(Reuters) – Disease caused by the Omicron variant is on average around two days shorter than the Delta variant, a large study of vaccinated Britons who kept a smartphone log of their COVID-19 symptoms after breakthrough infections has shown.
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.
* German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said he was disappointed the lower house of parliament voted against a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for people over 60, but would not launch a second attempt to push for a mandate.
* Shanghai on Friday announced a record 21,000 new cases and a third consecutive day of COVID testing as a lockdown of its 26 million people showed no sign of easing and Chinese cities tightened curbs – even in places with no recent infections.
* The major Chinese financial centre of Shanghai reported 20,398 new asymptomatic coronavirus cases and 824 new symptomatic cases on April 7, the local government said on Friday.
* A U.S. appeals court panel on Thursday reinstated President Joe Biden’s executive order mandating that federal civilian employees be vaccinated against COVID-19.
* U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi has COVID-19 and is currently asymptomatic, her spokesman said, after more than half a dozen other federal officials tested positive in recent days.
* The American Academy of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation estimates that of the 79.17 million Americans who survived a bout with the coronavirus, 30% or 23.75 million are dealing with some level of post-acute COVID.
AFRICA AND MIDDLE EAST
* More than two-thirds of Africans have been infected by COVID-19 since the pandemic started, 97 times more than reported confirmed cases, according to a World Health Organization study published.
* New research may help shed light on a rare but serious blood-clotting problem associated with the COVID-19 vaccines from AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson.
* The Reserve Bank of India’s monetary policy committee kept the bank’s key lending rate at a record low on Friday, as expected, as it sought to support economic growth even as inflation edge higher.
* Thai consumer confidence dropped for a third straight month in March, hitting a six-month low, due to concerns over a coronavirus outbreak, higher living costs and the impact of the Russia-Ukraine war, a survey showed.
* British companies hired permanent staff at the slowest rate in a year last month, despite raising starting salaries by a record amount, as they struggled with a lack of qualified candidates, a monthly survey of recruiters showed.
* Canada’s Liberals put red-hot real estate markets squarely in their sights, laying out a budget geared at boosting housing affordability amid soaring inflation, while promising modest new spending to encourage medium-term growth.
* Peru’s central bank raised the country’s benchmark interest rate to 4.5% from 4.0%, its ninth consecutive hike as authorities battle stubborn inflation that has sparked angry protests.
* Japan’s current account balance swung back into the black in February from its second-biggest deficit on record in the previous month, providing some respite for policymakers amid a deterioration in economic fundamentals.
(Compiled by Sherry Jacob-Phillips; Editing by Arun Koyyur)