CORONAVIRUS

Factbox: Latest on the worldwide spread of the coronavirus

Africa is experiencing its longest-running decline in weekly COVID-19 infections.

In Summary

•Africa is experiencing its longest-running decline in weekly COVID-19 infections.

• China's economy has grown faster than expected clip in the first quarter of the pandemic.

Test tube labelled 'Covic-19 Omicron variant test positive' is seen in this illustration picture taken January 15, 2022.
Test tube labelled 'Covic-19 Omicron variant test positive' is seen in this illustration picture taken January 15, 2022.
Image: REUTERS

China's supply chains must be stabilised amid COVID-19 outbreaks, with local governments helping key companies get back to work, the official Xinhua news agency quoted Vice Premier Liu He as saying.

DEATHS AND INFECTIONS

* Eikon users, see COVID-19: MacroVitals https://apac1.apps.cp.thomsonreuters.com/cms/?navid=1592404098 for a case tracker and summary of news.

AFRICA AND MIDDLE EAST

* Africa is experiencing its longest-running decline in weekly COVID-19 infections since the start of the pandemic, the World Health Organization said.

ASIA-PACIFIC

* Manufacturers including Tesla began preparing to reopen their Shanghai factories on Monday, as the city accelerated efforts to exit a COVID-19 lockdown that has forced most businesses in China's economic hub to shut for nearly three weeks.

* The tensions of lockdown have exposed divisions among Shanghai residents, pitting young against old, locals against outsiders, and above all, COVID-negative against COVID-positive people.

* Shanghai has set a target to stop the spread of COVID-19 outside of quarantined areas by Wednesday, two people familiar with the matter said, which would allow the city to ease its lockdown and start returning to normal life.

* Japan's top representative in Shanghai urged China's most populous city to address concerns of Japanese businesses over losses and other disruptions caused by lockdowns aimed at containing a COVID-19 surge.

* China said it will help hundreds of companies in key sectors to resume production in locked-down Shanghai, as businesses warn of the growing economic toll of restrictions.

* Shanghai reported a record number of symptomatic COVID-19 cases and other areas across China tightened controls as the country kept up its "dynamic clearance" approach that aims to stamp out the highly transmissible Omicron variant.

EUROPE

* Prime Minister Boris Johnson has thrust Britain into a constitutional crisis by breaking the law he set for pandemic restrictions, effectively "shredding the ministerial code", the country's leading constitutional expert said.

AMERICAS

* The U.S. State Department said it will sharply cut back on "Do Not Travel" advisories for international destinations after public health officials announced a change in how they will assess COVID-19 concerns.

MEDICAL DEVELOPMENTS

* COVID-19 vaccine candidates developed by a Sinopharm subsidiary and Sinovac Biotech to target the Omicron variant were approved for clinical trials in Hong Kong, the companies said.

ECONOMIC IMPACT

* China's economy grew at a faster than expected clip in the first quarter, data showed on Monday, expanding 4.8% year-on-year, but the risk of a sharp slowdown over coming months has risen as sweeping COVID-19 curbs and the Ukraine war take a heavy toll.

* A sharp rebound in automotive output in March spurred a third straight monthly gain in U.S. factory activity, perhaps signalling the worst of the production woes that have dogged the motor vehicle industry over the last year may have passed.