(Bloomberg) — Chinese President Xi Jinping has pledged to reduce the economic impact of his measures to fight Covid, signaling a shift in a long-standing strategy that has minimized fatalities but weighs heavily on the second largest economy in the world.

China will stick to the dynamic Covid Zero, which has worked well and is scientific, Wang Hesheng, vice head of the National Health Commission, said at a briefing on Friday. The strategy has had short-term effects on the economies of some regions, but not all economic effects can be attributed to the policy.

The update follows Xi’s comment that China “will strive to achieve the maximum prevention and control effect at the lowest cost and minimize the impact of the epidemic on economic and social development.”

Xi Signals Strategy Tweak, Shenzhen Eases Lockdown: Virus Update

Shenzhen’s technology hub will allow factories and public transportation in five districts to resume operations while the rest of the city remains on lockdown. Shanghai is expanding its mass testing to lower-risk regions, while Tesla Inc. production at its factory in the city resumed Friday after a two-day shutdown, Reuters reported, citing people it did not identify.

Elsewhere, Moderna Inc. filed with U.S. regulatory agencies for an all-adult second booster injection, which covers more people than Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE’s request for a more limited emergency clearance for those over 65.

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China sticks to Dynamic Covid Zero (3:35pm HK)

China will stick to the dynamic Covid Zero policy, which has worked well and is scientific, said Wang Hesheng, vice head of the National Health Commission.

The strategy has had short-term effects on the economies of some regions, but not all economic effects can be attributed to the policy.

A revised treatment protocol is not a relaxation of existing Covid control policies, said Jiao Yahui, an official with the commission.

HK says report self-tests, or else (1:47 PM HK)

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam called on residents to immediately report positive results from Covid in-home testing or face legal repercussions, amid reports that the city’s sweeping outbreak is undercounting.

“It is our duty as the government and law enforcement to tell people that there is a legal basis,” Lam said during her daily briefing on Friday. “If there are people who blatantly refuse to comply, isn’t it up to the law enforcement agency to do something?” she said.

The city will give as much as HK$8,000 per month for three months to workers with monthly salaries less than HK$30,000 affected by the outbreak.

Thailand relaxes visa rules for tourists (12:56 a.m. HK)

Thailand scraps a pre-arrival Covid-free certificate requirement for vaccinated foreign visitors, even as the record reported new infections.

Visitors to Thailand now only need to undergo an RT-PCR test on arrival and a self-antigen test on day five, said Chote Trachu, permanent secretary of the Ministry of Tourism and Sports.

The country reported 27,071 new cases on Friday, a record daily, as an ommicron-driven Covid wave sweeps through much of the country.

Shanghai expands mass testing (11:14 a.m. HK)

Shanghai will conduct massive nucleic acid testing in lower-risk regions from Friday to Sunday, after mandating such testing in key areas from Wednesday to Thursday, according to a statement from the city government.

The city has proposed that local residents work from home and reduce exercise.

Hong Kong’s deaths surpass the mainland (10:57 a.m. HK)

The current Covid-19 outbreak in Hong Kong has been so deadly that more people have died in the city than the official death toll in the rest of China.

While the outbreak appears to have peaked in early March, deaths are expected to continue to climb as they lag behind infections and the virus continues to spread among some of the most vulnerable residents of the city’s care homes.

Shenzhen eases lockdown, firefighters (10:36am HK)

Shenzhen will allow factories and public transportation in various parts of the city to resume operations on Friday.

A total of five districts will reopen after a citywide lockdown, allowing workers to return to their offices while train and bus services restart after being closed since Monday. Movement restrictions still apply for the rest of the city.

The city has fired some government officials for dereliction of duty over Covid checks in the central Futian district, the Shenzhen Special Zone Daily reported.

China cuts prices for Covid test kits (9:37am HK)

China’s local authorities have cut the prices of Covid rapid antigen test products by nearly half through centralized sourcing, in a week after such test kits were allowed in virus prevention protocols, China Business News reported.

Moderna requests FDA nod for fourth shot (9:34 a.m. HK)

Moderna Inc. has filed for US regulatory approval for a second Covid-19 booster shot for all adults, covering significantly more people than Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE’s request earlier this week for a more limited emergency clearance for those over 65.

Authorizing a different dose for all adults would give the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention “flexibility” to decide the appropriate use of a fourth injection, Moderna said in a statement.

Local Covid cases in China rise to 4,130 (9:08 a.m. HK)

China reported 2,388 local confirmed Covid infections on Thursday, including 1,834 in Jilin, 113 in Fujian and 74 in Guangdong, the National Health Commission said in a statement.

It also reported 1,742 asymptomatic cases.

Xi signals strategy adjustments as economic pressure mounts (8:19 a.m. HK)

China will “strive to achieve the maximum prevention and control effect at the lowest cost and minimize the impact of the epidemic on economic and social development,” Chinese President Xi Jinping told a standing committee meeting on Thursday. of the politburo, the most important decision of the Communist Party. making body.

It is the first time Xi has emphasized minimizing the economic costs of Covid prevention at a politburo meeting since the start of the pandemic in 2020, according to a Bloomberg search on the government’s website.

HK can lighten curbs in 6-8 weeks, says SCMP (8:15 a.m. HK)

Hong Kong can ease pandemic-fighting measures in six to eight weeks at the earliest if the city can achieve at least 90% full immunization among the elderly and enough of Pfizer Inc’s Covid pills. can get, the South China Morning Post reported, citing an interview with government medical adviser Gabriel Leung.

According to the report, the two conditions would protect the vulnerable from an expected “exit wave” of infections when social distancing measures are lifted.

South Korea allows larger gatherings on Monday (7:37 a.m. HK)

South Korea will allow eight people to be reported in private gatherings from March 21, easing the latest social distancing measures that allowed as many as six people.

The closing times for cafes and restaurants remain at 11pm

Southeast Asian tourist hubs light up curbs (6:41am HK)

Southeast Asia’s tourist havens, from Bali to Bangkok, are moving to reopen further, rolling back Covid-19 restrictions to attract more visitors and bolster growth in their tourism-dependent economies.

Vietnam on Thursday waived quarantine rules for all international travelers, while the Philippines and Malaysia will also allow quarantine-free entry to all fully vaccinated travelers from April 1. In Indonesia, the government will provide an update on its virus measures on Monday, after saying it would lift quarantine measures for international travel in April or earlier after a trial run in Bali.

Draghi puts restrictions on Italy’s exit (3:15am HK)

Italy will phase out almost all Covid-19 restrictions from the end of March, Prime Minister Mario Draghi said.

At the end of the month, Draghi’s government will end the state of emergency that began in 2020 when Italy became the first country to go into lockdown. There will also be an end to a three-tier system used to adjust the restrictions on the infestation rates in each area.

From April, a Covid-19 pass will no longer be required to eat outside and people will be allowed to enter their workplace with a negative Covid test, which means that a vaccination mandate for all employees will lapse. No vaccination certificate will be required for eateries in May, and curbs will be further relaxed at schools and in transport.

Fauci says US business could ramp up quickly (3:02am HK)

The US could soon see the number of cases increase again and vulnerable people will likely need a fourth dose of vaccine, one of President Joe Biden’s top health advisers warned, as the White House asks for more money to fight the pandemic.

Anthony Fauci, the longtime head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and an adviser to Biden, said British officials are already warning him of an increase there, driven by the BA.2 subvariant, easing restrictions and protecting against vaccines wane, and that the US tends to trail UK case curves by a few weeks

Germany takes up most curbs despite record highs (1:33am HK)

Germany will lift most of its curbs this weekend, despite record high infection rates, as hospitalization rates remain relatively low, Chancellor Olaf Scholz said Thursday.

“The coronavirus pandemic is not over yet,” Scholz told a news conference in Berlin after talks with state prime ministers. “But the good news is that the situation in hospitals is not developing as dramatically as it once was with such high infection rates.”

Some states, including the capital Berlin, have said they will maintain the restrictions until the end of this month. Health Minister Karl Lauterbach has repeatedly warned against complacency, warning that the outbreak could still cause “many deaths”.

Drug makers increase stocks of Pfizer’s pill (8:49 PM HK)

About three dozen drug makers, based in countries ranging from Bangladesh to Vietnam, will launch low-cost versions of Pfizer Inc.’s Covid-19 pill. as part of an effort to expand the supply of the highly effective drug in lower-income regions.

The manufacturers include Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, Hikma Pharmaceuticals, Cipla Ltd. and Fosun Pharma.

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