What you need to know about the coronavirus right now
(Reuters) - Here's what you need to know about the coronavirus right now:
Outcry as Australia bars Djokovic over vaccination status
World number one tennis player Novak Djokovic was denied entry into Australia on Thursday amid a storm of protest about a decision to grant him a medical exemption from COVID-19 vaccination requirements to play in the Australian Open. The tennis star was transported to a quarantine hotel in Melbourne after being held at the city's airport overnight and was told he would be removed from the country later on Thursday, a source close to the tournament told Reuters.
The saga, fuelled by domestic political point-scoring about the country's handling of a record surge in new COVID-19 infections, created an international incident with the Serbian president claiming harassment of its star player.
U.S. strengthens infection controls at military bases in Japan
U.S. military bases in Japan introduced stricter measures to tackle an increase in COVID-19 cases as the government expressed grave concern over the outbreak. The measures include requiring U.S. military personnel to wear masks off base and for stricter testing mandates, it said in a press release.
France forecasts 'supersonic' rise in cases in coming days
A "supersonic" rise in French COVID-19 cases will continue in the coming days, an official said as the government decreed a health state of emergency in Guadeloupe, Guiana, Mayotte, Saint-Martin and Saint-Barthelemy.
Government spokesman Gabriel Attal said infections were reaching "stratospheric levels" in the Ile-de-France region around Paris and some other parts of France, adding that the situation in hospitals could worsen in coming weeks, with no end in sight to rising infections.
Germany could reduce isolation periods to keep country running
Germany is considering shortening COVID-19 self-isolation periods over fears that critical services could grind to a halt as the highly infectious Omicron variant takes hold, a health ministry plan showed.
Workers in critical sectors, such as hospitals or electricity suppliers, would be able to end their isolation after five days, provided they test PCR negative for the virus, under the draft proposals being sent to regional leaders. The current isolation period is 14 days for everyone.
Coronavirus can trigger kidney scarring
The coronavirus can directly damage the kidneys by initiating a cascade of molecular events that leads to scarring, new laboratory research found. The resulting scar tissue could have long-term impact on survivors' kidney function, according to a report published in Cell Stem Cell.
The researchers exposed tiny replicas of kidneys to the SARS-CoV-2 virus in test tubes. They found the virus could infect multiple types of kidney cells and trigger "a molecular switch" that starts the scarring process. The findings suggest that high rates of kidney function decline seen in a separate study of more than 90,000 COVID-19 survivors might be due to scarring of the kidney by the virus, the researchers said.
(Compiled by Karishma Singh; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)
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