(Bloomberg) — China advised against international travel over the autumn holidays because of coronavirus outbreaks overseas and fewer flights. The country’s economy weakened further last month after government measures to contain the virus curbed consumer spending.
Singapore said the treatment plan for most people with breakthrough infections will be home quarantine. Southeast Asia’s virus wave appears to have peaked.
In the U.S., the federal government plans to more directly control where antibody treatments are sent amid a surge in infections and hospitalizations in states with large pockets of unvaccinated people.
South Africa Hampered by HIV Epidemic (12:21 p.m. HK)
The world’s biggest number of HIV cases is complicating South Africa’s efforts to fight the coronavirus pandemic, raising the risk of more mutated versions emerging and spreading across the globe.
Many of the country’s 8.2 million HIV-infected people are immuno-compromised and scientists say they can harbor the coronavirus for longer, allowing it to mutate as it reproduces. A study of an HIV positive 36-year-old woman showed that Covid-19 stayed in her body for 216 days and mutated rapidly.
Ho Chi Minh City’s Reopening (12:19 p.m. HK)
Vietnam’s commercial hub Ho Chi Minh City plans to gradually reopen its economy in three phases beginning Oct. 1 if the virus outbreak is considered contained, the city’s media center reported on its website, citing information from a meeting led by the city’s party chief on Tuesday. Party Chief Nguyen Van Nen said plans call for the reopening of “eligible” factories in the suburban districts of Can Gio, Cu Chi and 7, home to several industrial parks and global suppliers, according to the post. The statement did not provide a clear timing for resumption of factories or say whether all plants would be allowed to resume production.
Hanoi authorities will review virus situation in the city after today and may ease some anti-virus restrictions to allow some businesses, production facilities to reopen, according to a post on the city government’s website.
India New Cases Rise (12:15 p.m. HK)
India added 27,176 cases, a 7% increase over the previous day, according to government data. Death toll increased by 284 to 443,497. The total number of confirmed covid infections in the country reached 33.32 million, according to the data.
India gave 6.12 million more vaccine doses, taking the total to 758.9 million.
China’s Economy Weakens (10:49 a.m. HK)
China’s economy weakened further in August after the government imposed stringent measures to contain a widespread Covid-19 outbreak, curbing consumer spending and travel during the peak summer holiday break.
Even before the delta variant outbreak from late July, consumers had been cautious to spend, failing to make a comeback to pre-pandemic levels. More recently, regulatory crackdowns in property and education services have weighed on consumer sentiment.
Read more: CHINA REACT: Retail Sales Slump Shows Delta Sting Worsening (1)
New South Wales On Track to Lift Lockdown (10:17 a.m. HK)
Australia’s most-populous state is on track to lift lockdown measures within weeks after first-dose adult vaccination rates reached 80%.
New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian praised the vaccination effort and urged more people to come forward. Her government last week outlined a plan to lift stay-at-home orders for the fully-vaccinated once 70% of those aged over 16 have received two shots. That number currently sits at 47.5% and the state is expected to see increased freedoms — like the reopening of pubs, restaurants and gyms — in mid-October. A night-time curfew for Sydney’s worst-affected areas will be lifted Wednesday, Berejiklian announced.
The seven-day case average dropped as the state recorded 1,259 new infections and 12 deaths. Victoria state announced 423 new cases, increasing the seven-day rolling average.
Ballarat, a city of more than 100,000 people in Victoria, will go into a 7-day lockdown due to an increase in cases.
China Outbreak Grows (9:18 a.m. HK)
China’s fresh delta outbreak continued to grow in the southeastern province of Fujian, with 51 infections reported on Wednesday. The city of Putian, a munufacturing hub for shoes and where the first handful of cases were detected, reported 33 cases. Xiamen, which has been placed into a lockdown, reported 13 infections, including one that’s asymptomatic. Port city Quanzhou found five infections.
No local infections have been reported elsewhere in China, though tens of thousands left Fujian prior to the outbreak and experts has warned of potential spread of the virus into the rest of the country.
Singapore Cases Jump (8:44 a.m. HK)
Singapore recorded a total of 837 new cases on Tuesday, including five imported infections, according to the Ministry of Health, more than doubling from a week before. The number of hospitalized patients reached 809, with 75 of them suffering serious illness that require oxygen supplementation, and nine in intensive care, the ministry said in a statement. Over the past 28 days, the proportion of unvaccinated people who became severely ill or died was 6.1%, while the rate was 1.1% for those who are fully vaccinated.
Other countries across Asia Pacific also reported more cases. South Korea added 2,080 more infections and said 67.3% of its population have had their first round of vaccinations. New Zealand announced 14 new cases in the community while Thailand reported 13,798 more infections.
N.Y. Vaccine Mandates Blocked (8:41 a.m. HK)
Two vaccine mandates imposed on health workers in New York state and New York City teachers were temporarily blocked by judges.
State court judge Laurence L. Love issued a temporary restraining order Tuesday barring New York City’s health department from requiring education workers to be vaccinated. Love’s order was issued just hours after a federal judge temporarily blocked New York state officials from imposing a Covid-19 vaccine requirement on health care workers who claim the shot violates their religious beliefs.
U.S. to Supply Covid Drugs Based on Cases (8:01 a.m. HK)
The U.S. government plans to more directly control where Covid-19 antibody treatments are sent amid a surge in infections and hospitalizations in states with large pockets of unvaccinated people.
Hospitals and other care providers will no longer be able to directly order monoclonal antibody therapies from distributors, according to a Sept. 13 update posted on the Department of Health and Human Services website.
U.S. Trailing on Covid Shots (7:57 a.m. HK)
The U.S. is now last among the world’s most powerful democracies when it comes to vaccinations, squandering an early lead and plentiful supplies to be surpassed even by Japan, which started inoculating months later.
Japan, which started its mass vaccination program in April, has given first doses to 63.6% of its population, according to government figures released Tuesday. The U.S. has administered at least one dose to 63.1% of its residents, now the lowest among the Group of Seven nations.
Vaccines for Six-Month-Old Children: FT (7:18 a.m. HK)
Pfizer expects to apply for FDA approval of its vaccine for children between six months and five years old in November, the Financial Times reported, citing CFO Frank D’Amelio speaking at an industry conference. D’Amelio said Pfizer expects to have the data for children in that age range in the weeks shortly after the filing of data for five to 11 year olds.
China’s Travel Advisory (7:05 a.m. HK)
China’s aviation regulator advised against international travel during national holidays later this month and in October due to outbreaks overseas and the low volume of international flights. Prior to the pandemic, Chinese travelers were major sources of tourist income for countries globally, but numbers have dropped sharply due to the virus and tight restrictions on movement even as places such as Europe reopen.
Thousands of Covid-Like Infections Show Risk (4:05 a.m. HK)
Hundreds of thousands of people may be infected annually by animals carrying coronaviruses related to the one that causes Covid-19 each year in China and Southeast Asia, according to a study emphasizing the ongoing pandemic threat from spillover events.
An average of 400,000 such infections occur annually, most going unrecognized because they cause mild or no symptoms and aren’t easily transmitted between people, researchers with the EcoHealth Alliance and Singapore’s Duke-NUS Medical School said in a study released Thursday before peer review and publication. Still, each spillover represents an opportunity for viral adaptation that could lead to a Covid-like outbreak.
U.S. Vaccine Gap Widens, Kaiser Says (3:05 p.m. NY)
Dutch to End Social Distancing Rule (2:05 p.m. NY)
The Netherlands will say goodbye to its 1.5 meter (5-foot) social distance rule for the first time since the start of pandemic starting Sept. 25, “a symbolic move,” Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said during a press conference in the Hague. “This is an exciting but positive step.”
The Dutch government is also expanding the use of its vaccine certificate, making it a requirement for entry to cinemas, theaters and catering businesses. Nightclubs will be allowed to reopen with limited opening hours until midnight, as is the case for bars and restaurants. Outdoor events such as festivals and sport competitions can take place at full capacity. A 75% capacity limit applies to unseated indoor events.
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