Royal Mail should stop blaming Covid for delivery failures, says Ofcom

Royal Mail cannot keep blaming the coronavirus pandemic for failing to make deliveries on time as its performance is falling “well short of where it should be”, the postal regulator has said. Ofcom said an investigation found that Royal Mail failed to meet several of its annual delivery targets, including only 82% of first class … Read more

China’s vice-premier signals shift in Covid stance as some lockdowns eased

One of China’s most senior pandemic response officials has said the country is entering a “new stage and mission” in the latest indication of the government’s changing approach after mass protests against its zero-Covid policy. Sun Chunlan, China’s vice-premier, made the comments to national health officials on Wednesday, according to the state media outlet Xinhua. … Read more

Confusion over zero Covid caused unrest in China. Clarity is the way forward | Yu Jie

When President Xi Jinping was seen unmasked at the G20 summit in Indonesia, he maintained a largely positive tone with President Joe Biden and other world leaders. This left an impression that China was on the verge of withdrawing its zero-Covid strategy. A set of loosening policy measures introduced by Beijing seemed to further suggest … Read more

How far could China’s ‘zero Covid’ protests go?

China has been rocked by an outpouring of communal anger at the government’s restrictive ‘zero Covid’ lockdown policies. Could the protests develop into something more substantial? Tania Branigan reports The largest protests in a generation have erupted in cities across China against the government’s harsh Covid restrictions and also, in some cases, the president himself, … Read more

Error at UK Covid testing lab might have led to 23 deaths, say experts

At least 23 deaths might have been caused by a blunder at a privately run laboratory after thousands of positive Covid cases were reported as negative, public health experts have estimated. The error, at the Immensa Health Clinic Ltd lab in Wolverhampton, led to about 39,000 PCR tests returning negative results between 2 September and … Read more

NSW government under pressure to scrap further 29,000 Covid fines after court ruling

New South Wales residents wrongly penalised for Covid breaches say it is “crazy” it took a protracted and costly court case to force the state government to back down and withdraw 33,000 invalid fines. The NSW government was forced on Tuesday to cancel 33,000 fines, worth an estimated $30m, for breaches of Covid-era public health … Read more

Tuesday briefing: What’s behind angry protests against China’s ‘deadly’ Covid restrictions

Good morning. After days of escalating protests across China unprecedented since Xi Jinping came to power a decade ago, the state hit back on Monday night. “There was a massive police presence [at the expected protest sites] in Shanghai and Beijing questioning passers-by,” the Guardian’s Helen Davidson, covering the story from Taipei, told me this … Read more

More than 33,000 Covid fines withdrawn in NSW after adverse court ruling

The New South Wales government has been forced to cancel more than $30m in fines for breaches of Covid-era public health orders after conceding they were too vague. On Tuesday, Revenue NSW announced it had cancelled some 33,000 Covid-era fines, about half the total number issued by police for breaches of the public health orders … Read more

Hong Kong residents show support for mainland China Covid protests – video

Dozens of protesters gathered in Hong Kong in solidarity with anti-lockdown demonstrations in mainland China. The protest was held to commemorate the 10 people who died in a fire in Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang region, and show solidarity with the protests that took place over the weekend in cities across China against stringent Covid-19 measures. Hong … Read more

The Guardian view on China’s protests: zero Covid, maximum frustration | Editorial

The extraordinary outbreak of unrest that spread through China at the weekend is of a kind that has not been seen for decades. Protests are not uncommon, given the limited means for people to express their views, but are usually local incidents based on specific grievances. While there have been larger individual protests in the … Read more