China closes Shanghai schools, seeks to divert Covid return flights


China is experiencing its largest Covid-19 outbreak since the early days of the pandemic, setting off a wave of new restrictions and mitigation measures as the country’s zero-tolerance approach to the virus is challenged. question like never before. Domestic infections topped 1,000 for the first time since Wuhan’s initial outbreak peaked on Friday, a tally that has risen from just over 300 cases a day in less than a week. The country responded by shutting down a city of 9 million in the northeast and ordering the construction of makeshift hospitals there and in the eastern port city of Qingdao. An outbreak of the omicron variant in Shanghai has shut schools again, while officials are reportedly considering diverting all international flights from the financial hub to ease pressure on quarantine hotels. China is isolating all virus cases, including those in the community, as part of its Covid Zero policy. In a move that could signal that Beijing expects a further rise in cases, authorities said they would allow the use of rapid antigen tests for the first time on Friday evening. Although widely used in other parts of the world, rapid tests were previously limited in China. The Covid Zero strategy has helped keep the second economy largely virus-free for much of the pandemic.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang to step down this year (PTI) Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, who has led the country’s economy for a decade, said he would step down this year, setting in motion the dramatic change in leadership that happens once a decade in communist country. With the exception of President Xi Jinping, who became the most powerful Chinese leader after the founder of the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP) Mao Zedong, the rest of the party leadership and government are expected to undergo a change.

“This is my last year as prime minister,” said Li, 66, the CCP’s second-largest leader after Xi, in a matter-of-fact voice while answering a question about the economy.

At the end of his last press conference, Li left with a wave and a simple “thank you all” without leaving a farewell message.



Pakistan inducts Chinese J-10C fighter jets into PAF (PTI) Pakistan on Friday officially introduced the J-10C multirole fighter jets, acquired from its all-weather ally China, into its air force to improve the country’s combat capabilities. Prime Minister Imran Khan addressed a ceremony held at Pakistan Air Force (PAF) Base Minhas Kamra in Attock district of Punjab to induct the new aircraft.

“Unfortunately, efforts are being made to create an imbalance in the region and to address this, a big addition was made today to our defense system,” he said, apparently referring to the acquisition by India of Rafale fighter jets to France. Khan described it as a big move for Pakistan after about 40 years when US-supplied F-16s were inducted into the PAF.

Didi to suspend HK listing over cyber investigation (Reuters) Didi Global has suspended preparations for its planned Hong Kong listing after failing to appease demands from Chinese regulators to overhaul its systems for handling sensitive user data, people in the know said. The Cyberspace Administration of China informed Didi executives that their proposals to prevent security and data leaks had failed, the people said. Its core apps, removed from local app stores last year, will remain suspended for the time being, one of the people said. The company and its bankers halted work on listing in Hong Kong ahead of an IPO originally slated for the summer of this year, the sources said. In addition to handling the CAC review, Didi is also working to finalize its fourth quarter results, as required for a listing prospectus, they said.

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