SNAPSHOT: What you need to know about the coronavirus right now

Reading Time: 3 minutes

China says Hong Kong must stick to “dynamic zero” COVID-19 strategy

Top Chinese health official rallied embattled Hong Kong on Tuesday to stick with a “dynamic zero” coronavirus strategy and warned that the city’s “lifeline” health system was at risk and the situation had to be turned around as soon as possible.

Hong Kong recently reported more than 43 100 new cases on Tuesday after the launch of an online platform for people to record infections in a surge that has seen the city suffering the most deaths globally per million people in the week to March 6, according to the Our World in Data publication.

China has championed the “dynamic zero” strategy that involves stamping out infections with strict mitigation measures as opposed to the approach adopted in other places of relying on high vaccination rates and moderate mitigation like masks in an effort to “live with COVID-19”.

Scientists identify new gene differences in severe COVID-19 patients

Scientists have pinpointed 16 new genetic variants in people who developed severe COVID-19 in a large study published on Monday that could help researchers develop treatments for very sick patients.

The results suggest that people with severe COVID-19 have genes that predispose them to one of two problems: failure to limit the ability of the virus to make copies of itself, or excessive inflammation and blood clotting.

The scientists said their discoveries, published in the journal Nature, could help prioritise the likely treatments that could work against the disease.

COVID-19 can cause brain shrinkage, memory loss – study

COVID-19 can cause the brain to shrink, reduce grey matter in the regions that control emotion and memory, and damage areas that control the sense of smell, an Oxford University study has found.

The scientists said that the effects were even seen in people who had not been hospitalised with COVID-19, and whether the impact could be partially reversed or if they would persist in the long term needed further investigation.

Florida breaks with CDC, recommends no COVID vaccine for healthy children

Florida’s top health official said on Monday the state would recommend against the COVID-19 vaccine for healthy children, breaking with guidance from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In announcing the move during a press briefing convened by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, the state’s surgeon general Dr.Joseph Lapado cited studies that showed few COVID-19 fatalities among healthy children and elevated risk among young boys receiving the vaccine of side effects such as myocarditis.

Malaysia to reopen borders from April with quarantine waiver

Malaysia will reopen its borders fully from April 1, 2022, and allow entry without quarantine for visitors vaccinated against COVID-19, Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob said on Tuesday.

Malaysia has since March 2020 maintained some of the tightest entry curbs in Asia to try to contain coronavirus outbreaks, with most foreign nationals barred from entry and returning Malaysians required to undergo quarantine.

Bali welcomes first foreign tourists after COVID quarantine rule lifted

Indonesia’s resort island of Bali on Monday welcomed its first foreign tourists under relaxed coronavirus rules that no longer require arrivals to quarantine, part of a broader easing of curbs in the Southeast Asian country after infections declined.