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Shanghai COVID-19 cases keep rising, food supply problems persist

Shanghai reported nearly 25,000 locally transmitted COVID-19 infections on Sunday, as residents of China’s most populous city voiced complaints over food and basic supplies and concern spread that more cities may soon be in the same situation.

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Streets of the locked-down financial hub of 26 million people remained as curbs under the city’s “zero tolerance” policy allow only healthcare workers, volunteers, delivery personnel or those with special permission to go out.

Shanghai’s case numbers are small compared to some cities globally, but it is battling China’s worst COVID-19 outbreak since the virus emerged in the central city of Wuhan in 2019.

The city has become a test bed for China’s elimination strategy, which seeks to test, trace and centrally quarantine all COVID-positive people to stem the spread of the coronavirus.

The curbs have sharply squeezed supplies of food and other essentials. Many supermarkets have been shut and thousands of couriers locked in. Access to medical care has also been a concern.

Online videos show residents struggling with security personnel and hazmat-suited medical staff at some compounds in recent days, with occupants shouting that they need food.

Executives for e-commerce giants JD.com and food delivery service Ele.me attended the city’s daily briefing, seeking to convince residents that bottlenecks would ease.

JD.com vice president Wang Wenbo said he understands concerns about delivery speed and that the company is focussing on basic foodstuffs and baby care items. Ele.me senior vice president Xiao Shuixian said his company had brought 2,800 more delivery workers in over the past week.

Citizens in several cities expressed anxiety in social media groups that their cities might also go into lockdown.

Beijing’s municipal government placed a high-risk area under lockdown on Saturday after eight COVID-19 cases were confirmed in the last two weeks, Pang Xinghuo, deputy director of the Beijing Center for Disease Prevention and Control, told reporters.

On Saturday, the southern megacity of Guangzhou, home to more than 18 million people, said it would begin testing across its 11 districts after cases were reported on Friday. Guides circulated on social media from someone in Shanghai recommended items for people in other cities to stock up on in case of lockdown, such as basic cooking equipment, seasonings, and staple dried foods like rice and pasta.

Of the local cases Shanghai reported on Sunday, 1,006 were symptomatic while 23,937 were classed as asymptomatic, which China counts separately.

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WHO: Over 4.1 million new COVID-19 cases reported globally, 18 pct increase 

The number of new coronavirus cases rose by 18 percent in the last week, with more than 4.1 million cases reported globally, according to the World Health Organization.

The UN health agency said in its latest weekly report on the pandemic that the worldwide number of deaths remained relatively similar to the week before, at about 8,500. COVID-related deaths increased in three regions: the Middle East, Southeast Asia and the Americas.

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The biggest weekly rise in new COVID-19 cases was seen in the Middle East, where they increased by 47 percent, according to the report released late Wednesday. Infections rose by about 32 percent in Europe and Southeast Asia, and by about 14 percent in the Americas, WHO said.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said cases were on the rise in 110 countries, mostly driven by the omicron variants BA.4 and BA.5.

“This pandemic is changing, but it’s not over,” Tedros said this week during a press briefing.

He said the ability to track COVID-19’s genetic evolution was “under threat” as countries relaxed surveillance and genetic sequencing efforts, warning that would make it more difficult to catch emerging and potentially dangerous new variants.

He called for countries to immunize their most vulnerable populations, including health workers and people over 60, saying that hundreds of millions remain unvaccinated and at risk of severe disease and death.

Tedros said that while more than 1.2 billion COVID-19 vaccines have been administered globally, the average immunization rate in poor countries is about 13 percent.

“If rich countries are vaccinating children from as young as 6 months old and planning to do further rounds of vaccination, it is incomprehensible to suggest that lower-income countries should not vaccinate and boost their most at risk (people),” he said.

According to figures compiled by Oxfam and the People's Vaccine Alliance, fewer than half of the 2.1 billion vaccines promised to poorer countries by the Group of Seven large economies have been delivered.

Earlier this month, the United States authorized COVID-19 vaccines for infants and preschoolers, rolling out a national immunization plan targeting 18 million of the youngest children. American regulators also recommended that some adults get updated boosters in the fall that match the latest coronavirus variants.

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France’s new wave of COVID-19 infections expected to peak end of July

Shanghai Disneyland theme park re-opens after three-month COVID-19 closure

China’s Xi warns against ‘herd immunity,’ says COVID-Zero policy works best

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France’s new wave of COVID-19 infections expected to peak end of July

A new wave in France of COVID-19 infections fueled by emerging variants of the disease should peak toward end-July, the French government’s top scientific adviser Jean-Francois Delfraissy said on Thursday.
“The peak is not yet here, this peak of infections will probably be for end-July,” Delfraissy told RTL radio.
“Then the BA.5 variant will reappear, if it is not overtaken by another variant… in autumn,” he added.
For more coronavirus news, visit our dedicated page.
France reported new 124,724 coronavirus infections over the past 24 hours, against 77,967 a week ago.
The French government also recommended this week that people should start wearing face masks again in crowded areas, especially in public transport, to counter the latest surge in COVID-19 cases.
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Shanghai Disneyland theme park re-opens after three-month COVID-19 closure

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Shanghai Disneyland theme park re-opens after three-month COVID-19 closure 

More than a thousand visitors streamed in on Thursday as Walt Disney Co’s Shanghai Disney Resort theme park opened after a closure of three months, with face masks and social distancing the order of the day.
The park shut on March 21 as cases rose in the Chinese business hub, leading to a two-month-long citywide lockdown that eased on June 1. Just over a week later, the resort began opening some areas, with the theme park the last to re-open.

For more coronavirus news, visit our dedicated page.

Among the first of Thursday's visitors was Zhang Yudong, a 19-year-old student wearing a Mickey Mouse wizard hat and T-shirt donned for the occasion.
“It really feels like coming back home. I was so excited,” said Zhang, who holds a Disneyland annual pass. “I had been looking forward to the day. One question I would ask everyday is, ‘When will it reopen?’”
Before its March closure, the park had enforced COVID-19 measures required by the authorities, such as face masks and regular disinfection.
After the re-opening, it requires guests to show proof of a negative COVID test taken within the last 72 hours, in line with rules for public areas in Shanghai and other cities.
The park has also said it will limit capacity, but gave no details, adding that some attractions, such as Marvel Universe, will stay closed.
Shanghai Disneyland is a joint venture with Chinese state-owned Shendi Group, which holds a 57 percent stake.

Read more: China’s Xi warns against ‘herd immunity,’ says COVID-Zero policy works best

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