Germany’s disease control agency has lowered its risk assessment for the dangers posed by the coronavirus pandemic to the general population. China has again defended its zero-COVID strategy. DW has the latest.
Germany's Robert Koch Institute (RKI), the public health agency for disease control, on Friday dropped its rating of the risk posed by COVID to the general population from "very high" to "high."
The RKI had raised its assessment of risk to "very high" in December as the omicron variant began to spread in Germany, prompting extra lockdown measures.
"The current dominant omicron variant, particularly BA.2, has spread significantly faster and more effectively than previous viral variants, but there has not been an increase in severe illness and death in the same proportion as in previous waves of infection," the RKI further explained.
Here are some of the other coronavirus headlines from around the world:
In China, the Chinese Communist Party's official People's Daily newspaper has hit out at accusations that the country's zero-COVID policy was disrupting global trade.
In particular, the editorial took issue with politicians in the United States, accusing them of falsely seeking to pin the blame for economic difficulties on China.
"Some US politicians have frequently attacked and smeared China's epidemic prevention and control measures and tried to throw the blame on China for the so-called disruption of global supply chains," the paper said without identifying anyone in particular.
The Chinese yuan has weakened to its lowest level against the dollar since November 2020, with stocks also falling sharply.
The Olympic Council of Asia has said that this year's Asian Games in China are being postponed because of concerns about the spread of the omicron variant.
The council said new dates would be announced "in the near future'' after talks with local organizers and the Chinese Olympic Committee.
The games in the city of Hangzhou were scheduled to be held from September 10 to 25. The city is less than 200 kilometers (120 miles) from the country's biggest city Shanghai, which has been locked down for weeks because of outbreaks there.
In India, the main opposition Congress party on Friday has demanded a hefty rise in compensation for the families of those who died of COVID-19.
The call came in response to a World Health Organization (WHO) estimate released on Thursday that 4.7 million people died in the country. Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government has rejected the findings.
However, epidemiologist Eric Feigl-Ding told DW that the assessment — which says nearly 15 million people died due to the coronavirus pandemic worldwide in the past two years — is a very "conservative" one.
Amid reports that India reportedly tried to block the WHO study, Feigl-Ding said politics was getting in the way of public health. He blamed a lack of leadership and said there was a wider problem.
"It's not just India and Brazil, Russia, many other countries, even the UK have suffered really big failures," Feigl-Ding said.
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Large airlines and other companies have urged the White House to abandon COVID-19 pre-departure testing requirements for vaccinated international passengers traveling to the United States.
Airline and tourism executives say many Americans are not traveling internationally, fearing that they will test positive and end up stranded abroad.
In a letter to the US government, they noted many foreign governments "with similar infection, vaccination and hospitalization rates —including the United Kingdom, Germany, and Canada — have eliminated pre-departure testing requirements for vaccinated travelers."
Tourism figures from Spain show that the country received 4 million tourists in March, more than eight times as many as in the same month last year. The boom comes after most pandemic-related restrictions were lifted, the National Institute of Statistics (INE) figures showed.