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What you need to know about the coronavirus right now

What you need to know about the coronavirus right now

· 02/08/2021 00:32
What you need to know about the coronavirus right now

- Here's what you need to know about the coronavirus right now:

AstraZeneca vaccine's efficacy against virus variant

Australia on Monday moved to reassure its citizens over the efficacy of AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine after South Africa suspended use of the shot because data showed it offered limited protection against a new strain of the virus. Australia has ordered 53 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, the vast majority of which will be manufactured locally by CSL Ltd. nL4N2KE0VE

South Africa's Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said on Sunday that the government would await advice from scientists on how best to proceed, after a trial showed the AstraZeneca vaccine did not significantly reduce the risk of mild or moderate COVID-19 from the 501Y.V2 variant that caused a second wave of infections starting late last year. nL1N2KD0GE

COVID-19 booster and annual vaccinations very probable

A COVID-19 booster in the autumn and then annual vaccinations are very probable, Britain's vaccine deployment minister said on Sunday as countries race to administer injections in the face of new variants.

Among coronavirus variants most concerning for scientists and public health experts are the so-called British, South African and Brazilian ones, which appear to spread more swiftly than others. nL1N2KD05R

Vaccine diplomacy: India seeks to rival China

India has approved the shipment of COVID-19 vaccine to Cambodia and plans to supply Mongolia and Pacific Island states, officials said on Sunday, as supplies arrived in Afghanistan - all part of its widening vaccine diplomacy.

Seeking to steal a march over rival Asian giant China, which has also promised to deliver shots, Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government has been giving nearby countries millions of doses of the locally made AstraZeneca PLC vaccine, even as its domestic immunisation programme has just begun. nL4N2KD06W

Americans buy now, pay later during pandemic

So-called buy now, pay later services - offered by providers such as Affirm Holdings Inc, Klarna, Afterpay Ltd and PayPal Holding Inc's "Pay In 4" - have blossomed across retail websites during the coronavirus pandemic as people have turned more to shopping online. Yet the ease with which many shoppers can make purchases is worrying some regulators around the world, who fear consumers may be spending more than they can afford.

Nearly 40% of U.S. consumers who used "buy now, pay later" have missed more than one payment, and 72% of those saw their credit score decline, according to a study by Credit Karma, which offers customers credit score checking for free. nL8N2KB31P

(Compiled by Karishma Singh
Editing by Robert Birsel)