Health and Healthcare Systems

COVID-19: What you need to know about the coronavirus pandemic

Doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19)

COVID-19 vaccination efforts continue. Image: REUTERS/Hannah Beier

Joe Myers
Writer, Forum Agenda
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  • This weekly COVID-19 news roundup brings you a selection of the latest news and updates on the coronavirus pandemic, as well as tips and tools to help you stay informed and protected.
  • Top COVID-19 news stories: New US study into long COVID; Beijing schools reopen; Mass testing continues in Macau.
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1. How COVID-19 is affecting the globe

Confirmed cases of COVID-19 have passed 543.6 million globally, according to Johns Hopkins University. The number of confirmed deaths has now passed 6.32 million. More than 12.03 billion vaccination doses have been administered globally, according to Our World in Data.

Pfizer and BioNTech have announced that a booster dose of their updated COVID-19 vaccine, modified to tackle the Omicron variant, generated a higher immune response against Omicron.

China's Sinovac Biotech has said that South Africa has granted conditional registration to its CoronaVac COVID-19 vaccine.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced on 24 June that it had recommended Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine for children aged 6-17.

India recorded its highest single-day rise in COVID-19 infections - 17,336 - on Friday (24 June) since 20 February.

Mexico also reported its highest single-day rise in COVID-19 cases since February - 16,133 new cases on 23 June.

In the United States, more COVID-19 tests will be made available for people who are blind or visually impaired, the White House announced.

Denmark is set to offer people aged over 50 a fourth COVID-19 vaccine shot.

Saudi Arabia has lifted COVID-19 travel restrictions on its citizens travelling to Turkey, India, Ethiopia and Viet Nam.

Austria has scrapped compulsory COVID-19 vaccination for adults, with Health Minster Johannes Rauch saying they don't believe the measure will increase the vaccination rate.

Macau SAR has launched a third round of mandatory COVID-19 testing for residents in an effort to curb a rise in infections.

Daily new confirmed COVID-19 cases per million people in selected countries
Daily new confirmed COVID-19 cases per million people in selected countries. Image: Our World in Data

2. Nearly 1-in-5 adults who've had COVID-19 have lingering symptoms - US study

A US study has found that nearly 1-in-5 adults in the United States who've reported having COVID-19 still present symptoms of long COVID.

The survey, conducted in the first two weeks of June, found that young adults were more likely to have persistent symptoms than older adults. Women were also more likely to have long COVD than men.

Symptoms of long COVID include fatigue, shortness of breath, cognitive difficulties, and rapid heartbeat.


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3. Beijing schools reopen

Primary and secondary schools in Beijing will be allowed to restart in-person classes from today. Schools were shut in early May in response to a wave of Omicron COVID-19 cases with lessons moved online.

Senior-year students at middle and high schools were allowed to return on 2 June.

It comes as Shanghai Communist Party chief Li Qiang said on 25 June that the city had "won the war to defend Shanghai" against COVID-19. The comments came as Shanghai reported no new local cases on 24 June - the first time that had happened since 23 February.

The city had imposed a two-month city-wide lockdown that lifted on 1 June.

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