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

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

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

05:30 GMT – Fireflies of Tatsuno dance free as coronavirus curbs visitors

The coronavirus forced the cancellation of Tatsuno’s annual firefly festival leaving the area’s thousands of fireflies to mate in peace – away from crowds of people.

The spectacle lasts just ten days in early summer and, when the conditions are right, the fireflies take to the night skies to find a mate and lay eggs for the next year. The insects glow to communicate with each other. 

Festival organiser Tatsuki Komatsu told AFP he felt the fireflies were “looking for a partner more freely with no humans around” but hoped the event would be able to return in 2021.

“The brief shining of the light is so impressive, making me feel that I also have to live my best,” he said. 

Japan fireflies

A long exposure picture shows the light created by the fireflies in Tatsuno in Japan’s central Nagano prefecture [Philip Fong/AFP] 

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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