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What you need to know about the coronavirus right now

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COVID-19 infections in England quadrupled since June
COVID-19 infections in England have quadrupled in a month since early June, a large prevalence study showed on Thursday, ahead of Prime Minister Boris Johnson's plan to fully re-open the economy in two weeks' time.

According to the research, led by Imperial College London, cases were estimated to be doubling every six days as a new wave fuelled by the Delta coronavirus variant picks up pace. The study, one of Britain's largest with 47,000 people returning tests from June 24 to July 5, found national prevalence was 0.59%, or 1 in 170 people, compared with 0.15% in the last round between late May and early June.

Organisers to ban Olympic spectators as Tokyo declares coronavirus emergency
Olympic organisers are set to ban all spectators from the Games, the Asahi daily said on Thursday, as Japan prepared to declare a state of emergency for Tokyo that will run through its hosting of the event to curb a new wave of coronavirus infections.

Organisers were set to formally reach the decision on the spectators during five-way talks between key parties to be held on Thursday evening, the newspaper said, citing people involved in the Games.

Sydney sees worst day of 2021
Australia's New South Wales state on Thursday reported its biggest daily rise in locally acquired cases of COVID-19 for the year as officials struggle to stamp out a growing cluster of the highly infectious Delta variant in Sydney.

Business and consumer tolerance for restrictions and uncertainty is quickly evaporating as Australians witness other countries reopen. Anger is growing around the lack of clarity on when Australia will allow international tourism and migration to resume.

Companies regularly complain of labour shortages and universities are crying for international students to return.

S.Korea eyes Seoul semi-lockdown
South Korea on Thursday reported its highest ever one-day rise in new COVID-19 cases, as officials consider imposing a semi-lockdown in the capital Seoul, the epicentre of the country's recent rise in infections.

The 1,275 cases in the 24 hours to midnight on Wednesday, reported by the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA), exceeds the number of daily cases reported at the peak of the country's third wave in December. Around 80% of the 1,275 locally transmitted cases were recorded in the greater Seoul area, comprising the capital, Gyeonggi Province and Incheon city, KDCA data showed.

Lead Sinovac vaccine scientist in Indonesia dies of suspected COVID-19

The lead scientist on China's Sinovac vaccine trials in Indonesia died of suspected COVID-19 on Wednesday, Indonesian media said. The death of Novilia Sjafri Bachtiar comes as fatalities from the coronavirus reach record highs in Indonesia, one of the countries where the Sinovac vaccine has been most widely used.

The infection and deaths of health workers in Indonesia who had received the Sinovac vaccine has added to questions over its effectiveness in preventing hospitalisation and death.

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