June 29, 2020 / 6:04 AM / 11 days ago

What you need to know about the coronavirus right now

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

FILE PHOTO: The ultrastructural morphology exhibited by the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV), which was identified as the cause of an outbreak of respiratory illness first detected in Wuhan, China, is seen in an illustration released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S. January 29, 2020. Alissa Eckert, MS; Dan Higgins, MAM/CDC/Handout via REUTERS/File Photo

Lessons learned after 10 million cases and 500,000 deaths

The world now has more than 10 million cases of COVID-19 and half a million have died from the illness. In six months battling the disease, doctors have adapted strategies and won knowledge of how to treat patients, including a clearer grasp of side effects and greater understanding of ways to help those struggling to breathe.

Yet much remains unknown. Scientists are only starting to grasp the vast array of health problems the virus causes, such as attacks on many organ systems, making recovery slow, incomplete and costly.

“If the best lesson we’ve learned is to turn patients on to their stomachs instead of their backs, it means we’re far from a miracle cure,” said Valory Wangler, chief medical officer at Rehoboth McKinley Christian Health Care Services in Gallup, New Mexico, referring to a strategy to relieve pressure on the lungs and stave off mechanical ventilation.

(Open tmsnrt.rs/2VqS5PS in an external browser for an interactive graphic on the pace of virus-related deaths)

Chinese vaccine trials

China’s military has received the green light to use a COVID-19 vaccine candidate developed by its research unit and CanSino Biologics after clinical trials proved it was safe and somewhat efficient, the company said on Monday.

The Ad5-nCoV is one of the eight vaccine candidates being developed by Chinese companies and researchers approved to be moved into human trials for the respiratory disease caused by the virus. It has also won approval for human testing in Canada.

China is a major front-runner in the race to develop a vaccine, which must prove its effectiveness in a “Phase 3” human test involving thousands of participants before being cleared for sale. [nL3N2E503X

Reclosing time

California ordered some bars to close on Sunday, the first major rollback of efforts to reopen the economy in the most populous U.S. state as cases nationwide soar to record levels. Governor Gavin Newsom’s order follows Friday’s moves by Texas and Florida to do the same.

Public health officials have identified bars as the riskiest non-essential businesses now open. Consuming alcohol reduces inhibitions, which leads to less mask-wearing and social distancing, health officials warn. Patrons in noisy bars often shout, which scatters droplets wider.

Second-wave fears build in Australia

Australia’s second most populous state said on Monday it is considering reimposing social distancing restrictions after the country reported its biggest one-day rise in new coronavirus infections in more than two months.

Propelled by Victoria state reporting 75 cases, Australia recorded 85 new COVID-19 infections in the past 24 hours, its biggest daily outbreak since April 11.

Australia has fared better than many countries in the coronavirus pandemic, with around 7,800 cases and 104 deaths. But the recent surge has stoked fears of a second wave after several weeks of fewer than 20 new cases a day.

Thailand opens its borders to some

FILE PHOTO: An ambulance is seen driving through the Texas Medical Center amid a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Houston, Texas, U.S., June 28, 2020. REUTERS/Callaghan O'Hare/File Photo

Thailand will allow pubs and bars to reopen on Wednesday and plans to let in some foreign travellers after recording five weeks without any community transmission of the coronavirus, a government official said.

Pubs, bars and karaoke venues will be able to operate until midnight as long as they follow safety guidelines such as ensuring two-metre spaces between tables.

Foreigners with work permits, residency and families in Thailand will also be able to enter the country, but will be subject to a 14-day quarantine. Visitors seeking certain types of medical treatment such as some cosmetic surgery or fertility treatment could also be allowed into the country.

Compiled by Karishma Singh and Linda Noakes; Editing by mark Heinrich

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