(Reuters) - Here's what you need to know about the coronavirus right now:
Sydney eases more COVID-19 curbs
Thousands of children returned to school in Sydney on Monday, putting an end to months of home learning, as Australia's largest city eased more COVID-19 curbs, thanks to rising rates of vaccinations. Masks are no longer mandatory in offices and larger groups are to be allowed in homes and outdoors after the state of New South Wales, home to Sydney, hit a double-dose inoculation rate of 80% at the weekend among those older than 16.
The latest in a series of planned easing of restrictions marks a shift by Australia's largest cities to living with the virus, a strategy officials have warned will bring a greater number of COVID-19 cases in coming weeks.
New Zealand PM Ardern extends COVID-19 lockdown in Auckland
New Zealand Prime Minster Jacinda Ardern said on Monday that the country's biggest city Auckland will remain in lockdown for another two weeks as it looks to control the spread of the Delta variant of the coronavirus.
There will be no changes in the social restrictions that have already been in place for over two months in Auckland under alert level 3, Ardern said at a news conference.
Melbourne to ease world's longest COVID-19 lockdowns
Melbourne, which has spent more time under COVID-19 lockdowns than any other city in the world, is set to lift its stay-at-home orders this week, officials said on Sunday.
By Friday, when some curbs will be lifted, the Australian city of 5 million people will have been under six lockdowns totalling 262 days, or nearly nine months, since March 2020.
U.S. to lift restrictions Nov 8 for vaccinated foreign travellers
The White House on Friday will lift COVID-19 travel restrictions for fully vaccinated international visitors starting Nov. 8, ending historic restrictions that had barred much of the world from entering the United States for as long as 21 months.
The White House, which held a meeting late Thursday to finalise the Nov. 8 date, faces some remaining questions, including how and what exemptions the Biden administration will grant to the vaccine requirements. Children under 18, for example, are largely expected to be exempt from the requirements, an official said.
Valneva reports positive results for its vaccine candidate
Vaccine company Valneva reported on Monday positive Phase 3 results for its inactivated, adjuvanted COVID-19 vaccine candidate VLA2001, for which it is hoping to get a licence.
Valneva added it was preparing for trials in children aged between 5-12 years and for a Valneva sponsored booster trial to evaluate VLA2001's booster performance for people in need of a COVID vaccine booster shot.
(Compiled by Karishma Singh)