Does China need to rethink its zero-Covid policy? – podcast | Science

To decelerate a surge in Covid instances, final week Chinese language authorities put Shanghai into lockdown. However with a inhabitants of 26 million there have been difficulties offering residents with primary requirements, and movies have appeared on social media displaying protests and scrambles over meals provides. Now, authorities plan to start out easing the lockdown in some areas on Monday, regardless of reporting a document of greater than 25,000 new Covid instances.

Madeleine Finlay talks to the Guardian’s China affairs correspondent, Vincent Ni, about what’s been taking place in Shanghai, whether or not the Omicron variant could spell the tip of China’s zero-Covid coverage, and what an alternate technique might appear like

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Scramble for last free Covid tests in England as programme is scaled back | Health policy

Free Covid-19 assessments are being scaled again in England as individuals scramble to get them whereas they’re nonetheless out there.

Folks attempting to order lateral move assessments are discouraged from ordering packs after they attempt to entry them on-line.

The web ordering system says: “Most assessments are actually wanted for individuals at increased threat. In England, most individuals with out Covid signs not must take speedy lateral move assessments.

“Some individuals nonetheless want assessments to remain secure, like: NHS workers; people who find themselves at increased threat; people who find themselves visiting high-risk locations. We need to make sure that assessments can be found for individuals who want them most.”

However there was confusion throughout the NHS as as to if assessments will nonetheless be free for workers. The NHS Confederation referred to as for readability on the problem, saying employees could also be pressured to pay about £50 a month for assessments.

The Division of Well being and Social Care mentioned that extra particulars can be set out “shortly”.

Free common testing for the virus will come to an finish on 31 March in England, with free assessments solely being made out there to probably the most weak. Officers have beforehand mentioned the variety of free assessments out there every day can be capped to handle demand as the federal government scales again free testing in England.

Folks have been inspired to not stockpile check packs, however since ministers introduced the tip of the free testing programme for a lot of the inhabitants it has been troublesome for a lot of to get them.

However the UK Well being Safety Company mentioned availability is refreshed usually. A spokesperson mentioned: “As set out within the ‘dwelling with Covid’ plan, from 1 April free assessments will solely be out there for sure teams who’re at most threat from the virus.

“In preparation for this variation, the home-ordering channel is asking customers to solely order check kits for those who’re eligible for brand new Covid-19 therapies, work or volunteer in a high-risk setting or assist people who find themselves at increased threat from Covid-19.

“Assessments ought to solely be ordered after you have got used up any kits you have already got at dwelling.”