China's vice premier tells hospitals not to turn away patients amid Xi'an lockdown
From CNN's Beijing Bureau
China's vice premier Sun Chunlan told hospitals not to turn patients away after they were reportedly denied immediate medical care for not presenting valid Covid-19 tests, resulting in widespread despair and public outcry.
Sun's comments came after harrowing tales of loss and despair emerged from locked down Xi'an city in northwest Shaanxi province — highlighting the immense human cost of China's zero-Covid policy.
One heavily pregnant woman was allegedly turned away from a hospital on New Year's Day because she didn't have a valid Covid-19 test, according to a post from a user who said she was the woman's niece.
She was finally admitted two hours later — but had a miscarriage, said the post, which was shared widely on Chinese micro-blogging platform Weibo before it was deleted.
Read more about Xi'an's lockdown here:
Australia's NSW to impose precautionary measures ahead of "anticipated peak" in Covid-19 cases
From CNN's Angus Watson in Sydney and Sophie Jeong
Australia's New South Wales (NSW) will impose a range of precautionary measures ahead of an “anticipated peak” in Covid-19 cases, according to a statement from the state government Friday.
NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet said the state will extend the suspension of non-urgent surgeries through to February to "alleviate pressure on the hospital system and staff."
Singing and dancing will be prohibited in hospitality venues — including pubs, clubs, nightclubs, bars and restaurants — entertainment facilities, and major recreation facilities from Saturday until January 27, according to the statement. The prohibition will not apply to weddings, students, instructors and performers, the statement said.
Major events scheduled for the coming weeks will be risk-assessed by authorities, but event organizers should assume their event will proceed unchanged unless they are contacted by NSW Health, the statement added.
NSW is seeing a surge in cases driven by the highly contagious Omicron variant. On Friday, it reported 38,625 new Covid-19 cases of Covid-19, according to the state's health department.
India reports more than 100,000 new Covid-19 cases as doctors warn of strain on health care
From CNN's Esha Mitra in New Delhi
India on Friday reported 117,100 new Covid-19 cases — the highest daily rise in nearly seven months, as it battles a surge in cases driven by the highly contagious Omicron variant that is threatening to put a strain on medical resources.
India's capital, Delhi, reported 15,097 new cases, the highest since May 8, according to state health bulletins. Financial capital Mumbai reported 20,181 new cases — the second consecutive day of record cases.
At least 313 resident doctors have tested positive for Covid-19 across four hospitals in Mumbai, according to Dr. Avinash Yadav of the Maharashtra Association of Resident Doctors.
For months, resident doctors have protested the delay in allocating hospitals to an incoming batch of doctors, which the Indian Medical Association had said led to a shortage of 45,000 doctors on the frontline.
“Those of us who are mild and asymptomatic are still continuing to work in Covid wards, but taking every precaution to ensure we don’t infect patients,” Yadav said.
As of Thursday evening, Mumbai had nearly 6,000 Covid-19 patients in hospital with 16.8% of its hospital beds occupied — more than double from a week ago on December 31, according to local health bulletins.
Mumbai's Dharavi slum reported 107 new cases on Thursday — the highest rise since the start of the pandemic, according to local administrative officials.
India has reported a total of 35,226,386 Covid-19 cases, including 483,178 related deaths, according to the Indian Ministry of Health. At least 3,007 cases of the Omicron variant have been reported across the country.
Novak Djokovic is "not being held captive," says Australia home affairs minister
From CNN’s Sophie Jeong
Nine-time Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic is "not being held captive" in Australia and can leave when he chooses, the nation's home affairs minister said Friday, after the Serbian's visa to enter the country was canceled for not meeting the required entry rules.
Djokovic arrived in Melbourne on Wednesday after tournament organizers, in conjunction with the Victoria Department of Health, said he had been granted a medical exemption — a decision that sparked backlash among many Australians.
The men's tennis world no.1 hasn't publicly revealed his Covid-19 vaccination status — but Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Djokovic "didn't have a valid medical exemption" to the vaccination requirement for all arrivals.
Djokovic's visa was canceled on Thursday, and he is currently staying at the Park Hotel, where he was allegedly transferred after being detained at the airport, according to CNN affiliates Seven Network and Nine News. The hotel was formerly used as a Covid-19 quarantine hotel for returned travelers, but is now operating as a detention facility housing asylum seekers and refugees.
On Friday, his wife, Jelena Djokovic, spoke out for the first time on social media since the saga began.