COVID-19 SUMMARY: U.K. to ease coronavirus restrictions starting 12th April, China ramps up its COVID-19 vaccination push, aiming to be twice as fast as the U.S


6th April 2021 – (Hong Kong)   Total worldwide COVID-19 cases have reached 132,194,447 with 2,869,369 deaths as of 12.45am today.

China and Hong Kong

Ruili City in southwest China’s Yunnan Province will launch the second round of nucleic acid testing that includes all residents of the city proper Tuesday. The city reported 15 new locally-transmitted COVID-19 cases and five new asymptomatic cases on Sunday, the provincial health commission of Yunnan said on Monday.

China is ramping up its COVID-19 vaccination push, aiming to be twice as fast as the U.S. by pressuring Communist Party members, bank workers and college staff to get shots, as the lagging rollout threatens to undermine the advantage it secured by effectively wiping out the virus.

A group of bar, karaoke and mahjong parlour owners have gone on a symbolic hunger strike in Hong Kong over anti-coronavirus measures that have kept them shuttered for most of the last year. The four-day protest started on the pavement outside the Hong Kong government’s headquarters on Sunday – the one-year anniversary of when authorities first ordered a round of closures to stem infections.


The European Union would have vaccinated as much of its population as the United Kingdom has if AstraZeneca had fulfilled its contract to the EU, the head of the EU executive’s vaccine task force said Sunday.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday confirmed that on 12th April, non-essential shops will reopen and pubs and restaurants will reopen outdoors as Britain moves to step two of the roadmap out of the COVID lockdown. The U.K. government says it plans to trial COVID-19 passports at snooker tournaments, comedy clubs and soccer matches over the coming weeks.

Italy extended current restrictions for travellers coming from EU countries until 30th April. It also added Austria, the U.K., Ireland and Israel to the list of flagged countries from 7th April.

France reported 80,711 new coronavirus cases this weekend as the country enters a third nationwide lockdown. The number of ICU patients has risen by 87 since Friday to 5,341, according to French health authorities. There were 370 deaths in the last 48 hours, taking the total to 96,650.

A report by a French television channel alleging that “clandestine” luxury dinners were taking place in Paris despite the COVID-19 pandemic has sparked an investigation and public furore over claims that the nation’s political elite were brazenly ignoring rules they themselves had set. The M6 private channel on Friday broadcast a report based on footage recorded with a hidden camera purportedly from a clandestine restaurant in a high-end area of Paris where neither the staff nor the diners were wearing masks. The hashtag #OnVeutLesNoms (“We Want the Names”) went viral on Twitter, as speculation swirled over who may have attended such dinners.

Greece allowed shops to reopen under controlled conditions on Monday, despite heavy pressure on its health services, as the government responded to growing public fatigue after months of coronavirus lockdown.

U.S. and Canada

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said there is no “right or wrong” in advocating a vaccination strategy to delay a second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said on an episode of the Politico Dispatch podcast Monday that he doesn’t think the US government will be the main mover behind vaccine passports, but that individual entities could do something with the idea. 

About 165 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in the United States, according to data published Sunday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 

This is the fourth straight week of increasing COVID-19 cases, according to Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

White House senior adviser for COVID-19 response Andy Slavitt announced three new mass vaccination sites on Monday, bringing the total number of federal US mass vaccination sites to 28.

A fourth surge of infections in the U.S. is just gathering pace and is focused on younger people who’ve yet to be vaccinated, said epidemiologist Michael Osterholm, reflecting the race between more contagious variants and quickly getting shots into arms.

California, with a population of around 40 million people, has already administered more than 19.7 million Covid vaccines, according to the health department’s website said. 

Latin and South America

Venezuela’s main academies of medicine and science on Monday urged renewed efforts to vaccinate the South American nation’s population against the coronavirus amid a spike in infections that has led the government to extend lockdown measures.

Elsewhere in the world

Algeria on Monday reported 117 new COVID-19 cases, raising the total confirmed number in the North African country to 117,622. The death toll from the virus rose to 3,105 after three new fatalities were added, said the Algerian Ministry of Health in a statement.

Another shipment of COVID-19 vaccines from China was welcomed on Monday by Prime Minister of Serbia Ana Brnabic. Brnabic was accompanied by the Chinese ambassador to Serbia Chen Bo at the Nikola Tesla airport to receive the vaccines.

The number of active coronavirus cases among Israeli soldiers dropped by 14 on Monday to 18, according to data issued by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).

The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Africa has reached 4,270,903 as of Monday afternoon, the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) said.

Iran has entered its fourth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic and has reached a four-month high in terms of number of daily cases, health ministry spokesperson Sima Sadat Lari said in a news conference on Monday. The ministry reported at least 13,890 new COVID-19 cases on Monday, increasing the country’s total cases since the start of the pandemic to 1,945,964. 

South Korea on Monday reported 473 new COVID-19 cases in the previous 24 hours, bringing the national total to 105,752, according to a statement from the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA).

Japanese health authorities are concerned that variants of the coronavirus are driving a nascent fourth wave in the pandemic with just 109 days remaining until the Tokyo Olympics. The variants appear to be more infectious and may be resistant to vaccines, which are still not widely available in Japan. The situation is worst in Osaka, where infections hit fresh records last week, prompting the regional government to start targeted lockdown measures for one month from Monday.

India recorded 103,558 new COVID-19 cases on Monday, its highest single-day rise in infections so far in the pandemic. Mumbai authorities asked all private offices to work from home through April as India’s financial hub emerges once again as the epicenter of a new wave of coronavirus infections.

People flying to Singapore will be able to use the International Air Transport Association’s travel pass to share their pre-departure COVID-19 PCR test results at check-in and on-arrival from 1st May.

Thailand on Monday reported 194 new COVID-19 cases, the highest single-day increase since 23 March, taking total confirmed infections to 29,321, authorities said. Thailand’s capital Bangkok will close 196 entertainment venues for two weeks, the city’s governor said on Monday after an outbreak of COVID-19 cases in nightspots in and around the capital, and another at a prison in the south. Apisamai Srirangsan, a spokesperson for the Center for COVID-19 Situation Administration, said 194 new coronavirus cases were confirmed, most from Bangkok entertainment venues and from Narathiwat prison. Thailand has had 29,321 confirmed cases, including 95 deaths.

Restrictions on people moving around Indonesia will remain in place for two weeks starting 6th April, a spokesperson for Indonesia’s Covid-19 task force said, with more areas included in this round.

The suspension of Singapore Airlines (SIA) passenger flights to Hong Kong will not affect talks on a travel bubble between both cities, said Transport Minister Ong Ye Kung in Parliament on 5th April (Monday).  Hong Kong authorities announced last week that SIA flights departing from Singapore will not be allowed to land in Hong Kong from 3rd to 16th April, due to a COVID-19 case on flight SQ882 on 31st March.  “Any travel bubble will not carry transit passengers,” he added.

Information compiled from Reuters, Xinhua News CNN, CNA, and Bloomberg.