COVID-19: What you need to know about the coronavirus pandemic this week

A sanitation worker drives past an intersection amid lockdown measures to curb the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Sanya, Hainan province, China, 6 August 2022.

COVID-19 restrictions have been introduced or extended in many Chinese cities. Image: via REUTERS

Joe Myers
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  • This weekly COVID-19 news round-up brings you a selection of the latest news and updates on the coronavirus pandemic, as well as tips and tools to help you stay informed and protected.
  • Top stories: COVID-19 restrictions continue across China; Long COVID risk in children; Mask rules return in New Delhi.

1. How COVID-19 is affecting the globe

Confirmed cases of COVID-19 have passed 590.3 million globally, according to Johns Hopkins University. The number of confirmed deaths has now passed 6.43 million. More than 12.45 billion vaccination doses have been administered globally, according to Our World in Data.

North Korea has dropped rules on face masks and social distancing after it declared victory over COVID-19.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will no longer recommend quarantines or test-to-stay programmes at schools or daycare facilities for people who have been exposed to COVID-19.

Global vaccine sharing facility COVAX has now delivered more than 1.6 billion COVID-19 vaccine doses, according to data from the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (Gavi).

Russia's new confirmed daily COVID-19 cases jumped to 25,815 on Thursday, authorities said.

New Delhi will make it compulsory to wear face masks again, after data showed a rise in COVID-19 infections. People caught without masks in the Indian capital will have to pay a 500 rupee ($6) fine.

The UK has become the first country to approve Moderna's variant-adapted COVID-19 vaccine that targets both the original and Omicron variants of the virus.

Daily new confirmed COVID-19 cases per million people in selected countries
Daily new confirmed COVID-19 cases per million people in selected countries. Image: Our World in Data

2. COVID-19 restrictions continue in parts of China

Cities in the Chinese tourism hub of Hainan province extended lockdowns on Friday. Dongfang and Chengmai – which have a combined population of around 900,000 – said on Friday that they would prolong lockdowns that were previously scheduled for three or four days to around a week.

Hainan is currently the worst-hit Chinese region, and its capital Haikou on Friday put its 2.9 million population under lockdown between 07.00 and 18.00, following similar restrictions on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday.

Several million people in other cities in Hainan, including Sanya, are under lockdown and do not have clear dates for when the curbs will end.

Shanghai has also extended its weekly COVID-19 testing requirement until the end of September, with free testing rolled out to the same point. The city says all schools will open on 1 September, though.

There are also fresh restrictions in cities including Yiwu and three areas in the western region of Xinjiang, including the capital Urumqi.


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3. Long COVID risk for children

A small study has added to evidence that children can develop long COVID, even if the virus did not make them seriously ill. Researchers in Texas tracked 1,813 children from late 2020 to May this year and found that 4.5% had symptoms for up to 12 weeks and 3.3% had symptoms for longer than 12 weeks.

The risk for persistent symptoms was highest in children who had been hospitalized, but 93% of those with long COVID had reported only mild or moderate illness when first infected.

Most of the children with long COVID had not been vaccinated, according to the study, published in The Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal. "There may be a perception that one needs to be hospitalized to have long COVID, and that is not what we found. I encourage parents to still take caution and get their child vaccinated against COVID-19 because we now know that it will decrease the risk of infection and long COVID," study leader Sarah Messiah of the University of Texas said.

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