The Perfect Enemy | Japan to lower Covid 19 to flu status, further easing rules - Economic Times
February 3, 2023

Japan to lower Covid 19 to flu status, further easing rules – Economic Times

Japan to lower Covid 19 to flu status, further easing rules  Economic TimesView Full Coverage on Google News

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Covid News Live: Covid infected people no longer need to quarantine in Hong Kong

People infected with COVID-19 in Hong Kong will no longer need to quarantine from Jan. 30, city leader John Lee said on Thursday, the latest moves to scrap stringent coronavirus restrictions which had isolated the financial hub.

Covid News Live: Export promotion capital goods scheme norms relaxed for Covid-affected sectors

he government has announced a one-time relaxation from maintaining average export obligations and an option to extend the export obligation period for certain sectors under the Export Promotion Capital Goods (EPCG) scheme.The sectors that are eligible for this relief are the hotel, healthcare and educational sectors.For 2020-21 and 2021-22, these sectors will not be required to maintain average export obligation for EPCG authorisations issued to them.These sectors will also have the option to extend the export obligation period for a longer duration, without having to pay any additional fees.

French court halts negligence investigation into ex-health minister over COVID handling

France’s top appeals court on Friday threw out a judicial investigation into alleged negligence by former health minister Agnes Buzyn in her handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Buzyn, health minister from May 2017 to February 2020, stepped down just after the start of the pandemic to run for mayor of Paris although she failed to get elected.

The French government’s response during the first months of the pandemic came under fire from the public, with accusations Buzyn had put people’s lives at risk by not adequately communicating the dangers of the COVID-19 virus, amongst others.

Maha logs 14 new COVID-19 cases, zero fatality; active tally at 115

Maharashtra on Friday recorded 14 fresh cases of coronavirus that raised the tally of infections to 81,37,023, an official from the state health department said.

The count of recoveries reached 79,88,488 after 24 patients recovered from the infection in the last 24 hours, while the toll remained unchanged at 1,48,420, the official said.

With this, the state is left with 115 active cases. The fatality rate stands at 1.82 per cent and the recovery rate is at 98.17 per cent, he said.

As per health department data, 4,77,946 international passengers have arrived at Mumbai, Pune and Nagpur airports since December 24 when the department stated screening travellers.

Indian medicines saving Chinese lives amid Covid crisis, says report

After nearly three years of the strictest anti-Covid policy, China suddenly lifted the restrictions after numerous protests by Chinese citizens.

However, the abrupt relaxation of the ‘zero-Covid’ policy has exposed its 1.4 billion people to the virus, leaving hospitals overwhelmed and morgues overrun by corpses. The situation has become increasingly drastic as the temperatures drop, emptying shelves of cold and pain medication in pharmacies across the country.

In its January 13 report, CNN reported that many in China have “turned to the black market where hawkers claim to sell Covid treatments ranging from illegal imports of Indian-made generics of Pfizer’s Paxlovid and Merck’s Molnupiravir to the bonafide product – up to nearly eight times the market price”.

Covid News Live: Omicron sub-variant XBB.1.5 accounts for nearly half of U.S. COVID cases

The fast-spreading Omicron subvariant XBB.1.5 accounted for nearly half of the COVID-19 cases in the United States, data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed on Friday.It is estimated to have accounted for 49.1% of COVID cases in the United States in the week ended Jan. 21, higher than 37.2% it estimated last week.

Covid News Live: Older adults with asthma at high risk of depression during Covid: Study

Older adults with asthma were at high risk of depression during the Covid-19 pandemic, a new study has shown.According to the study published in the journal Respiratory Medicine, the numbers were extremely concerning for older adults with asthma who had previously experienced depression, with approximately one-half experiencing a recurrence of depression during the autumn of 2020, which was significantly higher than recurrence rates among their peers who did not have asthma.However, those who were lonely had substantially elevated rates of depression.”When considering the high comorbidity between asthma and depression prior to the pandemic, combined with the loneliness associated with extended periods of lockdown and the stress over being labelled high risk for severe Covid-19-related outcomes, it is unsurprising that this population experienced a precipitous decline in mental health during the pandemic,” said first author, Andie MacNeil, a research assistant at the Canada-based University of Toronto.

Hybrid immunity offers more protection against severe Covid than infection alone: Study

Individuals with hybrid immunity had the highest magnitude and durability of protection, and may be able to extend the period before booster vaccinations are needed compared to individuals who have never been infected, according to a new study.Hybrid immunity refers to immunity developed through a combination of SARS-CoV-2 infection and vaccination.The effectiveness of hybrid immunity against hospital admission or severe disease was 97·4 per cent at 12 months with primary series vaccination and 95·3 per cent at 6 months with the first booster vaccination after the most recent infection or vaccination, the study said.The effectiveness of previous infection against hospital admission or severe disease was 74.6 per cent at 12 months.

Covid News Live: China making ‘enormous progress’ on vaccinating elderly says WHO

The World Health Organization’s director of immunisation on Friday praised China for making quick progress on vaccinating older people with COVID-19 shots and boosters since lifting anti-virus controls last month.”China is making enormous progress and effort to get to every older adult with both primary doses and with booster doses,” the WHO’s Kate O’Brien told a Geneva press briefing.However, she added that some elderly people found it “difficult” to understand changes in its vaccination policy for the elderly since they had previously been advised not to seek protection.

Covid News Live: Sinopharm unit gets OK for clinical trials of mRNA Covid vaccine

Sinopharm said on Friday its biotech unit has received regulatory approval for clinical trials of its mRNA Covid-19 vaccine targeting the Omicron variant.The unit, based in the commercial hub of Shanghai, has built a research and development platform, as well as workshops with annual production capacity of 2 billion doses of mRNA vaccine, Sinopharm said.Sinopharm, now the China distributor of Merck & Co’s Covid-19 antiviral treatment molnupiravir, said its biotech unit received clinical trial approval from the National Medical Products Administration.Several homegrown mRNA candidates are being studied in China but none has been approved for use. Sinopharm unit China National Biotec Group Co Ltd said it had designed an mRNA candidate targeting the Omicron variant of the coronavirus.

Covid News Live: As COVID surged in China, so did spending by funeral providers

A funeral parlour in the Chinese city of Shantou published a tender recently for an “emergency purchase” of two cremation ovens, according to a government procurement database, one of several indications of COVID-19’s deadly toll.A funeral service centre in the Sichuan province city of Zigong explained the purchase of 196,230 litres of diesel, a 40% increase from its annual average, by noting its supply was “almost exhausted.”While neither facility cited a surge in COVID deaths as the reason for the purchases, spending by funeral homes on items from body bags to cold storage containers has risen from the previous year in many provinces since China abruptly ended its zero-COVID policy in early December, documents show.

Covid News Live: Israel says has not found a link between Pfizer COVID shot and stroke

Israel has not identified any evidence linking strokes to an updated coronavirus vaccine made by US drugmaker Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech SE, according to a health ministry official.On Friday, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention said that a safety monitoring system had flagged that the shot could possibly be linked to a type of brain stroke in older adults, according to preliminary data.”We have not turned up such a finding, even after we went back and rechecked all our data after the FDA announcement,” said Salman Zarka, the head of Israel’s coronavirus task force said in a video briefing sent to Reuters on Thursday.

Covid News Live: According to the health ministry’s website, 220.22 crore doses of Covid vaccine have been administered in the country so far under the nationwide vaccination drive.

Covid News Live: China making ‘enormous progress’ on vaccinating elderly: WHO

The World Health Organization’s director of immunisation on Friday praised China for making quick progress on vaccinating older people with COVID-19 shots and boosters since lifting anti-virus controls last month. “China is making enormous progress and effort to get to every older adult with both primary doses and with booster doses,” the WHO’s Kate O’Brien told a Geneva press briefing. However, she added that some elderly people found it “difficult” to understand changes in its vaccination policy for the elderly since they had previously been advised not to seek protection

Covid News Live: Covid positivity rate

The daily positivity was recorded at 0.08% while the weekly positivity was pegged at 0.08%.

Covid News Live: Japan to lower COVID-19 to flu status, further easing rules

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on Friday announced plans to downgrade the legal status of COVID-19 to the equivalent of seasonal influenza in the spring, a move that would further relax mask-wearing and other preventive measures as the country seeks to return to normalcy. Kishida said he has instructed experts and government officials to discuss the details on lowering COVID-19’s status. A change would also remove self-isolation rules and other anti-virus requirements and allow COVID-19 patients to seek treatment at any hospital instead of only specialized facilities.

Covid News Live: China stocks close higher as officials say worst in COVID battle over

China stocks ended higher on Friday ahead of the Lunar New Year holidays, as strong foreign inflows boosted sentiment after the country said the worst in its battle against COVID-19 was over.

Covid News Live: European shares gain on China’s reopening optimism

European shares climbed on Friday, as optimistic investors gauged the potential impact of a week-long Lunar New Year holidays after China lifted its COVID-19 curbs, even as concerns over global economic slowdown continued to sap sentiment.

Covid News Live: Germany saw 180,000 excess deaths during three years of Covid

Around 180,000 more people died in Germany during the three years of the Covid-19 pandemic than would have otherwise been expected, according to calculations published by the ifo Institute.

From 2020 to 2022, almost two-thirds of all excess deaths occurred among people over the age of 80, while the figure for people under 60 was about 13,000. The deadliest year proved to be 2022, with excess mortality approaching 74,000 compared with 68,000 the year before, although not all those may be down to Covid-19.

Covid News Live: As COVID surged in China, so did spending by funeral providers

A funeral parlour in the Chinese city of Shantou published a tender recently for an ’emergency purchase’ of two cremation ovens, according to a government procurement database, one of several indications of COVID-19’s deadly toll.A funeral service centre in the Sichuan province city of Zigong explained the purchase of 196,230 litres of diesel, a 40% increase from its annual average, by noting its supply was ‘almost exhausted.’

Covid News Live: Relaxed mask-wearing rules unlikely to result in uptick in COVID cases

An indoor mask mandate, which has been in place for two years and three months in Korea, will end from 12:00 a.m., Jan. 30, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) said. But the authorities stressed that people will still be required to wear masks at high-risk facilities such as hospitals and on public transport.

Covid News Live: Many Koreans choose to spend Lunar New Year abroad

Many vacation-starved Koreans are expected to spend this Lunar New Year holiday abroad, celebrating the first major national holiday without quarantine measures for travelers.

Covid News Live: Hybrid immunity offers more protection

Individuals with hybrid immunity had the highest magnitude and durability of protection, and may be able to extend the period before booster vaccinations are needed compared to individuals who have never been infected, according to a new study. Hybrid immunity refers to immunity developed through a combination of SARS-CoV-2 infection and vaccination. The effectiveness of hybrid immunity against hospital admission or severe disease was 97·4 per cent at 12 months with primary series vaccination and 95·3 per cent at 6 months with the first booster vaccination after the most recent infection or vaccination, the study said.

Covid News Live: Japan to lower COVID-19 to flu status

  • Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida announced plans to downgrade the legal status of COVID-19 to the equivalent of seasonal influenza in the spring, a move that would further relax mask wearing and other preventive measures as the country seeks to return to normalcy.

  • Kishida said he has instructed experts and government officials to discuss the details on lowering COVID-19’s status. A change would also remove self-isolation rules and other anti-virus requirements and allow COVID-19 patients to seek treatment at any hospital instead of only specialized facilities.

Covid News Live: Japan to consider downgrading COVID-19 to less serious infectious disease

Japan will consider downgrading COVID-19 to a less serious infectious disease and relaxing its guidance that people wear masks in public indoor places as early as this spring, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said.

Covid News Live: China says COVID has peaked

China said the worst was over in its battle against COVID-19 ahead of what is expected to be one of the busiest days of travel in years on Friday, a mass movement of people that has fed fears of a further surge in infections.

Covid News Live: Chinese turn to traditional remedies to fight Covid

  • As Covid-19 rips through China’s vast population, making millions sick and fuelling a shortage of drugs, many are turning to old-school traditional medicines to battle the aches and pains of the virus.

  • President Xi Jinping has promoted traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) since the start of the pandemic, while health officials have hailed its “important role” in fighting the coronavirus.

  • Encompassing a range of treatments from herbal remedies and massages to acupuncture and diets, TCM has been used for thousands of years to treat all manner of ailments.

Covid News Live: Yuan weakens

  • China’s yuan weakened on Friday against the U.S. dollar as concerns about the economy’s recovery trajectory weighed on investors’ minds after data showed COVID hospitalisations had reached the highest since the pandemic began.

  • The number of people hospitalised with COVID-19 in China rose by 70% to 63,307 in the week through to Jan. 15, according to a weekly World Health Organization report on Thursday.

Covid News Live: Sinopharm unit gets approval for clinical trials of mRNA COVID vaccine

Sinopharm’s biotech unit has obtained regulatory approval for clinical trials of its mRNA COVID-19 vaccine against the Omicron variant, the company said. The unit, based in the commercial hub of Shanghai, has built a research and development platform, as well as workshops with annual production capacity of 2 billion doses of mRNA vaccine, Sinopharm added.

Covid News Live: India Covid Cases

India logged 145 new coronavirus infections, while the active cases dipped to 1,946, according to the Union Health Ministry data updated on Friday.

Covid News Live: China stocks rise as officials say worst in COVID battle is over

China stocks rose on Friday, although trading volume slipped ahead of the Lunar New Year holidays, as strong foreign inflows boosted sentiment after the country said the worst in its battle against COVID-19 was over.

Covid News Live: Covid deaths may exceed 220,000 in Tibet

Over 220,000 Tibetans age 60 and above may die in the ongoing Covid-19 surge in China, according to an estimate by the International Campaign for Tibet (ICT) based on demographic data and health studies.

A new report from the ICT uses studies from Japan and Brazil, as well as on-the-ground accounts from Tibetans and data from China’s census, to estimate the death toll in Tibet, which China leaves out of its official Covid reporting.

While several models project the number of Covid infections and deaths in China since it abandoned its “zero-Covid” strategy on December 7, 2022, this is the first known attempt to estimate the deaths in Tibet.

Covid News Live: China says COVID outbreak easing on eve of travel rush

China said the worst was over in its battle against COVID-19 ahead of what is expected to be the busiest day of travel in years on Friday, a mass movement of people that has fed fears of a further surge in infections.

Covid News: China introduces IceBurial technology

Amid the rising number of deaths in China due to COVID-19, it has introduced IceBurial technology, alleged Inconvenient Truths by Jennifer Zeng which covers first-hand info and unique insights about China and the Chinese Communist Party.

“This type of funeral has been run in Wuhan City on a trial basis. Corpses can be instantly frozen in liquid nitrogen at minus 196 degrees, and then turn into powder form. Much faster than cremation,” tweeted Inconvenient Truths by Jennifer Zeng.

South Korea to lift indoor mask mandate this month

South Korea will drop face a mask mandate for most indoor public places later this month, Prime Minister Han Duck-soo said on Friday, though coverings will still be required on transport and in medical facilities.The lifting of the face-covering rules will take effect on Jan. 30, Han said, in the country’s latest step to ease COVID-19 rules as new cases show signs of a slowdown.

Covid catastrophe looms for China’s New Year travelers

The sudden dismantling of China’s Covid Zero restrictions in December means hundreds of millions of people are headed home for the Lunar New Year holiday for the first time since 2019. The crush of travel risks supercharging the world’s biggest Covid outbreak, spreading it to every corner of the country.Travelers, from migrant workers to college students to educated urban elites, risk carrying the highly-infectious omicron strain with them to Covid-naive swathes of rural China that have managed to evade the pandemic – until now.

Israel says has not found a link between Pfizer COVID shot and stroke

  • Israel has not identified any evidence linking strokes to an updated coronavirus vaccine made by U.S. drugmaker Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech SE, according to a health ministry official.

  • On Friday, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention said that a safety monitoring system had flagged that the shot could possibly be linked to a type of brain stroke in older adults, according to preliminary data.

COVID-hit Chinese factories eye gradual recovery

Christian Gassner, whose furniture components factory in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen had a dismal end of 2022 amid COVID-19 outbreaks, is finally seeing light at the end of the tunnel.About two months ago, many workers quit to avoid potential lockdowns ahead of Lunar New Year, then in December, after pandemic controls came off, almost all who remained fell ill, disrupting production.

China races to make COVID drugs as Xi fears rural outbreaks

Chinese drugmakers rushed to make anti-fever medicines and other treatments for COVID-19, after President Xi Jinping said he was worried about an influx of holiday travellers to rural areas ill-equipped to deal with sudden outbreaks.