What you need to know about the coronavirus right now

HERE’S what you need to know about the coronavirus right now:

Oxford vaccine produces immune response

The COVID-19 vaccine being developed by the University of Oxford produces a similar immune response in older and younger adults, and adverse responses were lower among the elderly, British drugmaker AstraZeneca Plc said on Monday.

A vaccine is seen as a game-changer in the battle against the novel coronavirus, which has killed more than 1.15 million people, hammered the global economy and shuttered normal life across the world.

Europe sees difficult months ahead

European leaders warned of difficult months ahead as a string of countries reported record increases in COVID-19 cases. France posted more than 50,000 daily cases for the first time on Sunday, while the continent passed 250,000 deaths.

Governments have been desperate to avoid the lockdowns which curbed the disease at the start of the year at the cost of shutting down entire economies. But the steady rise in new cases has forced them to ratchet up controls steadily.

Despite deaths, South Korea urges flu vaccinations

South Korea urged citizens to get vaccinated against influenza and reduce the chances of an outbreak that coincides with the battle against the coronavirus, as it began free inoculations for the last eligible group.

Public anxiety over the safety of flu vaccines has surged after at least 48 people died this month following vaccinations.

Authorities have said they found no direct link between the deaths and the flu shots and have sought to reassure South Koreans about the safety of the vaccines against flu.

Pandemic gives African money transfer firms a boost

Africa-focused money transfer companies are seeing a boom, despite predictions from the World Bank of a historic 20% drop to $445 billion in remittances to poorer countries this year due to a pandemic-induced global economic slump.

Many migrant workers are turning to digital transfer services, often for the first time, to send money back home to African countries, according to executives in the mobile financial services industry. – Thomson Reuters Foundation.

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