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March 15, 2022

Covid-19 update: Germany’s infection spike shows signs of worsening

Global: The global Covid death toll has passed 6 million, with a figure of 6,045,928 according to researchers at Johns Hopkins University. Meanwhile, infections have continued past 459 million to a world wide figure of 459,815,037.

News by region

Americas

US: Covid -19 infections have now passed 79.5 million. Meanwhile, the US coronavirus death toll has increased to more than 965,000 according to Johns Hopkins University data.

Europe

Germany: Germany’s coronavirus infection rate hit a record for the third straight day on Monday, with the renewed surge prompting the country’s top health official to issue a grim warning. Cases climbed to 1,543 per 100,000 people over seven days, continuing its steady rise since the beginning of March, according to data from the RKI public-health institute. The outbreak shows signs of worsening and causing “many deaths,” Health Minister Karl Lauterbach said on Twitter. With most remaining curbs set to expire on Sunday, he urged vaccine holdouts to urgently get their Covid shots.

Asia pacific

India: The Indian government has expanded Covid-19 vaccination to include those between 12 and 14 years of age from March 16. The children will be administered doses of Biological E. Ltd.’s Corbevax while those 15 and older are receiving Covaxin or Covishield jabs. India has also eased the criteria for booster doses and will now allow for all citizens above the age of 60 to get a third shot. Earlier only those elderly with co-morbidities could get a booster dose. The country has administered 1.8 billion vaccine doses so far and recorded almost 43 million confirmed Covid infections so far.

Hong Kong: Hong Kong reported 26,908 Covid cases on Monday through a combination of nucleic acid and rapid antigen tests. The city also announced 249 deaths. More than half the fatalities came from care homes and most were unvaccinated. There are 91 people in critical condition in hospital and 102 in serious condition.

Hong Kong doesn’t have the infrastructure to roll out a lockdown and compulsory testing as swiftly as mainland China, according to Chief Executive Carrie Lam, whose announcement of a now-delayed city-wide test sparked chaos and confusion in the financial hub. Even with the recently increased testing capacity, Hong Kong can still only handle 200,000 to 300,000 samples a day, and would experience some delays, Lam said at a briefing on Monday. “Hong Kong cannot be compared to mainland Chinese cities in many measures,” she said. “If you ask Hong Kong to learn from Shenzhen today and hold a three-round compulsory universal testing campaign within days, I’m afraid we don’t have that level of capacity.”

Indonesia: The country reported 9,629 new Covid-19 cases on Monday, the first time daily infections fell below 10,000 since late January. There were 271 deaths. The government has begun easing movement restrictions across the country, while considering lifting all quarantine requirements for international travellers in April or sooner.

China: Shanghai Tower was locked down Monday, trapping workers and visitors inside as authorities race to contain a spreading Covid-19 outbreak that’s ensnared China’s financial and tech hubs. The building, the second-tallest in the world after Dubai’s Burj Khalifa, was locked down shortly after 8 a.m. local time Monday and people inside are barred from leaving until they are tested for the virus and no positive cases are found, a security guard at the entrance of the building said.

Jilin in northeastern China became the first whole province to be locked down to tame an explosive Omicron outbreak. It’s also the first provincial lockdown since authorities closed the entire Hubei province at the beginning of the pandemic. Residents were barred from leaving the province with a population of 24 million bordering Russia and North Korea. Authorities also asked people not to travel within its borders. The province said 3,868 people tested preliminary positive for Covid as of 12 pm Monday.

Beijing city suspended all after-school in-person classes after a school was shut due a reported case, according to a report by the official Beijing Daily, which cited a city government meeting. Classes such as music and dancing will be affected. The report reiterated that travelers from places where Covid cases are located are banned from entering Beijing.

Economy news

China: Widespread lockdowns in China akin to the measures just taken in the southern technology hub of Shenzhen could affect half of the country’s gross domestic product. Some 23 of the 31 mainland provinces reported confirmed, symptomatic cases over the past week. Including asymptomatic cases, which China counts separately, there were almost 10,000 new cases.

Chinese electric vehicle and battery cell maker BYD is facing some production impacts at its Shenzhen campus. The company didn’t specify which production lines are impacted or to what extent. BYD’s Shenzhen campus is home to EV production, corporate headquarters, and research and development.

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