Hard Numbers: Pakistan’s mosque mandate, Morrison banned from WeChat, Thai PM visits Saudi, Bitcoin tumbles
46: Facing an omicron wave, Pakistani authorities have announced that only fully vaccinated people will be allowed to enter mosques. In Karachi, Pakistan’s most populous city, almost half of people tested for COVID (46 percent) are returning positive results.
76,000: Amid a deepening diplomatic row between Beijing and Canberra, Australian PM Scott Morrison has lost access to his account on the Chinese messaging app WeChat and is unable to communicate with his 76,000 followers. Beijing denies claims of interference, but appeals to restore Morrison’s account have fallen on deaf ears.
30: Thailand’s Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha will visit Saudi Arabia this week, marking the first visit of a Thai leader to Riyadh in 30 years. Diplomatic ties between the two states broke down in 1989 after a Thai janitor stole $20 million worth of gems from a Saudi prince. Riyadh accused Bangkok of bungling the criminal investigation.
50: The price of Bitcoin has fallen 50 percent since it peaked last November. Cryptocurrencies have fallen across the board, in part because geopolitical tensions have sparked a global flight from riskier investments and in part because many governments have tried to crack down on digital assets.