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Victoria coronavirus cases surge as lockdown looms: Live updates | News




  • The Australian state of Victoria has confirmed 134 new cases of coronavirus in the past 24 hours, as its borders were closed and it moved to impose a six-week lockdown in Melbourne.

  • Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro has tested positive for COVID-19 after months of downplaying the virus as a “little flu”.

  • The United States has officially notified the United Nations secretary-general of the country’s withdrawal from the World Health Organization even as it grapples with nearly three million cases of coronavirus.
  • A group of opposition supporters stormed the Serbian parliament on Tuesday night in a protest against plans to impose a lockdown on the capital this weekend.

Nearly 11.8 million people around the world have been diagnosed with COVID-19, and nearly 544,000 have died, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. The US and Brazil have reported the most cases and the highest death tolls.

Here are the latest updates.

Wednesday, July 8

04:35 GMT – Doubts over AirAsia’s ability to continue in business

Auditors for AirAsia, Southeast Asia’s biggest low cost carrier, have warned there is risk to the airline’s ability to continue in business as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

The airline has said it is looking to raise more capital. On Monday, it posted its biggest ever first quarter loss – 803.3 million ringgit ($103 million).

AirAsia was bought over by Malaysian tycoon and former music industry executive Tony Fernandes nearly 20 years ago and turned into a low cost airline inspired by EasyJet in the UK. Its shares were suspended on Wednesday.

03:45 GMT – Panic buying hits Victorian supermarkets

Panic buying has hit supermarkets in Melbourne and Victoria again, ahead of the six-week lockdown that comes into force in a few hours time.

Woolworths – Australia’s biggest grocery chain – has already reinstated buying limits for basics including pasta, sugar and toilet paper.

03:35 GMT – Australia to consider limiting citizen and resident returns

Australia’s coronavirus emergency cabinet is to consider limiting the number of citizens and residents allowed to return to the country, following a spike in cases in Melbourne. 

Health authorities say many of the cases have been traced back to hotels where people who had returned from overseas were being quarantined.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison says there are no plans to reimpose coronavirus restrictions across the country after the Melbourne outbreak prompted the closure of state borders and a citywide lockdown.

03:05 GMT – Scientists warn of coronavirus carries risk of brain damage

Scientists at University College London are warning of the risk of brain damage from coronavirus.

UCL researchers studied 43 patients who suffered either temporary brain dysfunction, stroke, nerve damage or other serious effects on their brain, and say the disease can lead to severe neurological complications including psychosis and delirium.

The study found nine of the patients were diagnosed with a rare condition called acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (ADEM), which is usually seen in children and can be triggered by viral infections.

The team said they would only usually see about one adult patient with ADEM a month, but it had risen to a “concerning” one a week while they were conducting the study.

“Given the disease has only been around for a matter of months, we might not yet know what long-term danage COVID-19 can cause,” said Ross Paterson, who co-led the study. “Doctors need to be aware of possible neurological effects, as early diagnosis can improve patient outcomes.” 

A brain

A human brain, part of a collection of more than 3,000 brains that could provide insight into psychiatric illnesses, at a psychiatric hospital in Duffel, Belgium [File: Yves Herman/Reuters]

02:35 GMT – Britain to unveil mini-budget to boost COVID-hit economy

The UK government is to announce a mini-budget later on Wednesday to kickstart the economy after the prolonged coronavirus lockdown.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak will announce the plan – with a focus on infrastructure spending – at 11:30 GMT. He’s expected to offer 2 billion pounds ($2.5 billion) in grants for households to improve home insulation, while 1 billion pounds ($1.25 billion) will be available for public buildings including hospitals. 

Sunak is also expected to reveal new plans to create jobs for young people. You can read more on that story here.

02:15 GMT – New Zealand to charge man with coronavirus who escaped quarantine

New Zealand is to prosecute a 32-year-old man who briefly absconded from an isolation facility after testing positive for the virus.

The man was in quarantine in Auckland after arriving from Delhi on July 3. He escaped through a fenced area of the hotel and and visited a supermarket before returning to the facility.

“We take any breach of the COVID-19 rules very seriously,” said Commodore Darryn Webb, the head of managed isolation and quarantine. “Willfully leaving our facilities will not be tolerated, and the appropriate action will be taken.”

00:45 GMT – California reports more than 10,000 confirmed cases

The US state of California has reported a record daily rise in confirmed cases of coronavirus – some 10,201 cases.

The state has taken steps to curb the outbreak by suspending indoor activities and training contact tracers.

Other states have also reported record daily numbers of cases including Hawaii, Missouri, Montana, Oklahoma and Texas, with the number of known cases across the US now approaching three million. 

00:00 GMT – Australia’s Victoria state confirms 134 new cases after lockdown imposed

The Australian state of Victoria has confirmed 134 new cases of coronavirus, with Melbourne due to begin a six-week lockdown at midnight (14:00 GMT). 

Around 4.9 million people in the country’s second-biggest city will be confined to their homes for all but essential activities.

Australia’s second-largest city Melbourne reimposes lockdown



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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Thousands displaced after Tropical Cyclone Eloise hits Mozambique | Weather News



Nearly 7,000 people forced from their homes and more than 130,000 hectares of crops destroyed by torrential downpours and floods.

Heavy rains and flooding have forced thousands to flee their homes in Mozambique after Tropical Cyclone Eloise brought wind gusts of up to 150 kilometres per hour (kph).

Eloise struck Mozambique’s Sofala coastal province on Saturday morning before weakening and heading inland to dump rain on Zimbabwe, eSwatini – formerly known as Swaziland – and South Africa.

On Sunday, Mozambique’s National Institute for Disaster Risk Management and Reduction (INGD) said investigations had shown Eloise had displaced 6,859 people. The region’s Buzi district had been particularly hard hit with severe winds.

“Families are in urgent need of essential supplies like food, water, blankets and shelter,” Marcia Penicela, project manager at ActionAid Mozambique, said on Sunday.

“With high floodwaters and power lines down in Buzi, the challenge will now be reaching people most in need,” she added.

Eloise ruined 136,755 hectares of crops, destroyed nine schools and damaged about 17 other schools and 11 hospitals, according to INGD.

It had completely destroyed 1,069 houses, partially destroyed 3,343 and flooded another 1,500, the agency said.

After weakening and being downgraded to a tropical storm, Eloise moved on from Zimbabwe to dump heavy rain on some areas of South Africa’s Limpopo, Mpumalanga and KwaZulu-Natal provinces, authorities there said.

“So far the highest amount that we’ve recorded is somewhere between 115-128 mm of rainfall in Limpopo, especially in the northeast,” Puseletso Mofokeng, a senior forecaster at the South African Weather Service, told Reuters news agency.

Floods had hit the lowveld of Limpopo and Mpumalanga, and winds had blown the roofs of houses and knocked down trees, blocking roads, he said.

Certain parts of the affected provinces were likely to see another 100mm of rain tonight and more expected rain on Monday, Mofokeng said.

Heavy rains were also recorded in eastern and southeastern parts of Zimbabwe on Saturday, filling most dams and flooding some rivers. At least three people were swept away when they tried to cross flooded rivers in eastern Zimbabwe, authorities said.

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