(Reuters) – Here’s what you need to know about the coronavirus right now:
Alarm on children’s exposure
While the overall number of cases appears to be relatively small so far, evidence is emerging of a possible link between the coronavirus pandemic and a severe inflammatory disease among infants arriving in hospital with fevers and swollen arteries.
Until now, children had been thought to be less vulnerable to the disease than adults. But UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock said on Tuesday some children with no underlying health issues have died from a rare syndrome thought to be linked to COVID-19.
Separately, doctors in northern Italy have seen unexpectedly significant numbers of children under age 9 with severe cases of what appears to be Kawasaki disease, more common in Asia.
Parents are advised to vigilant while researchers investigate the cases and any link to COVID-19.
Australia, China tensions rise
Australia’s calls for an international inquiry into how the pandemic spread from China have been steadily adding to tensions between Canberra and Beijing that are now turning into thinly veiled threats over the future of their sizeable trading ties.
Cheng Jingye, Beijing’s ambassador to Australia, told a local newspaper on Monday that Chinese consumers could boycott Australian beef, wine, tourism and universities. Trade Minister Simon Birmingham retorted that Australia was a “crucial supplier” to China for imports like iron ore.
Burgers, coffee and the beach
New Zealanders queued on Tuesday for takeaway burgers, fries and coffee, after being freed from a month-long lockdown, while surfers lined up to hit Sydney’s Bondi Beach at dawn as it officially reopened.
“It’s hard to explain how good this tastes,” Christopher Bishop, a New Zealand lawmaker, said on Twitter after posting a picture with a takeaway coffee cup.
Hard to hold Olympics without vaccine
Tokyo faces a tough task in hosting the Olympics next year without an effective vaccine, the head of the Japan Medical Association said.
“I am not saying that Japan should or shouldn’t host the Olympics, but that it would be difficult to do so,” the association’s president, Yoshitake Yokokura, said.
Laboratories in several countries are working on vaccines and drugs to fight the virus. The need for exhaustive clinical trials of their effectiveness and safety, however, means they could take months to become widely available.
Mostly mail: Ohio’s election
Ohio holds its primary election on Tuesday, a virtually all-mail contest, and a glimpse of what the U.S. presidential contest might look like in November if the virus threat persists.
Some voters, election officials and voting rights watchdogs are already alarmed, as Ohio’s system has been overwhelmed by the crush of requests for absentee ballots, which stands to deny voting rights for tens of thousands.
“There is a strong likelihood that the timing for mailing out ballots may not allow adequate time for voters to receive the ballot and return it by mail in time to meet the state’s postmark deadline,” the U.S. Postal Service said on April 20.
(For a graphic to compare trends between countries on the spread of the coronavirus, open https://tmsnrt.rs/3bJC2CN in an external browser.)
(Compiled by Karishma Singh and Mark John; Editing by Angus MacSwan)