(Reuters) – More Shanghai residents were given the freedom to go out to shop for groceries for the first time in nearly two months on Thursday as authorities set out more plans for exiting the city-wide COVID-19 lockdown more fully.
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.
* COVID-19 is rising in the Americas as many countries have abandoned measures such as masking and social distancing and many lag in vaccination rates, the Pan American Health Organization said.
* U.S. Health officials are considering extending the eligibility for a second vaccine booster dose to people under 50 amid a steady rise in cases, with the United States seeing a threefold increase over the last month.
* U.S. President Joe Biden is not considered a close contact of daughter Ashley Biden, who has tested positive for COVID-19, a White House spokesperson said.
* U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra tested positive for COVID-19 while on a trip to Berlin ahead of G7 meetings of health ministers.
* A lack of clear information out of China in the early stages of the pandemic has left the whole world in a worse situation, British health minister Sajid Javid said.
* North Korea is ramping up production of drugs and medical supplies including sterilisers and thermometers as it battles an unprecedented coronavirus outbreak, state media KCNA said.
* Roughly half of Taiwanese companies that had previously suspended work in China due to COVID-19 control measures have resumed production as curbs ease, the island’s economy minister said.
* China has removed some COVID-19 test requirements for people flying in from countries such as the United States and shortened the pre-departure quarantine for some inbound travellers, as it fine-tunes measures to cope with the Omicron variant.
AFRICA AND THE MIDDLE-EAST
* Only 17% of Africa’s 1.3 billion population is fully vaccinated against COVID-19, in part because richer nations hoarded supply last year to the chagrin of African nations desperate for international supplies. Now though, as doses finally arrive in force in the continent, inoculation rates are falling.
* The world is no better prepared for a new pandemic than it was when COVID-19 emerged in 2019, and may be in a worse place given the economic toll, a panel set up by the World Health Organization to evaluate the global response found.
* An antiviral oral drug being co-developed by Shanghai Junshi Biosciences’ subsidiary and other Chinese institutes showed early promise in speeding the clearing of virus in COVID-19 patients, according to a small clinical trial.
* Asian stocks tracked a steep Wall Street sell-off, as investors fretted over rising global inflation, China’s zero-COVID policy and the Ukraine war, while the safe-haven dollar held most of its strong overnight gains.
* Retail car sales in China jumped 27% in the first half of May from the same period a month earlier in early signs of recovery for the world’s largest auto market, which has been battered by COVID-19 lockdowns, data showed.
(Compiled by Dina Kartit, Aditya Soni and Devika Syamnath; Editing by Barbara Lewis, Maju Samuel and Subhranshu Sahu)