The border bridge can open; Hong Kong in ‘crisis’: virus update

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(Bloomberg) – Officials hope to open a key border bridge between the United States and Canada on Sunday, the local mayor said, after police intervened earlier to clear and arrest remaining protesters against vaccination and other mandates. limitations.

Hong Kong health officials have warned the city faces a ‘crisis’ as a record 2,000 preliminary positive cases threatens to overwhelm hospitals and upend its Covid Zero strategy. The city is looking to mainland China for help.

The gap is widening between Covid infections and deaths, with effective vaccines and milder variants helping to dramatically improve survival rates. Bloomberg’s new analysis shows that, in country after country, the link between infections and deaths is breaking down.

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Key developments:

Virus Tracker: Cases Exceed 410 Million; over 5.8 million deathsVaccine Tracker: Over 10.3 billion doses administeredCovid dating advice for Valentine’s DayBiden needs to put the CDC in its place: Matthew YglesiasWhy China is sticking to its Covid-zero strategy: QuickTake

Officials Hope to Open U.S.-Canada Bridge: Mayor (10:31 a.m. NY)

The mayor of Windsor, Ont., said officials hope to open a key border bridge between the United States and Canada on Sunday. Mayor Drew Dilkens made his comments to CBC News after Canadian police moved in to clear out and begin arresting protesters against vaccination mandates and other restrictions.

Arrests were made and vehicles were towed just after dawn near the Ambassador Bridge connecting Windsor and Detroit – the busiest border crossing into the United States, the Associated Press reported. Police began moving against protesters on Saturday morning, slowly advancing in rows and shouting warnings that they could face criminal charges if they continued to occupy the roads.

In the nation’s capital, Ottawa, the ranks of protesters have swelled to 4,000 people according to police.

Hong Kong in “crisis” relies on Beijing (10:15 a.m. NY)

Hong Kong health officials have warned the city faces a ‘crisis’ as a record 2,000 preliminary positive cases threatens to overwhelm hospitals and upend its Covid Zero strategy.

The cases have exceeded the capacity of hospitals in Hong Kong, health officials said, adding that they will now prioritize care for the elderly and children who test positive. Officials asked for support from Beijing over the weekend on several fronts, including help to analyze virus strains, build isolation facilities and provide testing kits.

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The government also warned that the supply of vegetables and chilled poultry would be affected “to some extent” after a cross-border transport swap was suspended after some drivers tested positive.

Gap Widens Between Cases and Deaths (8:21 a.m. NY)

The pandemic looks very different in 2022. Vaccines are working, treatments are advancing, and, at least for now, the virus itself seems less determined to kill. The likelihood of surviving Covid-19 is improving worldwide.

In the United States, there have been nearly four times as many positive cases for every death this year compared to last winter’s peak, according to a new analysis from Bloomberg’s Vaccine Tracker. In the European Union, where more people have been vaccinated, this survival rate was 11 times higher than last winter.

Even in countries with lower vaccination rates, Covid patients were increasingly likely to recover.

Bank of China employees test positive at HK branches (7:50 a.m. NY)

Bank of China Ltd. said six of its employees at its Hong Kong branches had tested positive for the coronavirus, according to a statement.

The affected branches are Wing On House in Central District, Quarry Bay, Olympian City, To Kwa Wan, Castle Peak Road in Cheung Sha Wan and Sheung Shui. The Olympian City branch has been temporarily closed since Feb. 10, and the others will be closed from Monday until further notice, the Bank of China said. It is also organizing testing and quarantine for all workers at these branches.

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The World’s Best Economies Face Inflation, Disease, and War (7:09 a.m. NY)

A group of 20 finance chiefs meeting in Indonesia will face a greatly altered global economy threatened by widespread inflation, the threat of war and a legacy of disease.

The magnitude of the consumer price shock afflicting many member countries is unprecedented since the founding of the group at the turn of the last century, and has been fueled by persistent supply concerns and soaring oil costs. energy. Linked to this latest pressure is the military tension with Russia that could yet escalate into conflict in Ukraine.

The gathering takes place on Thursday and Friday.

UK seeks ‘smaller state’ after Covid: Barclay (6:47 a.m. NY)

The UK government is aiming to create a ‘smaller state’ as it changes policy to adapt to life with coronavirus, according to a letter in The Telegraph from Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s new chief of staff.

The country has spent 400 billion pounds ($543 billion) fighting the pandemic and now wants to step back both financially and “from people’s lives”, Steve Barclay wrote in the letter. The Prime Minister is due to announce a new strategy after the parliamentary recess this week.

“It’s time to return to a more empowering approach,” Barclay wrote in the Telegraph. “To trust people, empower communities and free businesses to deliver.”

Vietnam to End Flight Restrictions (6:25 p.m. HK)

Vietnam’s aviation authorities will lift limits on the number of international flights from Feb. 15, with the actual frequency depending on other countries’ regulations and market demand, Tuoi Tre newspaper reported.

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Although flight frequency is restored to pre-pandemic levels, passengers are still subject to existing Covid-19 regulations to enter the country, the report said, quoting Dinh Viet Son, deputy director of the Administration of the Civil Aviation of Vietnam.

Hong Kong Eases Quarantine, Plans Hospital (3 p.m. HK)

Hong Kong will shorten the quarantine period for residents and staff of nursing homes for the elderly and disabled as isolation beds will run out within days, the city’s social welfare secretary said on his blog on Sunday.

The quarantine period for residents and home care staff has been reduced to seven days from 14 if their test results are negative for Covid-19, according to the Chinese Labor and Social Care Law Secretary. kwong. Under current rules, they are being kept in isolation at the government’s quarantine facility for the World Expo in Asia.

China reports two new Olympic cases (11:30 a.m. HK)

China on Saturday reported two Covid infections among Olympic athletes and team officials arriving at the airport and in the “closed-loop” system, according to the Beijing organizing committee.

Combined Covid infections among those involved in the Beijing Winter Olympics since January 4 have risen to 501, according to Bloomberg calculations based on official data released by the Beijing Olympics Organizing Committee.

Singapore says healthcare system holding up (10 a.m. HK)

Singapore’s Health Minister Ong Ye Kung said the country’s health system was still holding up despite coronavirus cases reaching five figures on some days, according to media reports. The government’s coronavirus task force would hold a press conference “soon”, Ong said when asked about changes to Covid-19 measures.

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The island nation received its first batch of Pfizer Inc.’s antiviral oral pill, Paxlovid, this week, Ong said on Saturday.

South Korea Cases Hit Record High (9:30 a.m. HK)

South Korea reported a record 56,431 new cases on Sunday in a seventh consecutive increase, including 288 serious. There were 36 deaths.

The increase came as almost 90% of citizens had received two injections of the vaccine, with 57% having received a booster. A new limit on purchases of test kits came into effect on Sunday after prices tripled last week following government directives for people with mild symptoms to stay home and test and treat themselves.

Japan in Mull Lifts Border Entry Cap (8:20 a.m. HK)

Japan will consider gradually raising the entry limit on arrivals to 5,000 after easing border controls for foreign workers and students next month, Japanese media reported, citing government officials.

Details will be finalized as early as this week, and the trend of virus infections and public opinion will be taken into account, according to the Asahi newspaper citing authorities. The easing of curbs does not apply to foreign tourists, he said.

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