Latest on the worldwide spread of the coronavirus

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Parts of the Asia-Pacific continue to face a surge in COVID-19 cases, with Shenzhen telling major companies to set up “closed-loop” systems, while in Australia, hospitalisations hit a record high for a second straight day.

The Chinese city of Shenzhen told 100 major companies including iPhone maker Foxconn to set up “closed-loop” systems as it battles COVID-19, according to a document attributed to the local government circulating online.

China gave conditional approval to domestic firm Genuine Biotech’s Azvudine pill to treat certain adult patients with COVID-19, adding another oral treatment option against the coronavirus.

Hospital admissions for COVID-19 in Australia have reached a new high for a second straight day, data showed on Tuesday, while the daily death toll rose to its second-highest as an outbreak fuelled by a coronavirus sub-variant sweeps the country.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Monday there were early signs that new COVID-19 cases were falling, even as hospitalisations jumped to their highest level since March.

EU member states should start preparing now for a new wave of the pandemic in autumn and winter, the bloc’s health chief said on Monday, saying there had been a “worrying increase” in outbreaks.

US President Joe Biden said he was “feeling great,” as he recovers from COVID-19, and that he expected to end his isolation and return to normal working conditions by the end of the week.

An experimental COVID-19 vaccine in the form of an oral tablet has shown promising immune responses in a small preliminary trial designed mainly to evaluate its safety, according to drug manufacturer Vaxart Inc.

China will step up financial support for the recovery of the cultural and tourism sectors, which have been hit hard by the pandemic, the central bank and the industry’s ministry said.

Taiwan’s trade-reliant economy is expected to have expanded on the back of strong global demand for computer chips, though COVID-19 lockdowns in top export market China and a surge in domestic infections could drag on demand, a Reuters poll showed.