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Australia sends troops to bolster coronavirus fight: Live updates | News

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  • The number of cases worldwide is expected to reach 10 million next week, the World Health Organization has said, warning that the virus has yet to peak in the Americas.
  • Coronavirus hospitalisations and caseloads have reached new highs in more than half a dozen states in the US, with newly confirmed cases nationwide back near their peak level of two months ago. 
  • Nearly 9.2 million people around the world have been diagnosed with COVID-19, and nearly 475,000 have died, according to Johns Hopkins University. 

Here are the latest updates:

Thursday, June 25

03:50 GMT – ‘We cannot overstate the shame’: Asean MPs on boat pushbacks

A group of MPs from Southeast Asia are calling on leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to do more to help migrants, particularly Rohingya refugees taking boats across the Indian Ocean. 

In an open letter signed by Charles Santiago, the chairperson of ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights (APHR) and a Malaysian MP, the group urged ASEAN leaders to respect vulnerable communities, and curb the hateful rhetoric that has been directed at migrants and refugees during the coronavirus epidemic.

Malaysia detained 269 Rohingya on a damaged boat earlier this month and media reported this week that a boat carrying 300 people had been turned away. The country intensified border patrols as it sought to control the coronavirus and has also cracked down on undocumented migrants.




Malaysia ‘detains migrants, refugees’ amid coronavirus lockdown

APHR said ASEAN countries needed to work with Myanmar to end the crisis and “organise urgent collective search and rescue operations for boats carrying Rohingya refugees and to organise for their proper disembarkation.

“We cannot overstate the shame that falls upon us collectively when our governments choose to push people back to die at sea.” 

03:20 GMT – More Qantas staff to lose jobs as a result of coronavirus

The Australian airline Qantas is firing at least 6,000 people – 20 percent of its workforce – as part of a series of drastic measures to deal with the impact of the coronavirus,

Qantas also plans to ground 100 aircraft for as long as 12 months and some for longer, as well as retire its six remaining Boeing 747 planes immediately, six months ahead of schedule. 

You can read more on that story from our business team here.

Qantas passenger

Airlines have been particularly hard-hit by the pandemic because borders have closed and travel has all but ground to a halt [File: Brendon Thorne/Bloomberg]

03:05 GMT – Beijing increases testing capacity to keep on top of cases

Beijing has increased daily nucleic acid testing capicity to more than 300,000 samples a day, compared with about 40,000 previously, according to state media.

Authorities in the Chinese capital stepped up testing after a spike in cases linked to the main wholesale food market.

The mainland on Thursday confirmed 19 new cases of COVID-19, 13 of them in Beijing.

03:00 GMT – Disneyland delays reopening after California cases surge

Disneyland in California, which has been closed since the middle of March, has delayed plans to reopen.

The resort was due to open again on July 17, but Disney officials say with the state government not released operating guidelines until July 4 they don’t have time to prepare.

Disneyland is the world’s second most-popular theme park. 




Fault Lines – Anaheim: A tale of two cities

02:10 GMT – Australia posts biggest one-day rise in cases in two months

More on the situation in Australia following the announcement that troops will be sent to Melbourne, the country’s second biggest city and the capital of Victoria state.

The state reported 33 people tested positive for the virus in the past 24 hours. That’s the ninth day of double-digit increases.

The country as a whole has recorded more than 7,500 cases of the disease but with the outbreak seemingly under control had eased most restrictions. It has recorded 104 deaths, the latest an 85-year-old man who died in April but has now been confirmed to have had the disease.

02:05 GMT – South Korea cases ease

South Korea’s latest coronavirus data suggests it’s getting a grip on the clusters that have emerged in Seoul in recent weeks.

The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) said this morning the country had added 28 new cases, 23 of them local infections. That’s down on Wednesday’s 51 cases and Tuesday’s 46. 

Most clusters are linked to delivery firms, and small churches.  

00:30 GMT – Australian troops head to Victoria to tackle outbreak spike

Australia’s military is to send 1,000 troops to Melbourne to tackle new coronavirus clusters that have emerged in the capital of the state of Victoria.

Victoria has recorded almost 150 new infections during the past week.

Defence Minister Linda Reynolds said on Thursday that the military would be rapidly deployed “in the coming days”. 

Up to 850 Australian Defence Force personnel will help monitor returned international travellers in hotel quarantine while about 200 others will provide logistical and medical support to COVID-19 testing facilities, she said.

Separately, the Victoria premier Dan Andrews, said the state was launching a “suburban testing blitz” targeting areas identified as hotspots to get on top of the outbreak.

00:15 GMT – Japan’s izakaya pub culture suffers during COVID

Japanese are being more careful about going out for after-dinner drinks, and that is harming the pubs known as “izakayas” that cater to them.

Izakayas are known for their cheap drinks, tasty food, and cosy atmosphere. Some are tiny with only a few seats.

But Reuters says izakayas are now facing an “existential crisis” as people work from home and avoid indoor venues.

“If drinking out isn’t considered welcome, izakayas will go under,” Hitoshi Yaosaka, who owns 10 pubs in Tokyo and has seen business return to only a third of pre-COVID levels. “There’s a pretty good chance Japan’s izakaya culture will die down.”

00:00 GMT – States in northeastern US impose quarantines on travellers from eight states

The governors of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut have ordered travellers from eight other states to quarantine for 14 days on arrival as the epidemic in the US gathers momentum.

The order was “the smart thing to do”, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy told the media.

“We have taken our people, the three of us from these three states, through hell and back, and the last thing we need to do right now is subject our folks to another round,” Murphy said of the three governors, all Democrats. 

The quarantine applies to people arriving from Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas and Utah, including northeastern residents returning from those areas.

It will be enforced with fines that will rise for repeat offenders.

Pedestrians pass customers dining outside Casa Mezcal, Monday, June 22, 2020, in New York. New York City ventured into a crucial stage of reopening as stores let people in Monday, offices brought work

New York is opening up again after being badly hit in the first wave of the coronavirus outbreak in the US. Now it is imposing quarantines on travellers from a number of other states where caseloads and hospitalisations have surged [John Minchillo/AP Photo]

Hello and welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the coronavirus pandemic. I’m Kate Mayberry in Kuala Lumpur.

Read all the updates from yesterday (June 24) here.



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Cyclone Eloise affected 250,000 people in Mozambique, says UN | Weather News

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Eloise brought winds of up to 150km/h followed by torrential rain over port city of Beira and adjacent Buzi district.

A tropical cyclone that struck central Mozambique last week has affected 250,000 people, a sharp increase over initial estimates, according to a UN official.

Myrta Kaulard, the UN’s resident coordinator in Mozambique, added on Tuesday that 18,000 people were internally displaced after Cyclone Eloise made landfall in the early hours of Saturday.

“Yesterday, we were mentioning 170,000 people affected. Today, the official figures have climbed to 250,000,” Kaulard said in a video call with reporters at the UN, adding that 76 health centres and hundreds of classrooms were damaged.

“We also see widespread floods that are still there and a lot of people trying still to get out of the flooded areas,” she said.

Eloise brought winds of up to 150 kilometres per hour (90 miles per hour) followed by torrential rain over the port city of Beira, the capital of Mozambique’s Sofala province, and the adjacent Buzi district.

It weakened into a tropical storm as it moved inland to Zimbabwe, South Africa, eSwatini, formerly known as Swaziland and Botswana.

The death toll across the region rose to 14 on Tuesday after South Africa reported one more death.

In Mozambique, the cyclone hit an area already devastated by two successive super-storms in March and April 2019.

The first, Cyclone Idai, left more than 1,000 dead and caused damage estimated at about $2bn.

People queue for food at the accommodation centre in Tica after their villages were flooded due to the passage of Cyclone Eloise [Andre Catueira/EPA]

An international aid group warned on Tuesday that crowded centres for storm survivors created ideal conditions for the coronavirus to spread.

In the port city of Beira alone, 8,700 people are living in 16 temporary shelters after their homes were destroyed by the cyclone.

“Each tent I saw had at least 10 people packed into it and families are lacking access to safe water and essential items like soap and face masks,” said Marcia Penicela, project manager at ActionAid Mozambique following a visit to sites.

Espinola Caribe, head of the World Food Programme’s Beira sub-office, also said COVID-19 was a concern and people had to be moved out of danger.

“This was not a planned evacuation … this was running for your life,” he said.

Widespread flooding in the Buzi area of Mozambique after the landfall of Cyclone Eloise [Bruno Pedro/UNICEF/AFP]



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