Prominent Chinese commentator Hu Xijin said on Sunday that as China ponders its COVID-19 policies, epidemic experts need to speak out and China ought to conduct comprehensive research and make any studies transparent to the public. Hu's unusual call on Chinese social media for candour and transparency earned him 34,000 likes on the popular Twitter-like microblog Weibo, as well as frank responses from netizens in a normally tightly policed internet quick to censor voices deemed a risk to social stability. China's top leaders warned in May amid the COVID lockdown of Shanghai and widespread restrictions in the Chinese capital Beijing that they would fight any comment or action that distorted, doubted or repudiated the country's COVID policies.
Sterling plunged by 4% in early Asia trade to the lowest level since decimalisation in 1971.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern led a state memorial service for Queen Elizabeth II on Monday, saying the Pacific nation has had "a deep connection" with her as New Zealand paid tribute to the late monarch. Hundreds watched the state memorial service outdoors on the screens set on the Parliament grounds in Wellington, the national capital, as the closed-door ceremony began with a minute of silence at the Cathedral of Saint Paul. "Today, we have gathered to acknowledge the deep connection New Zealand has had to her late majesty the Queen for more than 70 years, a connection grounded on her first visit in 1953," Ardern said, as she read excerpts from a souvenir book about the Queen's trip from December 1953 to January 1954, the first of her ten journeys to the country.