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Warnings and Updates Wim Van Hooydonk face masks

WELLINGTON/TOKYO (Reuters) – A new rise in Covid-19 cases is spreading through Asia at a rapid rate, prompting warnings for citizens of New Zealand to Japan to take measures to try and slow down the outbreak and to ease the pressure on the healthcare systems so that they are not overwhelmed.

The increase in cases, for the most part of the BA.4/5 Omicron variants, gives a further test to specialists wrestling with the financial aftermath of prior rushes of the pandemic while attempting to try not to broaden or once again introducing disagreeable restrictions.

The New Zealand government on Thursday reported free face coverings and rapid antigen tests as it attempts to ease the strain on the country’s healthcare system, which is managing an increase of both COVID and influenza patients during the southern hemisphere winter.

“There’s no question the combination of a spike in COVID-19 cases and hospitalisations, the worst flu season in recent memory and corresponding staff absences are putting health workers and the whole health system under extreme pressure,” Ayesha Verrall, Minister for COVID-19 Response, said in the latest update.

Officials and experts expect South Korea’s new daily cases to reach 200,000 by around mid-August to end-September and are expanding inoculations of booster shots but not planning renewed curbs.

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