(Reuters) – The Chinese city of Yiwu in Zhejiang province has suspended some public gatherings and dining at restaurants, closed multiple entertainment venues, and locked down some areas to cope with COVID-19 flare-ups, the city government said.
DEATHS AND INFECTIONS
* Eikon users, click on COVID-19: MacroVitals for a case tracker and summary of news.
* Hong Kong reduced the minimum age for getting vaccinated with China’s Sinovac COVID-19 shot to six months from three years after several young children became infected.
* Mainland China reported 436 new coronavirus cases for Aug. 2, of which 101 were symptomatic and 335 were asymptomatic, the National Health Commission said on Wednesday.
* The European Commission said it had signed a joint procurement contract with Spanish pharmaceutical firm HIPRA for the supply of its protein COVID-19 vaccine, which will be available if approved by the European Medicines Agency.
* More than twice as many tourists visited Spain in June than in the same month last year, spending almost three times as much during their stay, official data showed.
* U.S. President Joe Biden continued to test positive for COVID-19 on Tuesday and will stay isolated but is feeling well and does not have a fever, his physician said in a memo released by the White House.
* A petition is circulating to allow Novak Djokovic to play at the U.S. Open but he appears likely to miss the entire North American hardcourt swing barring a sudden change in COVID-19 protocols in the United States and Canada.
* The Omicron variant may be more efficient at infecting children through the nose than previous versions of the coronavirus, a small study suggests.
* A trial aimed at tackling long COVID helped some patients recover from lingering physical and mental fatigue, although the drug developed by Axcella Health Inc failed on the small study’s main goal of restoring the normal function of mitochondria, the energy factories of cells.
* As another winter of the pandemic looms in the northern hemisphere, scientists are warning weary governments and populations alike to brace for more waves of COVID-19.
* China’s services activity grew at the fastest rate in 15 months in July as easing COVID-19 curbs boosted consumer confidence, but foreign demand fell and companies cut staff for the seventh month in a row, a private-sector survey showed.
* Japan’s services sector activity almost completely stagnated in July as rising inflation and growing economic uncertainty weighed on sentiment, while firms also said a boost from the lifting of COVID-19 curbs had faded.
* Australian retail sales posted a solid rise in real terms last quarter even as swelling prices ate up more of the consumer dollar, though there are signs that higher borrowing costs are finally turning the tide on spending.
* Canadian manufacturing activity lost further momentum in July as production and new orders declined for the first time since the early stages of the pandemic, data showed.
* U.S. job openings fell by the most in just over two years in June as demand for workers eased in the retail and wholesale trade industries, but overall the labour market remains tight, allowing the Federal Reserve to continue raising interest rates.
(Compiled by Rashmi Aich and Oliver Sargho; Edited by Nick Macfie and Shounak Dasgupta)