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Melbourne placed on 6-week coronavirus lockdown: Live updates | News




  • More than five million residents of Melbourne will be locked down for six weeks after coronavirus cases surged in Australia’s second-biggest city. 
  • India has reported 467 deaths from coronavirus on Tuesday, taking its death toll above 20,000. 
  • Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has been tested again for coronavirus, after showing symptoms of the disease including a fever.
  • A group of more than 200 scientists is urging the World Health Organization to acknowledge that the coronavirus can spread in the air. 
  • Nearly 11.6 million people around the world have now been diagnosed with COVID-19, and more than 537,000 have died, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. The United States and Brazil have reported the most cases and the highest death tolls.

Here are the latest updates.

Tuesday, July 7

09:00 GMT – Indonesia reports 1,268 new coronavirus infections, 68 deaths 

Indonesia has reported 1,268 new coronavirus infections, bringing the total number of cases to 66,226, Health Ministry official Achmad Yurianto told a televised briefing.

The official also announced 68 additional deaths due to the virus, bringing the total number of fatalities to 3,309, while 30,785 people have recovered. 

Firefighters Indonesia coronavirus

Authorities in Indonesia have so far recorded 3,309 deaths [Antara Foto/Wahyu Putro/Reuters]

08:45 GMT – UK coronavirus death toll passes 55,000 

The United Kingdom’s suspected COVID-19 death toll has hit 55,398, according to a Reuters new agency tally of official data sources that underline the country’s status as one of the worst hit in the world.

The Reuters tally comprises fatalities where COVID-19 was mentioned on death certificates in England, Wales and Northern Ireland up to June 26, and up to June 28 in Scotland. It also includes more recent hospital deaths.

The Office for National Statistics said total deaths in England and Wales in the week to June 26 had now fallen below the five-year average for the second week running. 

08:00 GMT – Armenia will not send athletes to CIS Games in Russia 

Armenia will not send athletes to the first Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) Games in the Russian city of Kazan in September due to concerns about the coronavirus pandemic.

The landlocked South Caucasus country, which has recorded more than 29,000 cases of the virus and over 500 deaths, became the first nation to withdraw from the Games which will feature competition in 22 sports for athletes aged between 14 and 23.

“We deeply regret to say that due to the current situation in the world our country will be unable to participate in the CIS Games,” Armenia’s Deputy Minister of Education, Science, Culture and Sport Artur Martirosyan said.

The inaugural Games of the CIS – a grouping of former Soviet Republics – was scheduled to be held in Kazan from Aug. 20-27 but organisers pushed the event back to Sept. 4-11 due to the health situation. Belarus, another ex-Soviet country, said it will send a 390-member delegation to Kazan.

“Athletes miss competitions,” Belarusian Sport and Tourism Minister Sergei Kovalchuk said. “They all dream of meeting their peers and competing. The CIS Games will give them a great opportunity to do so.”

Coronavirus: New York numbers plummet as US deaths pass 130,000 (2:09)

07:30 GMT – Russia reports more than 6,500 new coronavirus cases

Russia has reported 6,368 new coronavirus cases, taking its nationwide tally of infections to 694,230.

The country’s coronavirus crisis response centre said 198 people had died from the virus in the past 24 hours, bringing the death toll to 10,494. Russia said 463,880 people have recovered from the virus

Russia's coronavirus cases rise to 687,862

Russia’s death toll from the coronavirus reached 10,494 [Anadolu]

05:00 GMT – Police, soldiers deployed at NSW/Victoria border ahead of closure

Hundreds of police and soldiers have been sent to the border between the Australian states of New South Wales and Victoria ahead of its closure at 11.59pm (13:59 GMT).

“There will be a significant military and police operation going on to monitor all cross-border activity,” NSW Police Minister David Elliott said. “There’s serious fines and indeed, a jail sentence, to anyone that wants to push that envelope.”

The border is hundreds of kilometres long and daily travel permits will be issued to people in border areas who commute across state lines for school, work and other activities.  

It’s the first time the border has been closed since 1919 when the country was hit by the Spanish flu. 

Border between Australia’s most populous states closed

04:20 GMT – India death tolls exceeds 20,000

India’s death toll has surpassed 20,000 as the country moves ahead with plans to relax its nationwide lockdown.

On Tuesday, the country reported 467 new deaths from coronavirus, bringing the total death toll to 20,160. It also recorded 22,252 new confirmed cases.

New cases and deaths are both rising at their fastest pace in three months, according to Reuters.

04:00 GMT – Beijing reports zero new cases for first time since market outbreak

Beijing has reported no new cases of coronavirus for the first time since an outbreak emerged at the Chinese capital’s main wholesale market last month.

City authorities say they have tested more than 11 million people for COVID-19 since June 11.

Pang Xinghuo, deputy director of Beijing’s centre for disease control, said the outbreak was “stabilising and improving”. 

03:55 GMT – Australia’s Victoria state considering four-week lockdown

The state of Victoria is considering the introduction of a four-week lockdown after recording its biggest-ever daily surge in cases, according to the Australian newspaper.

The paper said the state recorded 191 new cases on Tuesday. State Premier Daniel Andrews is due to speak to the media soon.

Victoria’s border with neighbouring New South Wales is due to close at midnight local time on Tuesday. It’s the first time that’s happened in 100 years.

03:15 GMT – Sinovac starts late-stage vaccine trials

China’s Sinovac Biotech is starting Phase III trials of its potential coronavirus vaccine in Brazil, after securing fast-track approvals from the country’s regulator.

The study will involve 9,000 people working in specialised COVID-19 medical facilities.

Phase III trials test a vaccine’s efficacy.

It’s the third experimental vaccine to enter late-stage trials after products developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University, and China National Pharmaceutical Group (Sinopharm). Moderna plans to begin late stage trials later month.

03:00 GMT – Five sumo members confirmed to have COVID-19 antibodies

Japan’s national broadcaster NHK has reported that five members of the Sumo Association have been confirmed to have coronavirus antibodies.

It did not say whether they were wrestlers or had other roles in the association.

A 28-year-old wrestler, Shobushi, died from the disease in May, the first death in sumo. 

02:50 GMT – Bali eyes September return for foreign tourists

The Indonesian resort island of Bali is planning to reopen to tourism with domestic visitors returning by the end of this month and visitors from overseas on September 11.

COVID-19 cases have increased recently, with Bali reporting 1,900 confirmed cases and 23 deaths. Indonesia itself has 65,000 cases and 3,241 deaths.

Indonesia Bali

Bali is preparing for the return of local tourists by the end of this month [Sonny Tumbelaka/AFP] 

02:20 GMT – Students in China sit university entrance exam

More than 10 million students from around China have started sitting the highly competitive gaokao or university entrance exam that was delayed by the coronavirus outbreak.

The state-run Global Times says it’s the largest public event since the health crisis.

01:35 GMT – Mexico outbreak could last until April

A top health official in Mexico says the outbreak there could last until next April.

Deputy Health Minister Hugo Lopez-Gatell told Radio Formula, a local channel, that cases could persist throughout the winter.

“Flu season begins in October and there are some reasonable assumptions that we could also have a spike in COVID-19 along with the flu throughout the fall-to-winter season,” he said. 

Mexico has recorded 31,119 deaths from the disease, the fifth highest number in the world.

00:00 GMT – New Zealand to limit citizens’ return in quarantine squeeze

New Zealand citizens who want to return home may have to wait longer than anticipated after the government moved to limit arrivals from overseas to ease pressure on mandatory quarantine facilities.

Officials said they had reached an agreement with Air New Zealand to put a hold on inbound bookings for the next three weeks and were talking to other airlines. 

“The last thing we need are hastily set up facilities to meet demand, so we must have a manageable number of fit-for-purpose, safe facilities that do the job of stopping COVID-19 at the border,” Housing Minister Megan Woods said in a statement.

There are currently nearly 6,000 people in quarantine at 28 facilities. 

23:30 GMT – Bolsonaro tested after showing COVID-19 symptoms

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has had another coronavirus test, after reporting symptoms associated with the respiratory disease, including a fever.

Bolsonaro told supporters outside the presidential palace that he had just been tested for the virus, and that a medical examination had shown his lungs were “clean”. The results are due on Tuesday.

The right-wing populist has repeatedly played down the impact of the virus, even though Brazil now has the second highest number of cases, and deaths, in the world.


A woman walks pass graffiti in Rio de Janeiro showing Brazil’s president Jair Bolsonaro. He is awaiting the result of a second coronavirus test after coming down with a fever [Sergio Moraes/Reuters]

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 here.

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Egypt and Qatar have ‘agreed to resume diplomatic relations’ | Politics News



Egypt’s foreign ministry said official notes had been exchanged with Qatar as both countries agreed to resume ties.

Egypt has agreed to resume diplomatic relations with Qatar, the Egyptian foreign ministry said.

“The Arab Republic of Egypt and the state of Qatar has exchanged two official notes today, January 20, according to which the two countries agreed to resume diplomatic relations,” the statement on Wednesday said.

On Monday, the first direct flight between Qatar and  Egypt and the UAE took to the skies following the end of a three-and-a-half year regional crisis earlier this month.

Egypt was part of an Arab quartet that had severed diplomatic and economic ties with Qatar in June 2017. The four countries – including Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain – accused Qatar of supporting terrorism and being too close to Iran, and imposed a land, air and naval blockade.

Qatar has denied the accusations throughout.

All four countries have now announced the reopening of their airspace to Qatar.

As many as 300,000 Egyptians call Qatar home, according to official statistics, and many were unable to travel home during the crisis.

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