Today’s headlines: China closes two hospitals for enforcing anti-covid restrictions too strictly, in Thailand the price of pork is skyrocketing, two brothers separated during the partition of India reunited, in Afghanistan half of the factories closed due to financial and electricity problems.
The Cambodian government, which holds the rotating presidency of Asean, said it had postponed a meeting of foreign ministers that was scheduled for next week. Against the advice of other members of the organization who had excluded Myanmar from their meetings (but with Chinese support) Cambodian Premier Hun Sen had met with Burmese General Min Aung Hlaing last week.
In recent weeks in Thailand the price of pork has increased by 30% due to pandemic restrictions. In addition, a first case of African swine fever was detected two days ago in the province of Nakhon Pathom. In an attempt to limit further price increases in the run-up to the Chinese New Year, the government has announced the suspension of pork exports for the next three months.
Two hospitals in the currently locked-down city of Xi’an have been temporarily closed by local authorities. Both health facilities had refused to treat patients in order to comply with strict infection prevention rules. Gaoxin Hospital, whose director was suspended, had refused to treat an eighth-month pregnant woman who later miscarried because her covid-19 test (which came back negative) had been performed just over 48 hours earlier.
South Korea will begin treating Covid-19 patients with antiviral pills made by Pfizer. At least 21,000 Paxlovid will arrive in the country today and will be distributed to about 280 pharmacies. The drug will be administered to about 1,000 vulnerable individuals per day to prevent them from developing critical symptoms.
INDIA – PAKISTAN
Two 80-year-old brothers who were separated in 1947 during Pakistan’s partition from India were reunited yesterday for the first time and the touching video has been making the rounds on social media. The reunion was made possible by a social media search and the opening of the Kartarpur corridor in Pakistan, which allows Indian pilgrims to visit the Sikh shrine of Gurdwara Darbar Sahib.
Nearly half of the industries in Afghanistan have stopped working. “Due to lower demand in the markets, banking problems and lack of electricity, 40-50% of activities have been interrupted,” said an official from the Chamber of Industry and Mines.
In Moscow for the first time a citizen without nationality has received the new type of document decided by the parliament, the “non-citizen’s passport,” as communicated by member of the Social Control Commission Eva Merkaleva. The document was issued to 53-year-old Jakubzhan Khakimdzhanov of Uzbek origin, who has spent the last two years in an immigrant center in Sakharov near Moscow, as he could not be deported because he is stateless.
CHINA – GULF
The foreign ministers of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman and Bahrain and the secretary general of the Gulf Cooperation Council are all visiting China this week to discuss trade and security cooperation. For Beijing, the Gulf is of strategic importance in energy supply.