Hong Kong’s Virus Rules Keep Cases Low but Stoke Complaints

HONG KONG — A pandemic illness had struck Hong Kong, and the Worley family had gamely followed the rules. They wore masks. They socially distanced. They skipped traveling overseas with their newborn baby to visit his grandparents.

Then the coronavirus came to the playgroup of their 15-month-old son. Now the three of them are stuck in a spartan government quarantine center for 10 days.

“We’ve done everything that was asked of us,” said Kylie Davies-Worley, the mother, who is Australian. “We’ve complied with every regulation, we’ve stayed home when we needed to, yet we feel like we’ve been treated like second-class citizens. It’s not humane.”

Hong Kong’s targeted approach to fighting the virus entails temporarily restricting the freedoms of a few for the benefit of the many. The Chinese territory has avoided full lockdown largely by moving aggressively to stamp out the virus wherever it may appear, whether among taxi drivers and restaurant workers, in densely crowded, low-income neighborhoods, or at dance halls popular with older women.

told CNN.

a separate statement the same day, the government specified the amenities available to children in quarantine centers and said that “each and every decision has been made in the interests of the children and their families.”

Quarantine is nothing new in Hong Kong, which has one of the strictest policies in the world. People who test positive for the virus are isolated in hospitals for monitoring and treatment, regardless of whether they have symptoms, while their close contacts are quarantined for up to 14 days, even if they test negative. More than 42,000 people have passed through government quarantine facilities during the pandemic.

a New York Times database.

“One of the lessons from SARS is that targeted approaches like contact tracing and quarantine are a useful way to limit transmission of an infection, and that has been applied with great success with the Covid pandemic in Hong Kong,” said Ben Cowling, an epidemiologist and biostatistician at the University of Hong Kong School of Public Health, referring to the 2003 epidemic that killed 299 people in the Chinese territory. (Hong Kong has recorded 203 deaths from Covid-19.)

stop the protests from resuming.

That distrust is reflected in lower-than-expected participation in a citywide vaccination campaign, with residents especially skeptical of the Chinese-made Sinovac vaccine. On Monday, the government said it was expanding eligibility to everyone 30 and older to accelerate vaccination efforts.

Confusion, distrust and misinformation on social media have contributed to accusations of unequal treatment in quarantine decisions. Parents asked why some children were allowed to quarantine at home or in hotels instead of in government facilities; health officials say it depends on their degree of exposure to the virus.

The case of a couple working at the U.S. Consulate who tested positive for the virus but were allowed to bring their two children with them to the hospital caused further consternation and complaints of exceptional treatment. Mrs. Lam said the decision had been made based on the couple’s family circumstances and not their status as consular employees.

“Everybody is treated equal before the law and in terms of our epidemic control measures, regardless of their race, their status, their identity, whether they are more resourceful or less resourceful,” she said on Tuesday. “This is a fundamental principle in Hong Kong and we will abide by that principle.”

Though officials did relent on quarantine for some children, no such reversal came for members of the playgroup used by the Worley family. One of them, Jennifer Choi, is spending seven nights in a government center with her 13-month-old daughter.

Like the Worleys, Ms. Choi, who is from South Korea, said she had been careful to follow social-distancing rules. Her daughter often wears a face shield even though Hong Kong does not require masks for children under the age of 2.

So it was frustrating for her and other parents when officials cited the presence of maskless babies in the group as one reason all eight of them and their caregivers were being sent to government quarantine.

“What kind of logic is that?” Ms. Choi said.

Tiffany May contributed reporting.

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Prince Philip Leaves London Hospital

LONDON — Prince Philip, the 99-year-old husband of Queen Elizabeth, left a London hospital on Tuesday, according to Buckingham Palace, a month after he was initially hospitalized and later treated for a heart problem.

Prince Philip was taken from Windsor Castle, a royal residence about 20 miles west of central London, on Feb. 16 after feeling ill and was moved to King Edward VII’s Hospital in the British capital.

He was then transferred to St. Bartholomew’s Hospital, also in London, to undergo surgery this month for a pre-existing heart condition, and was later moved back to King Edward VII’s, where he was discharged on Tuesday.

The palace has not disclosed the exact reason he was first taken to the hospital, retaining a practice of remaining vague about the health of the queen and her husband.

received Covid-19 vaccines in January, and last month, the queen encouraged people to get vaccinated. “Once you’ve had the vaccine, you have a feeling of, you know, you’re protected,” she said in a public call with health officials.

Prince Charles, the couple’s eldest son and the heir to the throne, tested positive for the virus last year, as did Prince William, their grandson.

Prince Philip, also known as the Duke of Edinburgh, retired from public life in 2017 and turns 100 in June. He has been admitted to the hospital several times in recent years, including for an infection in 2012, for abdominal surgery in 2013 and for a hip replacement in 2018. He also received treatment for a blocked coronary artery in December 2011.

Buckingham Palace said that Prince Philip had returned to Windsor Castle after his discharge on Tuesday.

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Purdue Pharma Offers Plan to End Sackler Control and Mounting Lawsuits

In a filing that signifies the beginning of the end of the country’s most notorious manufacturer of prescription opioids, Purdue Pharma submitted its bankruptcy restructuring plan just before midnight on Monday. The blueprint requires members of the billionaire Sackler family to relinquish control of the company and transforms it into a new corporation with revenue directed exclusively toward abating the addiction epidemic that its signature painkiller, OxyContin, helped create.

The plan, more than 300 pages long, is the company’s formal bid to end thousands of lawsuits and includes a pledge from the Sacklers to pay $4.275 billion from their personal fortune — $1.3 billion more than their original offer — to reimburse states, municipalities, tribes and other plaintiffs for costs associated with the epidemic.

If the plan is approved by a majority of the company’s creditors and Judge Robert D. Drain of federal bankruptcy court in White Plains, N.Y., payments will start pouring into three buckets: one to compensate individual plaintiffs, like families whose relatives overdosed or guardians of infants born with neonatal abstinence syndrome, as well as hospitals and insurers; another for tribes; and the third — and largest — for state and local governments, which have been devastated by the costs of a drug epidemic that has only worsened during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“With drug overdoses still at record levels, it is past time to put Purdue’s assets to work addressing the crisis,” said Steve Miller, chairman of Purdue’s board of directors, in a statement. “We are confident this plan achieves that critical goal. ”

filed for bankruptcy protection in 2019.

pleaded guilty to federal criminal charges in November for defrauding health agencies and violating anti-kickback laws.

Individual members of the Sackler family agreed to pay the federal government $225 million in civil penalties, but said in a statement that they had “acted ethically and lawfully.” Although the Sacklers were not charged criminally, the Justice Department reserved the right to pursue criminal charges later.

recent public health principles that were signed by at least two dozen major medical, drug policy and academic institutions and that include attention to drug prevention, youth education, racial equity and transparency.

The plan will be voted on by tens of thousands of parties. Confirmation hearings will ensue, and a conclusion is expected in a few months. From the start of the bankruptcy proceedings 18 months ago, leaders of a major bloc of municipalities signaled their support, as did 24 states.

Lloyd B. Miller, who represents numerous tribes including the Navajo Nation, said his clients were on board.

“It’s critical that more opioid treatment funding starts flowing into tribal communities, all the more so given the extraordinary devastation tribes have suffered during the Covid pandemic,” he said.

But since 2019, when Purdue filed for bankruptcy, 24 other states — some controlled by Democrats, others by Republicans — and the District of Columbia have opposed the move, noting that Purdue has continued to profit from its OxyContin sales.

Maura Healey, the attorney general of Massachusetts, who was the first to sue individual members of the Sackler family, contended that under this plan, the Sackler payments would come from their investment returns rather than from principal.

“The Sacklers became billionaires by causing a national tragedy,” Ms. Healey said in a statement. “They shouldn’t be allowed to get away with it by paying a fraction of their investment returns over the next nine years and walking away richer than they are today.”

Attorneys general for the opposing states said that although the plan was an improvement over earlier proposals, they still found it disappointing for several reasons. Among those, they said, the plan should be amended to establish “a prompt and orderly wind-down of the company that does not excessively entangle it with states and other creditors.”

Two branches of the Sackler family — heirs of two of the brothers who founded the company — said: “Today marks an important step toward providing help to those who suffer from addiction, and we hope this proposed resolution will signal the beginning of a far-reaching effort to deliver assistance where it is needed.”

The eldest brother, Dr. Arthur Sackler, sold his shares before OxyContin was introduced and his relatives are not part of the litigation.

A forensic audit of the Sacklers’ finances, commissioned by Purdue in the course of the bankruptcy investigations, determined that from 2008 to 2017 the family earned more than $10 billion from the company. Lawyers for the family said that the full amount was not liquid: More than half went toward taxes and investments in businesses that will be sold as part of the bankruptcy agreement.

Although states and other blocs of creditors have vociferously objected to elements of the plan for 18 months, many factors seem to favor the likelihood of approval: the duration of the litigation, the exorbitant cost to all parties, the urgency of the worsening opioid crisis and the overall depletion of public health resources by the coronavirus pandemic.

The new company would continue to sell OxyContin, a painkiller that is still approved by the Food and Drug Administration under limited circumstances. But it would diversify its products to include generics and a drug to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, as well as set aside new drugs to reverse overdoses and treat addiction, to be distributed on a nonprofit basis as a public health initiative.

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AstraZeneca Concerns Throw Europe’s Covid-19 Vaccine Rollout Into Deeper Disarray

Germany, France, Italy and Spain became the latest countries to suspend use of the vaccine even as a third wave of the pandemic threatens the continent.


ROME — As a third wave of the pandemic crashes over Europe, questions about the safety of one of the continent’s most commonly available vaccines led Germany, France, Italy and Spain to temporarily halt its use on Monday. The suspensions created further chaos in inoculation rollouts even as new coronavirus variants continue to spread.

The decisions followed reports that a handful of people who had received the vaccine, made by AstraZeneca, had developed fatal brain hemorrhages and blood clots.

The company has strongly defended its vaccine, saying that there is “no evidence” of increased risk of blood clots or hemorrhages among the more than 17 million people who have received the shot in the European Union and the United Kingdom.

“The safety of all is our first priority,” AstraZeneca said in a statement Monday. “We are working with national health authorities and European officials and look forward to their assessment later this week.”

latest safety report that “the number and nature of suspected adverse reactions reported so far are not unusual in comparison to other types of routinely used vaccines.”

Among the millions of people who have received the AstraZeneca shot in Britain, 14 reported cases of deep vein thrombosis and 13 reported cases of a pulmonary embolism, conditions that can both be caused by blood clots. Only one of those people died. There were 35 reported cases of thrombocytopenias, a condition involving a low blood platelet count. That also led to one death.

“We are closely reviewing reports but the evidence available does not suggest the vaccine is the cause,” Dr. Phil Bryan with a British regulatory agency said in a statement.

The World Health Organization signed off on the safety of the vaccine developed by researchers at the University of Oxford in partnership with the pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca. The European Medicines Agency, the European Union’s regulatory authority, also approved its use, after monitoring some five million vaccinations already administered across the continent. Its guidance as of Monday remained the same.

Norwegian authorities held a news conference Monday to explain their earlier decision to suspend using the vaccine.

They said a 50-year-old patient who had died was in good health before she received the vaccine, but then suffered a fatal “intracerebral hemorrhage”

Another health care worker who died on Friday was described as being in her 30s, and dying of the same cause 10 days after receiving a shot.

The doubt, merited or not, around the AstraZeneca vaccines comes as more countries embrace or contemplate broad new restrictions — in some places for a third or fourth time in a year.

Short of widespread inoculations, and with the more easily transmissible and potentially more lethal British variant dominating infections, Italy extended tough new restrictions on movement nationwide on Monday, deepening a year’s worth of economic and psychic damage.

The quiet on the streets of Rome and elsewhere was eerily reminiscent of a year ago, when Italy became the first European country to shut down, underscoring to some how frustratingly little progress had been made in combating the pandemic.

“The second, the third wave, I have lost count,” said Barbara Lasco, 43, as she sat in a park in Milan, near the epicenter of the original European outbreak in northern Italy. “I am puzzled and disappointed; one year was enough time to keep this from happening again.”

Advances against the virus, nearly everywhere, have been maddeningly halting. In Germany, even as many nonessential stores opened last week for the first time in months, health officials called for caution.

“We are seeing clear signs: In Germany the third wave has already begun,” Lothar H. Wieler, the president of the Robert Koch Institute, Germany’s equivalent of the C.D.C., said on Friday. Since then, the daily numbers of infections have increased.

The virus is also spreading, and hospitals are again buckling, across Central Europe.

Prime Minister Viktor Orban of Hungary predicted that this week would be the most difficult since the start of the pandemic in terms of allocating hospital beds and ventilators, as well as mobilizing nurses and doctors.

In Germany, where infections are being driven by the British variant, a more lasting suspension of AstraZeneca could delay vaccination of the population by a month, according to the Central Institute for Registered Doctors.

France is hoping to stave off a new surge of infections with local restrictions, but some health officials think the time for a third national lockdown has come because intensive care units are swamped. “New decisions” will be taken in the coming days to tackle the rise in infections in France, Mr. Macron said on Monday.

Greek authorities last week reported the country’s highest daily rate of infections since mid-November, driven by the British variant; the rise prompted a reversal of plans to reopen schools and shops later this month.

Italy’s prime minister, Mario Draghi, warned on Friday that the country was facing a “new wave of contagion,” driven by more infectious variants of the coronavirus.

He has put an army general in charge of the vaccine rollout and hoped to increase inoculations from 100,000 a day to 500,000.

But that was before the AstraZeneca fears spread more widely.

On Monday, Iacopo Benini, a 32-year-old professor, had his AstraZeneca vaccination appointment canceled 20 minutes before he arrived for his shot in Milan. “Who is going to accept getting AstraZeneca now?” he said.

Reporting was contributed by Melissa Eddy and Christopher Schuetze from Germany; Constant Méheut and Aurelien Breeden from France; Emma Bubola from Milan; Matina Stevis-Gridneff and Monika Pronczuk from Brussels; Benjamin Mueller and Marc Santora from London; Benjamin Novak from Hungary; Niki Kitsantonis from Greece; Rebecca Robbins from Bellingham, Wash., Gaia Pianigiani from Siena; Thomas Erdbrink from Amsterdam; and Raphael Minder from Madrid.

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AstraZeneca Concerns Throw Europe’s Vaccine Rollout Into Deeper Disarray

Germany, France, Italy and Spain became the latest countries to suspend use of the vaccine even as a third wave of the pandemic threatens the continent.


ROME — As a third wave of the pandemic crashes over Europe, questions about the safety of one of the continent’s most commonly available vaccines led Germany, France, Italy and Spain to temporarily halt its use on Monday. The suspensions created further chaos in inoculation rollouts even as new coronavirus variants continue to spread.

The decisions followed reports that a handful of people who had received the vaccine, made by AstraZeneca, had developed fatal brain hemorrhages and blood clots.

The company has strongly defended its vaccine, saying that there is “no evidence” of increased risk of blood clots or hemorrhages among the more than 17 million people who have received the shot in the European Union and the United Kingdom.

“The safety of all is our first priority,” AstraZeneca said in a statement Monday. “We are working with national health authorities and European officials and look forward to their assessment later this week.”

latest safety report that “the number and nature of suspected adverse reactions reported so far are not unusual in comparison to other types of routinely used vaccines.”

Among the millions of people who have received the AstraZeneca shot in Britain, 14 reported cases of deep vein thrombosis and 13 reported cases of a pulmonary embolism, conditions that can both be caused by blood clots. Only one of those people died. There were 35 reported cases of thrombocytopenias, a condition involving a low blood platelet count. That also led to one death.

“We are closely reviewing reports but the evidence available does not suggest the vaccine is the cause,” Dr. Phil Bryan with a British regulatory agency said in a statement.

The World Health Organization signed off on the safety of the vaccine developed by researchers at the University of Oxford in partnership with the pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca. The European Medicines Agency, the European Union’s regulatory authority, also approved its use, after monitoring some five million vaccinations already administered across the continent. Its guidance as of Monday remained the same.

Norwegian authorities held a news conference Monday to explain their earlier decision to suspend using the vaccine.

They said a 50-year-old patient who had died was in good health before she received the vaccine, but then suffered a fatal “intracerebral hemorrhage”

Another health care worker who died on Friday was described as being in her thirties, and dying of the same cause 10 days after receiving a shot.

The doubt, merited or not, around the AstraZeneca vaccines comes as more countries embrace or contemplate broad new restrictions — in some places for a third or fourth time in a year.

As of now, just about 8 percent of Europeans have received vaccines, even as new variants threaten to outpace and overwhelm the effort.

Short of widespread inoculations, and with the more easily transmissible and potentially more lethal British variant dominating infections, Italy extended tough new restrictions on movement nationwide on Monday, deepening a year’s worth of economic and psychic damage.

The quiet on the streets of Rome and elsewhere was eerily reminiscent of a year ago, when Italy became the first European country to shut down, underscoring to some how frustratingly little progress had been made in combating the pandemic.

“The second, the third wave, I have lost count,” said Barbara Lasco, 43, as she sat in a park in Milan, near the epicenter of the original European outbreak in northern Italy. “I am puzzled and disappointed; one year was enough time to keep this from happening again.”

Advances against the virus, nearly everywhere, have been maddeningly halting. In Germany, even as many nonessential stores opened last week for the first time in months, health officials called for caution.

“We are seeing clear signs: In Germany the third wave has already begun,” Lothar H. Wieler, the president of the Robert Koch Institute, Germany’s equivalent of the C.D.C. said on Friday. Since then, the daily numbers of infections have increased.

The virus is also spreading, and hospitals are again buckling, across Central Europe.

Prime Minister Viktor Orban of Hungary predicted that this week would be the most difficult since the start of the pandemic in terms of allocating hospital beds and ventilators, as well as mobilizing nurses and doctors.

In Germany, where infections are being driven by the British variant, a more lasting suspension of AstraZeneca could delay vaccination of the population by a month, according to the Central Institute for Registered Doctors.

France is hoping to stave off a new surge of infections with local restrictions, but some health officials think the time for a third national lockdown has come because intensive care units are swamped. “New decisions” will be taken in the coming days to tackle the rise in infections in France, Mr. Macron said on Monday.

Greek authorities last week reported the country’s highest daily rate of infections since mid-November, driven by the British variant; the rise prompted a reversal of plans to reopen schools and shops later this month.

Italy’s prime minister, Mario Draghi, warned on Friday that the country was facing a “new wave of contagion,” driven by more infectious variants of the coronavirus.

He has put an army general in charge of the vaccine rollout and hoped to increase inoculations from 100,000 a day to 500,000.

But that was before the AstraZeneca fears spread more widely.

On Monday, Iacopo Benini, a 32-year-old professor, had his AstraZeneca vaccination appointment canceled 20 minutes before he arrived for his shot in Milan. “Who is going to accept getting AstraZeneca now?” he said.

Reporting was contributed by Melissa Eddy and Christopher Schuetze from Germany; Constant Méheut and Aurelien Breeden from France; Emma Bubola from Milan; Matina Stevis-Gridneff and Monika Pronczuk from Brussels; Benjamin Mueller and Marc Santora from London; Benjamin Novak from Hungary; Niki Kitsantonis from Greece; Rebecca Robbins from Bellingham, Wash., Gaia Pianigiani from Siena; Thomas Erdbrink from Amsterdam; and Raphael Minder from Madrid.

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Brazil Needs Vaccines. China Is Benefiting.

RIO DE JANEIRO — China was on the defensive in Brazil.

The Trump administration had been warning allies across the globe to shun Huawei, the Chinese telecommunications giant, denouncing the company as a dangerous extension of China’s surveillance system.

Brazil, ready to build an ambitious 5G wireless network worth billions of dollars, openly took President Trump’s side, with the Brazilian president’s son — an influential member of Congress, himself — vowing in November to create a secure system “without Chinese espionage.”

Then pandemic politics upended everything.

With Covid-19 deaths rising to their highest levels yet, and a dangerous new virus variant stalking Brazil, the nation’s communications minister went to Beijing in February, met with Huawei executives at their headquarters and made a very unusual request of a telecommunication company.

“I took advantage of the trip to ask for vaccines, which is what everyone is clamoring for,” said the minister, Fábio Faria, recounting his meeting with Huawei.

hoarding many millions of doses for themselves — has offered a diplomatic and public relations opening that China has readily seized.

closely aligned with Mr. Trump, disparaged the Chinese vaccine while it was undergoing clinical trials in Brazil, and shut down an effort by the health ministry to order 45 million doses.

“The Brazilian people WON’T BE ANYONE’S GUINEA PIG,” he wrote on Twitter.

But with Mr. Trump gone and Brazilian hospitals overwhelmed by a surge of infections, Mr. Bolsonaro’s government scrambled to mend fences with the Chinese and asked them to expedite tens of millions of vaccine shipments, as well as the ingredients to mass-produce the shots in Brazil.

The precise impact of the vaccine request to Huawei and its inclusion in the 5G auction is unclear, but the timing is striking, part of a stark change in Brazil’s stance toward China. The president, his son and the foreign minister abruptly stopped criticizing China, while cabinet officials with inroads to the Chinese, like Mr. Faria, worked furiously to get new vaccine shipments approved. Millions of doses have arrived in recent weeks.

“With the desperation in Latin America for vaccines, this creates a perfect position for the Chinese,” said Evan Ellis, a professor of Latin American studies at the United States Army War College, who specializes on the region’s relationship with China.

Britain and Germany — Huawei has mounted a well-timed charm offensive in Brazil.

said in a message on Twitter announcing the gift.

Before the first vaccines rolled off assembly lines, Huawei seemed to be losing the 5G contest in Brazil, knocked to the sidelines by the Trump administration’s campaign against it. Latin America’s largest nation was only months away from holding an auction to create its 5G network, a sweeping upgrade that will make wireless connections faster and more accessible.

Huawei, along with two European competitors, Nokia and Ericsson, aspired to play a leading role in partnering with local telecommunications companies to build the infrastructure. But the Chinese company needed the green light from Brazilian regulators to take part.

The Trump administration moved aggressively to thwart it. During a visit to Brazil last November, Keith Krach, then the State Department’s top official for economic policy, called Huawei an industry pariah that needed to be locked out of 5G networks.

“The Chinese Communist Party cannot be trusted with our most sensitive data and intellectual property,” he said in a Nov. 11 speech in Brazil, during which he referred to Huawei as “the backbone of the CCP surveillance state.”

Brazil’s foreign ministry said Brazil “supports the principles contained in the Clean Network proposal made by the United States.”

Eduardo Bolsonaro, a son of the president, who headed the foreign affairs committee in the lower house of Congress, said in a tweet that Brazil would back Washington’s push.

China had already faced scorn in some corners of Latin America early in the pandemic, as concerns that it had been careless in allowing the virus to slip beyond its borders took root. Beijing’s reputation took an additional hit in Peru, after exporting cheap, unreliable Covid tests that became an early misstep in the country’s efforts to rein in contagion.

But China found an opportunity to shift the narrative early this year, as its CoronaVac became the cheapest and most accessible inoculation for countries in the developing world.

With the pandemic under control in China, Sinovac, the maker of CoronaVac, began shipping millions of doses abroad, offering free samples to 53 countries and exporting it to 22 nations that placed orders.

As the first doses of CoronaVac were administered in Latin America, China took a swipe at wealthy nations that were doing little to guarantee prompt access to vaccines in poorer countries.

said in a speech late last month. “We hope that all countries that have the capability will join hands and make due contributions.”

In late February, as the first doses of China’s vaccines were being administered in Brazil, the country’s telecom regulatory agency announced rules for the 5G auction, which is scheduled to take place in July, that do not exclude Huawei.

The change in Brazil reflects how the campaign against Huawei driven by Mr. Trump has lost momentum since his defeat in the November election. Britain said it would not ban equipment made by Huawei from its new high-speed 5G wireless network. Germany has signaled a similar approach to Britain’s.

Thiago de Aragão, a Brasília-based political risk consultant who focuses on China’s relationships in Latin America, said two factors saved Huawei from a humiliating defeat in Brazil. The election of President Biden, who has harshly criticized Brazil’s environmental record, made the Brazilian government unenthusiastic about being in lock step with Washington, he said, and China’s ability to make or break the early phase of Brazil’s vaccination effort made the prospect of angering the Chinese by banning Huawei untenable.

“They were facing certain death by October and November and now they’re back in the game,” Mr. de Aragão said of Huawei.

The request for vaccines by the Brazilian communications minister, Mr. Faria, occurred as it became clear Beijing held the keys to accelerate or throttle the vaccination campaign in Brazil, where more than 270,000 people have died of Covid-19.

Feb. 11, Mr. Faria posted a letter from China’s ambassador to Brazil in which the ambassador noted the request and wrote that “I give this matter great importance.”

In a statement, Huawei did not say it would provide vaccines directly but said the company could help with “communication in an open and transparent manner in a topic involving the two governments.”

China is also the dominant supplier of vaccines in Chile, which has mounted the most aggressive inoculation campaign in Latin America, and it is shipping millions of doses to Mexico, Peru, Colombia, Ecuador and Bolivia.

In a sign of China’s growing leverage, Paraguay, where Covid-19 cases are surging, has struggled to gain access to Chinese vaccines because it is among the few countries in the world that have diplomatic relations with Taiwan, which China considers part of its territory.

In an interview, Paraguay’s foreign minister, Euclides Acevedo, said his country is seeking to negotiate access to CoronaVac through intermediary countries. Then he made an extraordinary overture to China, which has spent years trying to get the last few countries that recognize Taiwan to switch their alliances.

“We would hope the relationship does not end at vaccines, but takes on another dimension in the economic and cultural spheres,” he said. “We must be open to every nation as we seek cooperation and to do so we must have a pragmatic vision.”

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Myanmar Authorities Declare Martial Law in Parts of Country’s Largest City

YANGON, Myanmar — Myanmar’s ruling junta has declared martial law in six townships in Yangon, the country’s largest city, after security forces killed dozens of protesters over the weekend in an increasingly lethal crackdown on resistance to a military coup last month.

The state broadcaster MRTV said Monday that the Yangon townships of North Dagon, South Dagon, Dagon Seikkan and North Okkalapa had been put under martial law. An initial announcement was made late Sunday saying two other townships — Hlaing Thar Yar and neighboring Shwepyitha — were being placed under martial law.

At least 38 people were killed Sunday and dozens were injured in one of the deadliest days of the crackdown on protesters, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, an independent group tracking the violence. Several estimates from other sources gave higher figures.

Complicating efforts to organize new protests as well as media coverage of the crisis, mobile internet service has been cut, though access is still available through fixed broadband connections. Mobile data service has been used to stream live video coverage of protests, often showing security forces attacking demonstrators.

The blockage of internet service forced postponement of a court hearing in the capital, Naypyidaw, for Myanmar’s detained leader, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, who was supposed to take part via a video conference, said her lawyer, Khin Maung Zaw.

Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi and President Win Myint were detained during the Feb. 1 military takeover, and have been charged with several criminal offenses that their supporters believe are politically motivated to keep them locked up.

Since the takeover six weeks ago, Myanmar has been under a nationwide state of emergency, with its civilian leaders ousted and detained, and military leaders in charge of all government. But Sunday’s announcement was the first use of martial law since the coup and suggested more direct military control of security, instead of local police.

The announcement said that the State Administrative Council acted to enhance security and restore law and order, and that the Yangon regional commander has been entrusted with administrative, judicial and military powers in the area under his command. The orders cover six of Yangon’s 33 townships, all of which have suffered major violence in recent days.

Thirty-four of the deaths were in Yangon. Video from Hlaing Thar Yar township showed people running away after gunfire was heard at nighttime. Those fleeing carried one injured person and tried to revive two others, one who seemed to be dead or dying, the footage from the independent Democratic Voice of Burma showed.

Hlaing Thar Yar was the location of 22 civilian deaths Sunday, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, which said that more than a dozen civilians were wounded and described a large number of junta forces engaged in the township.

Four other deaths were reported in the cities of Bago, Mandalay, and Hpakant, according to the association and local media.

In a new tactic, demonstrators used the cover of darkness to hold mass candlelight vigils in various parts of Yangon over the weekend, including some that took place after 8 p.m., when a curfew imposed by authorities starts.

The protest movement has been grounded in nonviolent civil disobedience, with marches and general strikes among its main features.

The Assistance Association for Political Prisoners’ tally of victims of the crackdown raised the number of civilians killed by security forces since the coup to over 100. Confirmation of the number of casualties is nearly impossible due to the security situation and a crackdown on independent media in Myanmar, but various groups have compiled tallies with similar figures.

The actual death toll is likely higher, as police apparently have seized some bodies, and some victims have had serious gunshot wounds that medical staff at makeshift clinics would be hard-pressed to treat. Many hospitals are occupied by security forces, and as a result are boycotted by medical personnel and shunned by protesters.

Police have also aggressively patrolled residential neighborhoods at night, firing into the air and setting off stun grenades as an intimidation tactic. They have also taken people from their homes in targeted raids with minimal resistance. In at least two known cases, the detainees died in custody within hours of being hauled away.

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Italy imposes lockdown measures as cases spike across Europe.

A year after Italy became the first European country to impose a national lockdown to contain the spread of the coronavirus, the nation has fallen eerily quiet once again, with new restrictions imposed on Monday in an effort to stop a third wave of infections that is threatening to wash over Europe and overwhelm its halting mass inoculation program.

As he explained the measures on Friday, Prime Minister Mario Draghi warned that Italy was facing a “new wave of contagion,” driven by more infectious variants of the coronavirus.

Just as before, Italy was not alone.

“We have clear signs: The third wave in Germany has already begun,” Lothar Wieler, head of the Robert Koch Institute for Infectious Diseases, said during a news conference on Friday. Prime Minister Viktor Orban of Hungary predicted that this week would be the most difficult since the start of the pandemic in terms of allocating hospital beds and breathing machines, as well as mobilizing nurses and doctors. Hospitalizations in France are at their highest levels since November, prompting the authorities to consider a third national lockdown.

Across Europe, cases are spiking. Supply shortages and vaccine skepticism, as well as bureaucracy and logistical obstacles, have slowed the pace of inoculations. Governments are putting exhausted populations under lockdown. Street protests are turning violent. A year after the virus began spreading in Europe, things feel unnervingly the same.

In Rome, the empty streets, closed schools, shuttered restaurants and canceled Easter holidays came as a relief to some residents after months of climbing infections, choked hospitals and deaths.

“It’s a liberation to return to lockdown, because for months, after everything that happened, people of every age were going out acting like there was no problem,” said Annarita Santini, 57, as she rode her bike in front of the Trevi Fountain, a popular site that had no visitors except for three police officers. “At least like this,” she added, “the air can be cleared and people will be scared again.”

For months, Italy had relied on a color-coded system of restrictions that, unlike the blanket lockdown of last year, sought to surgically smother emerging outbreaks in order to keep much of the country open and running. It does not seem to have worked.

“History repeats itself,” Massimo Galli, one of Italy’s top virologists, told the daily Corriere della Sera on Monday. “The third wave started, and the variants are running.”

“Unfortunately we all got the illusion that the arrival of the vaccines would reduce the necessity of more drastic closures,” he said. “But the vaccines did not arrive in sufficient quantities.”

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Myanmar Coup Protests Show No Sign of Waning, Despite Killings

Soldiers and police officers shot and killed at least 18 people in Myanmar over the weekend, as they pressed their campaign of attrition against protesters who have defied them in cities and towns across the country.

Despite weeks of killings by the security forces, a nationwide civil-disobedience movement — which has paralyzed much of the economy as well as the government’s operations — shows no sign of waning, a month and a half after the Feb. 1 military coup that ousted the civilian leadership.

“The world is upside down in Myanmar,” said U Tin Tun, who said he saw military personnel in the city of Mandalay commandeer an ambulance and drive off with a woman who had been shot in the head by a fellow soldier.

“We must fight until we win,” said Mr. Tin Tun, 46. “The regime must step down. There is no place for any dictator here in Myanmar.”

known as the Tatmadaw, has run the country for most of the past 60 years. For the majority of that time, it has battled rebel armies made up of members of ethnic minorities, who inhabit areas rich in jade, timber and other resources.

the Nobel laureate Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, it continued to operate without civilian oversight. In 2017, it waged an internationally condemned campaign of ethnic cleansing against the Muslim Rohingya in western Myanmar, killing thousands and forcing more than 700,000 to flee to neighboring Bangladesh.

Now, the military has brought similar tactics — and some of the same military units — to cities and towns around the country. Soldiers and police officers, who are also under the authority of the army’s top commander, have fired into homes and crowds of protesters, beaten demonstrators in the streets and arrested many hundreds of people, some whom were later tortured, victims and witnesses have said.

the secretary of homeland security, Alejandro N. Mayorkas, using Myanmar’s former name. He said its citizens would be eligible to stay in the United States for 18 months.

The weekend’s wave of killings began just before midnight on Friday, when a crowd of people gathered outside a police station in Yangon seeking the release of three brothers who had been seized from their home. The police opened fire, killing two men, relatives of the victims said.

On Saturday, the killing continued with four more victims in Yangon, three in the town of Pyay and one in the town of Chauk. Both towns sit on the Irrawaddy River north of Yangon, Myanmar’s largest city.

In Mandalay, the second-largest city, where the first major street protests against the coup were held on Feb. 4, four protesters were shot and killed by the security forces on Saturday, according to doctors who tried to treat the victims. A fifth death was confirmed by a relative of the victim.

On Sunday, three protesters in Yangon were shot and killed, according to the clinic where their bodies were taken.

In Mandalay on Saturday, after police officers began shooting at protesters, about two dozen students who had been demonstrating fled and took refuge in the nearby home of Daw Pyone, 49.

Police officers and soldiers followed them there and confronted Ms. Pyone, said her daughter, Ma Tin Nilar San, who hid with the students under blankets and mosquito nets. When Ms. Pyone refused to give them up, Ms. Tin Nilar San said, a soldier shot her in the head from a few feet away.

“I was crying in hiding and I was shaking because I was so afraid,” said Ms. Tin Nilar San, 28. “My mother gave birth to me by risking her life. But I could not save my mom’s life when she was in need and calling my name.”

The soldiers began firing randomly inside the house, and most of the students came out of hiding, she said. Eighteen were arrested.

After the police and soldiers left, Ms. Tin Nilar San said she and the remaining students carried her mother, who was still alive, to a nearby Buddhist monastery, where volunteer medics were treating wounded protesters.

They put her in an ambulance. But before it could be driven away, about 20 soldiers and police officers arrived, said Mr. Tin Tun, who was coordinating emergency care at the monastery. They broke down the door of the monastery, and everyone fled or hid, he said.

Mr. Tin Tun said he found a place to hide near the ambulance. He said he heard the soldiers say that Ms. Pyone appeared to have died, and that they should take her to a cemetery to be cremated.

The soldiers then drove off in the ambulance, he said. Ms. Pyone has not been seen since. Family members, hoping she might have survived, have looked for her at a prison and at police and military hospitals, without success.

“I cannot sleep, I cannot eat anything,” Ms. Tin Nilar San said. “I want my mother back. She is such a nice woman with a kind heart. She risked her life to save all the students hiding in our house.”

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