What you need to know about the coronavirus right now

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

Cars wait in line to cross into the US, ahead of the Mexico-U.S. border reopening in Tijuana, Mexico November 7, 2021. REUTERS/Toya Sarno Jordan

Global cases hit 250 million

Global COVID-19 cases surpassed 250 million on Monday as some countries in eastern Europe experience record outbreaks, even as the Delta variant surge eases and many nations resume trade and tourism.

The daily average number of cases has fallen by 36% over the past three months, according to a Reuters analysis, but the virus is still infecting 50 million people worldwide every 90 days due to the highly transmissible Delta variant.

By contrast, it took nearly a year to record the first 50 million COVID-19 cases.

Most Russians went back to work on Monday for the first time in more than a week as a nationwide workplace shutdown was lifted across most regions, even though the numbers of new cases and deaths are hovering near record daily highs.

Germany’s infection rate has risen to its highest level since the start of the pandemic, public health figures showed on Monday, and doctors warned they will need to postpone scheduled operations to cope.

Travellers head to United States as entry ban lifted

Travellers excited at the prospect of seeing family and friends in the United States for the first time since the pandemic started took off early on Monday from London, Paris and other cities following the lifting of U.S. travel restrictions.

The restrictions, first imposed in early 2020, had barred access to non-U.S. citizens travelling from 33 countries – including China, India and much of Europe – and controlled overland entry from Mexico and Canada.

From Monday, travellers who can show official proof of vaccination against COVID-19 and have had a recent, negative viral test can again fly to the United States.

Regeneron antibody drug shows protection for up to 8 months

Regeneron Pharmaceuticals said on Monday a single dose of its antibody cocktail reduced the risk of contracting COVID-19 by 81.6% in the two to eight months period following the drug’s administration in a late-stage trial.

The results showed that antibody therapy, REGEN-COV, has the potential to provide long-lasting immunity from infection, said Myron Cohen, who leads monoclonal antibody efforts for the U.S. National Institutes of Health-sponsored COVID Prevention Network.

Australia begins vaccine booster rollout

Australia began administering booster shots of Pfizer’s vaccine on Monday as millions of people in its largest city, Sydney, woke up to more freedom amid an accelerating immunisation drive.

Australia’s vaccination rate has picked up pace since July, after widely missing its initial targets, when the country’s southeast was hit by a third wave of infections triggered by the Delta variant forcing months-long lockdowns.

Virus curbs to ease in Auckland

New Zealand will ease restrictions in its biggest city from Wednesday as vaccinations rates rise and lockdown measures will likely be phased out by the end of the month, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said.

Auckland has been in lockdown for nearly three months as the Delta variant spread, infecting more than 4,500 people since August in New Zealand’s worst phase of the pandemic.

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