Australia’s death rate in elderly care facilities is the second highest in the world, behind Canada, said Professor Joseph Ibrahim, head of the health and aging law research unit at Monash University in a survey of the elderly care sector.
Residents of Victoria are under varying levels of lockdown as they struggle to contain an outbreak that has seen hundreds of new confirmed cases for weeks on end every day. In central Melbourne, people who are not essential workers can leave their homes only to go to the grocery store (one person per household per day) or to exercise for an hour. There is a curfew in place from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m.
Victoria recorded 410 new cases of the coronavirus on Wednesday, in line with a downward trend from recent daily counts in the 600s.
In neighboring New Zealand – which appeared to have wiped out local transmission after spending more than 100 days without a new case outside of hotel quarantine – four people from a household in Auckland, the country’s largest city, have tested positive on Tuesday.
The source of the cases is unknown, meaning health officials will rely on increased testing to trace their origin.
In response, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has reintroduced Level 3 restrictions in Auckland, which means people are encouraged to work from home and bars and restaurants are closed except for take-out. The rest of the country has entered Level 2 restrictions, under which people can go to work and school, but gatherings cannot exceed 100 people.
Ardern said on Wednesday that testing stations would be set up across the city. The country’s top health official Dr Ashley Bloomfield said officials were preparing to test tens of thousands of people in the coming days.
The prime minister also postponed the dissolution of parliament, which was due to take place on Wednesday before the September elections. A decision will be made on Monday, she said. Newly appointed opposition leader Judith Collins has called for the vote to be postponed until November.
United States Health Secretary Alex Azar marked the end of his multi-day visit to Taiwan with new criticism of China’s handling of the coronavirus outbreak and saying that if such a virus had emerged in the United States, Taiwan “or some other open society, it would have played out very differently.”
Azar also expressed his skepticism towards Russiaclaims to have developed a vaccine against the coronavirus. President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday that Russia had become the first country to grant regulatory approval for a Covid-19 vaccine after less than two months of human testing, a move Moscow compared to its success in the Cold War era space race. The vaccine, which has not yet completed its final trials, will be called Sputnik V.
“It is important that we provide safe and effective vaccines and that the data is transparent,” Azar said, adding that US vaccines would be well researched and ethically developed, with data reviewed by outside experts.
Late Tuesday, the World Health Organization said it had not received enough information to evaluate the Russian vaccine.
Other key developments include:
- Lebanon on Tuesday announced a record daily number of cases, with more than 300 infections and seven deaths as the country grapples with the aftermath of the Beirut port explosion that rocked the capital and overwhelmed hospitals.
ArgentineThe death toll topped 5,000, the government said on Tuesday, as cases skyrocketed in recent weeks, pushing the South American nation up the global rankings despite months of lockdowns and a promising start.
the United States has reached a deal with drugmaker Moderna to acquire 100 million doses of its potential Covid-19 vaccine for around $ 1.5 billion, the company and the White House said on Tuesday.
The Netherlands plans to introduce a 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.