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What you need to know about the coronavirus right now


(Reuters) - Here is what you need to know about the coronavirus right now:

U.S. holiday travellers defy warnings

Millions of Americans appeared to be disregarding public health warnings and travelling ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday.

Although fewer in number than last year, people were flocking to airports and highways against the advice of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. surgeon general and Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert.

Some 1 million passengers passed through airport security gates on Sunday, the highest number since March.

England to use testing to shorten quarantine

England will introduce a new system on Dec. 15 allowing passengers arriving from high-risk countries to take a COVID-19 test after five days of quarantine and to be released from any further self-isolation if they test negative.

Airlines and other companies in the travel and tourism industries had been calling for such a scheme for months, having suffered devastating consequences from a 14-day quarantine rule that has deterred people from travelling.

England's current lockdown bans most international travel but when it ends on Dec. 2 people will be free to go abroad whatever restrictions are imposed in their local area, transport minister Grant Shapps said on Tuesday.

Germany to let up to 10 celebrate Christmas together

Germany's 16 federal states plan to allow gatherings of up to 10 people over Christmas and New Year, offering a relaxation of restrictions to let families and friends celebrate together, a draft proposal showed on Tuesday.

The premiers of the states are due to discuss their plans with Chancellor Angela Merkel on Wednesday. Berlin mayor Michael Mueller told ARD television he was confident the measures, agreed by the leaders late on Monday, would be adopted.

The premiers of two states also said there was broad agreement to extend a national "lockdown light" until Dec. 20, to make family gatherings over Christmas possible.

Australia opens up more borders

Australia will lift more internal state border restrictions in a boost for tourism as new coronavirus infections slow to a trickle, while the first vaccines could be available in March, a government minister said on Tuesday.

Queensland state, a popular holiday destination, will allow visitors next week from the country's two most populous states, New South Wales (NSW) and Victoria, after closing its borders in August.

NSW has since notched a month without any COVID-19 cases where the source is unknown and restrictions on arrivals from Sydney will be eased on Dec. 1, Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said.

Russia's vaccine to be cheaper than rivals

Russia will charge less for its Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine than rivals as Moscow aims to produce more than 1 billion doses at home and abroad next year, the head of Russia's sovereign wealth fund said on Tuesday.

Details of the exact pricing are expected later on Tuesday, but Kirill Dmitriev, head of Russia's RDIF sovereign wealth fund, told Reuters that Sputnik V would be priced significantly lower than other rivals with similar efficacy levels.

(Compiled by Linda Noakes, editing by Ed Osmond)

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1 being least likely, and 10 being most likely

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