July 7, 2020 / 6:02 AM / Updated 35 minutes 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: A computer image created by Nexu Science Communication together with Trinity College in Dublin, shows a model structurally representative of a betacoronavirus which is the type of virus linked to COVID-19, better known as the coronavirus linked to the Wuhan outbreak, shared with Reuters on February 18, 2020. NEXU Science Communication/via REUTERS

Heavy-duty masks may be needed

The World Health Organization (WHO) is reviewing a report urging it to update guidance on the novel coronavirus after more than 200 scientists, in a letter to the health agency, outlined evidence the virus can spread in tiny airborne particles.

Professor Babak Javid, an infectious disease consultant at Cambridge University Hospitals, said airborne transmission of the virus is possible and even likely, but said evidence over how long the virus stays airborne is lacking.

WHO guidance to health workers, dated June 29, says SARS-CoV-2 is primarily transmitted through respiratory droplets and on surfaces.

But airborne transmission is possible in some circumstances, such as when performing intubation and aerosol-generating procedures, the WHO says. They advise medical workers performing such procedures to wear heavy-duty N95 respiratory masks and other protective equipment in an adequately ventilated room.

Back to school, or not

President Donald Trump said on Monday that U.S. schools must open in the fall - a decision over which he has limited power - as governors struggle with a nationwide rise in coronavirus infections and states reverse and pause attempts to reopen. “SCHOOLS MUST OPEN IN THE FALL!!!” Trump wrote in a Twitter post.

Foreign students must leave the United States if their school’s classes this autumn will be taught completely online or transfer to another school with in-person instruction, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency announced. The ICE guidance applies to holders of F-1 and M-1 visas, which are for academic and vocational students.

Chaos on the borders

Hundreds of police officers and soldiers are being deployed to enforce the closure of the busy and highly porous border between Australia’s two most populous states, New South Wales and Victoria, as officials grapple to contain a new coronavirus outbreak.

Daily travel permits will be granted to people who live in border towns and cities but with the closure just hours away at 11.59 p.m. on Tuesday, the application system was still being developed.

Over in New Zealand, the national airline will not take new bookings for three weeks as the country looks to limit the number of citizens returning home to reduce the burden on overflowing quarantine facilities.

“The last thing we need are hastily set up facilities to meet demand,” Housing Minister Megan Woods said in a statement.

A stronger-than-usual will to live

After a record 112 days on a specialised life-support system, a South Korean COVID-19 patient is recovering from double lung transplant surgery, doctors say, in only the ninth such procedure worldwide since the coronavirus outbreak began.

The 50-year-old woman was diagnosed with the disease and hospitalised in late February and then spent 16 weeks on extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) support, which involves circulating a patient’s blood through a machine that adds oxygen to red blood cells. That’s the longest that any COVID-19 patient in the world has spent on ECMO support, her doctors said.

Lee Sun-hee, a head nurse of the ECMO programme who has cared for the patient since February, said the woman seemed to have a stronger-than-usual will to live, in part driven by being a mother of two. Lee said the woman already knows the first thing she wants to do when released from the hospital: “To get a nice bath.”

Compiled by Karishma Singh; Editing by Robert Birsel

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