(Reuters) – Streets in Beijing were quiet on Friday as residents heeded the advice of authorities to work from home to stop the spread of COVID-19, while officials in locked-down Shanghai said they aimed to defeat the virus this month.
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.
* The World Health Organization said COVID-19 deaths have exceeded the 2 million mark for countries in the WHO European Region. AMERICAS
* The White House is preparing for a scenario in which Congress fails to approve President Joe Biden’s request for additional COVID-19 funds by reviewing old contracts to see if there is any money it can “claw back,” the president’s top COVID-19 adviser said.
* The United States is still in a pandemic state and continues to reckon with an ever-evolving coronavirus despite making strides over the past two years, White House COVID-19 response coordinator Ashish Jha said.
* Shanghai is aiming to reach zero-COVID at the community level in the next few days and will then start to steadily ease traffic restrictions and open shops, the city’s deputy mayor Wu Qing said.
* At least one person confirmed to have COVID-19 has died in North Korea and hundreds of thousands have shown fever symptoms, state media said, offering hints at the potentially dire scale of country’s first confirmed outbreak of the pandemic.
* North Korea’s coronavirus outbreak threatens to deepen its already dire food situation this year, as a nationwide lockdown would hamper ongoing anti-drought efforts and the mobilisation of labour, analysts said.
AFRICA AND MIDDLE EAST
* International agencies and charitable foundations providing COVID-19 vaccines for Africa should order African-made vaccines, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa told a global COVID-19 summit.
* Half of the COVID-19 patients discharged from a Chinese hospital in early 2020 still have at least one symptom two years later, a new study shows.
* Several generic drugmakers that will produce versions of Pfizer’s COVID-19 antiviral treatment Paxlovid have agreed to sell the medicine in low- and middle-income countries for $25 a course or less, the Clinton Health Access Initiative said.
* Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda reiterated on Friday the bank’s resolve to keep monetary policy ultra-loose to support an economy that has yet to emerge from the pain inflicted by the pandemic.
* Calling stable prices the “bedrock” of the economy, U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said the central bank’s battle to control inflation would “include some pain” as the impact of higher interest rates is felt, but that the worse outcome would be for prices to continue speeding ahead.
* Malaysia’s economic growth picked up pace in the first quarter on recovering demand and a stronger labour market as the global economy rebounds from the pandemic, the central bank said.
(Compiled by Sherry Jacob-Phillips; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)