#pandemic

Feb 22 (Reuters) - Here's what you need to know about the coronavirus right now:


NZ to push for tariff-free trade of COVID-19 essentials at APEC

Amid concerns that smaller nations may be left behind in vaccinating their populations, New Zealand in coming months will use its platform as host of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum to seek a global approach to coronavirus vaccinations that would eliminate tariffs on goods needed to fight COVID-19.

New Zealand proposes making shipments between the 21 APEC members of medicines, medical and surgical equipment, hygiene products and other goods tariff-free and easing other restrictions on their movement across borders. urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL4N2KA0VR


England's plan to ease COVID lockdown

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will plot a path out of COVID-19 lockdown on Monday in an effort to gradually reopen the battered $3 trillion economy, aided by one of the fastest vaccine rollouts in the world. urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL1N2KR0DH

Johnson has said the route out of lockdown will be "cautious and phased", with schools expected to reopen on March 8. One in three adults in the UK have had their first dose of vaccine, and the government is now aiming to give a first dose to all adults in Britain by the end of July. urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL1N2KR0DT


Russia approves its third COVID-19 vaccine

Russia on Saturday approved a third coronavirus vaccine for domestic use, Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin said on state TV, though large-scale clinical trials of the shot, labelled CoviVac and produced by the Chumakov Centre, have yet to begin. urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL1N2KQ055

Sputnik V was approved in August and late-stage trials began in September. Mass vaccination was launched in December, after preliminary trial results showed the vaccine to be 91.4% effective. urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL1N2IU0ZKurn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL1N2KG1AX


Mass vaccination begins in Australia

Australia on Monday began its mass COVID-19 vaccine programme with frontline healthcare staff and senior citizens getting the first doses as the country looked set to report no local cases for the third straight day.

The vast majority of Australia's 25 millio