(Reuters) – Britain reduced its COVID-19 alert level from four to three, saying the Omicron-variant wave of the virus was subsiding and healthcare pressures continued to decrease in all nations.
DEATHS AND INFECTIONS
* Eikon users, see COVID-19: MacroVitals https://apac1.apps.cp.thomsonreuters.com/cms/?navid=1592404098 for a case tracker and summary of news.
* North Korea reported more than 200,000 new patients suffering from fever for a fifth consecutive day as the country fights its first confirmed coronavirus outbreak, South Korea’s Yonhap news agency said, citing the North’s state broadcaster.
* Shanghai announced its first new COVID-19 cases outside quarantined areas in five days on Friday, triggering stricter curbs and mass testing in one district but plans to end a prolonged city-wide lockdown on June 1 appeared on track.
* Japan will next month double its limit on foreign arrivals to 20,000 a day, the top government spokesperson said.
* A federal judge in Louisiana blocked U.S. authorities from lifting COVID-19 restrictions that empower agents at the U.S.-Mexico border to turn back migrants without giving them a chance to seek asylum.
* Health ministers from the Group of Seven nations have agreed a pact for pandemic readiness that will focus on collaborative surveillance and a future predictable rapid response.
* Switzerland said it signed a contract to buy Pfizer’s anti-viral drug Paxlovid.
AFRICA AND THE MIDDLE EAST
* Several outbreaks of monkeypox in Africa have been contained during the COVID-19 pandemic while the world’s attention was elsewhere, and outbreaks in Europe and the United States are a concern, Africa’s top public health agency said on Thursday. read more
* Vaccination after infection with SARS-CoV-2 may contribute to a reduction in the burden of long COVID symptoms, a new study suggests.
* Chinese regulators said they will streamline the process of equity and bond issuance by companies hit by the pandemic, and urged brokerages and fund managers to channel more money into virus-hit areas and sectors.
* Shanghai reported a broad decline in its economy last month when a city-wide COVID lockdown shut factories and kept residents at home, sparking concerns among foreign firms over their presence in the country.
* Equatorial Guinea’s ailing economy has been dented by the pandemic and a series of deadly dynamite explosions in 2021 despite government efforts to mitigate the impact of these shocks on the oil-producing nation, the International Monetary Fund said.
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