SYDNEY (AP) – Sydney’s northern beaches would register a lockdown similar to the one imposed during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March, as a group of cases in the region rose to 41.
From late Saturday to Wednesday midnight, residents will only be allowed to leave their homes for five basic reasons: medical care, exercise, grocery store, work or compassionate care reasons.
An additional 23 cases were reported in 24 hours, of which 10 were already announced, taking the new cases to 41. All but two of them are from the so-called Avalon cluster, which is named after a community of about 10,000 people on the northern beaches. 40 kilometers (25 mi) from the city of Sydney.
Gladys Berekklian, head of state of New South Wales, says sanctions are necessary if there is any expectation of a normal Christmas in Sydney.
“We’re hoping we’ll get enough time to get on top of the virus, so that we can rest again for Christmas and New Year,” she said.
New cases surfaced as health officials asked hundreds of gym goers on Sydney’s northern beaches to be tested and separated immediately. The gym adds to a long list of locations, including a lawn bowling club, visited by confirmed cases published by authorities on Friday.
Other states worked to prevent the borders from jumping, including greater barriers for residents of New South Wales by Western Australia, Victoria, Queensland, Tasmania and the Northern Territory. Most of them are involved in a 14-day quarantine period for those on the northern beaches who travel to those states.
Elsewhere in the Asia-Pacific region:
– Long lines strewn around coronovirus testing sites in Seoul, the capital of South Korea, as the country reported another 1,053 cases, the fourth straight day of more than 1,000. The viral resurgence has raised questions about how to deal with the government outbreak. Authorities are still deciding whether the social level can be raised to the maximum level, fearing that it may cause further stress in the economy. The numbers released Saturday by the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency brought the national caseload to 48,570, including about 7,000 cases in the last week alone. Twenty-four COVID-19 patients died in the last 24 hours, with 659 deaths. It is worrying that the Seoul metropolitan area is experiencing increasing mortality due to lack of intensive care beds. The KDCA stated that out of 13,577 active patients, at least 275 are in critical or critical condition, the most since the emergence of the epidemic. Officials say at least six died in their homes or long-term care facilities as hospitals ran out of beds. Thousands of people line up at the testing centers in front of Seoul City Hall and other public places as health officials expand a large-scale testing program to detect more virus carriers. Authorities are temporarily providing free trials to anyone in the Capital Region, regardless of whether they have suspected signs of infection or obvious causes.
– India’s coronovirus cases have crossed 10 million with new infections reaching their lowest levels in three months, as the country prepares for mass COVID-19 vaccination in the new year. In the last 24 hours, additional cases fell from a peak of around 100,000 in mid-September to 25,152. The epidemic has infected about 1% of India’s more than 1.3 billion people, the most affected in the United States. A government health expert says that India is keeping its fingers crossed as cases increase in the winter months. India is home to some of the largest vaccine manufacturers in the world and the country has five vaccine candidates at various stages. India aims to provide vaccines to 250 million people by July 2021.
– China says it will soon introduce coronovirus vaccination for workers in health care, transport and border control. The vice chairman of the National Health Commission says the government is prioritizing those risks. Workers selling fresh meat and seafood in logistics and markets will also be ranked high on the list of vaccine recipients, along with the elderly and those with underlying medical conditions. Vaccines produced by Chinese companies are now pending approval in Turkey, Indonesia and Brazil, as manufacturers continue to test vaccines in more than a dozen countries, including Russia, Egypt and Mexico. The United Arab Emirates last week declared the vaccine 86% effective in its first public release of such information. Even before final market approval, one program critics say over one million people have received vaccine shots for not being transparent about safety, efficacy, or scientific merit.
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