COVID-19

NZ PM’s partner tests positive for Covid

Ms Ardern broke the news on Instagram on Sunday morning, local time, with a post of a card her daughter Neve had made for Mother’s Day.Ms Ardern said Mr Gayford “woke up feeling a bit average and has tested positive … so we have 7 days of family time ahead of us!”She revealed that she and her daughter Neve are “fine”.“I’ll be working from home so anyone who watches question time, or is attending my Business NZ speech on Wednesday, you’ll still see me remotely.”Neve’s card read “Yay! It is Mother’s Day. I love fishy kisses. I love you like hot lava!”XI’S ATTEMPT TO PULL CHINA OUT OF PANDEMIC SLUMPChina’s President Xi Jinping has offered state backing for tech, infrastructure and jobs to revive China’s economy, but analysts warn growth will continue to wilt until Beijing drops its rigid virus controls.Two and a half years since coronavirus first emerged in Wuhan, China is the last major economy still closed off to the world, despite its relatively low death toll.Lockdowns across dozens of cities – from the manufacturing hubs of Shenzhen and Shanghai to the breadbasket of Jilin – have wreaked havoc on supply chains over recent months, crushing small businesses and trapping consumers at home.That has imperilled Beijing’s full-year growth target of about 5.5 per cent, with forecasters anticipating that around one percentage point may be shaved off that figure.“We remain deeply concerned about growth,” Nomura analysts said this week. “We believe the Omicron variant and zero-Covid strategy represent the dominant challenges to growth stability.” Yet China’s Communist leadership insisted on Thursday, local time, that the country will stick “unswervingly” to zero-Covid, with a meeting chaired by Xi declaring that “persistence is victory”.To curtail the growing economic damage, Beijing has offered words of respite to the tech sector from rolling regulatory crackdowns and promised to pump prime the economy with an “all-out” infrastructure campaign.But observers say rallies may be temporary as long as the state’s reflex remains to hammer down the virus caseload at all costs.“(The measures are) all very welcome… but how many more bridges and how many more sports stadiums are going to help us in creating an environment of predictable growth?” European Chamber president Joerg Wuttke told reporters on Thursday.While many cities have bounced back after short, targeted lockdowns, other areas such as agricultural base Jilin province have been slow to recover from waves of restrictions.“That precedent (Jilin) could mean a longer-lasting impact from Shanghai’s highly disruptive lockdown,” said Ernan Cui of Gavekal Dragonomics in a report Friday.COVID HAS KILLED 17 MILLION, TRIPLE PREVIOUS ESTIMATES: WHOThe Covid-19 pandemic killed 13.3 to 16.6 million people in 2020 and 2021, the WHO estimated, up to triple the number of deaths officially attributed to the disease.The World Health Organization’s long-awaited estimate of the total number of deaths caused by the pandemic — including lives lost to its knock-on effects — finally puts a number on the broader impact of the crisis.The figures give a more realistic picture of the worst pandemic in a century, which has killed around one in 500 people worldwide and continues to claim thousands of lives each week.“The full death toll associated directly or indirectly with the Covid-19 pandemic between January 1, 2020 and December 31, 2021 was approximately 14.9 million (range 13.3 million to 16.6 million),” the UN health agency said.The figures are extremely sensitive due to how they reflect on the handling of the crisis by authorities around the world, with some countries, notably India, already contesting the far higher numbers.India’s reported Covid-19 deaths for 2020-21 are 481,000, but the WHO’s estimated total figure is 3.3 million to 6.5 million.These sobering data not only point to the impact of the pandemic but also to the need for all countries to invest in more resilient health systems,” WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said.The WHO said that most of the excess deaths — 84 per cent — were concentrated in south and southeast Asia, Europe and the Americas.Indeed, 10 countries alone accounted for 68 per cent of all excess deaths: Brazil, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Peru, Russia, South Africa, Turkey and the United States.High-income countries accounted for 15 per cent of the excess deaths; upper-middle-income nations 28 per cent; lower-middle-income states 53 per cent; and low-income countries four per cent.The global death toll was higher for men than for women — 57 per cent male and 43 per cent female.And 82 per cent of the excess deaths were estimated to be people aged over 60. “The WHO believes that generally, six in 10 deaths worldwide are not formally recorded.The WHO said the 14.9-million figure was produced by leading world experts who developed a methodology to generate estimates where data is lacking.

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