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What you need to know about the coronavirus right now By Reuters


© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A box of Johnson & Johnson’s coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccines is seen at the Forem vaccination centre in Pamplona, Spain, April 22, 2021. REUTERS/Vincent West

(Reuters) – Here’s what you need to know about the coronavirus right now:

J&J says second shot boosts protection for moderate-severe COVID-19 to 94%

Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:) said on Tuesday a second shot of its COVID-19 vaccine given about two months after the first increased its effectiveness to 94% in the United States against moderate to severe forms of the disease.

That’s 70% protection from a single dose.

The data will help J&J make its case to U.S. regulators for a booster shot even as the company stresses the durability of its single-shot vaccine.

EU believes that people who have been vaccinated by AstraZeneca shots (NASDAQ:) should be allowed to travel to the U.S.

According to the European Commission, it is sensible that the United States allows travel for people who are vaccinated against AstraZeneca COVID-19 shots. However, this has not been approved by U.S. regulators.

The White House stated Monday it was lifting restrictions that had been in place since November and allowing EU citizens to travel to the United States, even if they are fully vaccinated. American authorities weren’t clear about which vaccinations were acceptable.

AstraZeneca is authorized for use in 27 EU countries, where approximately 70 million shots were administered.

Indian foreign minister urges UK to resolve quarantine dispute

India’s foreign minister on Tuesday urged Britain to remove a rule requiring Indians visiting there to quarantine even if they are fully vaccinated.

AstraZeneca developed India’s Covishield vaccination and it was manufactured in India by Pune, India-based Serum Institute. The new British rules do not recognize the vaccine as being equivalent to doses that are given to millions.

Indians are angry at the new rules which will take effect next month. Many have called it discriminatory. Britons who were vaccinated in Britain with identical Indian-made doses do not need to quarantine.

Melbourne police fire pepper balls, pellets to break up protest

Police in Melbourne fired pepper balls and rubber pellets on Tuesday to disperse about 2,000 protesters who defied stay-at-home orders to damage property, block a busy freeway and injure three officers, leading to more than 60 arrests.

After closing down construction sites in Australia for two weeks due to workers’ movement spreading coronavirus, it was the second day that protests broke out in this locked-down Australian town.

New Zealand has announced that individuals who break restrictions could face fines up to NZ$12,000 ($8,400). The move comes amid fears that the outbreak might spread beyond Auckland.

Calls grow among experts in Singapore for a vaccine mandate

Some health experts in Singapore are calling for mandatory vaccination with a growing toll of severe COVID-19 among unvaccinated people as infections surge and with vaccine take-up plateauing at 82% of the population.

Although the government linked the opening of vaccinations to targets, it stopped the easement of restrictions in this month’s wake to monitor for severe infections that could overburden the system.

Dale Fisher from the National University Hospital, Singapore, said that he would like to see mandatory vaccinations for over-60s because they are most at risk of dying.