China

Omicron outbreak in China

Key points:

  • Chen Erzhen says his hospital in Shanghai sees 1,600 emergency admissions daily, with 80 per cent COVID-19 patients
  • Chinese officials are bracing for rising numbers in rural areas as Lunar New Year approaches 
  • More than a dozen countries have imposed restrictions on travellers from China

The steep rise in infections came after years of hardline restrictions were abruptly loosened last month, with little warning or preparation, and quickly overwhelmed hospitals and crematoriums.

Gov’t plans for Shanghai-POM direct flight

Prime Minister James Marape made this announcement recently when welcoming the Bank of China officials in Port Moresby.

He told visiting officials from the Bank of China, that amongst our highest trade priorities is the immediate arrangements for direct flights from Shanghai to Port Moresby.

“Our Government is looking for a Chinese Airline that can service the route under a Code Share arrangement with our national airline, Air Niugini.”

Shanghai lockdown: China eases Covid restrictions after two months

At midnight local time (16:00 GMT Tuesday), restrictions were relaxed to allow most people to move freely around the city of some 25 million people.

But at least 650,000 residents will remain confined to their homes.

China's overall policy of "zero Covid" remains in place and people catching Covid face quarantine or hospital.

Their close contacts also face the prospect of removal to quarantine and the area immediately around where they live being locked down again.

China claims arrests of human traffickers in chained woman case

Three people have been arrested in connection with the case.

A video of the mother-of-eight sparked massive anger online when it emerged two weeks ago.

Officials first dismissed trafficking claims, but outraged netizens had kept up pressure, with some making daily calls for investigation.

Many of them also raised suspicions about kidnapping and abuse.

Even the hype around the Beijing Olympics has failed to distract people from the issue - a Weibo topic on the woman's plight has received more than 3bn views since the news first emerged.

Chinese woman stuck in lockdown with blind date

A woman, only identified as Ms Wang, posted on Chinese social media platform WeChat last week that she had got locked down with her date after visiting his house for a meal.

In the post, she said that she had recently returned to the city of Zhengzhou from Guangzhou ahead of the Lunar New Year.

"I'm getting quite old, so my parents arranged more than 10 blind dates for me," she said in this post. She wrote that her fifth date had said "he was good at cooking, and invited me to his house so he could cook a meal".

Concern over Xi'an residents' midnight quarantine

Xi'an is at the epicentre of China's current Covid outbreak, and authorities have enacted drastic measures.

All 13 million residents are confined to their homes and cannot leave to buy food or supplies.

Authorities are hoping to eliminate the outbreak before Lunar New Year and the Winter Olympics in Beijing next month.

The situation in Xi'an has led to heightened tensions, with many taking to social media in recent days to complain.

China offers increased fisheries presence, IUU cooperation to Pacific island nations

During a recent meeting of the China-Pacific Island Countries Fishery Cooperation and Development Forum, held in Guangzhou, China, Ma Youxiang, the deputy minister of fisheries at China's Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, said China stands ready to cooperate on finding solutions to problems related to illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing, proposing the establishment of an “intergovernmental multilateral fishery consultation mechanism.”

China warns nations will 'pay price' for Olympic boycott

The US, UK, Australia and Canada will not send government representatives to the Games because of concerns over China's human rights record.

This includes widespread allegations of abuse against the Uyghur minority group.

France, host of the next Summer Games, said it would not join the boycott.

The Winter Olympics are set to take place in Beijing in February.

"The United States, Britain and Australia have used the Olympics platform for political manipulation," Wang Wenbin, a spokesperson at the Chinese foreign ministry, said.

China app giant Didi plans US stock market exit in move to Hong Kong

The firm has come under intense pressure since its US debut in July.

Within days of the initial public offering (IPO) Beijing announced a crackdown on technology companies listing overseas.

Earlier on Thursday the US market watchdog unveiled tough new rules for Chinese firms that list in America.

"Following careful research, the company will immediately start delisting on the New York stock exchange and start preparations for listing in Hong Kong," the company said on its account on Weibo, China's Twitter-like microblogging network.

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China urges families to store basic supplies in case of emergency

No reason was given for the notice from the Ministry of Commerce, but it came amid ongoing coronavirus lockdowns and concerns over vegetable supplies after unusually heavy rain damaged crops.

The ministry also asked local authorities to keep supply chains running smoothly and prices stable.

State media later sought to quell concerns amid reports of panic buying.

"As soon as this news came out, all the old people near me went crazy, panic buying in the supermarket," one user wrote on the Chinese social media site Weibo.