Global: The global Covid death toll has passed 6 million, with a figure of 6,143,065 according to researchers at Johns Hopkins University. Meanwhile, infections have continued past 480 million to a world wide figure of 488,438,361.

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US: Covid -19 infections have now passed 80 million. Meanwhile, the US coronavirus death toll has increased to more than 980,000 according to Johns Hopkins University data.

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Democrats and Republicans are near agreement on a $10 billion Covid-19 funding package as the White House mounts a last-ditch effort to salvage money for global vaccine efforts that had been championed by President Joe Biden. Utah Senator Mitt Romney, the top GOP negotiator on the bill, said Thursday afternoon that there is an agreement in principle but that Republicans are awaiting a cost estimate from the Congressional Budget Office.

US high school students endured widespread emotional and physical pain during the relative isolation of Covid-19, reporting high rates of abuse, sadness and distress in the home during early 2021. Roughly half of high-schoolers reported emotional abuse by a parent or difficulty completing schoolwork since the pandemic began, according to analyses of government surveys of about 7,000 ninth to 12th graders across the US in the first half of last year. Around one in four reported experiencing hunger or economic insecurity, and one in 10 said they had been physically abused by a parent.


UK: The number of patients in London hospitals testing positive for Covid-19 has risen to the highest in almost two months. There were 2,330 people in the UK capital’s hospitals who had the virus on Wednesday, the most since 3 February, according to data from NHS England. The figures showed that 563 patients were treated primarily for Covid-19 while the others were admitted for other reasons. Hospitalizations remain far below the recent winter-peak in early January, with just over 100 patients on mechanical ventilation. The rise in admissions follows a spike in new infections after the government ended pandemic rules in England at the end of February.

Asia pacific

Indonesia: Indonesians who have had their third vaccine shot don’t need to show a negative test result when traveling domestically during Ramadan and Eid period, Suharyanto, head of the Covid-19 task force, said in a briefing. Those who have had two shots can show either a negative result from an antigen test taken in the last 24 hours or a PCR test taken in the last three days. Those who have only had one shot must show a negative result from a PCR test taken in the last three days. About 79 million people are expected to travel across the country to celebrate Eid al-Fitr this year, said Transport Minister Budi Karya Sumadi.

India: The government of Maharashtra, of which Mumbai is the capital, has decided to remove all pandemic-related curbs, Uddhav Thackeray, Chief Minister of the state, said in a tweet. The decision comes a week after the federal advisory to states recommending easing of restrictions.

New Delhi is also discussing the lifting of curbs, the Mint newspaper reported. India recorded 1,225 covid cases on Thursday.

Philippines: The Philippine capital region will remain under the loosest movement restrictions as cases stayed low. Metro Manila, which accounts for about one-third of the nation’s economic output, will stay under Alert Level 1 from April 1 to 15, presidential spokesman Martin Andanar said in a statement Thursday. Most businesses, including restaurants and gyms, can operate at full capacity. Daily coronavirus infections have remained below 500 in the past week, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

China: China is struggling to manage growing public unhappiness over tough Covid Zero measures in Shanghai, as some residents revolt against lockdown orders. Tech giant Tencent Holdings Ltd. took down two videos earlier this week of a rare protest at a Shanghai housing compound after they started trending on the company’s WeChat microblogging and video publishing platforms, according to a person familiar with the matter. The videos had been posted by users to their WeChat timelines, the person said.

Meanwhile, Shanghai started part two of its phased lockdown on Friday, confining some 16 million people living in the western part of the city to their homes after ending a four-day lockdown of the eastern half. Residents in the western part of the Chinese financial hub, where about two-thirds of Shanghai’s population lives, were confined to their homes starting at 3 am on Friday. Shanghai officials said the lockdown in the eastern part of the city met its goal, as the Covid positivity rate fell.

Many patients have died in recent days at a large Shanghai elderly-care hospital amid a Covid outbreak, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the situation. Shanghai hasn’t officially reported any Covid-related deaths or outbreaks in its elderly-care centers since cases began climbing in March. The fatalities are a sign that infections are hitting Shanghai harder than authorities have publicly disclosed, the report said.

Thailand: Thailand reported a record number of new Covid infections for a second day, with the death toll jumping to the highest in more than five months. The Health Ministry on Friday reported 28,379 confirmed cases in the past 24 hours, including 62 imported cases, while there were 92 fatalities. Starting Friday, no pre-travel Covid tests will be required for foreign visitors to Thailand as the tourism-reliant nation seeks to draw more holiday-makers to help it sustain a nascent economic recovery. Overseas visitors will still be required to undergo an RT-PCR test on arrival and a self-administered antigen test on day five.

South Korea: South Korea will ease social distancing measures, allowing private gatherings of up to 10 people and restaurants to operate until midnight as there are signs that the spread of the omicron variant is slowing, Prime Minister Kim Boo-kyum said in a meeting.  Currently, up to 8 people are allowed in private gatherings, and restaurants and cafes must close by 11 pm The eased measures will be effective Monday.South Korea will consider lifting most social distancing measures if the Covid-19 spread continues to slow for the next two weeks, Health Minister Kwon Deok-cheol said during a briefing.

South Korea on Thursday reported 320,743 more coronavirus cases, compared with a record 621,328 cases reported earlier in March.