Melbourne Enters 6-Week Lockdown As COVID-19 Cases Surge; Iran Sees Record Daily Deaths: Live Updates


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As health officials in Beijing reported 8 new foreign cases of the virus and 15 asymptomatic cases on Tuesday afternoon, Australian health officials and officials in the country’s second-most-populous state of Victoria announced that it would re-enter ‘Phase 3’ lockdown, joining a growing list of major cities – Lisbon, Madrid, Beijing – that have reimposed lockdown measures amid a resurgence in COVID-19 cases.

Just yesterday, Victoria (the home of Melbourne and the surrounding suburbs) and neighboring New South Wales (home to Sydney and the country’s most populous state) announced plans to close borders to hard-hit Victoria, the first time in a century that these borders have been closed.

Cases have been climbing in Australia amid a new outbreak centered in Victoria that officials fear might spread across the country, now that social distancing measures have been largely unwound. Australia reported about 200 new cases on Tuesday, the highest daily total since late March.

As part of the new locksown measures, more than five million residents of Melbourne will be locked down for six weeks beginning Tuesday. The usual exceptions will apply, and the level of enforcement isn’t yet clear.

Though New South Wales has reported more cases overall, Victoria has been the biggest contributor to the country’s tally of new cases since the resurgence began weeks ago.

 As we await the latest round of US data, India has confirmed that its outbreak has topped 700,000 with 22,252 new infections, becoming just the 4th country to surpass that level. That daily number is down from 24,248 the previous day. The country’s COVID-19 tally now stands at 719,665, while its death toll surpassed the 20,000 mark with 467 new deaths; it now stands at exactly 20,160

In Japan, Tokyo once again confirmed 106 new infections, extending a streak of 100+-case days to six. The capital has urged residents of the capital city to be cautious, and avoid nightlife spots.

The big vaccine news on Tuesday was China’s Sinovac Biotech, which will begin Phase III trials of its coronavirus vaccine candidate in Brazil this month. 9,000 health-care professionals will be involved in the study, which will be conducted in partnership with Brazilian vaccine producer Instituto Butantan. Only two other candidates, including AstraZeneca’s experimental vaccine (developed by researchers at the University of Oxford) along and another one developed by China National Pharmaceutical Group – aka Sinopharm – have made it to these late-stage trials already.

South Korea confirmed 44 new cases on Tuesady, down from 48 a day ago. Total infections reached 13,181 with deaths still at just 285.

In the Middle East, Iran recorded its highest daily number of new COVID-19 deaths with 200 fatalities reported in the past 24 hours. Iran reported 200 new deaths from the coronavirus, the most in a single day since the Middle East’s deadliest outbreak began in February. The previous record was Sunday’s 163 deaths.

“Unfortunately in the past 24 hours we have lost 200 of our compatriots, bringing the total number of victims to 11,931,” health ministry spokeswoman Sima Sadat Lari said on state television.

Another 2,637 people have tested positive for the virus, taking the total official number of cases in Iran to 245,688.

In Africa, South Africa’s confirmed total has surpassed 200,000 as the country continues to post some of the highest daily numbers in the world, as Al Jazeera pointed out.

The health ministry reported 8,971 new cases, bringing the total to 205,721, with nearly 1/3rd in the new hot spot of Gauteng province, which includes Johannesburg and Pretoria.

There are more than 477,000 confirmed cases on the African continent.

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