Hong Kong has previously avoided lockdowns in the city during the pandemic, with leader Carrie Lam stating in July last year that authorities will avoid taking such “extreme measures” unless it had no other choice.
The dire language is meant as a call to action, but it's also a deliberate effort to temper expectations. In addition, it is an explicit rejection of President Donald Trump’s tack of talking down the coronavirus pandemic and its economic toll.
The White House has also hinted that it’s considering seeking changes to the Trans Pacific Partnership, an 11-nation Asia-Pacific trade deal meant as a counterweight to China’s economic clout. Trump pulled the US out of the accord, but it survived and Canada and Mexico remain in it.
Biden and Prime Minister Narendra Modi have spoken once since the American leader’s election last November, and could again soon as the president begins calling counterparts in allied and partner countries
A year ago Saturday, Wuhan shocked the world by ordering 11 million anxious citizens be confined at home, beginning a traumatic 76-day lockdown that underscored the growing threat of a then-mysterious pathogen emanating from the city.
The 30-nation Nato alliance is also not backing the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), which is now part of international law and seen as a historic step to rid the world of its deadliest weapons.
“We’ve been informed today that in addition to spreading more quickly, it also now appears that there is some evidence that the new variant - the variant that was first discovered in London and the southeast (of England) - may be associated with a higher degree of mortality,” he told a news briefing.
The United States is the nation hardest-hit by Covid-19, with 24.51 million cases and 409,987 deaths by early Friday morning. More than 4,000 Americans died of the disease on Thursday for the second day in a row.