anti-coronavirus Melbourne

Melbourne anti-coronavirus lockdown protest turns violent: Live – Al Jazeera English

  • Police in the Australian city of Melbourne have made arrests among a crowd of about 300 people protesting against the coronavirus lockdown.
  • India’s caseload topped four million, while South Korea posted its lowest daily tally in three weeks. 
  • Iraq’s health ministry warned hospitals may “lose control” in the coming days after the country recorded its highest single-day rise in coronavirus cases since the start of the pandemic.
  • More than 26.5 million people around the world have been diagnosed with the coronavirus, and more than 872,000 have died, according to Johns Hopkins University. More than 17.6 million people have recovered.

Here are the latest updates:

Saturday, September 5

16:35 GMT – Portugal sees highest daily increase in coronavirus cases since May

Portugal reported 486 new coronavirus cases, its biggest daily increase since the week its lockdown was lifted in May.

The increase brought the cumulative total to 59,943, the health authority DGS said.

Portugal, with 10 million people, has reported just 1,838 deaths so far, a far lower rate per capita than in many European countries including neighbouring Spain.

15:50 GMT – UK records 1,813 new daily COVID cases

The United Kingdom recorded 1,813 new daily confirmed cases of COVID-19, versus 1,940 on Friday, health officials said.

Daily case numbers were about 1,000 a day for most of August, but have started to increase in recent days.

Britain’s testing capacity has also increased since the peak of the first wave earlier this year.

Friday’s figure was the highest since May 30.

15:10 GMT – Italy’s government against fans returning to stadiums

The return of football fans to stadiums amid the coronavirus outbreak is currently not considered an option for the Italian government.

COVID-19: The Beginning of a Pandemic | Between Us

“In the stadium it is like at a demonstration where people gathering is unavoidable as in the stand when people have to go in and out,” Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said at a podium discussion in Rome.

“I think opening (stadiums) would currently be absolutely inappropriate.”

The Serie A season begins on the weekend of September 19. All matches are presently intended to be played without fans despite the desire of clubs to welcome spectators back into stadiums.

A range of coronavirus restrictions in Italy will soon expire although the health ministry intends to renew them.

14:40 GMT – “Cautious but reasonable optimism” over Berlusconi’s health

Italy’s former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi is in a stable condition two days after being hospitalised with the coronavirus, his doctor said.

“This instils cautious but reasonable optimism,” Alberto Zangrillo said in a brief statement.

Berlusconi, 83, tested positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday and was taken to Milan’s San Raffaele hospital the following day after developing a slight fever. A subsequent x-ray revealed that he had developed mild pneumonia in both lungs.

13:40 GMT – Russia reports 5,205 new coronavirus cases

Russia reported 5,205 new coronavirus cases, pushing its national tally to 1,020,310, the fourth largest in the world.

Authorities said 110 people had died in the last 24 hours, bringing the official death toll to 17,759.

11:30 GMT – Australia’s Victoria state reports 81 new coronavirus cases

Australia’s coronavirus hotspot Victoria state said its death toll from the virus rose by 59 and there were 81 new cases.

The death tally includes 50 people in aged-care facilities who died in July and August, the state health department said in a tweet. Victoria, Australia’s second-most populous state, reported 15 deaths and 113 cases a day earlier.

The state capital, Melbourne, is nearing the end of a six-week lockdown put in place to slow the spread of the virus but authorities said restrictions may continue beyond the planned end date after daily cases rose on Thursday.

Melbourne patrol coronavirus

Melbourne is nearing the end of a six-week lockdown put in place to slow the spread of the virus [AP]

10:50 GMT – Pope to travel outside Rome for first time since pandemic started

Pope Francis will next month visit the Italian town of Assisi, his first trip out of Rome since the coronavirus pandemic hit the country in February, and will sign a new encyclical, a spokesman for the Assisi Basilica said.

The encyclical, which is the highest form of papal writing, is expected to focus on what Francis believes the post-pandemic world should look like, and will be called “Brothers All …”.

Father Enzo Fortunato said in a statement that the pope would travel to Assisi on October 3, the day before the Feast of St Francis, who was born in the small Umbrian hill town in the centre of Italy.

“The visit will take place in private, without the participation of the faithful,” Fortunato said.

10:10 GMT – Sanofi France chief: Future vaccine seen below 10 euros

Sanofi’s chief in France, Olivier Bogillot, said on Saturday that its future COVID-19 vaccine was likely to be priced below 10 euros per shot.

“The price is not totally set … We are assessing production costs for the coming months … We will be below 10 euros,” Bogillot told France Inter radio.

Asked about rival AstraZeneca, which is expected to price its shot at about 2.50 euros in Europe, Bogillot said: “The price gap for us can be that we use all our internal resources, our own researchers, our own research centres. AstraZeneca outsources part of its production.”

09:20 GMT – Iran begins new school year amid virus concerns

Iran has opened the new school year after nearly seven months of closure. In a video conference, President Hassan Rouhani said the education of 15 million students is as important as the health system.

“Education will not be closed in our country even under the worst situation,” he said, urging authorities to implement health measures in schools to the level of those in military garrisons.

The reopening of schools came as many, including medical professionals, expressed concern over a possible increase in infections. Iran’s death toll from COVID-19 has so far passed 22,000 from 382,772 confirmed cases. The country has had the first and worst outbreak in the Middle East.

08:25 GMT – Russia reports 5,205 new coronavirus cases

Russia reported 5,205 new coronavirus cases, pushing its national tally to 1,020,310, the fourth largest in the world.

Authorities said 110 people had died in the last 24 hours, bringing the official death toll to 17,759. 

Russia's coronavirus cases rise to 687,862

In Russia, 110 people had died in the last 24 hours due to COVID-19, bringing the official death toll to 17,759 [Reuters] 

07:55 GMT – Ukraine sees record new cases for second day in a row

Ukraine registered a record 2,836 cases of the new coronavirus in the past 24 hours, the national security council said on Saturday, up from a previous record of 2,723 new cases.

Ukraine has imposed a temporary ban on most foreigners entering the country until September 28, and extended lockdown measures until the end of October to contain a recent spike in cases.

The council said a total of 133,787 cases were registered in Ukraine as of September 5, with 2,811 deaths and 61,649 people recovering.

07:30 GMT – Melbourne police make arrests at anti-lockdown rallies

Police in Australia’s hardest-hit Victoria state made several arrests among a crowd of about 300 people protesting against the lockdown in Melbourne, as the country’s death toll rose to 748.

The Melbourne restrictions, including a night curfew, were put in place in an attempt to reduce a huge spike in infections and deaths.

Police earlier urged people to adhere to restrictions on community movement. But four men were arrested and charged with incitement over the so-called “Freedom Day” protests planned for several Melbourne locations.

Police, many of them on horseback, later made a number of arrests among protesters, some of them for not wearing masks. Victoria reported 11 more deaths and 76 new infections.

06:50 GMT – India crosses four million virus cases with record surge

India’s total coronavirus cases surged beyond four million with a record rise, making it the third country in the world to surpass that mark, following the United States and Brazil.

India added 86,432 cases of the virus, a global daily record, according to data from the federal health ministry.

Infections rose across the country, including in the capital New Delhi and the large states of Maharashtra and Karnataka. The number of deaths in India from the COVID-19 rose by more than 1,000 to 69,561 on Saturday.

Read more here.


The number of deaths in India from the COVID-19 rose by more than 1,000 to 69,561 [AP] 

06:30 GMT – Brazil’s Tecpar to test Russian COVID-19 vaccine in early 2021

The technology institute for the Brazilian state of Parana, which has signed an agreement to produce Russia’s Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine, said it plans to conduct phase-three trials on 10,000 volunteers in Brazil at the start of next year.

Jorge Callado, head of Parana’s Technology Institute, known as Tecpar, said approval for the trial will be requested of Brazil’s health regulator ANVISA by the end of this month. Doses will be imported for the tests and Tecpar plans to produce the vaccine for Brazil’s market in the second half of 2021, he said.

05:55 GMT – Germany’s confirmed virus cases rise by 1,378: RKI

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany increased by 1,378, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed.

The total cases in the country now stands at 248,997, according to RKI data.

Hello, this is Umut Uras in Doha taking over from my colleague Zaheena Rasheed.

05:32 GMT – India becomes third country to pass four million cases

India’s coronavirus cases crossed four million on Saturday, leading the world in new infections and closing in on Brazil’s total as the second highest in the world.

The 86,432 cases added in the past 24 hours pushed India’s total to 4,023,179. The health ministry also reported 1,089 deaths for a total of 69,561.

Brazil has confirmed 4,091,801 infections while the US has 6,200,186 people infected, according to Johns Hopkins University.

04:34 GMT – Victoria police brace for anti-lockdown rallies

Police in Australia’s hardest-hit Victoria stare are urging people to stay away from rallies protesting against the lockdown in Melbourne, as the country’s death toll rose to 748.

The Melbourne restrictions, including a night curfew, were put in place in an attempt to reduce a huge spike in infections and deaths.

Four men have been arrested and charged with incitement over the so-called “Freedom Day” protests planned for several Melbourne locations. Police have also warned about 80 people against attending the rallies as they enforce Victoria’s lockdown rules.

INSIDE STORY | Why are people protesting against coronavirus restrictions? (25:11)

04:27 GMT – S Korea posts fewest cases in three weeks

South Korea recorded 168 new coronavirus cases as of midnight on Friday, posting the lowest daily tally in three weeks after imposing stricter social distancing rules to contain a second wave of infections.

The total number of cases rose to 21,010, with 333 deaths, according to the data published by the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

South Korea’s daily tallies have been hovering below 200 over the past three days after peaking at 441 late last week, a sign that tougher social distancing curbs implemented last Sunday have begun taking effect.

“The numbers are indeed on a downward trend but it’s too early for us to be at ease,” Health Minister Park Neung-hoo told a meeting on Saturday.

South Korea church groups in conflict with COVID-19 efforts (2:24)

04:19 GMT – Mexico states run out of death certificates

The coronavirus pandemic has hit Mexico so hard that the governments of several states have run out of death certificates.

Officials said on Friday the federal forms started running out about 15 to 20 days ago in at least three states – Baja California, the State of Mexico and Mexico City.

Authorities say a million new forms have been printed and are being distributed. The certificates are printed with special characteristics because falsification has been a problem in the past.

03:28 GMT – Indigenous Brazilians launch tracing app

Indigenous and environmental organisations in Brazil launched an app aimed at alerting Indigenous communities to the spread of the coronavirus pandemic in their lands.

“The application maps and periodically updates the situation regarding the pandemic in cities within a 100 kilometre radius of indigenous lands,” said the Coordination of the Indigenous Organizations of the Brazilian Amazon (COIAB) and the Amazon Environmental Research Institute (IPAM) in a joint statement.

The app, called “Covid-19 Indigenous Alert” aims to help indigenous people identify areas with high infection rates.

UN: COVID-19 ‘grave threat’ to the world’s Indigenous people (2:01)

02:12 GMT – UNGA president says ‘inclusion is key’ for vaccine

Tijjani Muhammad-Bande, president of the United Nations General Assembly, warned that a vaccine for COVID-19 must be made available to everyone who needs it because if just one country is left out the world will still face a crisis from the coronavirus.

As the world looks to a vaccine and a post-COVID-19 world, the Nigerian diplomat also warned that “inclusion is key, because without inclusion the suffering of those who are already left behind, will continue – and we cannot guarantee peace in that kind of a context”.

01:47 GMT – Egypt arrests journalist sick with COVID-19

Security forces in Egypt have arrested a journalist who had been in quarantine after testing positive for the coronavirus, an international press watchdog said, citing his wife.

Security forces raided El-Sayed Shehta’s home in northern Egypt earlier in the week, confiscating his laptop, cellphone, money and IDs, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) said, adding that it remains unclear whether he faces any charges. Shehta is the deputy managing editor of the Al-Youm Al-Sabae newspaper.

Officers took Shehta to a police station in the Nile Delta city of Zagazig, where he collapsed and lost consciousness, CPJ reported. He remains shackled to a hospital bed in the city.

Social Distancing: The Dos and Don’ts (2:18)

01:31 GMT – Former Cook Islands leader dies of COVID-19

Joseph Williams, a former prime minister of the Cook Islands, has died of COVID-19 in Auckland, New Zealand’s health ministry said.

Williams, who was in his 80s, was a well-known doctor as well as a politician and author, living in New Zealand. He was briefly prime minister of the Cook Islands in 1999 after having served as the South Pacific nation’s minister of health and education.

“Dr Williams was seen as a leading figure in the Cook Islands medical community and he will be sadly missed,” New Zealand’s director-general of health, Ashley Bloomfield, said in a statement.

Much respected doctor and former Cook Islands PM, Joseph Williams, has passed away. A fitting tribute here from his medical colleagues, who say his “generosity and kindness has touched many”. @NewshubNZ #COVID19nz

— Michael Morrah (@MichaelMorrah) September 4, 2020

00:46 GMT – Global model predicts 1.9 million more deaths by end of 2020

A widely cited model from the University of Washington predicts worsening outbreaks as winter returns to the Northern Hemisphere, with daily deaths expected to reach as high as 30,000 deaths during December.

The global COVID-19 death toll could total 2.8 million by January 1, about 1.9 million more from now until the end of the year.

Mask mandates and social distancing could save hundreds of thousands of lives, but there is “a tremendous amount of COVID fatigue” among the world’s government leaders because of economic downturns, said Dr Christopher Murray of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington.

He added: “We are facing the prospect of a deadly December, especially in Europe, Central Asia and the United States. But the science is clear and the evidence irrefutable: mask-wearing, social distancing, and limits to social gatherings are vital to helping prevent transmission of the virus.”

The IHME model projects the wave will peak in the United States in early December at about 2,900 deaths per day. India, the United States, Brazil, Mexico and Japan will lead the world in total deaths by January 1, according to the forecast.

00:17 GMT – Mozambique to lift state of emergency

Mozambique will next week lift the state of emergency imposed in April to try to limit the spread of coronavirus, President Filipe Nyusi announced in a television address.

Nyusi said the state of emergency would end on Sunday night and the country will reopen its borders the following day. Beaches will also reopen while religious services of up to 250 people will be permitted.

“We are proud of the measures we have taken that have allowed the spread of the disease to be contained,” said President Nyusi.

Confirmed coronavirus cases in Mozambique stood at 4,265 including 26 deaths, much lower than neighbouring South Africa, which has topped 635,000 infections.

Hello and welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the coronavirus pandemic. I’m Zaheena Rasheed in Male, Maldives. 

For key developments from yesterday, September 4, go here

Russia reports 5,205 new coronavirus cases

MOSCOW, Sept 5 (Reuters) – Russia reported 5,205 new coronavirus cases on Saturday, pushing its national tally to 1,020,310, the fourth largest in the world.

Authorities said 110 people had died in the last 24 hours, bringing the official death toll to 17,759. 

Read More

Melbourne Study

Melbourne is a Case Study in Navigating a Second Wave of Coronavirus – The New York Times

Melbourne, Australia’s second-largest city, is becoming a case study in handling a second wave of infections. There are lots of unanswered questions.

Credit…William West/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Damien Cave

Australia’s second-largest city, Melbourne, is grappling with a spiraling coronavirus outbreak that has led to a lockdown with some of the toughest restrictions in the world — offering a preview of what many urban dwellers elsewhere could confront in coming weeks and months.

The new lockdown is the product of early success; the country thought it had the virus beat in June. But there was a breakdown in the quarantine program for hotels. Returning travelers passed the virus to hotel security guards in Melbourne, who carried the contagion home.

Even after masks became mandatory in the city two weeks ago, the spread continued. And now, as officials try to break the chain of infections, Melbourne is being reshaped by sweeping enforcement and fine print. A confounding matrix of hefty fines for disobedience to the lockdown and minor exceptions for everything from romantic partners to home building has led to silenced streets and endless versions of the question: So, wait, can I ____?

Restaurant owners are wondering about food delivery after an 8 p.m. curfew began on Sunday night. Teenagers are asking if their boyfriends and girlfriends count as essential partners. Can animal shelter volunteers walk dogs at night? Are house cleaners essential for those struggling with their mental health? Can people who have been tested exercise outside?

“This is such a weird, scary, bizarro time that we live in,” said Tessethia Von Tessle Roberts, 25, a student in Melbourne who admits to having hit a breaking point a few days ago, when her washing machine broke.

“Our health care workers are hustling around the clock to keep us alive,” she said. “Our politicians are as scared as we are, but they have to pretend like they have a better idea than we do of what’s going to happen next.”

Pandemic lockdowns, never easy, are getting ever more confusing and contentious as they evolve in the face of second and third rounds of outbreaks that have exhausted both officials and residents. With success against the virus as fleeting as the breeze, the new waves of restrictions feel to many like a bombing raid that just won’t end.

For some places, risk calculations can change overnight. In Hong Kong, officials banned daytime dining in restaurants last month, only to reverse themselves a day later after an outcry. Schools in some cities are opening and closing like screen doors in summer.

In many areas where the virus has retreated and then resurged, the future looks like a long, complicated haul. Leaders are reaching for their own metaphors to try to explain it.


Credit…William West/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

In California, Gov. Gavin Newsom has compared his opening and shutting of businesses to a “dimmer switch.” Dan Andrews, the premier in Victoria, the state of which Melbourne is the capital, has repeatedly referred to “pilot light mode” for industries like construction and meatpacking, which have been ordered to temporarily reduce their work forces.

Whatever the metaphor, the situation is bleak.

In Melbourne, a city of five million that is considered a capital of food and culture, the pandemic has come raging back even after a so-called Stage 3 lockdown began in early July — until recently the highest level of restrictions.

Officials have been flummoxed at every turn by the persistent complacency of just enough people to let the virus thrive and multiply.

Traffic data showed people driving more in July than they had during the first Stage 3 lockdown, in March and April. Even worse, almost nine out of 10 people with Covid-19 had not been tested or isolated when they first felt sick, Mr. Andrews, the state’s top leader, said in late July. And 53 percent had not quarantined while waiting for their test results.

“That means people have felt unwell and just gone about their business,” Mr. Andrews said.

Sounding the alarm, he made face masks mandatory the next day, on July 22.

Still, infections have continued to rise. They peaked at 753 new cases on July 30, and have hovered around 500 a day ever since, with the death toll in Victoria now standing at 147, after 11 deaths were recorded on Monday.

Those figures, while far less troublesome than those in the United States, have paved the way for a Stage 4 lockdown — what officials are calling a “shock and awe” attack on the virus — that will last at least six weeks.


Credit…Daniel Pockett/Getty Images

Overwhelming force, with precision, seems to be the goal. The chief modelers of the pandemic response in Australia have found that the virus can be suppressed only if more than 70 percent of the population abides by social distancing guidelines and other public health rules.

Mr. Andrews said the new restrictions would take 250,000 more people out of their routines, in the hopes of reaching the necessary threshold.

So retail stores will be closed. Schools will return to at-home instruction. Restaurants will be takeout or delivery only. Child-care centers will be available only for permitted workers.

Those restrictions are already well understood. The rules requiring more explanation are tied to the curfew and industries that have to cut back.

Large-scale construction projects of more than three stories, for example, will have to reduce their on-site work force by 75 percent, and workers will not be able to work at more than one location. Small-scale construction cannot have more than five workers.

All of which sounds clear. But does a bathroom renovation, for example, amount to home building in an apartment with one bathroom? And what about fixing things that break, like Ms. Von Tessle Roberts’s washing machine?

Some businesses, like cleaning services, are already emailing customers to say they think they can do some work, for people who pay through welfare or who need help for mental health reasons. But, like many others, they are still seeking official clarification.


Credit…David Crosling/EPA, via Shutterstock

Mr. Andrews, a Labor politician sometimes described as awkward and paternal, has become the dad everyone needs answers from. He now oversees, under the lockdown rules, what may be the country’s most intrusive bureaucracy since its days as a penal colony.

On Tuesday, he answered questions from reporters about dog-walking (allowed after curfew, sort of, only near home) and other subjects of great confusion at a news conference in Melbourne.

Thanking those who complied with the new rules and scolding those who did not, he announced that no one in self-isolation would now be allowed to exercise outdoors. A door-knocking campaign to check in on 3,000 people who had Covid-19 found that 800 of them were not at home.

All 800 have been referred to the Victoria police for investigation. The fine for violators going forward, he said, will be 4,957 Australian dollars, $3,532.

Working, even legally, will also become trickier. Other than, say, hospital workers with formal identification, everyone traveling for a job deemed essential during the lockdown must carry a formal document — a work permit signed by the employer and employee.

For Cara Devine, who works at a wine store that closes at 8 p.m., that means carrying a government form with her everywhere, and hoping that the police recognize her task as essential when she heads home after the curfew. But she also worried about the Uber drivers who take her back and forth.


Credit…William West/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

“Even before the newest restrictions, I’ve had two Uber drivers being really late picking up from the shop because they got stopped by the police, taking about an hour out of their work time,” she said.

The police are already confronting opposition. On at least four occasions in the last week, they reported having to smash the windows of cars and pull people out after they refused to provide a name and address at a police checkpoint. The Victoria police commissioner, Shane Patton, said a 38-year-old woman had also been charged with assault after attacking a police officer who had stopped her for not wearing a face mask.

Some criminologists are questioning whether the harsher enforcement will help. Mostly, though, Melburnians are just trying to endure.

Walking to get groceries, Peter Barnes, 56, said he welcomed the stricter rules, though he admitted his city was starting to feel like George Orwell’s “1984,” with the heavy hand of the state around every corner.

Those focused solely on the economics, he said, should remember the obvious: “You can’t hire a corpse. Very bad employment prospects for people who are dead.”

By Monday night, the city seemed to be in listening mode. The streets were emptying out, silent in hibernation.

“It’s like a Sunday in the 1950s,” said Mark Rubbo, the owner of Readings, Melbourne’s largest independent bookstore. He also noted that people were stocking up again on books through online orders, with a memoir called “The Happiest Man on Earth,” about a Holocaust survivor, becoming a runaway hit.

Ms. Von Tessle Roberts has found another solution, perhaps just as likely to grow in popularity: Stand on your front porch and scream. That’s the name she has given to an event she posted on Facebook, set for Friday at 7 p.m. By Tuesday afternoon, 70,000 people had expressed an interest in joining her collective shout in anguish.

“Yelling is great,” she said. “It’s less dehydrating than crying.”


Credit…Erik Anderson/EPA, via Shutterstock

Besha Rodell and Yan Zhuang contributed reporting from Melbourne, and Livia Albeck-Ripka from Cairns, Australia.

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