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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: Health workers and a relative carry the body of a man, who died due to COVID-19, from an ambulance to a crematorium in New Delhi, India, November 13, 2020. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

Vaccine success gives world more hope

Moderna’s experimental vaccine is 94.5% effective in preventing COVID-19 based on interim data from a late-stage trial, the company said, becoming the second U.S. drugmaker to report results that far exceed expectations.

Together with Pfizer’s vaccine, which is also more than 90% effective, and pending more safety data and regulatory review, the United States could have two vaccines authorized for emergency use in December with as many as 60 million doses of vaccine available this year.

U.S. states from coasts to heartland act to curb virus

Several U.S. governors, from the coastal states of New Jersey and California to the heartland of Iowa and Ohio, acted on Monday to restrict gatherings and boost face-coverings in confronting a coronavirus surge they warned is out of control.

Each of the four governors, representing both ends of America’s political divide and a mix of urban and rural regions, cited health data showing the pandemic reaching its most perilous point yet in the United States, threatening to overwhelm hospitals and claim thousands more lives in the weeks ahead.

South Korea warns of new crisis

South Korea will impose stricter social distancing rules for the greater Seoul area a month after easing them, officials said on Tuesday, warning of an even bigger crisis if anti-COVID-19 efforts fail to dampen a spike in new cases.

Tighter curbs will ban public gatherings of 100 people or more, limit religious services and audiences at sporting events to 30% capacity, and require high-risk facilities including clubs and karaoke bars to broaden distance among guests.

Merkel very worried about Berlin

The situation in Germany is still very serious even though infection numbers are not rising so fast, Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Tuesday, after federal and state leaders postponed until Nov. 25 a decision on further lockdown measures.

Merkel said she would have preferred to have agreed stricter rules at a meeting with federal and state leaders on Monday, adding she was very worried about the uncontrolled spread of coronavirus in some places, including the capital Berlin.

“Infection numbers aren’t growing exponentially anymore, but are still far too high. So we have to reduce contacts, reduce contacts, reduce contacts,” Merkel said.

France regaining control

France’s health minister Olivier Veran said on Tuesday the country was regaining control over the coronavirus but was not ready to ease the second national lockdown.

After curfew measures applied in major French cities in mid-October failed to produce the results the government had hoped for, it enforced a one-month lockdown on Oct. 30, though it was less strict than the one that ran from March 17 to May 11.

“If we let up our efforts too early, if we are less compliant with the lockdown, we might be subject to a new epidemic surge that would undo all the hard work done by the French people for several weeks,” Veran told BFM TV.

Compiled by Linda Noakes

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