‘Run philosophy’: the Chinese citizens seeking to leave amid Covid uncertainty

When Wendy Luo*, a 29-year-old Chinese woman, handed over her passport to a border control officer in Shanghai airport last month, her heart began to beat fast. “I felt like my fate would be determined at that moment. Leave or stay, all at the officer’s mercy.” After enduring months of lockdowns and weeks of food shortages, Luo had begun to look for an exit strategy from China. She was lucky, she said, because she quickly managed to find a job in Paris, having spent six years studying and working in…

Hong Kong to electronically tag Covid patients as it adopts China’s health code system

Hong Kong will mandate electronic tracking bracelets for people in home isolation and bring in a China-style electronic health code system as part of fresh measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus. The quarantine bracelets, to be introduced on Friday, will be mandatory for people who have tested positive and are quarantining at home to ensure they do not leave the building during their isolation period. “We have to make sure that home isolation is more precise while being humane,” Lo Chung-mau, the city’s new health secretary said, announcing…

Macau shuts all casinos in bid to contain worsening Covid outbreak

Macau has shut all its casinos for the first time in more than two years as authorities struggle to contain the worst coronavirus outbreak yet in the world’s biggest gambling hub. The city’s 30-plus casinos, along with other non-essential businesses, will shut for one week from Monday and people have been ordered to stay at home. Police would monitor flows of people outside, the government said, and stringent punishments would be imposed for those who disobeyed. Hospitals, pharmacies, supermarkets and fresh food markets are some of the essential services that…

Ode to the Spring review – manipulative Chinese Covid-onset drama

This strident and heavy-handed Mandarin-language drama imagines a collage of stories unfolding in Wuhan as the first, terrible wave of the pandemic broke. A husband and wife, both medics, reunite in their car each night where they snatch a few hours of sleep between shifts; their daughter, alone with her piano in their apartment, bickers with the neighbours. A selfless building manager, responsible for distributing supplies to the quarantined residents, starts to cough. Even if it were less mawkish and manipulative in approach, it’s hard to imagine that many people…

Live news: Australia and New Zealand to coordinate on electric vehicle fleet; danger from NSW floods continues

From 54m ago Australia and NZ to coordinate on electric vehicle fleet Royce Kurmelovs Australia will coordinate with New Zealand when it comes to procuring electric vehicles for its government fleet. Prime minister Anthony Albanese made the announcement on Friday when discussing opportunities for trans-Tasman collaboration in the area of renewable energy. Albanese said: If we are all competing against each other for procurement at the same time, we will end up paying more for it but not if there is cooperation between Australia and New Zealand. The PM went…

China imposes Covid lockdown in Xi’an after handful of cases

Businesses, schools and restaurants in Xi’an will close for one week, officials have said, after the Chinese city logged a handful of Covid-19 cases as outbreaks nationwide strain Beijing’s zero-tolerance virus approach. China is the last major economy wedded to a zero-Covid strategy, deploying snap lockdowns, quarantines and travel curbs in a bid to weed out new infections. Xi’an, a historic city of 13 million that endured a month-long lockdown at the end of last year, has reported 18 cases since Saturday in a cluster driven by the fast-spreading Omicron…

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:…