Sat. May 21st, 2022

New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has said her government will reintroduce strict Covid-19 restrictions – forcing her to cancel her own wedding plans – while Asia-Pacific countries are struggling to stop the spread of the variant. .

The measures, which include the introduction of stricter mask wear and rules for social distance, follow an outbreak of nine cases among a family traveling between Auckland and the South Island to attend a wedding. New Zealand has been closed to foreign non-residents since March 2020.

The restrictions in New Zealand and other Asia-Pacific countries stand in contrast to the United Kingdom, where Boris Johnson, whose premiership is threatened by a Covid-19 party scandal, said last week “Plan B” pandemic measures such as wearing masks on public transport would be phased out.

“Our strategy is to slow down the distribution of Omicron,” Ardern said. New Zealand was one of the last countries to abandon attempts to eliminate the virus by closing borders and imposing strict restrictions – leaving China as the only major country to pursue such a strategy.

The latest restrictions hit Ardern personally when she canceled her own wedding, which is expected to take place in the coming weeks. “Such is life,” she said, noting that thousands of New Zealanders suffered far more devastating experiences during the pandemic.

In neighboring Australia, which has struggled to get enough tests to cope with the rapid spread of Omicron, the daily rate of positive cases rose to nearly 90,000 last week.

In Hong Kong, more than 4,000 residents were placed in two public housing blocks in an unprecedented five-day mandatory restraint after what local pandemic advisers saw as a “superspreader” event at one of the buildings.

More than 100 people in the two buildings tested positive for the coronavirus, according to officials, after a cleaner who contracted the Omicron variant allegedly caused an outbreak.

Carrie Lam, the city’s chief executive, said it was unlikely the government would lift restrictions ahead of Chinese New Year holidays. She defended the drastic measures while pro-Beijing newspapers in the city warned her government that curbing the outbreak was a matter of “national security”.

Beijing is also facing a growing outbreak as China’s capital reported 12 new infections on Saturday, bringing the number of cases to 34 over the past week. The Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics will begin in less than two weeks.

In Taiwan, health authorities have stepped up the detection and detection measures and asked companies to encourage factory workers to be fully vaccinated as Omicron’s local distribution has accelerated.

On Saturday, the number of cases transferred domestically rose to 82, as tests among about 1,000 workers in an electronics factory yielded 60 positive results. On Sunday, the government reported another 52 cases transferred domestically.

Apart from a relatively small outbreak in May last year, the country largely avoided community spread and reported only 18,327 infections and 851 deaths in total as a result of Covid-19.

Japan is also struggling with what has become the country’s sixth wave of infections, with its daily Covid-19 cases exceeding 50,000 on Saturday, setting a new record for five consecutive days.

More governors are asking the central government to put their prefectures under a quasi-emergency to prevent the medical system from being overwhelmed. The government will extend the measure to a majority of 47 prefectures as early as Tuesday.

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