(Reuters) – Health authorities in Shanghai face huge pressure to keep COVID-19 at bay the longer the city goes without a new community infection with residents counting down the days until June 1 and the end of their hated lockdown.
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 Korean leader Kim Jong Un slammed his country’s response to its first confirmed COVID-19 outbreak as immature, accusing government officials of inadequacies and inertia as fever cases swept the country, state media reported.
* Indonesia will drop requirements for people to mask up outdoors and for vaccinated travellers to show negative pre-departure tests, officials said.
* A senior World Health Organization official said high levels of transmission of the coronavirus among unvaccinated people, such as in North Korea, creates a higher risk of new variants.
* U.S. inmates released to home confinement under the terms of a law passed by Congress to slow the spread of COVID-19 have challenged orders to return to prison.
AFRICA AND THE MIDDLE-EAST
* The Moroccan government said it has cancelled COVID-19 PCR test requirements for all incoming travellers.
* Qatar’s $300 billion sovereign wealth fund plans to invest in Spanish projects funded by European Union COVID recovery funds under a deal due to be signed during the Gulf state ruler’s visit to Madrid this week, Spanish government sources said.
* Rising COVID-19 cases are driving up the use of therapeutics, with Pfizer Inc’s oral antiviral treatment Paxlovid seeing a 315% jump over the past four weeks, U.S. health officials said.
* The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has authorized the use of a booster shot of Pfizer and BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine for children aged 5 to 11.
* Japan’s economy shrank for the first time in two quarters in the January-March period as COVID-19 curbs hit the service sector and surging commodity prices created new pressures, raising concerns about a protracted downturn.
* China’s new-home prices in April fell for the first time month-on-month since December, depressed by fragile demand in small cities and strict, widespread COVID-19 lockdowns.
(Compiled by Aditya Soni and Devika Syamnath; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu and Anil D’Silva)