Hong Kong to scrap mandatory isolation for Covid patients

Travellers wait for the Hong Kong immigration desks to open before crossing the border to China at Lok Ma Chau MTR station, in Hong Kong, China, 08 January 2023. EFE-EPA FILE/JEROME FAVRE

Beijing, Jan 19 (EFE).- Covid-19 patients in Hong Kong will no longer be required to isolate from Jan. 30, the city’s chief executive, John Lee said Thursday, thereby scrapping a rule that had been in effect for almost three years. Currently, those infected by the disease have to undergo a five-day isolation at home or … Read more

China may see 36,000 COVID deaths a day during New Year holidays: Study

People receive intravenous therapy in an emergency room of a hospital in Shanghai, China, 15 January 2023. EFE-EPA/ALEX PLAVEVSKI

Beijing, Jan 18 (EFE).- China might see 36,000 COVID-19 deaths a day during the Lunar New Year holidays, according to a study by the British independent forecasting firm Airfinity. Airfinity has updated its cases and deaths forecast for the COVID-19 outbreak as the Chinese New Year holiday hastens the spread of the virus. The updated … Read more

Ex-chief epidemiologist says China Covid peak to last 2-3 months

A medical personnel leaves the mortuary part of a hospital while another person just enters the premesis in Shanghai, China, 13 January 2023. EFE/EPA/ALEX PLAVEVSKI

Beijing, Jan 13 (EFE).- The current wave of Covid-19 infections in China will continue to peak in places through February and March, the former chief epidemiologist at the country’s disease control center has said.  Zeng Guang said the epidemic would hit different phases throughout the country, and warned that there would be a surge in … Read more

China claims worst of the Covid wave over

An elderly woman wearing a face mask uses her cellphone in a mall in Beijing, China, 11 January 2023. EFE-EPA/WU HAO

Beijing, Jan 12 (EFE).- China is past the worst of its ongoing wave of coronavirus infections, the head of the Covid-response panel under the National health Commission, Liang Wannian, said in quotes released by state media outlet CGTN late on Wednesday.  “For the overall situation, the first wave of infections is decreasing now in China; … Read more

Japan asks to limit sale of Covid medicines to prevent hoarding by tourists

A man wearing a face mask stands at a medicine store entrance at Sugamo district in Tokyo, Japan, 03 April 2020. EFE/EPA/FILE/FRANCK ROBICHON

Tokyo, Jan 11 (EFE).- The Japanese health ministry has asked shops and pharmacies to check the bulk sale of medicines used to treat Covid, especially to tourists, following reports that several Chinese nationals were buying drugs to send home during their visit to Japan. “There is a lot of news of cases of large purchases … Read more

34.7 million journeys recorded on 1st day of China’s busiest travel season

People wave goodbye at Wuhan railway station in Wuhan, central China's Hubei Province, 07 January 2023 (issued 08 January 2023). EFE-EPA/XINHUA/Wu Zhizun

Beijing, Jan 9 (EFE).- A total of 34.7 million journeys were made on the first day of China’s 40-day holiday period celebrating the Spring Festival, which marks the Lunar New Year, state media reported. The number of trips on Saturday rose by 38.9 percent over last year, an increase facilitated by the dismantling of the … Read more

China defends Covid response after WHO criticism

People walk at the Shanghai Railway Station, in Shanghai, China, 21 December 2022. EPA-EFE/ALEX PLAVEVSKI

Beijing, Jan 5 (EFE).- China on Thursday defended its response to the wave of Covid-19 infections hitting the Asian country after the World Health Organization asked for more data on hospitalizations and deaths. “At the moment, China’s Covid situation is under control,” foreign ministry spokesperson Mao Ning told a press conference. She added that China … Read more

China to drop Covid-19 quarantine for arrivals from January 8

Xiamen (China).- Passengers bound for Beijing board an airplane at the Xiamen Gaoqi International Airport in Xiamen, Fujian province, China, 26 December 2022. EFE/EPA/MARK R. CRISTINO

Beijing, Dec 26 (EFE).- China is due to drop Covid-19 quarantine rules for travelers arriving from overseas as of January 8 in a significant opening up of its borders and dismantling of the draconian zero tolerance policies in place since the early days of the pandemic.  National Health Commission authorities said on official social media … Read more

India braces for possible coronavirus outbreak as cases rise in neighborhood

An Indian health worker collects a swab sample for a COVID-19 test from a passenger arriving on an international flight at the Chennai international airport, in Chennai, India, 24 December 2022. EFE-EPA/IDREES MOHAMMED

New Delhi, Dec 27 (EFE).- Hospitals across India conducted simulated drills on Tuesday to prepare for a possible new Covid-19 outbreak after a record increase in coronavirus cases in neighboring China. “It is critical since Covid cases are expected to increase in the coming days,” federal Health Minister Manshukh Mandaviya said. The minister was speaking … Read more

South Korea considers removing use of masks indoors

File photo of health workers disinfect a street to curb the spread of coronavirus in Daegu, South Korea, 11 April 2020. EFE-EPA/YONHAP FILE

Seoul, Dec 23 (EFE).- South Korea said Friday it plans to withdraw the use of masks indoors in the near future if a series of factors related to the spread of the coronavirus are met. South Korean Prime Minister Han Duck-soo said Thursday at a meeting of the Disaster and Emergency Countermeasures Command, the body … Read more

The rise and fall of China’s PCR testing firms

A health worker takes a woman's PCR test sample, in Shanghai, China, 12 December 2022. EFE/EPA/ALEX PLAVEVSKI

By Guillermo BenavidesBeijing, Dec 15 (EFE).- PCR testing firms have long been the backbone of China’s ‘zero Covid’ policy, which has been in place for two years, but recent unrest has triggered an easing of pandemic measures and with that the laboratories that were once frantically testing the population daily now face an uncertain future. … Read more

Farewell to fear: Chinese propaganda U-turns as zero-Covid abandoned

File image of a queue for a PCR test for COVID-19 in the Chaoyang district of Beijing, China. EFE/WU HAO

By Jesús Centeno Beijing, Dec 9 (EFE).- China began rolling back this week its strict “zero Covid” strategy in the face of unprecedented protests against the draconian policy. The turnaround is underpinned by a sudden change of course in state propaganda, which is now downplaying the risk of the virus. The change of direction started … Read more