| |

"COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis" 14th Jul 2020

News Highlights

Croatia, Hungary bring in tough new lockdown rules to beat rising cases

Countries in eastern Europe that had so far been spared the full wrath of the coronavirus pandemic are seeing a recent rise in cases, leading to authorities imposing new restrictions to control the spread. Croatia, a tourist hotspot, will be enfocring a mandatory use of face masks, and Hungary, will impose entry bans and quarantines on people coming from countries or regions identified as risky areas.

CDC study shows asymptomatic superspreaders can infect dozens

As the world struggles to contain the Covid-19 pandemic, with more than 13 million people infected across the world and more than half a million people dead, contact tracing is playing an increasingly important role in stopping the spread. A recent study by the U.S. Centres for Disease Control has analysed the impact of a single asymptomatic traveller who ended up infecting 71 people because she happened to share an elevator with them.

UK braces for possible deadly 'winter wave' of infections

Scientists in the UK are estimating, as a worst-case scenario, between 24,500 and 251,000 deaths in hospitals alone in the winter, due to the coronavirus. More than 44,000 people have died in the UK so far. The scientists say that the new winter estimate, does not take into account any lockdowns, treatments or vaccines, and could be reduced if action is taken immediately.

No virus deaths in New York City for the first time in months

For the first time in over four months, New York City, once the epicentre of the U.S. coronavirus pandemic, experienced its first day without a single reported or probable death due to Covid-19. The city reported its first coronavirus fatality on March 11 and hit a high of 597 deaths due to the virus on April 7.

Lockdown Exit
Largest cities in Colombia reverse reopening as coronavirus threatens to collapse healthcare
Colombia’s capital Bogota and the country’s second largest city, Medellin, will reinstate partial lockdowns as COVID-19 is threatening to collapse healthcare. In Bogota, Mayor Claudia Lopez said Saturday that she will reinstate a rotating lockdown starting Monday in the hope that a reduction of people in the street will prevent a collapse of the capital’s healthcare system. The mayor said she will maintain this partial lockdown until after the projected peak in Bogota has passed at the end of August. Residents in areas under lockdown will not be allowed to go to work. Lopez said she would guarantee a universal basic income and food distribution in the locked down parts of the city.
Mexico surpasses Italy to become country with fourth-highest Covid-19 death toll
Deaths in Mexico from the coronavirus pandemic rose above 35,000 on Sunday, with the Latin American country overtaking Italy for the world's fourth-highest death total, according to Reuters data. But leftist President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said on Sunday that the pandemic was "losing intensity" in Mexico, and blamed what he called "conservative media" for causing alarm. Mexico on Sunday recorded 276 additional fatalities and 4,482 new infections to bring its coronavirus death toll to 35,006, with 299,750 confirmed cases. Italy has recorded 34,954 deaths and 243,061 cases. Mexico trails the United States, Brazil and the UK in total deaths. While Italy appears to have tamed the virus, the pandemic is showing few signs of easing in Mexico, where the government has faced criticism for reopening its economy too soon.
Families of Italy’s virus dead seek answers, solace and justice
Members of the Noi Denunceremo (We Will Denounce) Facebook group and an affiliated non-profit committee filed some 100 new cases Monday with Bergamo prosecutors investigating the outbreak, on top of 50 complaints lodged last month. Wearing a face mask with the group’s logo outside the tribunal Monday, We Will Denounce co-founder Stefano Fusco said the complaints don’t accuse anyone specifically of wrongdoing. “We simply tell our stories and ask the prosecutors to investigate about what happened here and why … there was such a huge massacre,” he said.
French mayor regrets lack of distancing at music event
The mayor of the French Mediterranean city of Nice has said he regretted a lack of social distancing at a shoreside DJ set thronged by partying crowds, vowing that in future masks would be obligatory at such outdoor events. A prominent French music producer hosted the set organised by the municipality on Saturday night, with crowds massing on central Nice's famous Promenade des Anglais esplanade. The density of the crowd as people danced the night away provoked fury on social media at a time when France is wary of a second wave of the coronavirus pandemic. "We regret that these rules have not been sufficiently respected," mayor Christian Estrosi wrote on Twitter.
Coronavirus: Nail bars and tattoo salons reopen as England lockdown eases
Beauty salons, spas, tattoo parlours and nail bars are welcoming back their first clients for almost four months, as lockdown restrictions ease further in England. But some treatments, such as eyebrow threading, are still banned, leaving many salons unable to reopen. In Scotland, indoor shopping centres are allowed to reopen. In Wales, pubs, bars and restaurants can start serving customers outdoors, while hairdressers can also reopen. Businesses will be required to follow guidelines to reduce the spread of coronavirus - and treatments which involve work directly in front of the face will not be available.
Shopping centres reopen as lockdown restrictions are eased
Scotland will see "the most significant easing of lockdown" this week with shopping centres, pubs and restaurants reopening, the first minister has said. Non-essential shops inside shopping malls are now allowed to return to business. Children and young people are also permitted to play organised outdoor contact sports. Further restrictions on the indoor hospitality sector will be lifted from Wednesday. Family and friends are also able to visit hospital patients from Monday. Patients can have a designated visitor, although they will have to follow strict public health guidance and arrange a time to visit in advance.
178 new Covid-19 cases in Singapore, including one in the community
There are 322 new coronavirus cases confirmed as of Monday noon (July 13), taking Singapore's total to 46,283. They include 11 community cases, comprising two Singaporeans or permanent residents and nine work pass holders, said the Ministry of Health (MOH) on Monday. The ministry said that the higher number of cases on Monday is mainly due to fewer tests being conducted by the Covid-19 testing laboratories over the public holiday and weekend on July 10 and 11, with the backlog of samples being cleared from Sunday.
Summer travel: Which countries in Europe have opened their borders?
Across Europe, governments have started to open their borders after weeks of closure during the coronavirus pandemic. Member states are not, however, legally obliged, to follow the recommendation. The list is to be updated every two weeks, the EU says. Given the pace of change, Euronews has compiled a handy guide to the situation in each European country. In the summer holiday season upon us, people have started to wonder whether they will be able to get away for a break abroad - and how far they will be able to go.
Latin America virus deaths pass US as Spain lockdown blocked
California drastically rolled back its reopening plans Monday as coronavirus cases surged across dozens of US states and the World Health Organization warned that too many nations are mismanaging their pandemic response. Governor Gavin Newsom ordered all indoor restaurants, bars and movie theaters to close again across California -- by far America's richest and most populous state, with a larger economy than all but four countries. Churches as well as gyms, shopping malls, hair salons and non-essential offices must also shut indoor operations in half of the Golden State's worst-hit and most densely populated counties, including Los Angeles. "We're moving back into a modification mode of our original 'stay-at-home' order," said Newsom, whose state was the first to close down in March, but began easing restrictions in May.
Re-starting life after Covid-19
Getting through Covid-19 was "a bit like that too", he says, adding that New Zealand had done a great job of locking down – and the population knew they could survive. As a person who travels extensively and engages with lots of people, Thatcher says he missed this face-to-face interaction during lockdown. But, at the same time, he found it helped him think more about what is important to him – his family. "I loved every moment of it in the end," he says, although he worried - and still worries - about one of his two daughters who lives in Sydney. He enjoyed spending more time with his wife Awhina, getting his garden into shape and cooking the odd meal. Now, as Thatcher is gradually getting back to 'normal', the Te Hiringa Hauora/Health Promotion Agency is working with a range of partners to encourage all New Zealanders— but especially those in older age-groups – to get back to doing what kept them busy before the Covid-19 pandemic struck.
Save The Children Warns Almost 10 Million Children May Not Return To School After Covid-19 Lockdown
A new report Save Our Education from Save the Children warns of ‘unprecedented global education emergency’. Deep budget cuts to education and rising poverty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic could force at least 9.7 million children out of school forever by the end of this year, with millions more falling behind in learning, Save the Children warns in a new report launched today. As the impacts of the recession triggered by Covid-19 hits families, many children may be forced out of school and into labour markets, and many girls are at risk of being forced into early marriage.
Mexico surpasses Italy to post world's fourth-highest coronavirus death toll
Deaths in Mexico from the coronavirus pandemic rose above 35,000 on Sunday, with the Latin American country overtaking Italy for the world’s fourth-highest death total, according to Reuters data.
Florida sets one-day record with over 15,000 new COVID cases, more than most countries
Florida reported a record increase of more than 15,000 new cases of COVID-19 in 24 hours on Sunday, as the Trump administration renewed its push for schools to reopen and anti-mask protests were planned in Michigan and Missouri. If Florida were a country, it would rank fourth in the world for the most new cases in a day behind the United States, Brazil and India, according to a Reuters analysis. Florida’s daily increases in cases have already surpassed the highest daily tally reported by any European country during the height of the pandemic there. It has also broken New York state’s record of 12,847 new cases on April 10 when it was the epicenter of the U.S. outbreak.
With masks and gel, Spaniards vote amid new outbreaks of coronavirus
Voters in northern Spain protected themselves with face masks and hand sanitizer before voting on Sunday as Galicia and the Basque Country held regional elections despite new localised outbreaks of COVID-19. The health measures meant there were long lines outside polling stations. The elections were postponed from April due to the pandemic and are the first in Spain since the country relaxed what was one of Europe’s strictest lockdowns. More than 460 people in Galicia and the Basque Country who recently tested positive for coronavirus were barred from voting for the new regional governments, as were people awaiting test results. Spain has recently relaxed restrictions but a surge in cases has fuelled fears of a second wave of infections, prompting several regional governments to impose compulsory use of face masks and localised lockdowns.
French consumer spending has almost returned to normal levels - finance minister
French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said on Monday that French consumer spending has almost returned to normal levels and that forced household savings during the coronavirus lockdown period could boost consumption later on in the year. “Our recovery plan...is working. A few weeks ago consumption in France was at minus 30%, today we are just minus 5%, we have almost returned to normal,” Le Maire said on RTL radio. Le Maire also said that he estimates that households will have saved about 100 billion euros (£89.3 billion) by year-end due to the coronavirus crisis. “What I wish for is that they will spend this 100 billion,” he said. Le Maire said that on top of a coronavirus rescue plan worth 460 billion euros in the form of emergency loans for companies and other measures, the government will present another leg of the recovery plan at the end of summer.
Philippines records region's biggest daily rise in coronavirus deaths
The Philippines reported Southeast Asia’s biggest daily jump in COVID-19 deaths on Monday and warned of more fatalities ahead, as authorities scrambled to verify thousands of suspected cases and pressure grows on hospitals after the easing of a lockdown.
Covid-19 Reinvades U.S. States That Beat It Back Once
The first U.S. states to endure the coronavirus this spring hoped the worst would be behind them. Instead, the virus is coming back. Many places that suffered most in the first wave of infections, including California, Louisiana, Michigan and Washington state, are seeing case counts climb again after months of declines. It’s not just a matter of more testing. Hospitalizations and, in some places, deaths are rising, too. The disease is raging -- Florida reported 15,300 cases Sunday, the biggest single-day increase of the U.S. pandemic -- and experts say the resurgence in the original battlegrounds has common causes. They include a population no longer willing to stay inside, Republicans more likely to refuse face masks as a political statement, and young people convinced the virus won’t seriously hurt them.
Corporations begin cautious return to UK offices after lockdown
When British holidaymakers return from the beaches and a truncated holiday season, some companies will be preparing to welcome back workers too. After months of Zoom video calls, a number of major businesses are getting ready for a return to (relative) normality. Last week accountancy firm PwC reopened all of its UK offices, while its competitor Deloitte began to allow staff back to some sites in the capital and other regional cities, and employees of law firm Slaughter and May were once again able to opt to work from its London headquarters.
Banks are told they must provide cash machines within a 'reasonable distance' of every UK home after more than 7,000 ATMs were shut during lockdown
Around 7,200 ATMs have been closed during lockdown out of a total of 60,000. Cash usage has fallen by as much as 90% in some areas during Covid lockdown. Chancellor Rishi Sunak promised cash machines would be accessible in March
New York City Reaches Milestone With No Reported Virus Deaths
New York City, once the epicenter of the nation’s coronavirus outbreak, has just reported its first day with zero confirmed or probable virus deaths since the pandemic hit New York State. The milestone came Sunday in initial data from the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. It marked the end of a four-month stretch since the city reported its first Covid-19 fatality on March 11. The confirmed daily death count hit its height on April 7 at 597. Another 216 people were reported likely to have died from the virus despite no positive laboratory tests that day.
China Gives World First View of Post-Lockdown Rebound: Eco Week
The country first hit by the coronavirus pandemic will this week have a clearer picture of its progress on nursing the economy back to health. China reports second-quarter gross domestic product on Thursday, along with monthly readings for industrial output and retail sales. An easing of lockdown measures plus a modest amount of policy stimulus should be enough to post a positive growth rate, after the historic 6.8% collapse in the first quarter.
Exit Strategies
Coronavirus: Face coverings in England's shops to be compulsory from 24 July
Wearing a face covering in shops and supermarkets in England is to become mandatory from 24 July. Those who fail to comply with the new rules will face a fine of up to £100, the government is to announce. The move will bring England into line with Scotland and other major European nations like Spain, Italy and Germany. Since mid-May, the public have been advised to wear coverings in enclosed public spaces, where they may encounter people they would not usually meet. It has been compulsory on public transport since 15 June.
Coronavirus: More than 100 outbreaks tackled a week, says Matt Hancock
"Targeted action" is being taken against more than 100 local outbreaks of coronavirus in England every week, the health secretary has said. Writing in the Daily Telegraph, Matt Hancock said increased testing meant officials could now be "targeted" in their response. His comments came after 73 cases of Covid-19 were confirmed at a farm in Herefordshire. About 200 workers there have been told to self-isolate.
Lockdown rules easing in England, Scotland and Wales from today - here's what's allowed
Lockdown rules are being eased in England, Scotland and Wales today as the three nations continue the long journey back to normal life. Here's what these changes include:
Coronavirus: Further lockdown easing but more action against local outbreaks
Health Secretary Matt Hancock says "targeted action" is being taken against more than 100 local coronavirus outbreaks every week. Factories, hospitals and other workplaces have been shut down and, in Herefordshire, a farm has been put into lockdown. It's also two weeks since Leicester was put under fresh restrictions - they're expected to be reviewed this week
Coronavirus-hit slaughterhouse in Germany slammed for requesting state aid
A slaughterhouse in Germany has filed for state support after a coronavirus outbreak spread to more than 1,500 employees and triggered a local lockdown. Under German quarantine law, the request might succeed.
France considers making masks mandatory as doctors warn of Covid resurgence
France’s government said Sunday it was studying whether to impose mandatory masks in indoor spaces as doctors and health officials warned of worrying rates of new infections. “The use of wearing a mask in enclosed spaces is being studied,” French Prime Minister Jean Castex said during a visit to the heavily affected overseas territory of Guiana on Sunday. The remarks were the closest sign yet that French officials are preparing to act upon an increasing number of warnings that people are becoming too nonchalant with recommendations around the spread of Covid-19. A group of 14 doctors called for reinforced mask-wearing and physical distancing on Saturday, and public officials including President Emmanuel Macron have been urging the public to take protective measures.
A 14-Hour Detour Is Helping Russians Escape to the Beach
Muscovites desperate for a summer holiday abroad this year have found a loophole that’s letting them evade Russia’s coronavirus ban on foreign travel. A loophole that involves a 14-hour round trip via Belarus. Travelers are exploiting the soft border between the two former-Soviet neighbors. Russians can drive 715km (444 miles) from Moscow to Minsk with minimal checks, and once there they can make use of Belarus’s more liberal Covid-19 restrictions. “Since the quarantine, Minsk has become a Casablanca, the main crossroads for Russians who want to leave the country,” said Maxim Valetskiy, a Russian businessman with an Israeli passport and family in London, who has used the detour four times since the Kremlin halted foreign travel at the end of March.
Britain is the worst-hit country outside of the US and Brazil. But it STILL won't wear masks
Walk into any busy store in England or board a train on London's cramped underground system and you will see dozens of people unmasked. And you can forget about face coverings at recently reopened pubs... that's about as likely as a free pint of beer. This despite the UK being one of the world's worst-hit countries by coronavirus -- it stands third behind Brazil and the United States -- with almost 45,000 fatalities. And apart from catastrophic death tolls, the three countries at the top of the pandemic chart are those in which people resist wearing masks. Now, in the same week the World Health Organization confirms there is "emerging evidence" of airborne transmission of the coronavirus, senior scientists are urging Britons to take up mask wearing, as two new reports highlight the potential effectiveness of facial coverings.
Coronavirus: Scotland's slower lockdown exit has had 'marginal' benefit - as move indoors puts elimination goal 'at risk'
Nicola Sturgeon described it as the "most high risk change yet". So will a shift to indoor gatherings in homes, pubs, restaurants and other previously proscribed venues such as hairdressers, cinemas and nail bars derail Scotland's path to eliminating the virus? The move comes amid a seemingly steady fall in coronavirus rates. In the week to Friday, there were just two deaths in patients who had tested positive for Covid and 57 new cases detected through hospital labs, drive-thru centres, and - as of July 8 - home-testing kits.
The 9-5 day is 'out of the question': Here's what going back to work in an office will be like
Businesses may run in shifts or only have people in the workplace for a few days per week. Employees are likely to mix working from home with being in an office much more. Leaders hope that flexible hours mean they can attract a more diverse range of staff.
Australia’s Covid-19 lockdown rules and coronavirus restrictions explained: how far can I travel, and can I have people over?
Australians have been slowly emerging from Covid-19 lockdowns since the federal government announced a three-stage plan in May to ease restrictions across the country, but from 8 July the Melbourne metropolitan area and Mitchell shire immediately to the north returned to a stage three lockdown for six weeks. Here we try to answer some of the most common questions people have about the laws, based on the information current as of 13 July.
Coronavirus: Man cuts through fence to escape New Zealand quarantine facility ‘to buy beer and wine’
A man has escaped from a strict coronavirus quarantine in New Zealand, allegedly cutting through a fence at the facility in order to buy alcohol, according to government officials. Martin McVicar, 52, travelled from Sydney last Wednesday and broke out of the managed isolation facility in Hamilton on the North Island eight days later. New Zealand’s head of managed isolation and quarantine, Air Commodore Darryn Webb, said the man appeared to have cut through fence ties at a 1.8-metre fence in order to abscond from the Distinction Hotel. He is believed to have been off the premises for around half an hour, visiting a nearby liquor store, which was cleaned and shut overnight, but has been allowed to reopen. Mr McVicar, who tested negative for Covid-19 on his third day in the isolation, has been taken to prison after a magistrate denied him bail on Friday
Hungary imposes border checks, quarantine to prevent spread of virus
Hungary has imposed new restrictions on cross-border travel as of next Wednesday in order to prevent the spread of the coronavirus after a surge in new cases in several countries, Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s chief of staff said on Sunday.
Partisan Exits
Leicester lockdown: City-wide restrictions 'not justified'
Sir Peter Soulsby said about 10% of the city's neighbourhoods "have a higher transmission" of the virus. He said data should have been shared earlier so authorities could focus on "preventing the transmission there". The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) said it "makes no apology" for trying to reverse infection rates. Speaking on BBC Breakfast, the Leicester mayor said it had taken "weeks" to "finally get some useful data" from the government. He said: "It's very clear when you look at the data it's a couple of areas of the city that have got a higher than average transmission of the virus. "Certainly the way the city's been locked down in its entirety, and even beyond its boundaries, is not justified."
‘Clueless’ government officials unsure of how to bring Leicester out of lockdown
Nearly two weeks after the city went back into lockdown, just as restrictions were easing up throughout the rest of England, Leicester’s mayor has said that a lack of data and government clarity remains a major impediment to reopening once again. Sir Peter Soulsby told The Independent that the government “haven’t got any clue of what might be the route out and the thresholds that need to be reached to achieve this”.
Continued Lockdown
Bathers banned from Rio's beaches as Brazil starts to take coronavirus seriously
Brazil reported 631 deaths yesterday bringing its overall death toll to 72,100 Beaches in tourist hotspot Rio de Janeiro are open for exercise and water sports Municipal police officers were pictured removing sunbathers who flout the rules
The women who can't get an abortion in lockdown
India's grinding national coronavirus lockdown complicated life for women trying to access safe abortions, and now cities are bringing back restrictions, reports Menaka Rao. In the last week of May, a 20-year old college-going woman in India's capital, Delhi, found out that she was pregnant. The woman, Kiran, whose name has been changed to protect her identity, had already taken abortion pills on the advice of a friend who was a doctor. But they did not work and so, her only option was a surgical abortion. India, however, was still under lockdown to curb the spread of coronavirus. It had enforced some of the world's most severe restrictions, stopping air travel, trains and buses, and confining people to their homes as much as possible.
Germany's sex workers demand to go back to work as coronavirus ban continues
Prostitutes in Germany are demanding the right to get back to work. The country’s brothels remain closed following the coronavirus pandemic. Brothels have reopened in surrounding countries, including the Netherlands and Belgium.
COVID-19 lockdown: A breeding ground for domestic abuse
Behind closed doors, the dark underbelly of domestic violence is thriving as more people are locked down at home, writes Anushka Britto. While some of us watched the exponential curve of COVID-19 cases and deaths rising around the world – including Australia – I was keenly aware of other curves also rising. I watched the unintentional adverse impact of keeping people at home.
Scientific Viewpoint
Winter wave of coronavirus 'could be worse than first'
The UK could see about 120,000 new coronavirus deaths in a second wave of infections this winter, scientists say. Asked to model a "reasonable" worst-case scenario, they suggest a range between 24,500 and 251,000 of virus-related deaths in hospitals alone, peaking in January and February. To date, there have been 44,830 official deaths in the UK, but this has slowed with only 1,100 in July. The estimate does not take into account any lockdowns, treatments or vaccines. And the scientists say: "The risk... could be reduced if we take action immediately". The report, requested by the UK's chief scientific adviser, Sir Patrick Vallance, stresses there is still a high degree of uncertainty over how the coronavirus pandemic will play out this winter.
Lockdown timing and efficacy in controlling COVID-19 using mobile phone tracking
During the study period, mobility restriction was inversely related to the daily number of newly diagnosed SARS-CoV-2 positive cases only after the second, more effective lockdown, with a peak in the curve of diagnosed cases of infection occurring 14 to 18 days from lockdown in the three regions and 9 to 25 days in the included provinces. An effective reduction in transmission must have occurred nearly immediately after the tighter lockdown, given the lag time of around 10 days from asymptomatic infection to diagnosis. The period from lockdown to peak was shorter in the areas with the highest prevalence of the infection. This effect was seen within slightly more than one week in the most severely affected areas.
Russia claims world’s first COVID-19 vaccine after successful clinical trials
After over six months of coronavirus outbreak, Russia has become the first nation to complete clinical trials of Covid-19 vaccine on humans. According to the reports, the vaccine has proven the medication's effectiveness, according to chief researcher, Elena Smolyarchuk, who heads the Center for Clinical Research on Miedications at Sechenov University
Covid 19 coronavirus: Victoria 'will regret' not enforcing a stricter lockdown
Authorities have never been supportive of Australia adopting an elimination strategy against the coronavirus, but experts believe Victoria may regret it if the state doesn't have a crack at doing this during its second lockdown. Some have described the elimination option as an impossible task but somehow the majority of Australia's states and territories have managed to essentially eliminate the coronavirus. Only two jurisdictions are still struggling: Victoria and NSW. NSW got close to achieving elimination before Victoria's latest outbreak forced it to close its borders amid fears the virus could migrate north.
Covid-19 coronavirus: Superspreader - woman infects 71 people in 60 seconds in elevator: CDC study
One asymptomatic carrier rode an elevator alone, then 71 people got Covid-19. She did everything right. She had no symptoms, but she self-quarantined anyway after travel. She stayed in her apartment. She ordered-in food. But she became patient zero in a 71-case cluster. Intensive contact tracing is not just helping head-off Covid-19's spread. It's revealing just how crazy infectious the virus can be. A new study released by the US Centres for Disease Control (CDC) analysed the impact a single traveller – with no symptoms – can have. It also reveals the pitfalls of high-density living.
Coronavirus Resurgence
Greece is considering a second lockdown after tourists caused coronavirus cases there to spike
The Greek authorities have said they could reimpose stricter public and travel restrictions, due to government safety advice being frequently ignored. The government there has not yet confirmed the exact lockdown measures they would bring back. These could possibly include stricter border checks, potential travel restrictions from high risk countries and tougher, more frequent bar and restaurant inspections. Serbian tourists are currently banned from entering Greece for all but essential travel, after health officials confirmed a spike in cases in the Balkan country. Additional testing is already occurring at the Greek-Bulgarian border and, as of 14 July, Bulgarians crossing the border into Greece must provide proof that they have tested negative for coronavirus within the last 72 hours, after the country registered a daily record of 330 new infections in one day last week.
Tokyo reports 119 coronavirus cases, 1st time below 200 in 5 days
Tokyo confirmed on Monday 119 new coronavirus cases, falling below 200 for the first time in five days, but the central government warned the capital still needs to be on alert as it plans a new initiative to spur domestic tourism. Gov. Yuriko Koike dismissed the view of Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga the same day that Tokyo is to blame for the increase in infections, saying they largely reflect the greater number of tests. The latest figure comes a day after Tokyo confirmed 206 coronavirus cases, breaching 200 for a record fourth straight day, including the largest single-day tally of 243 on Friday, amid increasing concerns among the public about a resurgence of the pandemic.
S.African president warns of coronavirus 'storm'
Ramaphosa said the surge in infections had arrived as predicted by medical experts, and warned that it could peak between late July and late September. The president revealed that South Africa had carried out 2 million virus tests, but expressed concern about medical services, pointing out that health facilities are under strain and people are being turned away. South Africa has been relaxing its lockdown measures to ease the burden on the poor, but this has led to the sharp rise in coronavirus infections.
Victoria records 273 new Covid-19 cases and flags return to remote schooling in lockdown areas
The Victorian premier, Daniel Andrews has warned residents to prepare for an extraordinary six winter weeks after the state announced another 273 coronavirus cases on Sunday. Andrews said schools in lockdown areas would remain closed to most students after revealing the latest case numbers, which represent another single-day high for the state. One man in his 70s has died from the virus in Victoria. Meanwhile, eight healthcare workers at Melbourne’s Alfred Hospital have tested positive to Covid-19. Infections diseases expert Peter Collingnon said on Twitter the renewed outbreak of coronavirus in Victoria represented a second wave.
Catalan leader calls on citizens to stay home despite judge's ruling
Spain’s Catalonia approved on Monday a decree giving it legal backing to place restrictions on the city of Lleida and its surroundings to stem a surge in coronavirus infections, defying a judge’s earlier ruling that such an order was unlawful.
Australian pub cluster adds to second-wave coronavirus fears
Australia’s most populous state reported 14 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday, with a growing cluster at a pub used by freight drivers travelling the country adding to fears of a second wave of the virus. “The concern is that this hotel is used by freight drivers who are transporting essential supplies across the country,” Australia’s Deputy Chief Medical Officer Michael Kidd told the Australian Broadcasting Corp. “They are not being tested.”
Houston leaders call for city lockdown amid virus case surge
Top officials in Houston are calling for the city to lock back down as area hospitals strain to accommodate the onslaught of patients sick with the new coronavirus. Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner and Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo, both Democrats, said this weekend that a stay-at-home order is needed for America's fourth largest city to cope with the surge of COVID-19 cases. “Not only do we need a stay home order now, but we need to stick with it this time until the hospitalization curve comes down, not just flattens,” Hidalgo said on Twitter Sunday. "Many communities that persevered in that way are reopening for the long haul. Let’s learn from that & not make the same mistake twice."
New Lockdown
Coronavirus: California reimposes sweeping restrictions amid virus spike
California has reimposed restrictions on businesses and public spaces amid a spike of coronavirus infections in America's most populous state. Governor Gavin Newsom on Monday ordered an immediate halt to all indoor activities at restaurants, bars, entertainment venues, zoos and museums. In the worst-affected counties of the south-western US state, churches, gyms and hairdressers will also close. California has more than 330,000 Covid-19 cases, with more than 7,000 deaths. The reimposition of the restrictions in the state with nearly 40 million people was prompted by a 20% rise in people testing positive in the past two weeks.
Greece considers second lockdown after tourists bring spike of cases
Greece could reintroduce some lockdown measures, after the country has seen a spike in Covid-19 cases following the return of tourism. There are now more active infections in Greece than at any other point during the pandemic – 2,205 people in Greece are known to have the virus right now. On Friday, 60 people were confirmed to have contracted the virus, the highest daily number since April 21. More than 100 new cases reported in the last 10 days have been among incoming tourists. British holidaymakers are due to return to Greece from July 15, with UK flights resuming on that date. However, Greek authorities are now considering introducing stricter lockdown measures, potentially from as early as tomorrow (July 13). Government spokesperson Stelios Petsas told local media: "We knew from the beginning that when we gradually opened the country’s gates to the world, we would have imported incidents." He added that he is "determined to protect the majority from the frivolous few.
Fresh lockdown for 250,000 in Manila as virus surges
About 250,000 people in Manila will go back into lockdown, an official said Monday, as the number of new coronavirus infections in the Philippines surges. Residents in Navotas, one of 16 cities that make up the sprawling capital of 12 million people, will have to stay home for a fortnight, just six weeks after emerging from one of the world's longest lockdowns. "I am not sure if this is a solution, but I am certain that if I do this the number of cases will not increase," Navotas city mayor Toby Tiangco told a radio station.
Tourist hotspot Croatia brings in tough new lockdown rules
Countries in eastern Europe are facing rising waves of coronavirus infections, leading to new restrictive measures such as the mandatory use of face masks in Croatia and travel bans or quarantines to be imposed by Hungary. Hungarian authorities said on Sunday that they would put countries in three categories – red, yellow and green – based on their rate of new coronavirus infections. Restrictions including entry bans and mandatory quarantines will be imposed, depending from which country people were coming from. “We see worrisome signs about an increase in the number of cases in the neighbouring countries, Europe and the whole world,” Gergely Gulyas, Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s chief of staff, said.
Japan furious after dozens of US Marines stationed in country diagnosed with coronavirus in massive outbreak
Dozens of US Marines stationed at two military bases in Japan have been diagnosed with coronavirus in a massive outbreak that has caused fury among local officials. More than 60 of the specialist troops located on the southern island of Okinawa have become infected since 7 July, reports say. The two bases — Marine Corps Air Station Futenma and Camp Hansen — have now been placed into lockdown.
ADF members at RAAF base in lockdown after night out at Sydney hotspot pub
A group of Australian Defence Force personnel is in lockdown this morning after visiting a Sydney pub at the centre of a new coronavirus outbreak. Authorities have confirmed a "small group" of staff have gone into self isolation at the Royal Australian Air Force base at Wagga Wagga, in the NSW Riverina region.
Coronavirus: Sydney prepares for second lockdown as 273 new cases confirmed in Vic
Sydney is on high alert as large-scale Covid-19 testing regimes place residents on standby for a potential second wave. A slew of Sydneysiders lined up in their cars in Casula, in the city's southwest, on Saturday to determine whether confirmed cases from a pub had spread. Health authorities confirmed on Friday two people who attended the Crossroads Hotel in Casula on Friday, July 3, were infected with the virus, prompting a pop-up testing clinic in the pub's carpark. A man from the Blue Mountains tested positive, NSW Health confirmed on Saturday morning, and three members of his household subsequently returned positive results.
Coronavirus: HK Disneyland to close one month after reopening
Hong Kong Disneyland is closing its gates again less than one month after it reopened, following a new coronavirus outbreak in the city. The theme park was originally closed at the end of January as the pandemic spread across Asia. Disney decided to reopen the park on 18 June as Hong Kong kept coronavirus cases low. But gates will close again on Wednesday as social distancing measures are reimposed.
White House coronavirus testing czar warns of possible lockdowns
The White House's coronavirus testing czar said Sunday the nation's hardest-hit states may have to reverse reopening plans and lockdown. "Everything should be on the table," Adm. Brett Giroir said Sunday, when asked if certain areas of the country should consider more stringent lockdowns.