Iceland has suspended administering the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine citing the slight increased risks of cardiac inflammation, going further than its Nordic neighbours which have simply limited use of the jabs.

"As the supply of Pfizer vaccine is sufficient in the territory ... the chief epidemiologist has decided not to use the Moderna vaccine in Iceland," said a statement published on the website of the Health Directorate.

This decision owed to "the increased incidence of myocarditis and pericarditis after vaccination with the Moderna vaccine, as well as with vaccination using Pfizer-BioNTech," the chief epidemiologist said in a statement.

For the past two months, Iceland has been administering an additional dose "almost exclusively" of the Moderna vaccine to Icelanders vaccinated with Janssen, a single-dose serum marketed by America's Johnson & Johnson, as well as to elderly and immunocompromised people who received two doses of another vaccine.

This will not affect the vaccination campaign in the island of 370,000 inhabitants, where 88% of the population over 12 years old is already fully vaccinated.

Since Thursday, Sweden and Finland have also suspended the use of the Moderna vaccine but only for those under 30, because of a risk of inflammation of the myocardium, the heart muscle, and the pericardium, the membrane covering the heart.

Denmark and Norway have formally advised against it for those under 18.

According to Swedish authorities, most of these inflammations are benign and pass on their own, but it is recommended medical advice be sought should symptoms occur.

England's Covid-19 prevalence rises for second week

The prevalence of Covid-19 infections in England increased to around 1 in 70 people in the week ending 2 October, Britain's Office for National Statistics said.

The new figures mean rates of infection are the highest level since the end of August.

The ONS said that prevalence of infections had risen for its second straight week, having been at 1 in 85 people in the previous week.

The ONS said that again, the percentage of people testing positive was highest in young people at secondary school.

In that category, 6.93% children tested positive for Covid-19, more than 1 in 15, compared to 4.58% in the previous week.

Schools in England have been open for around a month since the summer break, and some epidemiologists have highlighted concern about rising cases among children, although it is yet to translate into a sustained increase in infections for the population more broadly.

The ONS last reported 1 in 70 people infected with Covid-19 in the week ending 27 August, before children in England returned to school.

The last time it was higher than that level was in the week ending 25 July, when an estimated 1 in 65 people had Covid-19 following a spike around the end of the Euro 2020 soccer championships.

Australian doctors warning over easing restrictions

Australian doctors have warned that a too-rapid easing of Covid-19 curbs in Sydney could put pressure on health systems and risk lives.

The city is preparing for key restrictions to be lifted next week after more than 100 days in lockdown.

Sydney businesses prepare to reopen after 100 days of lockdown

Stay-at-home orders are due to be lifted on Monday after New South Wales state this week hit its 70% target of full vaccination for its adult population.

Owners of restaurants and other public venues are now scrambling to arrange supplies and staffing.

While an easing of restrictions on travel for Sydneysiders outside of their local government areas had previously been flagged, authorities also decided yesterday to bump up permitted limits for home gatherings, weddings and funerals, earning the ire of the Australian Medical Association (AMA).

"New South Wales must not be reckless at this critical time," AMA President Omar Khorshid said in a statement, adding that "too fast or too early" could result in avoidable deaths and the reintroduction of lockdowns.

State Premier Dominic Perrottet has defended his decision to bring forward the easing of several restrictions amid a steady fall in infections, saying the pandemic "is an economic crisis too".

Officials have a staggered plan to ease limits on gatherings as full inoculation hits 70%, 80% and 90% of adults and while movement around the city will be permitted from Monday, restrictions on travelling to regional areas remain.

Stuart Knox, owner of Fix Wine, a downtown restaurant and bar, said it was exciting to be reopening even if preparing was difficult.

"We're still flying blind, we've got no idea as a CBD restaurant how many people are coming back and it's all murky what we're going to deal with," he said.

He added he was still unsure how to check patrons' vaccination status as required since a promised smartphone app was not yet operational.

Daily infections in New South Wales rose today to 646 cases, the majority in Sydney, up from 587 on yesterday.

They had previously fallen for the past seven days as first-dose inoculations in people over 16 neared 90%. Eleven new deaths were registered.

State Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant said genomic sequencing has uncovered a new Delta strain in eight new cases and more tests will be conducted to trace the source.

"There is no indication that this new strain presents any differences regarding transmission, vaccine effectiveness or severity," she said.

Victoria state logged a record 1,838 new cases today, the highest number of any state in the country since the pandemic began, exceeding the previous high of 1,763 set three days earlier. There were five new deaths.

Australia is fighting a third wave of infections fuelled by the Delta variant. In addition to Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra have also had lockdowns imposed, forcing the closure of thousands of businesses.

The country's cumulative Covid-19 numbers are, however, still far lower than many comparable countries, with some 122,500 cases and 1,405 deaths.

Neighbouring New Zealand, which had stayed largely virus-free for most of the pandemic until a Delta outbreak in mid-August, reported 44 new local cases, up from 29 yesterday.