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"COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis" 10th Jun 2022

Lockdown Exit
China Markets Spring Back Into Action as Covid Lockdowns Ease
Financial markets across China are buzzing with activity as easing Covid lockdowns boost trading. Yuan-trading volumes in the onshore market bounced off two-year lows while stock turnover topped the key 1 trillion yuan ($149 billion) mark for two straight sessions this week. That’s after Shanghai officially reopened following a two-month lockdown and Beijing further loosened Covid curbs, spurring bets of an economic rebound and a return of foreign inflows into the country. “It appears that the re-pricing of China macro growth risk due to the lockdowns has run its course,” Ken Cheung, strategist at Mizuho Bank Ltd. said. A slew of pro-growth measures and the reopening in Shanghai and Beijing have helped stabilize expectations for China’s economy, he said.
Parts of Shanghai impose new COVID lockdown measures
Shanghai and Beijing went back on fresh COVID-19 alert on Thursday after parts of China's largest economic hub imposed new lockdown restriction and the city announced a round of mass testing for millions of residents. The most populous district in the Chinese capital, meanwhile, announced the shutdown of entertainment venues, while news of the lockdown of Shanghai's Minhang district, home to more than 2 million people, pulled down Chinese stocks.
Shanghai faces unexpected round of COVID testing for most residents
A round of mass COVID-19 testing for most residents this weekend - just 10 days after a city-wide lockdown was lifted - unsettling residents and raising concerns about the impact on business. Shanghai officials on Thursday said seven of the city's 16 districts would carry out PCR testing for all residents over the weekend due to the discovery of a few cases in the community, saying they wanted to prevent a renewed outbreak
White House shifts $10 billion in coronavirus aid to buy vaccines and treatments
The Biden administration is shifting dwindling federal coronavirus funds toward securing another round of vaccines and treatments — rationing money and cutting back on other critical public health programs as Congress remains at odds over whether to spend more to battle the pandemic. The U.S. government plans to redirect about $5 billion in existing funds so it can purchase any new, updated versions of the vaccines if they become available, according to an administration official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe the deliberations. The government also intends to repurpose another $5 billion in previously authorized aid so it can secure access to therapeutics, including the pill Paxlovid, the aide said. Without the change in approach, White House officials fear that the United States would not be able to source new vaccines or other treatments, particularly in the face of any potential fall or winter surge, given high global demand. Even so, the Biden administration’s emergency measures may not be enough to secure vaccines for every American should a new, next-generation version reach the market, according to a second White House aide.
Officials: Millions of COVID-19 shots ordered for youngest
Millions of COVID-19 vaccine doses have been ordered for small children in anticipation of possible federal authorization next week, White House officials say. The government allowed pharmacies and states to start placing orders last week, with 5 million doses initially available — half of them shots made by Pfizer and the other half the vaccine produced by Moderna, senior administration officials said. As of this week, about 1.45 million of the 2.5 million available doses of Pfizer have been ordered, and about 850,000 of available Moderna shots have been ordered, officials said. More orders are expected in the coming days.
Explainer: Can we still avoid Covid-19 and is there any point trying?
With new Covid-19 case numbers down, many may be asking if there's any point keeping up precautions to avoid the virus, particularly those who haven't caught it yet. Is it still possible to protect ourselves from the illness? Surely we're all going to get it at some stage, and the 'milder' Omicron variants make it less of a threat to our health, so what's the big deal? Here's what you need to know. We are now more than two years into a pandemic that turned many people's lives upside-down.
PM Johnson says UK out of sync with OECD due to earlier COVID reopening
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Thursday that Britain was out of sync with the other OECD countries' growth cycles because the country emerged out of the pandemic first and had a faster recovery. Asked why the OECD on Wednesday predicted Britain would have the lowest 2023 growth in the G20 apart from Russia, Johnson said: "Because we came out first, because of the steps that we took, we were slightly out of sync with much of the rest of the OECD."
Biden administration 'not too worried' about slow pace of pre-orders of child COVID vaccine
Pre-orders of vaccines for children under age five have been slow, but Biden administration senior officials say they are not alarmed and expect the pace to pick up after federal approvals later this month. The administration expects vaccinations of young children to start as early as June 21 if the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention approve the vaccines next week, White House COVID-19 response coordinator Ashish Jha said on Thursday.
COVID vaccine rights waiver within reach, WTO chief says ahead of meeting
Ministers from across the globe are convening for a conference at the World Trade Organization in Geneva for the first time in more than four years from June 12-15. It comes at a critical juncture for the body and for global trade. The meeting, delayed twice by COVID-19, is a chance for the 27-year-old body to prove it can respond to what Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has described as a "polycrisis" of economic, health, environmental and security challenges.
Shanghai Disney Resort to reopen some areas, main park and hotels remain closed
Shanghai Disney Resort said it will reopen some retail and park areas from Friday but the main Disneyland park, Disneytown and its two resort hotels will remain closed until further notice. "Wishing Star Park, the World of Disney Store and Blue Sky Boulevard will resume operations on June 10, 2022," it said in a statement on Thursday. "Shanghai Disneyland, Disneytown and the two resort hotels remain closed until further notice as the resort team continues to prepare for the reopening of the entire resort."
Exit Strategies
India's Covid Cases Almost Double in a Week to Three Month High
India’s daily Covid-19 infection rate almost doubled in a week, prompting a revitalization of the country’s lethargic booster shot campaign, as well as some state governments and air authorities to bring back mandatory mask wearing. The country added 7,240 cases on Thursday, according to health ministry data, the biggest single-day surge in more than three months after the densely-populated country eased movement restrictions and reopened schools and offices. So far hospitalizations remain low and 69% of India’s 1.4 billion people have been administered at least two Covid shots, though so far only 3% have had a booster dose, according to Bloomberg’s Vaccine Tracker.
Covid Flares Again in Shanghai, Putting Areas Back in Lockdown
Shanghai will lock down seven city districts this weekend to mass test millions of people as Covid-19 cases continue to emerge in the community, risking more disruption for residents and businesses that have just exited a grueling two-month shutdown. Authorities said late Thursday they would lock down the Pudong, Huangpu, Jing’an, Xuhui, Hongkou, Baoshan and Minhang districts of Shanghai, with residents to be tested for the virus -- a key tool in China’s Covid Zero arsenal. It comes after infections found in the community rebounded to six on Thursday, from zero the day before.
BioNTech to soon start mRNA vaccine factory construction in Rwanda
COVID-19 vaccine maker BioNTech said construction of an mRNA vaccine factory to enable African nations to jump-start their own manufacturing network would start on June 23 in Rwanda. The groundbreaking ceremony in the capital city of Kigali is to be attended by Rwanda's President Paul Kagame, further heads of African states, as well as representatives from the European Union and the World Health Organization, the biotech firm said in a statement on Thursday. The German company's modular factory elements, to be assembled in Africa to so-called BioNTainers, would be delivered to the Kigali construction site by the end of 2022, it added. The company, which developed the western world's most widely used COVID-19 shot with U.S. partner Pfizer, earlier this year mapped out a plan to enable African countries to produce its Comirnaty-branded shot under BioNTech's supervision
U.S. Orders Millions of COVID-19 Vaccines for Youngest Children
Millions of COVID-19 vaccine doses have been ordered for small children in anticipation of possible federal authorization next week, White House officials say. The government allowed pharmacies and states to start placing orders last week, with 5 million doses initially available—half of them shots made by Pfizer and the other half the vaccine produced by Moderna, senior administration officials said. As of this week, about 1.45 million of the 2.5 million available doses of Pfizer have been ordered, and about 850,000 of available Moderna shots have been ordered, officials said. More orders are expected in the coming days.
Little-Kid Vaccines Missed Their Pandemic Moment
When Kishana Taylor enrolled her 3-year-old son, John, in preschool last fall, she figured COVID-19 immunizations for kids under-5 would arrive before the start of classes. Since then, she has delivered fraternal twins, now almost six months old—and there are still no vaccines for her kids. After John caught the coronavirus, he and his siblings had to duel the virus entirely unprotected, a reality that Taylor, a virologist at Rutgers University, never wanted them to face. “The only reason we put John in public school was because I thought he was getting a vaccine,” she told me. “I would have made different decisions, if we had known it was going to be put off this long.”
US diverts COVID-19 funds to secure vaccines amid stalemate
The Biden administration said Wednesday that a funding crunch is forcing it to divert more than $10 billion in coronavirus relief from test procurement and other efforts as it tries to come up with money to secure the next generation of vaccines and treatments for some high-risk Americans. The White House said it has been left with “no choice” but to cut back on orders of at-home rapid tests that have supported a domestic manufacturing base for the easy diagnostic tests. It also is scaling back funding for research and development of new COVID-19 vaccines and limiting orders of personal protective equipment in an effort to maintain some stockpiles of vaccines and treatments for Americans heading into the winter.
Biden administration lays out its plan for Covid-19 vaccinations for children under 5
The White House has announced a highly anticipated Covid-19 vaccine rollout plan for children under 5. The administration "has made 10 million vaccine doses available for states, Tribes, territories, community health centers, federal pharmacy partners, and others to pre-order," according to a White House fact sheet shared with CNN Wednesday. It is partnering with those entities to ship and distribute vaccines across the country following next week's meeting of the US Food and Drug Administration's vaccine advisers -- who will review data on these vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna -- and expected authorization from the full FDA. The first vaccinations could start "as early as the week of June 20 —with the program ramping up over time as more doses are delivered and more appointments become available," according to the fact sheet. CNN previously reported Covid-19 vaccination shots for the youngest Americans could begin as soon as June 21.
Shanghai to conduct mass COVID testing in 7 of its 16 districts at weekend
The Chinese commercial hub of Shanghai will carry out mass testing for COVID-19 in seven districts over the weekend, a local health official said on Thursday. The districts to be tested are Pudong, Huangpu, Jingan, Xuhui, Hongkou, Baoshan and Minhang, the deputy director of Shanghai's health commission, Zhao Dandan, told a media briefing. Shanghai, a city of 25 million people, has a total of 16 districts.
Virus testing the new normal as China sticks to ‘zero-COVID’
Thousands of coronavirus testing sites have popped up on sidewalks across Beijing and other Chinese cities in the latest development in the country’s “zero-COVID” strategy. Lines form every day, rain or shine, even where the spread of the virus has largely stopped. Some people need to go to work. Others want to shop. All are effectively compelled to get tested by a requirement to show a negative test result to enter office buildings, malls and other public places. Liu Lele, who works for a live-streaming company, has no problem getting tested regularly but said the daytime operating hours don’t always fit his schedule. “Sometimes I get held up at work,” he said after finishing a test Thursday near Beijing’s historic Bell and Drum towers. “I wish there were sites open 24 hours or not closing until 7 or 8 p.m.”
New vaccine may be option for troops with religious concerns
A COVID-19 vaccine that could soon win federal authorization may offer a boost for the U.S. military: an opportunity to get shots into some of the thousands of service members who have refused other coronavirus vaccines for religious reasons. At least 175 active duty and reserve service members have already received the Novavax vaccine, some even traveling overseas at their own expense to get it. The vaccine meets Defense Department requirements because it has the World Health Organization’s emergency use approval and is used in Europe and other regions. The Food and Drug Administration is considering giving it emergency use authorization in the U.S.
Partisan Exits
Over 1500 Kiwis were given compromised Covid-19 vaccines, report finds
More than 1500 people were given Covid-19 vaccinations that had not been monitored properly in cold storage and have been told they will need to be inoculated again. A report commissioned by the Southern District Health Board has found that 1601 compromised vaccine doses were given to 1571 people in the Queenstown Lakes and Central Otago area from December 1 2021 to January 28. The recipients of the affected vaccines were informed of the problem in March, and the majority have since had a replacement dose.
Black and Asian frontline staff faced racial harassment during Covid-19 pandemic, watchdog finds
Lower-paid health and social care workers, who played a pivotal front-line role during the Covid-19 pandemic, experienced bullying, racism and harassment at work according to their evidence to an inquiry conducted by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC). Poor data collection by their employers could also be masking the extent of discrimination against them, the watchdog also found. Job insecurity in the health and adult social care sectors caused fear of victimisation among low-paid ethnic minority staff, particularly if they were to raise concerns, according to the inquiry which was launched in November 2020.
Scientific Viewpoint
Covid During Pregnancy Doubled Babies' Risk of Delays in Study
Babies whose mothers caught Covid-19 during pregnancy faced nearly double the risk of being diagnosed with delayed speech or motor skills by their first birthday, according to a study of medical records. While the risk of developmental delays was low overall, it rose to about 6% among babies who were exposed to Covid in the womb, while unexposed infants’ risk was about 3%, according to findings released Thursday in the journal JAMA Network Open. The lags were seen in behaviors such as rolling over, reaching for objects or babbling -- basic milestones of infancy.
UK Monkeypox Cases Told to Avoid Contact With Household Members
UK residents diagnosed with monkeypox are being told to self-isolate from other people in their household, as the nation ramps up efforts to slow the spread of the disease. The UK Health Security Agency on Thursday advised infected Britons to sleep and eat in different rooms from other household members and to use a separate bathroom if possible. People diagnosed with the disease have also been told to keep their laundry apart and to avoid close contacts with pets.
HIV may predispose to post-vaccination COVID, requiring extra doses
The risk of COVID-19 infection after primary vaccination was 28% higher in adults diagnosed as having HIV, suggesting they may benefit from two additional doses, according to a US study published yesterday in JAMA Network Open. Johns Hopkins University researchers led a team assessing the risk of COVID-19 infection among 113,994 vaccinated patients—33,029 of whom had HIV and 80,965 who didn't—through Dec 31, 2021. Participants were part of the Corona-Infectious-Virus Epidemiology Team (CIVET)-II cohort and were seen at Kaiser Permanente Mid-Atlantic States, Kaiser Permanente Northern California, the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill HIV Clinic, and the Veterans Aging Cohort Study (VACS) sites.
Nine Omicron symptoms affecting the fully vaccinated - and signs you may have it
Researchers in Norway conducted a study interviewing 111 out of 117 guests to a party on 26 November 2021 where there was an Omicron outbreak. Of the group interviewed, 66 had definitive cases of Covid-19 and 15 had possible cases of the virus. Of the 111 participants, 89 per cent had received two doses of an mRNA vaccine and none had received a booster shot. According to the findings published in the infectious disease and epidemiology journal Eurosurveillance, there were eight key symptoms experienced by the group of fully vaccinated partygoers. These were: a persistent cough, runny nose, fatigue, sore throat, headache, muscle pain, fever and sneezing.
Trials of new Covid vaccine raise hopes of once-a-year booster
The vaccine is the first “bivalent” formulation to combine protection against Omicron and the original strain of coronavirus, and is the company’s leading candidate for upcoming autumn booster programmes. Dr Paul Burton, Moderna’s chief medical officer, said the new vaccine raised antibody levels to such a degree that one booster a year could be enough, unless a substantially different variant calls for the vaccine to be redesigned again. “The data we show today are really important because we get a really strong antibody response against Omicron,” he said. “For the first time, we could really be looking at the potential for just once-yearly boosting, because we can get people to such a high level that they will take longer to decay.” The new vaccine, called mRNA1273.214, combines 25 micrograms of the original Moderna Covid vaccine with 25 micrograms of vaccine specifically targeted at the Omicron variant. In the phase 2/3 trial, the 50mcg shots were given to 437 people who had already received two primary jabs and a booster of the original Moderna vaccine earlier in the pandemic.
Covid-19 news: Moderna's omicron booster has promising immune response
Moderna’s omicron-tailored booster candidate produces eight times as many virus-neutralising antibodies against the variant as its original booster vaccine An updated version of Moderna’s covid-19 vaccine that targets the BA.1 sublineage of omicron leads to an eight-fold increase in antibody levels against the variant of concern, according to a small, preliminary study. Moderna’s new booster is the first covid-19 vaccine to combine the jab that targeted the original strain of the coronavirus – which emerged in Wuhan, China, at the end of 2019 – with a vaccine that specifically targets the omicron variant. In the clinical trial, the updated vaccine was given to 437 people who had already received two full-dose Moderna vaccines and its booster.
Japan's Shionogi says continuing Vietnam COVID projects after partner scandals
Japan's Shionogi & Co Ltd said its COVID-19 projects in Vietnam are still progressing, after fraud scandals enveloped its partner there and the health ministry. Shionogi is carrying out trials of its experimental COVID vaccine and oral treatment in Vietnam, following a memorandum of understanding with the government and Advanced International Joint Stock Co in November. Vietnam's health minister Nguyen Thanh Long was arrested on Tuesday, following dismissal from his post on charges of falsely inflated prices for COVID tests.
Moderna says Omicron-targeted COVID shot shows better response
Moderna Inc said on Wednesday a new version of its coronavirus vaccine produced a better immune response against Omicron than the original shot, as the drugmaker pursues a booster against a surge in infections in the fall season. The vaccine, which was given as a fourth dose in a trial that enrolled more than 800 people, raised virus-neutralizing antibodies by eight-fold against Omicron. The company said it plans to submit data on the vaccine, which targets Omicron as well as the original coronavirus strain, to regulators in the coming weeks and the doses could be available to consumers in late summer, sending its shares up 3%.
AstraZeneca trots out Evusheld data to expand the COVID preventive drug into the treatment arena
AstraZeneca is back in the COVID-19 game with new data for its antibody cocktail, Evusheld. While it's existing authorizations cover the prophylactic setting, the latest results from the Big Pharma puts the drug in contention as a treatment for patients with mild-to-moderate disease. The company posted data from a phase 3 trial in the Lancet Respiratory Medicine, showing that the medicine reduced the risk of progression to severe COVID or death from any cause by 50% compared to placebo at day 28, which was the trial's primary endpoint. The drug was tested in non-hospitalized adults with mild-to-moderate COVID-19, and 90% of the patients were at risk of progressing to severe COVID. While the study, dubbed Tackle, included patients who had symptoms for seven days or less, it was designed with a pre-specified analyses to assess patients who received the intramuscular injection within three days of symptom onset. In this group, Evusheld reduced the risk of severe COVID or death from any cause by 88% compared to placebo, and the risk reduction was 67% when participants received Evusheld within five days of symptom onset.
WHO: COVID origins unclear but lab leak theory needs study
More than two years after coronavirus emerged in China and after at least 6.3 million deaths have been counted worldwide from the pandemic, the World Health Organization is recommending in its strongest terms yet that a deeper probe is required into whether a lab accident may be to blame. That stance marks a sharp reversal of the U.N. health agency’s initial assessment of the pandemic’s origins, and comes after many critics accused WHO of being too quick to dismiss or underplay a lab-leak theory that put Chinese officials on the defensive. WHO concluded last year that it was “extremely unlikely” COVID-19 might have spilled into humans in the city of Wuhan from a lab. Many scientists suspect the coronavirus jumped into people from bats, possibly via another animal.
Pandemic's origins obscured by lack of Chinese data - WHO panel
The World Health Organization said on Thursday its latest investigation into the origins of COVID-19 was inconclusive, largely because data from China is missing, another blow to its years-long effort to determine how the pandemic began.
Diabetes may increase long COVID risk; COVID while pregnant linked to baby brain development issues
The following is a summary of some recent studies on COVID-19. They include research that warrants further study to corroborate the findings and that has yet to be certified by peer review. Diabetes may increase long COVID risk. Diabetes may increase the risk of long COVID, new analyses of seven previous studies suggest. Researchers reviewed studies that tracked people for at least four weeks after COVID-19 recovery to see which individuals developed persistent symptoms associated with long COVID such as brain fog, skin conditions, depression, and shortness of breath. In three of the studies, people with diabetes were up to four times more likely to develop long COVID compared to people without diabetes, according to a presentation on Sunday at the annual Scientific Sessions of the American Diabetes Association. The researchers said diabetes appears to be "a potent risk factor" for long COVID but their findings are preliminary because the studies used different methods, definitions of long COVID, and follow-up times, and some looked at hospitalized patients while others focused on people with milder cases of COVID-19.
Coronavirus Resurgence
Covid-19: 7927 new community cases and 27 further deaths
There are 7927 new community cases of Covid-19 and a further 27 deaths, the Ministry of Health released in an update on Thursday afternoon. There are 393 people in hospital with the virus, 12 are in an intensive care or high dependency unit. The seven-day rolling average of community case numbers is 6059 – last Thursday, it was 6937. Of the 27 deaths reported today, 22 of the people died in the past five days, while the other five deaths were since March 29. The number of publicly reported deaths with Covid-19 is now 1294, and the seven-day rolling average of reported deaths is 14.
Taiwan reports 72967 new COVID-19 cases, 211 deaths
Taiwan reported 72,967 new COVID-19 cases -- 72,921 domestically transmitted and 46 imported infections -- and 211 deaths from the disease on Thursday, according to the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC). The 211 deaths were another single-day high, surpassing the 159 recorded Wednesday, CECC data showed. The deceased, ranging in age from 17 to over 90, included 197 who had chronic illnesses or other severe diseases, and 83 who had been unvaccinated, the CECC said.
India records 7,240 new COVID-19 cases, 8 deaths
The single-day rise in new coronavirus infections in the country was recorded over 7,000 after 99 days, registering around 39 per cent jump in daily cases, while the daily positivity rate crossed 2 per cent after 111 days, the Union Health Ministry said on Thursday. A total of 7,240 infections were recorded in a span of 24 hours taking India's total tally of COVID-19 cases to 4,31,97,522, while the death toll has climbed to 5,24,723 with eight fresh fatalities
Community hospital in Borders closed to admissions due to Covid-19 outbreak
A community hospital in the Scottish Borders is closed to admissions due to a Covid-19 outbreak. All but essential visiting is currently suspended at the Knoll Community Hospital in Duns. NHS Borders say the situation is being kept under regular review and restrictions will be eased as soon as it is safe to do so. Essential visits include: a person receiving end-of-life care - supporting someone with a mental health issue, learning disability, autism or dementia in circumstances where not being present would cause the patient to be distressed - when someone is receiving information about life-changing illness or treatments - where support from another person is essential for advocacy and wellbeing
India reports highest coronavirus daily cases since March 2
India reported 7,240 new coronavirus infections in the last 24 hours, the health ministry said on Thursday, its highest number of daily cases since March 2. India's financial capital Mumbai, which has seen a rapid rise in cases, reported 1,765 new infections late on Wednesday, an increase of more than 500 cases from its Tuesday caseload. The country reported eight deaths from COVID-19, the ministry said, taking the official death toll to 524,723 on Thursday
China reports 240 new confirmed COVID cases on June 8 vs 216 a day earlier
China reported 240 new coronavirus cases on June 8, of which 70 were symptomatic and 170 were asymptomatic, the National Health Commission said on Thursday. That compares with 216 new cases a day earlier - 67 symptomatic and 149 asymptomatic infections, which China counts separately. There were no new deaths, keeping the nation's death count unchanged at 5,226. As of June 8, mainland China had confirmed 224,535 cases with symptoms.
S. Africa Child Admissions Exceed Elderly Amid Covid Strains
The number of South African children younger than nine admitted to hospital with Covid-19 has overtaken the proportion of patients aged over 80 for the first time as new omicron strains dominate infections, the country’s biggest health insurer said. During South Africa’s fifth wave of coronavirus infections from April 13 to May 27, 17% of all Covid-19 related admissions were children in that age group, Johannesburg-based Discovery Health Ltd. said in a statement sent to Bloomberg that detailed the results of a study of its members. That exceeded admissions for people older than 80 by five percentage points.
New Lockdown
Another district in Beijing shuts entertainment venues to contain COVID outbreak
China's capital city of Beijing shut down entertainment venues in its Dongcheng district from Thursday in an effort to contain a new outbreak of COVID-19, the state-backed Beijing Daily said late on Thursday. The move came after Beijing's largest district, Chaoyang, also ordered entertainment venues and internet cafes to shut from 2 p.m. (0600 GMT) on Thursday.
China COVID Jitters Flare Up as Parts of Shanghai Resume Lockdown
Shanghai and Beijing went back on fresh COVID-19 alert on Thursday after parts of China's largest economic hub imposed new lockdown restriction and the city announced a round of mass testing for millions of residents. The most populous district in the Chinese capital, meanwhile, announced the shutdown of entertainment venues, while news of the lockdown of Shanghai's Minhang district, home to more than 2 million people, pulled down Chinese stocks. Both cities had recently eased heavy COVID curbs, but the country has stuck with a "dynamic zero-COVID" policy aimed at shutting down transmission chains as soon as possible.