(Bloomberg) — Sydney extended a lockdown that was due to end Friday for another week to stem the latest Covid-19 outbreak. The U.K. will relax self-isolation requirements for fully vaccinated people, even as health officials warn that getting back to normal could mean new cases jumping to 100,000 a day and a rise in so-called long Covid-19 cases among younger people.
The Australian Grand Prix Formula One race planned for November has been canceled. Japanese Emperor Naruhito has received his first vaccine dose, while Tokyo is considering tighter alcohol restrictions, according to local media. South Korea may tighten social distancing measures.
Elsewhere in Asia, Vietnam is going to extraordinary lengths to protect its reputation as a vital cog in the global tech supply chain — with thousands of workers sleeping on factory floors to minimize disruption amid a resurgence of local cases.
The delta variant continues to boost case numbers worldwide, with Indonesia and Bangladesh reporting record infections.
Sydney Lockdown Extended (9:33 a.m. HK)
A two-week lockdown of Sydney will be extended for at least another seven days as authorities race to stamp out an outbreak of the delta variant that’s grown to more than 350 cases since mid-June and has spread to an aged-care facility.
Current stay-at-home orders — except for exercise, essential shopping and medical care — will remain in place in Greater Sydney until midnight on July 16, New South Wales state Premier Gladys Berejiklian told reporters Wednesday. The lockdown was originally scheduled to end on Friday.
Sydney recorded 27 new cases in the community from the day before, with 13 of those in isolation during their infectious period.
N.Z. Provisionally Approves Janssen Shot (8:41 a.m. HK)
New Zealand’s medicines regulator has granted provisional approval of the Janssen Covid-19 vaccine for individuals 18 years of age and older.
“As a single dose vaccine, it may be useful in hard to reach locations or emergencies, or for those who cannot get the Pfizer vaccine,” Covid Response Minister Chris Hipkins said.
South Korea’s Most Daily Cases in Seven Months (8:53 a.m. HK)
South Korea reported 1,212 new Covid-19 cases, the highest daily tally in almost seven months, as eased social distancing measures led to outbreaks at entertainment venues and shopping malls in the capital Seoul.
The latest surge comes as Korea stepped up vaccinations, helping moderate severe cases and deaths, health authorities said. About 30% of the population have received at least one dose while about 11% have been fully vaccinated.
Separately, Prime Minister Kim Boo-kyum said Korea will maintain its current social distancing measures for another week but may raise the level if the latest surge isn’t contained in the next two or three days. Seoul earlier this week rescinded easing certain restrictions such as wearing masks outdoors and banned outdoor drinking past 10 p.m.
Virgin, British Airways Trial Vaccine-Check System (8:05 a.m. HK)
Vaccinated passengers on some British Airways and Virgin Atlantic flights to London Heathrow will trial a system that quickly verifies Covid-19 vaccination status, the companies said in a joint statement.
Singapore Not Counting Sinovac Users (7:50 a.m. HK)
Singapore isn’t counting people who took the Sinovac-CoronaVac vaccine in its national count, according to the Ministry of Health.
Only people who have taken Moderna Inc. and Pfizer Inc. shots are reflected in the overall vaccination numbers, a spokesman for the ministry said. Sinovac takers are included in a national immunization registry that clinics can see in order to avoid giving multiple vaccines to the same individual, the spokesman said.
Nearly 2.2 million people have officially completed their vaccination regimen, and 3.6 million have received at least one dose of Moderna or Pfizer shots, according to the ministry’s website. About 17,000 have received Sinovac shots, the spokesman said.
Myanmar Record Daily Spike (7:40 a.m. HK)
Myanmar reported 3,602 new infections Tuesday, the largest single-day increase in cases since it first detected the coronavirus in March 2020, according to the country’s health ministry.
Indonesia’s Oxygen Shortfall (7:30 a.m. HK)
Indonesia reported another deadliest day in the coronavirus pandemic as hospitals become overwhelmed and local oxygen supply struggles to keep up with surging demand.
There were 31,189 confirmed cases in the 24 hours through midday Tuesday, with 728 people dying from the disease known as Covid-19. Southeast Asia’s virus hot spot has breached fresh records in infections and fatalities for three straight days.
Japanese Emperor Receives Vaccine Shot (6:50 a.m. HK)
Japanese Emperor Naruhito received his first dose of Covid-19 vaccine Tuesday at the Akasaka Imperial Residence in Tokyo, public broadcaster NHK reports, citing the Imperial Household Agency.
Tokyo May Tighten Alcohol Restrictions (6:20 a.m. HK)
The Japanese government is considering tighter alcohol restrictions in Tokyo and its three surrounding prefectures as it struggles to contain Covid outbreak in the capital area, Nikkei reports, without citing anyone.
Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga and relevant cabinet ministers reached agreement Tuesday that stricter restrictions on alcohol are needed if the government were to extend its controling measures in the area.
Pentagon Mulls Mandatory Troop Vaccination (5:40 a.m. HK)
Pentagon officials are discussing whether to require troops to take Covid-19 vaccines as the Food and Drug Administration moves toward full approval of the shots, top military spokesman John Kirby said Tuesday.
British & Irish Lions Rugby Tour of S. Africa Disrupted (3 p.m. NY)
The British & Irish Lions rugby team’s tour of South Africa has been disrupted by a wave of Covid-19 infections in the country. Four Georgian players along with five South African players and six members of the South African team’s management including head coach Jacques Nienaberhave tested positive for the disease.
Long Covid Threat for U.K. Young (12:52 p.m. NY)
So-called long Covid is set to soar among younger people in England when remaining coronavirus restrictions are lifted, England’s chief medical officer warned.
“Since there’s a lot of Covid at the moment and the rates are going up, I regret to say I think we will get a significant amount more long Covid — particularly in the younger ages where the vaccination rates are currently much lower,” Chris Witty said at the Local Government Association’s virtual conference Tuesday.
Long Covid occurs when a wide range of health problems keep happening weeks or months after patients seemingly recover from even a mild case.
On Monday, U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced plans Monday to end social distancing and capacity limits at venues in England from July 19, with a final decision to be taken next week. Health Minister Sajid Javid, meanwhile, warned that new cases could rise to 100,000 a day over the summer.
Greece Tightens Bar, Club Limits Again (12:11 p.m. NY)
Greece plans to re-tighten pandemic measures on bars and clubs after 1,797 new cases were recorded Tuesday, the highest daily increase since June 1.
The spike in cases was associated with younger adults attending large night-time entertainment venues, Deputy Citizen Protection Minister Nikos Hardalias said on Tuesday. From July 8, such venues will revert to seated spaces only with capacity limitations, according to Hardalias.
MRNA Vaccine Gains Outweigh Heart Risk (11:07 a.m. NY)
The benefits of messenger RNA Covid-19 vaccines clearly outweigh the risks despite heart complications seen in a relatively small number of mostly young men, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Roughly 1,200 cases of myocarditis, or inflammation of the heart wall, were reported in people who received mRNA vaccines, the CDC said in its Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report on Tuesday. But with about 296 million doses of mRNA vaccines having been administered as of June 11, the benefit is clear in all populations, including adolescents and young adults, the researchers reported.
Vaccines made by Moderna Inc. and the Pfizer Inc.-BioNTech SE partnership are the only mRNA inoculations authorized for emergency use in the U.S. The issue was first explored in a June 23 meeting of the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices.
U.K. to End Isolation for Vaccinated Contacts (7:49 a.m. NY)
From Aug. 16, “anyone who is a close contact of a positive case will no longer have to self-isolate if they have been fully vaccinated,” U.K. government Health Secretary Sajid Javid said in Parliament. School-aged children under age 18 will also no longer have to automatically isolate if exposed to the virus.
Javid warned on Tuesday that new cases could rise to 100,000 a day over the summer as the country prepares to relax rules on July 19.
“By the time we get to the 19th, we would expect case numbers by then to be at least double what they are now, so around 50,000 new cases a day,” Javid said on the BBC Radio “Today Programme.” “As we ease and go into the summer, we expect them to rise significantly and they could go as high as 100,000 case numbers.”
What matters most is that the link with hospitalization and death “has been severely weakened,” he said.