An Australian state is set to reimpose restrictions as coronavirus cases increase

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The Australian state of Victoria is set to reimpose household restrictions from Monday 22 June after recording double-digit increases in coronavirus (Covid-19) cases for a fourth consecutive day.

Daniel Andrews, the premier for Victoria, said household gatherings will be restricted to five guests and outdoor gatherings to 10 people until midnight on 12 July.

Andrews said Victoria recorded 25 new cases on Saturday 20 June, the biggest daily increase in two months. The planned easing of restrictions for cafes, restaurants and pubs, from a maximum of 20 guests to a maximum of 50, will be deferred for three weeks.

Businesses that are set to open for the first time on 22 June, including gyms and cinemas, will be allowed to do so but with a maximum of 20 people at a time.

Andrews said more than half of the new cases in Victoria have come from family-to-family transmission. He added, “I’m frustrated by it. I’m disappointed by it”.

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He said the numbers remained low but the state authorities are “acting quickly and early to get back on top of it”. He flagged the prospect of coronavirus hotspots being forced back into stay-at-home lockdown if local outbreaks become serious. Victoria state has accounted for 19 of Australia’s 102 deaths from coronavirus, and almost 1,800 of the country’s 7,411 confirmed infections, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

The move came as China’s capital recorded a further drop in coronavirus cases amid tightened containment measures. Meanwhile Brazil surpassed more than 1 million confirmed infections, second only to the United States.

The pandemic is “accelerating”

The head of the World Health Organisation said on Friday 19 June that the pandemic is “accelerating”. He said more than 150,000 cases were reported the day before — the highest single-day number so far.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told reporters in Geneva that nearly half of the newly reported cases were from the Americas, with significant numbers from South Asia and the Middle East.

Officials reported 22 new cases in Beijing on Saturday 20 June, along with five others elsewhere in China. There are no new deaths and 308 people remain hospitalised for treatment.

South Korea recorded 67 new cases, the largest 24-hour increase in about three weeks. Most of them come from the densely populated Seoul area, where about half of the country’s 51 million people reside.

Brazil’s Health Ministry said the total number of cases had risen by more than 50,000 from the previous day. President Jair Bolsonaro still downplays the risks of the virus after nearly 50,000 deaths in three months. He says the impact of social isolation on Brazil’s economy can be more deadly.

South Africa has about 30% of the virus cases on the African continent, or more than 87,000. South Africa and Ethiopia say they’re recommending the limited use of the commonly available drug dexamethasone for all coronavirus patients on ventilators, or supplementary oxygen. South African Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said:

this breakthrough is excellent news for us and we are especially fortunate that it came as we are preparing for our upcoming surge [in cases].

French authorities are keeping a close eye on signs of an accelerating spread of the coronavirus in Normandy, a region that’s until now been spared the worst of the outbreak. Paris and the east of France have been hit particularly hard.

The coronavirus has infected more than 8.5 million people worldwide and killed more than 454,000, according to figures from Johns Hopkins University. The actual number is thought to be much higher because many cases are asymptomatic or go untested.

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