What you need to know about the coronavirus right now

Oct 28 (Reuters) - Here's what you need to know about the coronavirus right now:

Moscow locks down

The Russian capital imposed its strictest lockdown measures in more than a year on Thursday as nationwide one-day pandemic deaths and infections hit new highs amid slow vaccination take-up across the world's biggest country.

Moscow's partial lockdown, in which only essential shops like pharmacies and supermarkets are allowed to remain open and schools and state kindergartens are shut, comes ahead of a week-long nationwide workplace shutdown from Oct. 30. read more

Germany's caseload leaps most in two weeks

Germany's coronavirus caseload took its biggest jump in two weeks on Thursday, with over 28,000 new infections, the Robert Koch Institute said, adding heft to worries about restrictions this winter.

The number of new infections per 100,000 people over seven days - one of the metrics used to determine policy measures - stands at 130.2, up 12.2 points from 118.0 the previous day. New infections have been steadily creeping up since mid-October. read more

Singapore probes unusual surge in cases

Singapore is looking into an "unusual surge" of 5,324 new infections, the city-state's health ministry said, its highest such figure since the beginning of the pandemic, as beds in intensive care units fill up.

Ten new deaths on Wednesday carried the toll to 349, after 3,277 infections the previous day, while the ICU utilisation rate is nearing 80%, despite a population that is 84% fully vaccinated, with 14% receiving booster doses. read more

China's zero tolerance for COVID hits border town

A former vice mayor of a Chinese town on the border with Myanmar lamented local lockdowns and disruptions caused by repeated COVID-19 outbreaks and wrote a rare plea for a "strong" helping hand from Beijing.

Ruili, in the province of Yunnan, has faced some of the toughest curbs in the country under Beijing's zero-tolerance policy, as a key international transit point for southwest China, following multiple outbreaks since last year. read more

Beijing city is demanding vaccine booster shots for some key workers, making it the first major Chinese metropolis to publicly articulate a booster mandate. read more

Tens of millions of J&J shots sit at Baltimore factory

An estimated 30 million to 50 million doses of Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine made early this year sit idle in Emergent BioSolutions' plant in Baltimore awaiting a green light from U.S. regulators to ship, two sources familiar with the matter said.

Emergent, a contract drug manufacturer, is waiting for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to approve release of those doses. The agency must still inspect and authorize the plant before Emergent can ship newly manufactured drug substances, one of the sources said. read more

NYC firefighters union says members should defy vaccine mandate

The head of the New York City firefighters union said on Wednesday he had told unvaccinated members to report for duty regardless of an order by Mayor Bill de Blasio to place them on unpaid leave if they fail to get the COVID-19 shot.

New York City firefighters who have risked their own health to save lives during the pandemic felt "insulted" by de Blasio's order to get the shot or face suspension, said Andrew Ansbro, president of the Uniformed Firefighters Association. read more

Compiled by Linda Noakes; Editing by Steve Orlofsky

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