Health News Roundup: Hong Kong residents urged not to panic ahead of COVID mass testing; Thailand bids to avert 'population crisis' as birth rate crashes and more
China recorded 329 new coronavirus cases on the mainland on Saturday, 175 of them locally transmitted, the National Health Commission (NHC) said on Sunday, compared with 102 local cases a day earlier.
Following is a summary of current health news briefs.
Hong Kong residents urged not to panic ahead of COVID mass testing
Hong Kong reported 31,008 new COVID-19 cases and 153 deaths on Sunday as the city's chief secretary said residents should not worry about a looming mass testing scheme, with details to be announced and authorities ensuring a steady supply of food. The global financial hub is clinging to a "dynamic zero" coronavirus strategy as a massive spike in infections pushed hospitals, isolation centres and funeral parlours beyond capacity. Health experts said around 15% of the city's 7.4 million residents are already infected.
Thailand bids to avert 'population crisis' as birth rate crashes
Thailand is scrambling to encourage its people to have more babies to arrest a slumping birth rate, offering parents childcare and fertility centres, while also tapping social media influencers to showcase the joys of family life. The campaign comes as the number of births has dropped by nearly a third since 2013, when they started declining. Last year saw 544,000 births, the lowest in at least six decades and below the 563,000 deaths, which were also swelled by coronavirus-related fatalities.
Hong Kong reports 25,150 new daily coronavirus infections
Hong Kong reported 25,150 new coronavirus infections and 280 deaths on Monday, as authorities struggle to contain a worsening COVID-19 outbreak which has torn through hundreds of nursing homes and hit many of the city's unvaccinated elderly. While Hong Kong was successful in controlling the virus in 2021, it has recently seen COVID-19 infections soar to a total of around 500,000. Most of the Chinese-ruled city's more than 2,200 deaths have been in the past two weeks.
FDA approves expanded use of Bristol Myers cancer drug Opdivo
Bristol Myers Squibb said on Friday the U.S. Food and Drug Administration had approved the expanded use of its cancer drug Opdivo along with chemotherapy as treatment that patients with an aggressive form of lung cancer receive before surgery. The approval was based on data from a late-stage study showing the drug along with chemotherapy improved event-free survival and pathologic complete response compared to chemotherapy alone in patients with resectable non-small cell lung cancer, the drugmaker said.
Mainland China has logged its highest number of daily new local symptomatic COVID-19 infections in about two years, with the highly transmissible Omicron variant putting pressure on the government's strict policy of curbing each outbreak quickly. China reported 214 domestically transmitted cases with confirmed symptoms for Sunday, the majority in the provinces of Guangdong, Jilin and Shandong.
Hundreds of thousands in Ukraine cut off from aid, UN says
Hundreds of thousands of people inside Ukraine have been cut off from life-saving aid due to the military encirclement of cities, a U.N. report said on Monday, calling urgently for safe passage. Attempts are under way to create humanitarian corridors after two days of failed ceasefires intended to let civilians flee. Such routes are also critical for bringing aid such as water, food and medicine.
Chinese city of Qingdao reports Omicron outbreak among students
The Chinese port city of Qingdao reported 88 new coronavirus cases for March 5, all of them of the Omicron variant, fuelling China's highest number of daily locally transmitted cases so far this year. China recorded 329 new coronavirus cases on the mainland on Saturday, 175 of them locally transmitted, the National Health Commission (NHC) said on Sunday, compared with 102 local cases a day earlier.
(With inputs from agencies.)