Melbourne to ease lockdown measures amid drop in coronavirus infections

6 months ago 167
9 min ago

Melbourne to ease lockdown measures amid drop in coronavirus infections

From CNN's Isaac Yee in Hong Kong

The Australia city of Melbourne will begin easing lockdown measures at midnight on Monday local time as the city continues to see a drop in coronavirus cases and deaths.

 “Seven weeks ago, our average case numbers were peaking at more than 400 every single day. Today, Melbourne’s rolling case average is 22.1. It’s a remarkable thing -- and an achievement that belongs to every single Victorian,” State Premier Daniel Andrews said in a statement Sunday.
“Thanks to those efforts, and on the advice of our public health team, I can confirm that from 11:59 p.m. tonight (Sunday), Melbourne will enter the Second Step towards reopening,” Andrews said.

What are the changes:

Under the Second Step, metropolitan Melbourne’s curfew will lift from 5 a.m. Monday. Public gatherings between two households can also take place outdoors for social interactions so long as the group does not exceed five people. Outdoor pools and childcare centers will also be reopened.

Back to work:

Under the Second Step of reopening, 127,000 people will be able to go back to work, according to the Premier. All workers at food distribution centers and supermarkets will be allowed to return to work at full capacity. Workers at abattoirs (slaughterhouses), seafood, and meat processing plants will also be increased.

Despite the easing of restrictions, Premier Andrews said “none of these changes though are a sign we can take our foot off the pedal,” and he emphasized that people should continue to wear face coverings across the city.  

 On Sunday the state of Victoria reported just 16 new coronavirus cases and two new deaths.

21 min ago

"If I were to custom design a super spreader event, this is what it would look like it," Wen says of Trump's Rose Garden event

From CNN Health’s Amanda Watts

Dr. Leana Wen, an emergency physician and public health professor at George Washington University has criticized US President Donald Trump’s event in the White House Rose Garden on Saturday, saying, “If I were to custom design a super spreader event, this is what it would look like."

Trump administration's top health officials, as well as other attendees, were seen not wearing masks or social distancing at Trump's Supreme Court nomination announcement.

Speaking to CNN’s Ana Cabrera, Wen, who was previously Baltimore's health commissioner, said she was “very concerned” about the video she saw showing “a lot of people coming from many parts of the country, gathered together, no social distancing, not wearing masks.”

“Because it's not just what they do during the event,” Wen said, but what happens when they return home and potentially spread the virus.

Alex Azar, secretary of the US Department of Health and Human Services, attended the event and was seen un-masked and fist-bumping people.

“He represents all the agencies that fall under HHS -- the CDC, the FDA, the NIH -- all these top scientists and public health officials,” Wen said. “What's going through their minds as they're watching their leader flaunt the very advice that they're giving?”

Wen continued: “Also, the Secretary is a member of the President's Cabinet, and he has a responsibility to represent that public health guidance to the President. So, it also is sending the wrong message to the President, when this cabinet secretary in charge of health and public health is not following these very guidelines.”

“He should be modeling the type of behavior that we expect everyone to have at this point,” she added.

21 min ago

Top Trump officials seen not wearing masks or social distancing at White House Supreme Court announcement

From CNN's Veronica Stracqualursi and Kate Bennett

Many of the guests for US President Donald Trump's Supreme Court nomination announcement arrived at Saturday's event with masks on, but as the Rose Garden event got underway, masks were virtually non-existent. 

Some of the Trump administration's top health officials, as well as other attendees, were seen not wearing masks or social distancing at the highest-profile event at the White House since the Republican National Convention in August.

Seats for guests in the White House Rose Garden at the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett also did not appear spaced apart the recommended six feet, CNN reporters observed, as US deaths from the coronavirus pandemic surpassed 200,000. 

Alex Azar, the head of the Health and Human Services Department, put on a mask at one point during Trump's speech announcing the President is nominating Barrett as the nominee. 

But as he left the ceremony, the nation's top health official fist-bumped without a mask on — going against the health recommendations he has espoused during the pandemic. Azar has repeatedly encouraged Americans to wear a facial covering and to practice social distancing.

Read the full story:

Top Trump officials seen not wearing masks or social distancing at White House Supreme Court announcement

21 min ago

White House has pivoted away from daily Coronavirus Task Force meetings, says Fauci

From CNN Health’s Lauren Mascarenhas

The Trump administration has pivoted away from receiving daily guidance from the White House Coronavirus Task Force to focus more heavily on the economy, US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Dr. Anthony Fauci said Friday.

“The way things have evolved at the White House is that there has been a pivot away from the reliance on a daily type of a taskforce discussion -- policy making, policy implementation -- more towards how we're going to get this country open again, economically,” Fauci told AIDS activist Peter Staley on Friday during an Instagram Live. 

 He added that the Task Force has a good level of interaction with the Vice President. 

 “Obviously it's clear that the Task Force does not meet as often as we used to. We used to meet at one point, 7 days a week, then five days a week. We're meeting now on an average of one and at the most two times a week,” Fauci said.

21 min ago

Israel sees another highest 24-hour increase in Covid-19 cases

From CNN’s Oren Liebermann

Israel once again shattered its highest number of daily coronavirus cases, reaching 8,315 new cases in 24 hours on Friday, according to data from the country's health ministry.

The number of patients in serious condition climbed to 728 while the number of patients on ventilators hit 200.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, 1,441 Israeli citizens have died as a result of the coronavirus out of a total of 227,100 reported cases.

The previous high was set one day earlier, when the final update for new cases on Thursday was 8,178.

The new record comes on the day Israel imposed a series of tighter restrictions on the public during the country’s second general lockdown, including limitations on workplaces and prayer gatherings.

Notably, restrictions on public protests were not passed by the Knesset because of disagreements within the coalition, allowing a large protest against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to proceed in Jerusalem on Saturday night.

21 min ago

US' New Jersey reports its highest daily increase in new Covid-19 cases since June

From CNN's Laura Ly

New Jersey reported 760 new Covid-19 cases on Saturday, marking the highest daily case count for the US state since June 4, when 864 cases were reported, according to the state’s Covid-19 data dashboard

Almost a third of the new cases were in Ocean County, which includes part of the Jersey Shore, state data showed. 

New Jersey has now reported at least 202,850 total cases and at least 14,312 deaths during the pandemic, Gov. Phil Murphy tweeted Saturday.

Meanwhile, in nearby New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced there were 1,005 additional cases of Covid-19 across the state. That is a slight uptick from the 908 cases reported Friday, Cuomo said.

21 min ago

1,700 students told to self-isolate for 2 weeks at UK university after 127 Covid cases are confirmed

From CNN's Niamh Kennedy

About 1,700 students have been told to self-isolate at Manchester Metropolitan University in northern England or risk facing “disciplinary action,” after 127 Covid-19 cases were confirmed on campus, according to the university and local authorities.

Students living in two main dorms were asked via email on Friday night to self-isolate in their accommodation for 14 days regardless of whether or not they have symptoms.

A statement from Manchester City Council on Friday said a joint decision had been taken along with the university and Public Health England to “implement a local lockdown for student accommodation at the Birley campus and Cambridge Halls” in a bid to “stop the transmission of the virus among students and prevent it getting into the wider community.” 

In a press release, city councillor Bev Craig acknowledged that the lockdown would “be difficult for all of the young people involved,” saying that the city council would be working with public services to “make sure that any of the students affected get the support they need.”

The university tweeted that it was working with local health authorities to help the students in the two dorms concerned. "If you are not directly affected, you MUST NOT try to visit friends who live in these halls," it added.

The move comes after students in Scotland were banned Friday from visiting pubs, restaurants and cafes this weekend, as several universities across the country report major outbreaks of infections.

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said that although Scotland “will see campus cases continue to rise in the days to come” these measures “can help stem that flow.”

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