What you need to know about the coronavirus right now

COVID-19 outbreak in Shanghai

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

South Korea's total COVID cases top 10 million

South Korea's total coronavirus infections topped 10 million, or nearly 20% of its population, authorities said on Wednesday, as surging severe cases and deaths increasingly put a strain on crematoriums and funeral homes nationwide.

The country has been battling a record COVID-19 wave driven by the highly infectious Omicron variant but has largely scrapped its once aggressive tracing and quarantine efforts and has eased social distancing curbs.

Shanghai denies lockdown rumours

Authorities in the Chinese city of Shanghai have denied rumours of a city-wide lockdown after a sixth straight increase in daily asymptomatic coronavirus cases pushed its count to record levels despite a campaign of mass testing aimed at stifling the spread.

The latest outbreak in China's wealthy commercial hub remains tiny by global standards.

But its testing campaign, with many people locked in residential compounds for days, is part of Beijing's national "dynamic clearance" policy to stamp out flare-ups as quickly as possible.

Hong Kong hopes to 'resolve' COVID flight-ban rule as cases ease

Hong Kong is looking to resolve a problem over a ban on airlines which bring in COVID-positive passengers as it eases travel curbs that have sealed off the city for two years, its leader said on Wednesday.

The government said this week a ban on flights from nine countries - Canada, India, Pakistan, Nepal, Britain, the United States, France, Australia and the Philippines - would be lifted on April 1, but it was not clear if airlines would face a two-week ban if they bring in infected people, as is currently the case.

Indonesia's annual holiday exodus to go ahead

Indonesia will lift a ban on domestic travel during the Muslim holiday season of Eid al-Fitr in early May, President Joko Widodo said on Wednesday, after banning the annual tradition for two years during the pandemic.

The decision to allow the annual exodus after the holy month of Ramadan is the latest in a series of measures aimed at easing COVID-19 restrictions and reviving Southeast Asia's largest economy.

New Zealand sports to welcome back crowds

New Zealand sports will welcome full-capacity crowds when COVID-19 rules ease this weekend after a bruising period for revenues.

New Zealand capped crowds at 100 people for outdoor events while battling an outbreak of the Omicron variant, but will lift the curbs from Saturday, along with the need for fans to wear masks, the government said on Wednesday.

Moderna to seek regulatory approval for COVID shot for very young children

Moderna said on Wednesday it will ask regulators to authorize its COVID-19 vaccine in children younger than 6 years old based on data showing it generated a similar immune response to adults in its clinical trial.

The Omicron variant of COVID-19 was predominant during Moderna's paediatric trial, and the drugmaker said two doses were around 38% effective in preventing infections in 2 to 5 year olds and 44% effective for children 6 months to under 2 years old.

Novavax said on Tuesday its COVID-19 vaccine has received emergency-use authorization from the Drugs Controller General of India for children aged 12 to 17 years.

(Compiled by Linda Noakes;Editing by Elaine Hardcastle)