China on Friday attacked the theory that the coronavirus pandemic may have originated as a leak from a Chinese laboratory as a politically motivated lie, after the World Health Organization recommended in its strongest terms yet that a deeper probe is needed into whether a lab accident may be to blame.
The Chinese capital extended its work-from-home requirement for many of its 22 million residents to stem a COVID-19 outbreak, while Shanghai deployed more testing and curbs to hold on to its hard-won "zero COVID" status after two months of lockdown.
Shanghai reopened a small part of the world's longest subway system on Sunday after some lines had been closed for almost two months, as the city paves the way for a more complete lifting of its painful COVID-19 lockdown next week.
U.S. President Joe Biden and his new South Korean counterpart agreed on Saturday to hold bigger military drills and deploy more U.S. weapons if necessary to deter North Korea, while offering to send COVID-19 vaccines and potentially meet Kim Jong-un.
Shanghai reported a record number of symptomatic COVID-19 cases on Saturday and other areas across China tightened controls as the country kept up its "dynamic clearance" approach that aims to stamp out the highly transmissible Omicron variant.
South Korea will lift almost all social distancing measures, the government said Friday, citing a dramatic fall in reported cases of COVID-19 after an Omicron-fuelled surge, but the mask mandate will remain.
Oil prices climbed on Tuesday as Shanghai's relaxation of some COVID-19 restrictions eased concerns about Chinese demand and as OPEC warned it would be impossible to replace potential supply losses from Russia.
China's financial centre of Shanghai started easing lockdown in some areas from Monday, despite reporting a record of more than 25,000 new COVID-19 infections, as authorities strive to get the city moving again after more than two weeks.
China’s President Xi Jinping praised the country’s “tested” zero-COVID strategy on Friday, even as Shanghai authorities prepared nearly 130,000 beds for COVID-19 patients amid surging cases and mounting public anger.