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Here's what you need to know about the coronavirus right now:

Pfizer to seek U.S. authorization for COVID booster shot

Pfizer Inc plans to ask U.S. regulators to authorise a booster dose of its COVID-19 vaccine within the next month, the drugmaker's top scientist said on Thursday, based on evidence of greater risk of re-infection six months after inoculation and the spread of the highly contagious Delta variant.

Pfizer's own data from the United States showed an erosion of the vaccine's efficacy after six months against the variants circulating there in the spring.

South Korea puts Seoul under tightest COVID curbs

From Monday, South Korea will tighten coronavirus curbs to the strictest level possible in Seoul and neighbouring regions, as alarm spreads with new COVID-19 cases setting a second consecutive daily record nationwide.

Helped largely by vaccinations of older people, there has yet to be a significant increase in hospitalisations or deaths, with a mortality rate of 1.23% and the number of severe cases at 148 as of Thursday remaining far below levels seen during the previous peak in late December. ]

Australia says Pfizer to expand COVID-19 vaccine supply

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Friday said Pfizer will increase COVID-19 vaccine delivery to about one million doses a week from July 19, more than tripling shipments, as Sydney battles its worst outbreak of this year.

As many as 4.5 million Pfizer Inc. doses that were expected to arrive in September will become available next month, Morrison said. Morrison said Australia should vaccinate all its eligible residents by the end of the year, if medical advice on Pfizer's vaccine is not changed and supply remains uninterrupted. 

U.S. COVID-19 cases rising, mostly among unvaccinated

U.S. COVID-19 cases are up around 11% over the previous week, almost entirely among people who have not been vaccinated, officials said on Thursday, as the highly infectious Delta variant becomes the dominant COVID-19 strain in the country.

Around 93% of COVID-19 cases in recent days have occurred in counties with vaccination rates of less than 40%, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director Rochelle Walensky told a media briefing. Preliminary data from recent months suggest 99.5% of COVID-19 deaths have occurred in unvaccinated people, she added. 

England at risk from Euro 2020 euphoria

England face Italy on Sunday in the Euro final at London's Wembley Stadium, which has already hosted two semi-finals over two days this week with crowds of around 60,000 people. And while Wednesday's semi-final victory over Denmark was greeted with jubilation, England is facing a new wave of COVID-19 cases, fuelled by a combination of a highly contagious variant and its emergence from a third lockdown.

Italy has also seen coronavirus cases picking up, and epidemiologists in both countries warn that Euro 2020 might fuel its spread among younger, mainly male, adults.

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