Health and Healthcare Systems

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

Men wearing face masks following the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak stand in front of a large globe in Shanghai, China, 4 August 2022.

New COVID-19 restrictions are coming into force in parts of China. Image: REUTERS/Aly Song

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 COVID-19 news stories: New restrictions introduced across China; North Korea says all its fever patients have recovered; New Zealand hopes latest wave has peaked.

1. How COVID-19 is affecting the globe

Confirmed cases of COVID-19 have passed 584.6 million globally, according to Johns Hopkins University. The number of confirmed deaths has now passed 6.41 million. More than 12.4 billion vaccination doses have been administered globally, according to Our World in Data.

New Zealand's health ministry believes the country's latest COVID-19 wave might have peaked. "Case rates have continued to trend lower across all regions for the second week running," the New Zealand Public Health Agency's Deputy Director-General, Andrew Old, said on 4 August.

Hong Kong SAR, China, has reduced the minimum age for getting vaccinated with China's Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine to six months from three years.

It comes as Hong Kong shortens the COVID-19 hotel quarantine period for all arrivals to three days from seven.

The European Commission has signed a joint procurement contract with Spanish pharmaceutical firm HIPRA for the supply of its protein COVID-19 vaccine, which will be available if approved by the European Medicines Agency.

Russia reported 20,303 new COVID-19 cases on 7 August – its highest figure since 28 March. It comes as the state statistics service Rosstat said Russia has registered a total of 820,307 COVID-related deaths since the start of the pandemic.

US President Joe Biden has left isolation, after testing negative for COVID-19. He had spent more than two weeks at the White House.

North Korea has said all of its fever patients have recovered, marking the end of its first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. State media said the "anti-epidemic situation ... has entered a definite phase of stability".

Confirmed COVID-19 cases continue to fall in the United Kingdom, dropping by more than half a million in a week, to 2.6 million.

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

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New COVID-19 restrictions imposed across China

The Chinese city of Yiwu has imposed new COVID-19 restrictions after a rise in cases. The measures include lockdowns in some areas, the closure of multiple entertainment venues and the suspension of some public gatherings and dining at restaurants.

City-wide mass testing took place on 4 August. Yiwu is a major manufacturing export hub in eastern China and home to 1.9 million people.

The province of Hainan locked down more areas on 8 August as it battles its worst COVID-19 outbreak. The island in the South China Sea – which recorded just two local symptomatic COVID cases last year – has reported more than 1,400 domestically transmitted infections this month, including 982 symptomatic ones.

The tourist resort of Sanya, which is on the island, imposed a lockdown on Saturday and restricted transport links.

In Macau SAR, residents have been instructed to conduct at least two days of COVID-19 tests, after a person who travelled from the region to the neighbouring city of Zhuhai tested positive.

China has shortened the suspension time for inbound international flights on routes found to have COVID-19 cases. The country's aviation regulator says that flights on a route with an identified coronavirus case will be suspended for one week if 4% of passengers test positive, and for two weeks if 8% of passengers test positive.

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