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World News

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: People wearing protective face masks walk in a busy street in Paris as France reinforces mask-wearing in public places as part of efforts to curb a resurgence of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) across France, September 18, 2020. REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes/File Photo

Trump and Melania test positive

President Donald Trump said on Friday that he and his wife Melania had tested positive for COVID-19 and were going into quarantine, upending the race for the White House.

“We will begin our quarantine and recovery process immediately. We will get through this TOGETHER!” the president tweeted.

Trump, 74, is at high risk with the deadly virus both because of his age and because he is considered overweight. He has remained in good health during his time in office but is not known to exercise regularly or to follow a healthy diet.

Trump’s physician, Sean Conley, said he expected the president to carry out his duties “without disruption” while he recovers.

Vice President Mike Pence could temporarily assume control if Trump becomes incapacitated.

Pandemic risks overwhelming Wisconsin

Wisconsin registered a record increase in new COVID-19 cases on Thursday, while New York state reported an uptick of positive coronavirus tests in 20 “hot spots.”

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The 3,000 new infections reported in Wisconsin fanned fears that the sheer number of new patients could overwhelm hospitals. Florida, which has four times as many people as Wisconsin, reported 2,628 new cases on Thursday.

Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers issued an emergency order easing licensing rules in a bid to bolster the number of healthcare workers able to deal with the mounting crisis.

Paris in danger of restaurant shutdown

Paris is set to be placed on maximum COVID alert as soon as Monday, Health Minister Olivier Veran said, a move likely to force the closure of restaurants and bars and impose further restrictions on public life.

Veran said the wider Paris region had now passed all three of the government’s criteria for being put on the highest level of alert. In the past 24 hours, the coronavirus infection rate had surpassed 250 cases for every 100,000 inhabitants.

“It is getting worse faster in Paris and its surrounds,” Veran told a news conference.

Restaurateurs plan a protest on Friday in a bid to change the government’s approach.

AstraZeneca’s Japanese vaccine trial back up

Clinical trials of AstraZeneca and Oxford University’s experimental COVID-19 vaccine have resumed in Japan, almost a month after being put on hold due to an illness of a British volunteer.

Global trials of the vaccine were halted on Sept. 6 after a study participant fell ill with what was believed to be a rare spinal inflammatory disorder called transverse myelitis.

Trials in Britain, Brazil, South Africa and India have already restarted, but U.S. trials remain paused as regulators widen their probe.

A major non-profit health emergencies group has set up a global laboratory network to assess data from potential COVID-19 vaccines, allowing scientists and drugmakers to compare them and speed up selection of the most effective shots.

Australia to open up to New Zealanders

New Zealanders will soon be able to travel to Australia without having to self-quarantine as COVID-19 infections slow.

Australian Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack said New Zealand citizens and residents would be allowed to travel to Australia’s most populous state of New South Wales and its remote Northern Territory from Oct. 16, without having to undergo the two-week quarantine required of Australians returning from other nations, McCormack said.

New Zealand has effectively eradicated COVID-19.

Compiled by Linda Noakes; Editing by Tomasz Janowski

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