What you need to know about the coronavirus right now

Sept 17 (Reuters) - Here's what you need to know about the coronavirus right now:

Oxygen supplies unreliable as India's cases surge

India reported another record jump in daily coronavirus infections with 97,894 cases in the last 24 hours, data from the health ministry showed on Thursday. Deaths are also showing a rise, with the country recording more than 1,000 deaths every day for the last two weeks.

Coronavirus infections in India surged past 5 million on Wednesday, piling pressure on hospitals grappling with unreliable supplies of oxygen that they need to treat tens of thousands of critical patients.

In the big states of Maharashtra, Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh, some of the areas worst affected by the virus, demand for oxygen has more than tripled, doctors and government officials said, prompting urgent calls for help.

Sinovac to test vaccine in teenagers, children

Chinese vaccine maker Sinovac Biotech plans to start a clinical trial of its experimental coronavirus vaccine with children and adolescents later this month, widening its test on a shot that's already in the final stage of study with adults.

Finding a vaccine that works for the entire population, including younger people, could be crucial to preventing outbreaks of the virus through schools and kindergartens, potentially affecting also teachers and parents.

Data so far suggests the virus generally causes milder disease in children compared with adults, but some cases of children requiring intensive care have been also reported, according to the World Health Organization.

Scenic flights that go nowhere

Qantas Airways Ltd said a seven-hour scenic flight over Australia's Outback and Great Barrier Reef had sold out in 10 minutes, as it joined a growing trend in Asia offering "flights to nowhere" that take off and land at the same airport.

Tough border restrictions to keep the coronavirus under control have led to a 97.5% plunge in international travel in the region, according to the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines.

Many frequent flyers miss getting on planes and airlines including Taiwan's EVA Airways Corp and Japan's ANA Holdings Inc, desperate for revenue and to keep their pilots' licenses current, have offered special sightseeing flights.

Blowing the whistle on fellow college students

Some U.S. college students are doing the once-improbable: blowing the whistle on classmates who break rules aimed at stemming the spread of the coronavirus.

The University of Missouri on Tuesday said in a statement it had expelled two students and suspended three following "flagrant violations" of the school's coronavirus-related rules. The county where the school is located saw a sharp rise in COVID-19 cases in August and early September, according to data on the city of Columbia's website.

Some schools like the University of Miami are actually paying students to enforce COVID-19 rules. At Miami, 75 "public health ambassadors" are making $10 an hour to walk around campus and make sure that people wear masks and socially distance. Serious infractions can be flagged to university administrators. (Compiled by Karishma Singh; Editing by Lincoln Feast)

09/17/2020 5:00

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