Man gambles away huge accidental Covid-19 payment in Japan

A 24-year-old man who was mistakenly paid millions of Japanese yen has already lost the money through online gambling, his lawyer says. The man received 46.3m yen ($357,400; £287,000) in his bank account, money from a Covid-19 relief fund that was supposed to be shared among 463 people. He initially said he would co-operate with officials, but has since vanished. The southern town of Abu in Japan’s Yamaguchi Prefecture is suing the man and also considering criminal action. The blunder happened when the 463 low-income households were meant to receive 100,000 yen ($770; £620) each as part of a government … Continue reading Man gambles away huge accidental Covid-19 payment in Japan

More than a million Covid-19 cases feared in North Korea

North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un has lambasted health officials and ordered the army to help distribute medicine, as a wave of Covid-19 cases sweeps through the country. More than a million people have now been sickened by what Pyongyang is calling a “fever”, state media said. Some 50 people have died, but it’s unclear how many of those suspected cases tested positive for Covid-19. North Korea has only limited testing capacity, so few cases are confirmed. North Koreans are likely to be especially vulnerable to the virus due to lack of vaccinations and a poor healthcare system. A nationwide lockdown … Continue reading More than a million Covid-19 cases feared in North Korea

North Korea orders strict lockdown with first official Covid-19 cases

North Korea has ordered a strict national lockdown after confirming its first official Covid-19 infections. State media have reported an Omicron outbreak in the capital Pyongyang but did not state the number of cases. KCNA said leader Kim Jong-un had vowed to eradicate the outbreak, which they called a “severe national emergency” that had breached the country’s “quarantine front”. But observers believe the virus has long been present in the country. Outsiders say the nation’s 25 million population is vulnerable as North Korea has declined to administer a Covid-19 vaccine programme, even rejecting offers from the international community to supply … Continue reading North Korea orders strict lockdown with first official Covid-19 cases

James Bond star Kenneth Tsang dies in Hongkong quarantine hotel aged 86

Kenneth Tsang Hongkong actor Kenneth Tsang has died aged 86 in a Covid-19 quarantine hotel in Hong Kong, according to reports. The Hollywood actor, best known for his roles in Die Another Day and Rush Hours 2, was staying in isolation at the Kowloon Hotel after he returned from Singapore on Monday. South China Morning Post claims that Ministry of Health found staff found Tsang unconscious on Wednesday and that he could not be revived. Sources told the publication that Tsang had tested negative for Covid-19 earlier in the week and that a cause of death has not yet been … Continue reading James Bond star Kenneth Tsang dies in Hongkong quarantine hotel aged 86

Beijing kicks off mass testing after spike in Coronavirus cases

The Chinese capital Beijing has kicked off mass testing for millions of residents after a spike in Covid-19 cases. The Chaoyang district reported 26 cases over the weekend – the highest number so far in Beijing’s latest surge. Long queues outside supermarkets and shops were seen despite government assurance of a sufficient food supply. It comes amid fears that Beijing could face a similar situation to Shanghai, which has seen some 25 million people shut in their homes for weeks. All 3.5 million residents in the city’s largest Chaoyang district will undergo three rounds of mass testing, according to a … Continue reading Beijing kicks off mass testing after spike in Coronavirus cases

Woman caught virus twice within record 20 days

A 31-year-old healthcare worker caught Covid-19 twice within 20 days – the shortest-known gap between infections, Spanish researchers have claimed. Tests show the woman was infected with two different variants – Delta in late December and then Omicron in January. This shows that even if you have had Covid-19 before, you can still be infected again even if fully vaccinated, the researchers say. Based on that definition, health officials say nearly 900,000 people have potentially been infected twice with Covid-19 up to the start of April. It is difficult to pin down an exact number, because only whole genome sequencing … Continue reading Woman caught virus twice within record 20 days

US judge throws out Biden mask mandate for planes and trains

A federal judge in Florida has struck down the Biden administration’s mask mandate for airplanes and other forms of public transit, calling it unlawful. US District Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle said the national public health agency had exceeded its legal powers in issuing the mandate. The US transit authority said it would now no longer enforce mask wearing. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) just last week extended the mandate until 3 May. Judge Mizelle is based in Florida, but federal judges can issue rulings that block nationwide government policies. Her order on Monday effectively removes the … Continue reading US judge throws out Biden mask mandate for planes and trains

Hong Kong to ease Covid-19 restrictions as infections fall

Hong Kong will ease some social distancing measures later this month, allowing people to dine in at restaurants in the evening and lifting restrictions on private gatherings, as the number of Covid-19 infections declined in recent weeks. From April 21, restaurants will be able to operate until 10 p.m. with a maximum of four people per table, officials said Thursday. Other businesses that were ordered to temporarily close due to Hong Kong’s fifth wave of infections, such as beauty parlors, gyms, theme parks and cinemas, will also be allowed to re-open, although capacity will be limited to 50%. Bars and … Continue reading Hong Kong to ease Covid-19 restrictions as infections fall

Volkswagen scales back operations amid Shanghai lockdown

Businesses including Volkswagen (VW) have scaled back their operations in Shanghai, which is being locked down due to a surge in Covid-19 infections. The German carmaker partially shuttered its factory in the Chinese city on Thursday, citing supply shortages. More than a dozen companies have suspended plans to list their shares in the major financial centre. Economists are concerned that a slow down in Shanghai could affect growth in the world’s second largest economy. On Thursday, official data showed that China’s manufacturing and services sectors slowed this month at a faster pace than expected. The National Bureau of Statistics said … Continue reading Volkswagen scales back operations amid Shanghai lockdown

Hong Kong leader says city’s brain drain ‘unarguable’

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said it was “unarguable” that the global financial hub was seeing a brain drain due to stringent coronavirus rules, but said she valued the city’s international status and envisioned a “better development” after the pandemic.  Lam’s comments come amid a backlash from businesses and residents who see the rest of the world shifting to living with the virus while Hong Kong officially sticks to a “dynamic zero” Covid-19 strategy which seeks to curb all outbreaks as soon as they occur.  Lam said no one valued the international status of … Continue reading Hong Kong leader says city’s brain drain ‘unarguable’

China announces largest city-wide lockdown in Shanghai

China has announced its biggest city-wide lockdown since the Covid-19 outbreak began more than two years ago. The city of Shanghai will be locked down in two stages over nine days while authorities carry out Covid-19 testing. The important financial hub has battled a new wave of infections for nearly a month, although case numbers are not high by some international standards. Authorities had so far resisted locking down the city of some 25 million people to avoid destabilizing the economy. But after Shanghai recorded its highest daily number of cases on Saturday since the early days of the pandemic, … Continue reading China announces largest city-wide lockdown in Shanghai

Hong Kong leader to review Covid-19 restrictions in coming days

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said on Thursday she would review Covid-19 restrictions in coming days, as she understands people in the global financial centre are growing increasingly impatient with rules that have isolated the city and hurt business. Restrictions, including a ban on flights from nine countries such as Britain and the United States, quarantine of up to 14 days for people arriving in Hong Kong, a ban on face-to-face classes and the closings of gyms and most public venues have frustrated many residents in the city of 7.4 million. Speaking at a regular Covid-19 media briefing, Lam said … Continue reading Hong Kong leader to review Covid-19 restrictions in coming days