Global: The global Covid death toll has passed 6 million, with a figure of 6,127,365 according to researchers at Johns Hopkins University. Meanwhile, infections have continued past 480 million to a world wide figure of 482,324,333.
After racing to build capacity and meet once seemingly insatiable orders for Covid-19 shots, the global vaccine industry is facing waning demand as many late-to-market producers fight over a slowing market. The trend is poised to rein in the blockbuster sales that global pharmaceutical giants from Pfizer Inc. to AstraZeneca Plc saw at the peak of the pandemic. It also stands to create new problems for local manufacturers from India to Indonesia that built mammoth capacity to make shots but are now grappling with excess supply. Even as boosters are likely to keep demand alive for Covid inoculations worldwide, the desperate shortages that existed for much of last year have waned. Instead, in a dramatic reversal, the possibility of a global glut is now looking more likely.
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UK: London’s Metropolitan Police are set to issue at least 20 fines to government officials close to the prime minister who broke UK lockdown rules, according to a person familiar with their thinking. The first batch of fines are expected to be levied as soon as Tuesday, the person said, asking not to be identified discussing police business. Prime Minister Boris Johnson is unlikely to be touched by Tuesday’s tranche of fines, the person said. Some people may face more than one fine, they added.
US: Covid -19 infections have now passed 79.9 million. Meanwhile, the US coronavirus death toll has increased to more than 977,000 according to Johns Hopkins University data.
The Biden administration’s plan for fighting future pandemics comes even as it’s asking Congress for funds to combat the current one. The White House asked lawmakers for more than $22 billion in March to replenish Covid-19 response programs, and health officials warned they might need more than that soon. Despite White House pleas, lawmakers have been at a stalemate over approving more funds. Health agencies would get $81.7 billion in mandatory funding over five years to help prepare for future pandemics under President Joe Biden’s proposed fiscal 2023 budget.
Workers who went to the office in ten of the largest US business districts rose to 40% of pre-Covid-19 levels in the week ended 23 March, according to data from Kastle Systems. Employees who went to the office increased 0.4 percentage points from 39.6% the previous week.
Meanwhile, Tesla Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk tweeted that he “supposedly” has been reinfected with Covid-19, though he has almost no symptoms. The high-profile billionaire executive disclosed in November 2020 that he most likely was infected, saying he had moderate symptoms that felt like a minor cold.
Hong Kong: Hong Kong reported 7,685 new infections on Monday, with cases continuing to fall after dropping below five digits for the first time in more than a month over the weekend. There were 143 deaths, mostly elderly and not fully vaccinated. No new infections were found in residential care homes.
China: Shanghai cranked up lockdown restrictions for people residing in the eastern half of the city, barring everyone from leaving their homes even to walk their dogs as local daily Covid-19 infections jumped to a record 4,477 on Tuesday. All residents in the Pudong District, home to many elite financial institutions and the Shanghai Stock Exchange, will be confined to their homes and allowed out only to get a Covid test, according to a statement issued by the area’s residential compounds reviewed by Bloomberg News. Residents shouldn’t walk in the hallways, garages or open areas of their residential compounds in order to reduce the risk of infection, Wu Qianyu, an official with the Shanghai Municipal Health Commission, said during a briefing on Tuesday. That includes walking pets.
China added 6,886 local Covid cases on Monday, the National Health Commission said in statement. The country reported 1,228 confirmed cases, including 1,055 in Jilin and 96 in Shanghai, as well as 5,658 local asymptomatic infections, including 4,381 in Shanghai, 812 in Jilin, 124 in Fujian and 108 in Hebei. A total of 6,215 cases had been reported for Sunday, according to CCTV state television, citing data from the NHC.
China: The Shanghai city government issued measures to aid companies that are hit by the pandemic and partial lockdown. They include encouraging banks to increase lending to retailers and cut rates; offering subsidies to retailers, restaurants, airports and ports; offering more tax cuts, rent reductions for smaller businesses; and accelerating approvals for bond sales of airlines and airports.
Oil demand in China is suffering from a fresh bout of high-profile virus clampdowns, with a staggered, eight-day lockdown spanning its top financial hub weighing on consumption in the world’s biggest importer. In Shanghai, a city of 25 million people, peak morning-time congestion on Monday was 45% below year-ago levels as workers had to stay home, according to data by Baidu Inc. In the eastern side of the sprawling city, some highways were closed, with barricades erected at tunnel and bridge entrances, and some logistics companies halted trucking work from local ports. After four days, the lockdown will be shifted to the western half to allow for mass testing.