Purchases of PCR tests in China’s Hubei Province surged months before the first official reports of a novel coronavirus case there, according to a report by Australia-based cybersecurity company Internet 2.0. About 67.4 million yuan ($10.5 million at current rates) was spent on PCR tests in Hubei during 2019, nearly double the 2018 total, with the upswing starting in May, according to the report. Internet 2.0 collected and analyzed data from a website that aggregates information on public procurement bids in China. The analysis team consists of former officials from intelligence agencies in the U.S., the U.K., Australia, and other countries.

New Zealand is ending its effort to keep Covid-19 out of the remote South Pacific country as the economic costs mount and after its latest lockdown failed to halt the spread of the virus. Pandemic restrictions in the country’s largest city, Auckland—in place after a Covid-19 outbreak in mid-August—will be eased in stages starting this week, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said Monday.…

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