A woman in personal protective equipment (PPE) rides a bicycle on a street during the lockdown to curb the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Shanghai, China, 5 April 2022. REUTERS/Aly Song

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May 27 (Reuters) – Here’s what you need to know about the pandemic now:

Shanghai takes small steps to end lockdown

Shanghai took gradual steps to lift its COVID-19 lockdown on Friday, while Beijing investigated cases where its strict restrictions interfered with other medical treatments, while China continued with its uneven exit from restrictions. Continue reading

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The two cities have been hotspots, with a tough two-month lockdown to stem a coronavirus surge in Shanghai and strict restrictions on movement to stamp out a small but persistent outbreak in the capital Beijing.

Some border areas in the northeastern province of Jilin have reported transmissions of the virus with an unclear source. Jilin borders Russia and North Korea. Continue reading

Beijing is offering senior residents government-backed insurance for “medical accidents” related to COVID-19 vaccinations to reduce vaccine reluctance among those most at risk. Continue reading

North Korea is testing rivers, air and trash as efforts against COVID gather momentum

North Korean health authorities are testing rivers, lakes, the air, and household sewage and garbage for the coronavirus as the country ramps up its fight against its first outbreak, state media said on Friday. Continue reading

The isolated country has been in a heated battle against an unprecedented COVID wave since it declared a state of emergency and imposed a nationwide lockdown this month, raising concerns about vaccine shortages, medical supplies and food shortages.

In the months before acknowledging its first official COVID-19 outbreak, North Korea suddenly imported millions of face masks, 1,000 ventilators and possibly vaccines from China, trade data released by Beijing showed. Continue reading

Taiwan’s COVID cases plateau

The pandemic in Taiwan has plateaued, with cases at a high but stable level, the government said on Friday as it stuck to a policy of gradually easing restrictions and letting the island live with the virus. Continue reading

Health Minister Chen Shih-chung said infections could stay near current levels for a while before receding. He has previously forecast a peak could occur in late May.

Japan PM doubles border entry to 20,000/day from June

Japan will double the maximum number of people allowed in each day at border crossings to 20,000 from June 1 as part of a gradual easing of restrictions, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said on Thursday.

Japan has maintained some of the world’s tightest border controls for the past two years to stem the spread of COVID-19 and hamper inbound tourism, which has been a key driver of economic growth.

Hesitance on COVID vaccines in South Africa due to fear of side effects

Fears about the possible side effects and effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines have been the main reasons for hesitation among thousands of South Africans, a government-backed poll showed on Thursday. Continue reading

South Africa, where about half of its 40 million adults have received at least one dose of the vaccine, has been hardest hit by the pandemic in terms of confirmed infections and deaths across Africa.

Swiss wants to destroy more than 620,000 expired Moderna cans

Switzerland will shred more than 620,000 expired doses of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine, health officials said on Friday, as demand for the shots falls dramatically.

“It was deliberately accepted that under certain circumstances too much vaccine was procured for Switzerland’s needs,” said a spokesman for the Federal Office of Public Health. Continue reading

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Compiled by Linda Noakes

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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