What you need to know about the coronavirus right now

A woman in personal protective equipment (PPE) rides a bicycle on a street, during the lockdown to curb the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Shanghai, China, April 5, 2022. REUTERS/Aly Song

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May 6 (Reuters) – Here’s what you need to know about the pandemic right now:

China hits back at ‘zero COVID’ doubters

Residents of Beijing fretted on Friday over dozens of new COVID-19 cases reported daily and over the possibility of more restrictions on movements as China’s leaders threatened action against critics of their zero-COVID policy.

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Incurring a heavy economic cost and facing rare public criticism on its tightly controlled internet, China is increasingly out of step with the rest of the world where COVID restrictions are being abandoned and vaccines relied on to protect people.

Internationally, industry organisations have complained that China’s COVID curbs have global economic reverberations. At home, the population worries about painful, long-term restrictions. read more

Shanghai said on Friday it has brought China’s worst outbreak of COVID-19 under effective control following a month-long lockdown of nearly 25 million people. read more

The Asian Games scheduled to take place in the Chinese city of Hangzhou in September have been postponed until 2023 because of the COVID-19 situation, the governing Olympic Council of Asia said on Friday. read more

China is setting up thousands of permanent PCR testing stations, with 9,000 already completed in Shanghai alone, as authorities seek to “normalise” tough pandemic controls even after the current round of lockdowns end. read more

U.S. limits use of J&J’s COVID vaccine on blood clot risks

The U.S. health regulator said on Thursday it was limiting the use of Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine for adults due to the risk of a rare blood clotting syndrome, the latest setback to the shot that has been eclipsed by rivals.

The J&J shot, which received U.S. clearance in February 2021 for adults, can be administered in cases where authorized or approved COVID-19 vaccines are not accessible or if an individual is less keen on using the other two shots, the Food and Drug Administration said. read more

EU regulator hopes to approve COVID variant-adapted vaccines by autumn

The European Union’s drug regulator said on Thursday it hoped to have vaccines adapted to address coronavirus variants, such as Omicron, approved by September. read more

The mRNA vaccines, made by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, are the furthest along, and clinical trials are ongoing.

Evidence mounts for need to study Pfizer’s Paxlovid for long COVID

Additional reports of patients with long COVID who were helped by Pfizer’s oral antiviral treatment Paxlovid offer fresh impetus for conducting clinical trials to test the medicine for the debilitating condition, U.S. researchers said on Thursday. read more

Three new case studies follow earlier reports of long COVID patients who experienced relief of their symptoms after taking the treatment, which is currently only authorized for high-risk people early after onset of COVID symptoms.

Europe sees travel recovery as restrictions ease

European airlines and hotel chains are seeing bookings recover to levels not seen since before the COVID-19 pandemic, led by demand for shorter trips, although travellers remain cautious about making long-distance journeys.

The pandemic led to international travel virtually shutting down as governments around the world banned foreigners from entering their countries. However, the easing of restrictions and a pent-up demand to travel has sparked cautious optimism among executives.

Challenges remain in the form of rising costs and staff shortages causing flights to be cancelled. Despite that, airlines are forecasting a return to profitability. read more

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Compiled by Linda Noakes
Editing by Tomasz Janowski

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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Diego Wiers