Australia’s 2nd-Largest State Imposes 1-Month Lockdown As COVID-19 Infections Spike: Live Updates

Arizona Gov Doug Ducey last night announced plans for a month-long rollback of the state’s economic reopening, closing bars, restaurants, movie theaters, water parks and other venues, while pushing back the first day of school in the state until Aug. 17. Hours later, on the other side of the world, the leaders of Australia’s second-most-populous state, Victoria, ordered 36 suburbs surrounding Melbourne, the country’s second biggest city, to try and stop a cluster that has emerged over the past couple of weeks.

Australia never had a huge COVID-19 problem (the biggest outbreak before this incident in Victoria was caused by the “Ruby Princess” and the decision to allow infected passengers to disembark without any real scrutiny. Yet, weeks after its neighbor, New Zealand, declared the outbreak over, the country is seeing its worst outbreak yet.

Beginning at midnight on Wednesday (local time), the first suburb-specific stay-at-home order will come into effect for 320,000 people, according to Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews, who spoke at a news conference on Tuesday. For four weeks, residents in the suburbs will be seeing a return to lockdown conditions: They must stay home unless traveling for work, school, healthcare, exercise or food. Restaurants are back to takeout only just weeks after the reopening. Local leaders described the move as a devastating setback for the local economy.

Most of Australia has reported zero or low single-digit daily increases in COVID-19 infections for weeks, Victoria has experienced double-digit increases for each of the previous 14 days, bringing Australia’s national daily totals back toward their highs. Victoria reported 64 new cases on Tuesday, down from the previous day’s 75 new cases.

More lockdown news from overnight: Nevada Governor announced the state won’t hesitate to reimpose restrictions if state-wide trends don’t improve. Georgia Governor Kemp extended his state’s public health emergency until Aug. 11, while LA Mayor Eric Garcetti announced a ‘hard pause’ on cinema reopenings for the largest theater market in the US.

As the number of new cases reported daily accelerates around the world, global cases have reached 10,278,458, according to JHU, while the worldwide death toll has hit 504,936. Elsewhere in Asia, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday unveiled plans to extend a plan to provide free grain to more than 800 million Indians until the end of November as the battle against the virus has left India’s economy in tatters. Though its daily number of new cases is off its highs, the numbers its seeing are still well above the peaks from just a couple of weeks ago. On Tuesday India reported 18,522 new cases, down from the 19,459 recorded the prior day, bringing the country’s total to 566,840. The country reported 418 new deaths, bringing the total to 16,893 deaths.

Indian PM Narendra Modi said Tuesday that while the country’s COVID-19 death rate is “under control,” the country’s outbreak has reached a “critical juncture.”

“People are becoming careless,” he said, adding, “we need to call out the violators.”

Back in East Asia, South Korea confirmed 43 new cases, up from 42 a day ago, as total infections reach 12,800 with 282 deaths, while in Japan, Tokyo has found more than 50 new cases for the fifth day running, TV Asahi reported.

China reports 19 new coronavirus cases, up from 12 a day earlier. Of the new infections, seven were in Beijing, which has been battling a fresh outbreak. China also reported four new asymptomatic patients, who tested positive for COVID-19 but showed no symptoms.

Yesterday, US states recorded fewer than 40k new cases for the first time in a week.

And deaths remain at or close to their lowest levels from March.

Following a move to rollback California’s economic reopening by closing bars and other venues, LA has joined a growing group of cities around the country that are planning to close their beaches for the July 4 weekend.

Following a handful of vaccine-trial updates out of China, British media reported that a global trial designed to test whether the anti-malaria drugs hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine can prevent infection with COVID-19 will soon re-start after being approved by regulators.

Finally, the US isn’t on a “safe list” of destinations for non-essential travel due to be released by EU members later on Tuesday as the bloc unveils guidelines for leisure and business travel beyond its borders. For the past few days, a steady stream of leaks has claimed that the EU would exclude travelers from the US for the remainder of the summer, at least.

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