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Australia locks down Melbourne as coronavirus cases surge: Live | News


  • The Australian state of Victoria has imposed broad restrictions on nearly five million people, including in Melbourne, in an attempt to halt the spread of the new coronavirus.

  • Humanitarian group Oxfam says as many as 122 million people could go hungry this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, warning that up to 12,000 people could die each day from hunger linked to the social and economic impacts of the disease.

  • More than 12 million people around the world have been diagnosed with the coronavirus disease, known as COVID-19, and at least 548,896 have died, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. About 6.5 million patients have recovered.

Here are the latest updates.

Thursday, July 9

 

10:01 GMT – Africa’s CDC urges more COVID-19 tests, masks, as continent’s cases top 500,000

African countries urgently need to scale up coronavirus testing and the use of face masks, a regional disease control body said, as the epidemic gains traction across the continent with confirmed cases topping half a million.

Dr John Nkengasong, head of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), said new cases were up 24 percent in Africa in the past week.

“The pandemic is gaining full momentum,” he told a virtual news conference from Addis Ababa.






Burundi launches mass COVID-19 testing campaign

09:45 GMT – With new record daily high, Indonesia reports more than 70,000 coronavirus infections

Indonesia reported its biggest single-day increase in new coronavirus cases with 2,657 infections, taking the case total to 70,736.

There were 58 new coronavirus-related deaths, bringing the total number of fatalities in the country to 3,417, health ministry official Achmad Yurianto said.

09:15 GMT – Serbia mulls anti-virus rules as clashes erupt over lockdown

Serbia’s authorities are pondering what measures to impose to curb a surging spread of the new coronavirus, in the wake of two nights of clashes between police and anti-lockdown demonstrators.

Serbia’s crisis team is expected to ban gatherings in the capital, Belgrade, and limit the operations of cafes and nightclubs following a huge spike in infections that they say threatens the health system.

It is not clear if officials will reintroduce a weekend curfew, the initial announcement of which triggered the violent protests in Belgrade and three other cities.

08:51 GMT – Hong Kong reports jump in local coronavirus infections for second day

Hong Kong reported 42 new coronavirus cases, of which 34 were locally transmitted, marking the second consecutive day of a jump in local infections and fuelling fears of renewed community spread.

The total number of cases in the global financial hub since late January now stands at 1,366. Seven people have died.

Hong Kong stock exchange

A pedestrian wearing a protective mask walks past a stock ticker at the Exchange Square complex, which houses the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, in Hong Kong [Lam Yik/Bloomberg]

08:28 GMT – China executes man in coronavirus-rage killing case

A Chinese man who stabbed to death two people at a coronavirus travel checkpoint was executed, the Supreme People’s Court said.

Ma Jianguo was driving with friends to a village in rural Yunnan for a karaoke party when he came to a barricade blocking his path.

One member of the group tried to remove the barrier, sparking a dispute with people manning it. Ma, aged 24, then stabbed two checkpoint volunteers several times in the abdomen, killing them, the court said in a posting on its official social media account.

08:05 GMT – Slovakia reports biggest daily rise in coronavirus cases since April

Slovakia reported its biggest daily jump in new coronavirus cases since April 22 as infections rose again.

The Central European country has one of Europe’s lowest death tolls from COVID-19 and has avoided a surge in cases like its western neighbours since the pandemic struck in March.

On Wednesday, it recorded 53 new cases, according to health ministry data, which was the seventh day since June 30 the daily rise had been in double digits.

07:40 GMT – Emirates lays off more pilots, crew in latest round of job cuts – sources

Emirates laid off more pilots and cabin crew this week in another round of job cuts as the Gulf airline shrinks its workforce due to the coronavirus pandemic, four sources said, according to Reuters.

The Dubai state-owned carrier is cutting thousands of jobs, including pilots and cabin crew, as it manages a cash crunch caused by the pandemic, sources have said.

A handout image provided by Emirates airlines on March 8, 2020 in Dubai shows a member of the cleaning staff disinfecting seat screens aboard an Emirates Airbus A380-800 aircraft for sterilisation eff

Emirates is cutting thousands of jobs in its second round of cuts [File: Emirates Airlines/AFP]

07:15 GMT – UK’s Sunak says will start to fix budget deficit once outlook clearer

British finance minister Rishi Sunak said he would act to put public finances back on a sustainable footing in the medium term, when he has a clearer view of the economic recovery from the COVID-19 crisis.

Sunak said that interventions to support the economy would cost an extraordinary amount of money, but the cost of not acting would have been far greater in the long run.

“We can’t sustainably live like this, of course we can’t, and over the medium term we can and we will return our public finances to a sustainable position,” Sunak told the BBC.

06:50 GMT – Five million begin lockdown in Australian city

Five million people in Australia’s second-biggest city began a new lockdown, returning to tough restrictions just weeks after they ended, as Melbourne grapples with a resurgence of coronavirus cases.

Residents have been told to stay at home for six weeks after other measures to contain a spike in COVID-19 failed to prevent the virus from spreading.

The state of Victoria, which announced a further 165 new cases, has been effectively sealed off in an effort to preserve the rest of Australia’s success in curbing the virus.

Australia NSW VIctoria border

Police in the southern New South Wales city of Albury check cars crossing the state border from Victoria after a sudden spike in coronavirus cases in the southern Australian state [William West/AFP/AFP]

06:22 GMT – ‘Gut punch’: 36,000 United Airlines jobs at risk as US aid ends

United Airlines Holdings Inc notified 36,000 employees, or 45 percent of its US workforce, that their jobs are at risk after federal payroll aid expires at the end of September.

The final layoff tally hasn’t been finalised and may be smaller as workers weigh offers to leave voluntarily, United told employees on Wednesday.

Read more here.


Hello, this is Usaid Siddiqui in Doha taking over from my colleague Ted Regencia.


 

05:25 GMT – Tokyo coronavirus cases hit record daily high of 224, NHK says

Tokyo recorded 224 new cases of coronavirus infection on Thursday, according to the public broadcaster NHK, surpassing the Japanese capital’s previous record of 206 infections on April 17.

Japan has a total of 20,261 cases and 982 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins University tally.

05:15 GMT – Nigeria’s confirmed coronavirus cases pass 30,000

Abuja, Nigeria

People wearing face masks walk inside Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja on its reopening day for domestic operations on Wednesday [Afolabi Sotunde/Reuters]

Nigeria’s confirmed coronavirus cases have surpassed 30,000, Reuters news agency reported, quoting the country’s disease control centre, as the virus spreads in Africa’s most populous country amid an easing of restrictions put in place to curb the disease.

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), in its daily update posted on its website, said there were 460 new cases, taking the total number of recorded cases to 30,249. NCDC said these had led to 684 deaths.

The country of 200 million people has, like many other African nations, so far avoided the high death rates of the United States, Brazil and parts of Europe. But health experts fear a lack of reliable data means the virus could be spreading unchecked in Africa. Fearing the economic toll of the pandemic, Nigerian authorities have in recent weeks relaxed restrictions imposed to prevent the spread of the virus.

The resumption of domestic flights on Wednesday was the latest step and came a week after a ban on interstate travel was lifted.

05:00 GMT – Argentina posts record 3,604 daily COVID-19 cases

Argentina has posted a record 3,604 daily cases of COVID-19 as the South American country grapples with rising infections that are threatening its early success in stalling the spread of the virus.

The sharp rise, the first time daily cases topped 3,000, took the total number to 87,030, five times the number at the start of June, though still well below caseloads in hard-hit neighbours Brazil, Chile and Peru.

Argentina’s centre-left government imposed a strict lockdown in mid-March, which has been loosened in most of the country but was extended and reinforced late last month in and around Buenos Aires, the capital, due to a spike in cases.

Argentina’s death toll from the pandemic stands at 1,694.

The impact of the virus has hammered the South American country’s economy, already in recession for two years and grappling to solve a painful debt crisis. Economists forecast a 12 percent economic contraction for 2020.

Buenos Aires, Argentina

Economists forecast a 12 percent economic contraction in Argentina for 2020 [File: Agustin Marcarian/Reuters]

04:38 GMT – Australia’s Queensland closes borders for people escaping Melbourne 

An Australian state has closed its doors to people fleeing the second lockdown in Australia’s second-largest city, AP news agency reported.

Queensland Health Minister Steven Miles said on Thursday many people were willing to pay for their own 14-day hotel quarantine to be allowed to escape Melbourne and other parts of Victoria state, where a six-week lockdown began on Wednesday night because of spreading coronavirus infections.

Miles said beginning on Friday, anyone who has been in Victoria in the previous two weeks will be barred from entering Queensland. However, the state will let in residents of Queensland who are coming home and a few other exceptions.

“We need to reserve hotel accommodation for people who need to be quarantined,” Miles said.

04:24 GMT – South Korea reports 50 new cases

South Korea has reported 50 new cases of the coronavirus as new clusters continue to emerge across the country, AP news agency reported.

The figures announced by South Korea’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday brought the national total to 13,293 cases, including 287 deaths.

Nineteen of the new cases came from the densely populated Seoul metropolitan area, which has been at the centre of a virus resurgence since late May. Fifteen were reported from the southern city of Gwangju, where infections have been tied to various places, including a Buddhist temple, Christian churches and office buildings.

Twenty-two of the new cases were linked to international arrivals as the virus continues to spread in southern Asia, the US and elsewhere.

04:01 GMT – China eases into reopening as local cases wane

China

Commuters wearing face masks to protect against the spread of the coronavirus walk through a subway station in Beijing on Thursday [Mark Schiefelbein/AP]

China says it has nine new confirmed coronavirus cases, all of them brought from outside the country, and no new deaths, the AP reported.

Thursday’s report buttresses growing signs the virus has been essentially contained inside the nation in which it first appeared late last year.

The near elimination of local virus transmission has allowed the reopening of most businesses and resumption of some social activities, including the holding of the crucial annual college entrance exams. Sport, tourism and cultural activities are also slowly starting to return.

The wearing of masks remains obligatory in most indoor spaces and a proof of health is required for entry to many venues.

China has reported a total of 4,641 deaths among 84,910 cases of COVID-19 during the pandemic.

03:44 GMT – Germany’s confirmed coronavirus cases rise to 197,783

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany rose by 442 to 197,783, Reuters news agency reported on Thursday, quoting data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases.

RKI also reported 12 new deaths, pushing the death toll to 9,048.

03:14 GMT – China seeks joint COVID-19 research

The Chinese government has announced that it is seeking international cooperation to conduct research projects on drugs, vaccines, test kits and even traditional Chinese medicine to fight the coronavirus. 

In a statement issued on Thursday, the Ministry of Science and Technology said the aim of the programme is to test and develop new technologies to quickly detect and cure the disease.

Research on a vaccine that has completed the first two phases of clinical trials will get priority support, according to the statement.

With most of the 84,900 cases in the country already cured, China has trained its sight on strengthening and expanding its influence abroad, extending assistance to countries that are struggling to contain the pandemic. 

02:48 GMT – Mexico posts new case record to overtake Spain

Coronavirus - Mexico

Mexico’s overall tally of infections has reached 275,003 cases and almost 33,000 deaths [Rebecca Blackwell/AP]

Mexico has posted a fresh record for new coronavirus cases reported in a single day, with 6,995 infections, overtaking Spain to register the world’s eighth-highest case count, according to a Reuters tally.

Despite the soaring figures, Mexico’s coronavirus chief, Hugo Lopez-Gatell, said the pandemic was “slowing”.

The figures pushed Mexico’s overall tally of infections to 275,003 cases. Mexico on Wednesday also recorded 782 additional deaths, bringing its overall death toll to 32,796, the world’s fifth-highest total.

The government has said the real number of infected people and deaths is likely significantly higher than the confirmed numbers due to low levels of testing.

02:28 GMT – Turkey wants strict social distancing rules at weddings, engagements

Turkey is preparing to appoint “observers” at weddings and engagement parties to ensure that social distancing practices are adhered to.

Health Minister Fahrettin Koca told reporters following a weekly meeting of the country’s scientific advisory council on Wednesday that the decision was reached after several recent COVID-19 outbreaks were traced back to weddings.

Authorities in eight provinces have banned traditional send-off ceremonies for young men starting their military service – considered another source for coronavirus infections.

Meanwhile, religious authorities were considering measures to ensure social distancing at funeral gatherings, Koca said.

Turkey saw an uptick in daily confirmed infections and deaths in mid-June, after it eased restrictions aimed at curbing the spread of the virus.

On Wednesday, the total number of infections in Turkey rose to 208,938. The death toll now stands at 5,282.

Turkey - lawyers

Amid the coronavirus restrictions, Turkish lawyers protest in Ankara on Friday against the proposed changes to the associations’ election system [Stringer/EPA]

02:08 GMT – MSF warns of consequences after US withdrawal from WHO

The Trump administration’s decision to withdraw US membership from the World Health Organization (WHO) could have life-threatening consequences for people around the globe, said the international medical humanitarian organisation Doctors Without Borders (Medecins Sans Frontieres, or MSF).

“The WHO, while in need of reforms, plays a vital role in coordinating global medical research, producing evidence-based guidelines, and supporting national governments to respond to urgent public health crises,” MSF said in a statement late on Thursday.

“The COVID-19 global pandemic is certainly no time to walk away from this global health agency, of which the US is a founding member,” it added.

01:48 GMT – South Africa prepares 1.5 million graves as cases rise

A health official in South Africa’s new coronavirus hotspot of Gauteng province says authorities are preparing more than 1.5 million graves as confirmed cases rise, the AP reported.

Bandile Masuku, a doctor and member of the province’s executive council, said it was the public’s responsibility to make sure the graves were not needed.

“It’s an uncomfortable discussion,” he said. Gauteng province includes Johannesburg and the capital, Pretoria.

The number of confirmed virus cases in Gauteng is now more than 71,000, or 33 percent of South Africa’s cases. The country has more than 224,000 confirmed cases and is posting some of the world’s highest daily totals of newly reported cases.

01:25 GMT – Chile to ease lockdown in two southern regions

Chile will begin easing lockdown measures in two southern regions on Monday with 800,000 people able to resume some of their activities and those above 75 will be able to go out once a day.

Restaurants, cinemas, theatres and cafes will be allowed to open at 25 percent capacity. Sporting activities can be carried out without an audience and can include up to 10 people in enclosed spaces and 50 in the open.

The new measures will apply in the Los Rios and Aysen regions in the country’s south. If a new outbreak occurs in either region, the government said tighter restrictions will be considered.

The number of people with confirmed infections of the new coronavirus surpassed 300,000 in the South American country, the sixth-highest figure in the world.

___________________________________________________________________

Hello and welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the coronavirus pandemic. I’m Ted Regencia in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Read all the updates from yesterday here.



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