video summit hosted by Japan and the GAVI Vaccine Alliance, which leads the COVAX facility alongside the World Health Organization, intended to make Covid-19 shots more available to people in poorer nations.

The funds will allow COVAX to secure 1.8 billion fully subsidised doses for delivery to lower-income countries in 2021 and early 2022, enough to protect 30% of adults there, GAVI said in a statement.

In some long Covid cases, air gets trapped in lungs
Some Covid-19 survivors with persistent breathing symptoms have a condition called "air trapping," in which inhaled air gets stuck in the small airways of the lung and cannot be exhaled.

Researchers studied 100 Covid-19 survivors who were still having respiratory problems, like coughs and shortness of breath, an average of more than two months after their diagnosis. The air trapping was largely confined to patients' narrowest airway passages, according to a report posted on Saturday on medRxiv ahead of peer review.

Brazilians bang pots in protest as another 2,500 die
Pot-banging protests erupted across several cities in Brazil on Wednesday evening as President Jair Bolsonaro addressed the nation, just days after protesters took to the streets across the country over his handling of the coronavirus pandemic, which has so far killed almost half-a-million people here.

On Wednesday alone, almost 100,000 Brazilians came down with the coronavirus and 2,507 died, according to government data. On Saturday, thousands participated in protests in at least 16 cities across the country, which were organized by leftist political parties, unions and student associations.
(Reuters)

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