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A week after a massive explosion in Beirut left more than 200 dead and 300,000 unable to return home, Lebanon recorded its biggest daily increase in coronavirus cases, at more than 300.
Meanwhile, in New Zealand, which had celebrated more than 100 days without community transmission, four new cases were discovered in a family in Auckland, the country’s largest city.
The New Zealand government has responded by introducing Alert Level 3 restrictions – people are encouraged to work from home and bars and restaurants are closed except for take out – in Auckland and Alert Level 2 in the rest of the country, where people can go to work and school, but gatherings should not exceed 100 people.
Here are the main developments of the last few hours:
- Lebanon has recorded a record daily number of coronavirus cases. As the country grapples with the aftermath of the Beirut port explosion that rocked politics and overwhelmed hospitals, Lebanon’s total now stands at 7,121 cases and 87 deaths since February, data shows. from the Ministry of Health. Even before the explosion, there had been a recent surge in infections.
- New Zealand’s largest city must go into lockdown. Restrictions were announced for Auckland after the first community transmission was detected in more than 100 days. All restrictions on daily living were relaxed in early June when the last case of Covid-19 recorded in the community recovered. Aucklanders have been told that as of midday on Wednesday they are not to gather in large numbers and work from home if possible. The rest of New Zealand will also face measures.
- Netherlands plans to introduce mandatory home quarantine for people identified by local authorities as having been in close contact with someone infected with the coronavirus, and for travelers returning from high-risk countries. Dutch Health Minister Hugo de Jonge said in a letter to lawmakers that mandatory quarantine could be imposed if people refused to self-isolate. It comes amid rising infection rates in the Netherlands and reluctance among some people to adhere to social distancing measures and to cooperate with contact tracing.
- Germany has extended a partial travel warning for Spain to the capital of Madrid and the Basque Country amid the Covid-19 pandemic. The Foreign Ministry said it was warning of unnecessary tourist travel to the two regions due to the growing number of new infections and local restrictions put in place to contain the spread of the virus.
- Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country has granted the first regulatory approval for a Covid-19 vaccine. The announcement came after less than two months of human testing. The country’s sovereign wealth fund said the vaccine would be called Sputnik V, in reference to the Cold War space race. The news from Moscow was greeted with some skepticism. Experts pointed to the lack of proper Phase 3 testing, with a warning that “the collateral damage resulting from the release of any less than safe and effective vaccine would insurmountably worsen our current problems.”
- WHO said it had not received enough information to assess the Russian vaccine. The Pan American Health Organization has said the vaccine is not expected to be introduced to Brazil, as expected, until the end of phase 2 and 3 trials.