(Reuters) – Here’s what you need to know about the coronavirus right now:
More Chinese cities locked down
China has recorded the biggest daily rise in coronavirus cases in more than five months, despite four cities in lockdown, increased testing and other measures aimed at preventing another wave of infections in the world’s second-biggest economy.
Most of the new patients were reported near the capital, Beijing, but a northeastern province also saw a rise in new cases, official data showed on Wednesday, amid a resurgence that has seen more than 28 million people confined to home quarantine.
The state planning agency has said it expects travel over next month’s Lunar New Year to be markedly lower than normal, with a bigger share of people taking cars instead of other forms of transport. Many provinces have asked migrant workers not to travel during the break.
Vaccination starts in Indonesia with Sinovac vaccine
President Joko Widodo became the first person in Indonesia to get a COVID-19 vaccine shot on Wednesday, as the government launched an ambitious vaccination campaign in a bid to stem one of the worst coronavirus outbreaks in Asia.
The drive aims to inoculate 181.5 million people, with the first to be vaccinated receiving the CoronaVac vaccine from China’s Sinovac Biotech, which Indonesia authorised for emergency use on Monday. Minister of Health Budi Gunadi Sadikin, who was also due to be vaccinated on Wednesday, has said two-thirds of the 270 million population must be vaccinated to achieve herd immunity.
Indonesia has said its trials showed CoronaVac has an efficacy rate of 65.3%, but Brazilian researchers said on Tuesday the vaccine was only 50.4% effective.
Japan set to expand state of emergency, public cools to Olympics
Japan plans to expand a state of emergency it declared for the Tokyo area last week to seven more prefectures on Wednesday, media reported, as hopes for a Summer Olympics fade with the steady spread of COVID-19.
As coronavirus infections hover at record-high levels in a third wave in Japan, opinion polls have shown a public increasingly opposed to holding the Summer Games this year – and growing frustration with Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga.
The expected addition of Osaka, Kyoto, Hyogo, Fukuoka, Aichi, Gifu and Tochigi prefectures to a state of emergency would cover about 55% of the population of 126 million. The latest emergency declaration is set to last through Feb. 7 and is much narrower in scope than the first one last spring. It focuses on combating transmission in bars and restaurants, while urging people to stay home as much as possible.
Working world changed for good
The upheaval in global labour markets triggered by the coronavirus will transform the working lives of millions of employees for good, policymakers and business leaders told a Reuters virtual forum. Nearly a year after governments first imposed lockdowns to contain the virus, there is a growing consensus that more staff will in future be hired remotely, work from home and have an entirely different set of expectations of their managers.
Chris Hyams, CEO of the global jobs listings website Indeed, said though there were already signs that some sectors were now ready to allow up to 70% of their workforces to operate remotely all the time, such benefits would often be reserved for better-educated white-collar workers.
Compiled by Karishma Singh