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World News

What you need to know about the coronavirus right now

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

A couple wearing mask rides on an escalator at a subway station amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic in Seoul, South Korea, November 30, 2020. REUTERS/Kim Hong-ji

Singapore studies pregnancy puzzle

Doctors are studying the impact of COVID-19 on pregnant women and their unborn babies in Singapore, where an infant delivered by an infected mother earlier this month had antibodies against the virus but did not carry the disease.

The ongoing study among the city-state’s public hospitals adds to international efforts to better understand whether the infection or antibodies can be transferred during pregnancy, and if the latter offers an effective shield against the virus.

The World Health Organisation says while some pregnant women have an increased risk of developing severe COVID-19, it is not yet known whether an infected pregnant woman can pass the virus to her foetus or baby during pregnancy or delivery.

Novavax delays U.S. vaccine trial again

Vaccine maker Novavax said on Monday it has pushed back the start of a U.S.-based, late-stage trial for its experimental COVID-19 vaccine and now expects it to begin in the coming weeks instead of this month.

It is the second time that Novavax, which already has a late-stage UK trial underway, has rescheduled the Phase 3 trial after first flagging an October start, due to issues in scaling up its manufacturing.

Novavax plans to use vaccine material produced at commercial scale for the trial in the United States and Mexico.

England’s infections down 30% during lockdown

COVID-19 infections have fallen by 30% during England’s month-long national lockdown, and the virus is now in retreat, a large-scale study of more than 100,000 volunteers showed on Monday.

England began its second national lockdown on Nov. 5 to curb rapidly rising infection numbers and protect its health system. The country is due to return to a regional approach to restrictions from Dec. 2.

Up to 100 lawmakers in Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party are unhappy with his plans for tiered lockdown measures, however, so the government may have to rely on the Labour Party to get them through parliament, Environment Secretary George Eustice said on Monday.

Infected returnees skip quarantine in Thailand

Thailand was racing to track down about 200 people in its northern provinces on Monday to stop a potential outbreak, after three Thai nationals entered the country illegally from Myanmar and tested positive days later.

Three women bypassed immigration checks and entered via natural border crossings last Tuesday and Friday, skipping the mandatory quarantine for new arrivals, Chiang Rai provincial governor Prachon Pratsakul said.

There were 356 people in Chiang Rai and Chiang Mai provinces potentially exposed, among them staff and customers of a hotel, shopping mall, cinema, restaurants and passengers in a van and taxi, Prachon said.

Malaria death toll to exceed COVID-19’s in sub-Saharan Africa

Deaths from malaria due to disruptions during the coronavirus pandemic to services designed to tackle the mosquito-borne disease will far exceed those killed by COVID-19 in sub-Saharan Africa, the World Health Organization warned on Monday.

More than 409,000 people globally - most of them babies in the poorest parts of Africa - were killed by malaria last year, the WHO said, and COVID-19 will almost certainly push that toll higher in 2020.

Compiled by Linda Noakes; Editing by Hugh Lawson

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