Japan announces limited “test tourism” from May as step to full re-opening

TOKYO – Japan said on Tuesday it would start conducting “test tourism” in the form of limited package tours in May as a way of gathering information prior to a full re-opening of the country to tourism. Though tourism was a major pillar of Japan’s economy, tourists have not been permitted to enter since it adopted strict border controls in 2020 at the start of the coronavirus pandemic. Regulations have been loosened slightly to allow…

"Japan announces limited “test tourism” from May as step to full re-opening"

Shanghai achieves ‘zero COVID’ status but normal life is weeks away

SHANGHAI/BEIJING – Shanghai achieved on Tuesday the long-awaited milestone of three consecutive days with no new COVID-19 cases outside quarantine zones but most residents will have put up with confinement for a while longer before a return to more normal life. For other cities in China that have been under lockdown, a third day with no new cases in the community usually means “zero COVID” status and the beginning of the lifting of restrictions. The…

"Shanghai achieves ‘zero COVID’ status but normal life is weeks away"

COVID-19 may spread rapidly in North Korea, WHO warns

GENEVA – The World Health Organization warned on Monday that COVID-19 may spread rapidly in North Korea, where it said vaccination programmes had yet to begin. “With the country yet to initiate COVID-19 vaccination, there is risk that the virus may spread rapidly among the masses unless curtailed with immediate and appropriate measures,” said Poonam Khetrapal Singh, WHO’s regional director for South-East Asia, in a statement sent to journalists. In the same statement, the WHO…

"COVID-19 may spread rapidly in North Korea, WHO warns"

EU says no final decision taken on ending Valneva COVID vaccine contract

BRUSSELS – The European Commission said on Monday that no final decision had been made about the possible termination of a contract with Valneva to supply its COVID-19 vaccine to the European Union. Valneva said earlier on Monday it had received a notice of intent from the Commission to terminate the contract. The statement triggered a sell-off of the company’s shares, which lost one-fifth of their value in few hours. EU Commission spokesman Stefan de…

"EU says no final decision taken on ending Valneva COVID vaccine contract"

Lacking vaccines, N.Korea battles COVID with antibiotics, home remedies

SEOUL – Standing tall in bright red hazmat suits, five North Korean health workers stride towards an ambulance to do battle with a COVID-19 outbreak that – in the presumed absence of vaccines – the country is using antibiotics and home remedies to treat. The isolated state is one of only two countries yet to begin a vaccination campaign and, until last week, had insisted it was COVID-free. Now it is mobilizing forces including the…

"Lacking vaccines, N.Korea battles COVID with antibiotics, home remedies"

Factbox-Shanghai provides roadmap out of lockdown

– Shanghai authorities on Monday provided their clearest timetable yet on lifting the city’s lockdown that has been in place for over six weeks, saying they plan to fully restore normal life from June 1. Draconian measures to stop the spread of COVID-19 in China’s largest city have generated widespread frustration and anger among its 25 million residents and contributed to a slowdown in the country’s economic activity. Most people have been forbidden to leave…

"Factbox-Shanghai provides roadmap out of lockdown"

Valneva informed by EU it plans to drop COVID vaccine deal

-Valneva on Monday warned it may have to reassess its financial guidance after the European Commission informed the company of its intent to terminate an advance purchase agreement (“APA”) for its VLA2001 COVID-19 candidate vaccine. “The EC decision is regrettable especially as we continue to receive messages from Europeans who are looking for a more traditional vaccine solution,” CEO Thomas Lingelbach said in a statement. “Based on the outcome of the discussions with the European…

"Valneva informed by EU it plans to drop COVID vaccine deal"

Shanghai targets June 1 return to normal as COVID lockdowns cool economy

SHANGHAI/BEIJING – Shanghai set out plans on Monday for the return of more normal life from June 1 and the end of a painful COVID-19 lockdown that has lasted more than six weeks and contributed to a sharp slowdown in China’s economic activity. In the clearest timetable yet, Deputy Mayor Zong Ming said Shanghai’s reopening would be carried out in stages, with movement curbs largely to remain in place until May 21 to prevent a…

"Shanghai targets June 1 return to normal as COVID lockdowns cool economy"

China reports 1,227 new COVID cases for May 15 vs 1,789 a day earlier

BEIJING – Mainland China reported 1,227 new coronavirus cases for May 15, of which 151 were symptomatic and 1,076 were asymptomatic, the National Health Commission said on Monday. That compares with 1,789 new cases a day earlier, consisting of 239 symptomatic and 1,550 asymptomatic infections, which China counts separately. There were four new deaths, bringing the death toll to 5,213. As of May 15, mainland China had confirmed 221,955 coronavirus cases.

"China reports 1,227 new COVID cases for May 15 vs 1,789 a day earlier"