July 8 (Reuters) – China is reducing scrutiny of citizens’ travel history for COVID-19 monitoring, requiring that a mandatory mobile app show the previous seven days of travel, down from 14.
* China reported 478 new coronavirus cases for July 7, of which 97 were symptomatic and 381 were asymptomatic, the National Health Commission said on Friday.
* Macau added two hotels in popular casino resorts to be used as COVID-19 medical facilities from Friday as they try to increase capacity to handle a surge of infections in the world’s biggest gambling hub.
* Millions of people in Shanghai queued for a third day of mass COVID-19 testing on Thursday as authorities in several Chinese cities scrambled to stamp out new outbreaks that have rekindled worries about growth in the world’s second-largest economy.
* Shanghai reopened most cinemas, sticking to a plan of gradual resumption of daily activities after it lifted a two-month COVID-19 lockdown in June, while also trying, like several other Chinese cities, to contain resurgent infections.
* Hong Kong has suspended a rule that banned individual flights for bringing in passengers infected with the COVID-19 virus, as it caused “unnecessary trouble” and inconvenience to residents of the global financial hub, the government said on Thursday.
* The European Medicines Agency is open to using next generation COVID-19 vaccines that target older offshoots of the Omicron variant this fall, an official said on Thursday, amid a rise in cases due to new Omicron subvariants.
* Sweden is seeing an increase in COVID-19 cases and healthcare can expect an increase in pressure over the summer, the health minister said on Thursday.
* The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said on Wednesday it authorized state-licensed pharmacists to prescribe Pfizer’s PFE.N COVID-19 pill Paxlovid to eligible patients, in a bid to improve access to the treatment.
* Passengers boarding Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings NCLH.N ships won’t have to take COVID-19 tests from next month unless required by local law, the U.S. cruise operator said on Wednesday as the crucial summer sailing season gathers steam.
AFRICA AND MIDDLE EAST
* Africa’s top public health body said on Thursday it had signed a memorandum of understanding with Pfizer PFE.N for countries on the continent to receive supplies of the Paxlovid pill to treat COVID-19.
* The Israeli Health Ministry on Wednesday gave the green light for the vaccination of children between the ages of 6 months to five years against COVID-19.
* Less than a month after a hard-won deal was reached on a partial waiver of intellectual property rights for COVID-19 vaccines, a fresh battle may be looming at the World Trade Organization over extending the waiver to treatments and tests.
* U.S. employers likely hired the fewest workers in 14 months in June, but the jobless rate probably remained near pre-pandemic lows, underscoring labor market tightness that could encourage the Federal Reserve to deliver another 75-basis-point interest rate increase later this month.
* Asian shares advanced on Friday as fears of an economic slowdown cooled somewhat, though news of the shooting of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe jolted Japanese shares and drove up the safe-haven yen.