Australia news live: NSW flood warnings; Sydney train strike delays; at least 27 Covid deaths recorded

From 5h ago NSW rail union pushes ahead with industrial action Sydney commuters are in for a “very messy day” as the NSW rail union pushes ahead with industrial action that will take out 70% of the train fleet, AAP reports. The Rail, Tram and Bus Union has been locked in long-running stoush with the Perrottet government over a new Korean-made Intercity fleet, which it says is unsafe. While the government has signalled it could be prepared to spend $264m to modify the fleet, the union says it has refused…

Alarm in Beijing after announcement zero-Covid policy may last five years

Authorities in Beijing have sparked confusion and alarm after announcing the strict zero-Covid policy could be in place for the next five years, including mass mandatory testing and travel restrictions. The notice, published on Monday afternoon, was attributed to Cai Qi, the Beijing secretary of the Chinese Communist party. The original text said: “In the next five years, Beijing will unremittingly grasp the normalisation of epidemic prevention and control.” The notice was first posted by Beijing Daily and republished by other state media outlets. It spread widely across social media,…

Shanghai reports no new Covid cases for first time since March

China has reported no new Covid-19 infections in Shanghai for the first time since March, as the country’s latest outbreak subsides after months of lockdowns and other restrictions. China is the last major economy committed to a zero-Covid strategy, stamping out all infections with a combination of targeted lockdowns, mass testing and long quarantine periods. The economic hub of Shanghai was forced into a months-long lockdown during a Covid surge this spring driven by the fast-spreading Omicron variant. Beijing also shuttered schools and offices for weeks over a separate outbreak.…

Heaven Supermarket: the Beijing bar at centre of Covid outbreak

Heaven Supermarket’s ability to attract young Chinese customers and foreigners has always been viewed with envy by its competitor bars in the Chinese capital. Located in one of the busiest nightlife districts in Beijing, the bar is modelled as a large self-service liquor store with chairs, sofas and tables. It is not the fanciest in its presentation, but on Chinese review websites, patrons highlight its affordability and down-to-earth attitude. Bono Lee, a Hong Kong culture critic who lived in the area between 2008 and 2012, once wrote of Heaven Supermarket:…

Shanghai reportedly bans media use of the term ‘lockdown’ as lockdown ends

Authorities in Shanghai have reportedly ordered the media to refrain from using the term “lockdown” while reporting on the end of the city’s two-month lockdown. This week the Chinese city of 25 million people reopened, allowing most to leave their homes, go to work, and use public transport after more than 60 days inside. On Thursday, according to leaked directives from the city, Chinese media were told to disseminate information about the changes to restrictions, but ordered not to use the phrase “ending the lockdown”. “Unlike Wuhan, Shanghai never declared…

Shanghai reopens after two months of Covid lockdown – in pictures

Restrictions have eased and more than 22 million people are allowed to move around the city again Main image: People drink on a street, as the city prepares to end the lockdown placed to curb the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Shanghai Photograph: Aly Song/Reuters Wed 1 Jun 2022 01.46 EDT The Guardian

Shanghai starts to dismantle fences as Covid lockdown due to end

Shanghai authorities have begun dismantling fences around housing compounds and ripping police tape off public squares and buildings, to the relief of the city’s 25 million residents, before a painful two-month lockdown is lifted at midnight. On Monday evening, some of the people allowed out of their compounds for brief walks took advantage of suspended traffic to congregate for a beer and ice cream on deserted streets, but there was a sense of wariness and anxiety among residents. Most will be stuck indoors again until midnight, as they have been…

Shanghai to end Covid lockdown and return to normal life in June amid economic slowdown

Shanghai has set out plans for the return of more normal life from 1 June and the end of a painful Covid-19 lockdown that has lasted more than six weeks and contributed to a sharp slowdown in China’s economic activity. In the clearest timetable yet, deputy mayor Zong Ming said on Monday that Shanghai’s reopening would be carried out in stages, with movement curbs largely to remain in place until 21 May to prevent a rebound in infections, before a gradual easing. “From June 1 to mid- and late June,…

China’s struggle delights some – but should make us all nervous | Larry Elliott

China has been central to the story of globalisation over the past 30 years but now it is struggling. More than two years after Covid-19 cases were discovered in Wuhan, the world’s most populous country has yet to get on top of the virus. Draconian lockdowns have been imposed because China’s vaccines are less effective than those available in the west, and immunity levels are lower as well. Growth is slowing and not just because of the tough restrictions insisted upon by President Xi Jinping. Flaws in China’s economic model…

Half of Covid-hospitalised still symptomatic two years on, study finds

More than half of people hospitalised with Covid-19 still have at least one symptom two years after they were first infected, according to the longest follow-up study of its kind. While physical and mental health generally improve over time, the analysis suggests that coronavirus patients discharged from hospital still tend to experience poorer health and quality of life than the general population. The research was published in the Lancet Respiratory Medicine. “Our findings indicate that for a certain proportion of hospitalised Covid-19 survivors, while they may have cleared the initial…

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