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Following is a summary of current health news briefs.

South Korea drops outdoor mask rule but many prefer to keep them on

South Korea has loosened rules requiring masks to be worn outdoors as COVID-19 drop cases, but many people are not taking them off yet due to pervasive Omicron infections. Health authorities lifted the mandate on Monday in the latest step to relax distancing curbs, even amid opposition from the transition team of President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol which has called the decision premature.

Factbox-Latest on the worldwide spread of the coronavirus

China’s commercial capital of Shanghai was dealt with a blow on Monday as authorities reported 58 new COVID-19 cases outside areas under strict lockdown, while Beijing pressed on with testing millions of people on a May Day holiday few were celebrating. DEATHS AND INFECTIONS

Setback for Shanghai’s COVID battle as Beijing ramps up mass testing

China’s commercial capital of Shanghai was dealt with a blow on Monday as authorities reported 58 new COVID-19 cases outside areas under strict lockdown, while Beijing pressed on with testing millions of people on a May Day holiday few were celebrating. Tough coronavirus curbs in Shanghai have stirred rare public anger, with millions of the city’s 25 million people stuck indoors for more than a month, some sealed inside fenced-off residential compounds and many struggling for daily necessities.

Poland has no ‘rationale to invoke force majeure in Pfizer vaccine deal -EU official

Poland has no “coherent rationale” to invoke force majeure in an existing contract in order to stop paying for more COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer, a European Commission official told Reuters. In April Poland’s health minister Adam Niedzielski said Warsaw had informed the European Commission and Pfizer that it would no longer take or pay for COVID-19 vaccines under a supply contract co-negotiated by the EU, acknowledging this would trigger a legal conflict.

Planned Parenthood, other US abortion rights groups to spend $ 150 million on midterms

Three US abortion rights advocacy groups will spend $ 150 million on the 2022 midterm elections, focusing on battleground states as they step up efforts to safeguard abortion access across the country, they said on Monday. Planned Parenthood Action Fund, NARAL Pro-Choice America and Emily’s List said their joint investment was meant “to aggressively respond to unprecedented attacks on sexual and reproductive rights and abortion rights across the country and raise voters’ awareness of the lawmakers who are to blame. . “

US FDA declines to approve two more China-tested drugs

The US Food & Drug Administration declined to approve two China-tested cancer treatments on Monday, saying one of the companies – Hutchmed Ltd – needs to test its drug for the US population in a diverse multi-regional trial. This is the second time the US regulator has declined to approve a drug that was tested mainly in China. In March, it declined to approve Eli Lilly and partner Innovent Biologics Inc’s lung cancer drug that had been studied only in China.

Philippines planning to give Myanmar 5 million Sputnik V vaccines

The Philippines is considering donating to Myanmar five million doses of Sputnik V COVID vaccine that are close to expiry, a senior health official said on Monday. The donation would be the first by the Philippines to another nation, after it scrambled for much of last year to procure vaccines for its 110 million population.

Beijing’s Chaoyang district to carry out three more rounds of COVID mass testing

Beijing’s Chaoyang district will carry out another three rounds of COVID-19 tests between May 3 and 5, local official said on a press briefing on Monday afternoon. Chaoyang district had previously said it would conduct two rounds of mass testing on May 1 and 3.

Amazon to reimburse US employees who travel for abortions, other treatments Inc, the second-largest US private employer, told its staff on Monday it will pay up to $ 4,000 in travel expenses annually for non-life threatening medical treatments including abortions, according to a message seen by Reuters. The decision makes the online retailer the latest company after Citigroup Inc, Yelp Inc and others to respond to Republican-backed state laws curbing abortion access, helping employees bypass them. It shows how companies are eager to retain and attract talent in locations that remain important to their operations despite legal changes impacting employees’ health.

Moderna says its vaccine for ages under 6 will be ready for US review in June

Moderna Inc’s chief medical officer said on Sunday the company’s vaccine for children under 6 years old will be ready for review by a Food and Drug Administration panel when it meets in June. Moderna sought emergency use authorization from the FDA on Thursday.

(With inputs from agencies.)


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