Australia Deals With Virus Spike 07/08 06:42
BELGRADE, Serbia (AP) -- The reimposition of coronavirus lockdown measures
in Serbia touched off violent clashes in the capital Belgrade that left at
least 60 police and protesters hurt amid renewed warnings that the virus is
still gathering pace.
Australia grappled with a COVID-19 spike in the city of Melbourne that
prepared on Wednesday for a second lockdown to contain the virus' spread.
Melbourne's virus woes contrasted sharply with other areas of the country that
have been reporting low or no daily infections.
Africa surpassed the half million mark of coronavirus infections according
to figures released Wednesday by the Africa Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention. South Africa picked up the mantle as the world's new virus hot spot
with another day of more than 10,000 confirmed cases.
There's no way to know the real number of confirmed virus cases among
Africa's 1.3 billion people as its 54 countries continue to face a serious
shortage of testing materials for the virus.
In Serbia, angry protesters spilled out in the streets of Belgrade and tried
to storm parliament after health officials reported the highest single-day
death toll of 13 amid 299 new COVID-19 cases. Protesters hurled rocks, bottles
and other objects and set fire to five police vehicles while video footage of
the clashes showed police beating up some demonstrators.
Around two dozen demonstrators have been arrested while a law enforcement
official said authorities are trying to identify more people who took part in
Serbia President Aleksandar Vukic's concession that easing virus
restrictions too soon possibly led to an infection spike recast the global
dilemma of when to open up and by how much without igniting another virus
Many blame the autocratic Serbian leader for lifting the previous lockdown
measures just so he would cement his grip on power after parliamentary
elections. He has denied those claims.
Belgrade's virus resurgence reflected a general trend in the Balkans where
infections are keeping a high trajectory. In Albania, 50-70 new cases are
reported every day --- many times over the daily number of infections reported
during the country's lockdown through March and April.
Authorities in the Australian state of Victoria authorities announced
another 134 coronavirus cases in the latest 24 hours, down from a daily record
191 cases on Tuesday.
The rest of Australia recorded 13 cases including three Melbourne-linked
infections in the national capital Canberra. The Canberra infections are the
first recorded there in almost a month.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the entire nation was behind Melbourne as
it locked down for six weeks from Wednesday night.
"We're all Melburnians now when it comes to the challenges we face,"
Morrison said. "We're all Victorians now because we're all Australians and
that's where the challenge is right now."
The World Health Organization's emergencies chief, Dr. Michael Ryan, said
the coronavirus is continuing to gain pace globally with daily reported cases
rising to 200,000 --- double the number of cases reported in April and May.
Ryan warned that although the number of COVID-19 deaths appeared to be stable
now, he warned that a spike in fatalities could soon follow.
Indonesia on Wednesday reported another record high of daily confirmed virus
infections with 1,863 new cases, pushing the national total to more than 68,000.
National COVID-19 Task Force spokesman Achmad Yurianto said that 50 more
people died of the disease, taking the country's death toll to 3,359 --- the
highest number of fatalities in Southeast Asia.
Spain's northeastern Catalonia region will make mandatory the use of face
masks outdoors after worrisome outbreaks in and around the city of Lleida led
to a lockdown of more than 200,000 residents since Saturday. Some of the 500
infections in Lleida have so far been linked to the summer fruit harvest, which
attracts many migrant laborers that are often offered poor living and working
In Israel, Defense Minister Benny Gantz said he is going into quarantine
over concerns he was recently exposed to a COVID-19 carrier.
Gantz, who also serves as alternative prime minister, says he feels well and
is isolating out of a sense of responsibility. Gantz made the announcement as
Israel is coping with a second wave of infections. The government this week
reimposed new limits on public gatherings and ordered restaurants, bars,
theaters and fitness centers to shut down again.
In China, where the pandemic appeared late last year, only seven new cases
were confirmed Wednesday, all of them brought from outside the country. But
South Korea reported 63 additional cases among a population twice the size of
Australia's. South Korean authorities are scrambling to stem transmissions tied
to places such as churches, temples, restaurants and workplaces.
Pakistan's daily infection rate dropped below 3,000 for the second straight
day. Medical professionals are urging caution, noting testing has been cut by
almost one third. Still some experts, particularly in the eastern city of
Lahore, the capital of Pakistan's Punjab province where nearly 60% of the
country's 220 million people live, are suggesting the virus may have peaked in