New Covid test rule in Beijing, 5th wave fear in South Africa: World roundup

Published on May 01, 2022 08:25 AM IST
South Korea will join the list of nations who have done away with mask mandates for public places. Meanwhile, cases are rising again in South Africa, prompting fear of a fifth Covid wave. Here are top 8 updates on global Covid-19 situation
A health worker takes a swab sample from a woman to be tested for Covid-19 coronavirus along a street in Beijing on Saturday.(AFP)
A health worker takes a swab sample from a woman to be tested for Covid-19 coronavirus along a street in Beijing on Saturday.(AFP)
ByIshika Yadav | Edited by Swati Bhasin

While cases in China’s Shanghai are gradually dropping, residents in the capital city of Beijing are now under stricter Covid-19 curbs. In a bid to avoid a Shanghai-like outbreak, authorities in the Chinese capital have made a negative Covid-19 test mandatory for anyone who wants to enter a public place starting May 5, reports said.

In Southeast Asia, South Korea will join the list of nations who have done away with mask mandates for public places. Meanwhile, cases are rising again in South Africa, prompting fear of a fifth Covid wave.

Here are top 8 updates on global Covid-19 situation

1. The Beijing authorities have made a negative Covid-19 test mandatory for residents to enter public places, news agency AFP reported. A negative Covid test - taken within the past week - will be needed starting May 5 to enter "all kinds of public areas and to take public transport", according to a notice on the city's official WeChat page. For activities such as sporting events and group travel, participants will also need to show a negative Covid test taken within 48 hours, along with proof of "full vaccination”, according to the new rules.

2. Beijing reported 67 new infections on Saturday as per news agency AP, taking the city's total to nearly 300 since April 22. Faced with fears of the spread of the highly transmissible Omicron variant, Chinese officials have doubled down on their zero-Covid policy, quashing virus clusters through mass testing and lockdowns.

3. China's eastern commercial hub of Shanghai reported 38 new symptomatic Covid-19 related deaths on Saturday as against 47 deaths a day earlier, the local health authority said as per Reuters. The city also reported a single-day spike of 7,084 asymptomatic cases and 788 symptomatic cases on Saturday. On Friday, Shanghai reported zero symptomatic cases outside its quarantined areas for the first time since the recent outbreak.

4. In Europe, Germany on Friday witnessed 1,01,610 new cases as well as 214 new deaths linked to the virus. The country’s overall death toll on Friday stood at 135,292. The Covid-19 data for Saturday is yet to be released.

5. Face masks will remain compulsory in Italy in public places and in some indoor venues until June 15. “Masks will still be required to access cinemas, theatres, indoor events and to enter hospitals,” Health Minister Roberto Speranza said, adding that the government intends to be cautious in lifting the remaining measures as cases dip.

6. Meanwhile, the government of South Korea says it will lift the outdoor face mask mandate starting Monday as the country eases its Covid restrictions. The country loosened several other restrictions earlier in April after the Covid wave in March subsided.

7. Experts fear that South Africa may be entering a fifth Covid wave after a sustained rise in infections over the past 14 days. The surge seems to be driven by the BA.4 and BA.5 Omicron sub-variants, health officials and scientists said on Friday as per Reuters. South Africa experienced a fourth wave only around January this year.

8. More than 510.98 million people across the globe have been infected by coronavirus since the beginning of the pandemic, according to a Reuters tally. The global death toll now stands at 6,633,596. Infections have been reported in more than 210 countries and territories since the first cases were identified in China in December 2019.

(With inputs from AP, AFP, Reuters)

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