COVID digest: Beijing expands mass testing, shuts neighborhoods
27 April 2022 | 10:29 am
Beijing has launched a mass testing drive to detect as many infections as possible in a bid to contain a new outbreak. Meanwhile, Germany's finance minister tests negative for COVID.
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In China, there are fears not just of a Covid wave but maybe a tsunami. Funeral parlours are overwhelmed and hospitals are packed with elderly patients on respirators. This comes after the lifting of China's zero-Covid restrictions following protests. The World Health Organization, meanwhile, is pointing the finger, saying China's official virus data is being under-reported.
On Sunday, tens of thousands of travelers flew in and out of China without having to submit to stringent centralised quarantine requirements. The change in policy is raising hope in neighboring countries that this will signal the return of Chinese tourists. Holiday bookings have already increased and markets are trading higher on the news, but as we explain, it will take some time for travel to return to what it was before the pandemic.
Beijing has started retaliatory moves against countries which have imposed restrictions on Chinese travelers, with Japan also reportedly targeted.
As families and friends reunite around China, the milestone is bittersweet for the coronavirus threat remains high and authorities have used the pandemic to develop a more efficient set of tools to crack down on society.
Chinese police have arrested scores of "white paper" protesters more than a month after unprecedented demonstrations nationwide. Many fear detained protesters are being psychologically and physically abused.
China has just recorded its first population decline in 60 years. With the birthrate expected to fall further over the next decade, the consequences for Beijing's economic ambitions could be huge.
It is the first Lunar New Year celebration since China's communist leadership lifted the country's strict measures to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
French luxury goods giant LVMH is not feeling the post-Covid pinch. The group has released its figures for 2022, which show revenue just below the bar of €80 billion. Meanwhile, shipments of smartphones have dropped to a near-decade low. Finally, we find out about a lawsuit that involves King Charles III and Elon Musk.
What's left of Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement? Since the implementation of the 2020 National Security law, police have been arresting anti-regime activists en masse. Most are now in prison or in exile. Authorities dissuade and crack down on all forms of protest.
In November 2022, thousands of young Chinese people took to the streets to protest repeated Covid-19 lockdowns, constant PCR tests and to demand greater freedom. The movement was stifled in a few days and authorities abandoned their strict zero-Covid policy. But if China's youth took the risk to voice their anger, it's because their frustration goes well beyond Covid rules. FRANCE 24's Lou Kisiela, Antoine Morel and Yan Chen report.
Estonia wants Brussels to find and fund more ammunition for Kyiv. The European Commission believes its recent experience with COVID vaccines will work for much-needed missiles for Ukraine.
FBI Director Christopher Wray has accused China of obstructing US efforts to find the cause of the coronavirus pandemic. He said his agency believes COVID-19 spread due to a lab accident in the city of Wuhan.
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