SYDNEY, Australia — The leader of Australia’s most populous state says her government’s decision to close its border with hard-hit Victoria state marks a new phase in the country’s coronavirus pandemic.
New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian has long been a critic of states that close their borders to her state when its capital Sydney had Australia’s largest numbers of COVID-19 cases.
But she had changed her stance on keeping Australia’s internal borders open because the situation in the Victorian capital Melbourne was unprecedented.
The overwhelming majority of news cases detected in Melbourne in recent weeks were from community transmission. Everywhere else in Australia, the vast majority of cases were infected overseas or had been infected by a returned traveler, Berejiklian said.
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“What is occurring in Victoria has not yet occurred anywhere else in Australia,” she said. “It’s a new part of the pandemic and, as such, it requires a new type of response.”
New South Wales police will close the Victorian border from late Tuesday. Some flights and trains services would continue for travellers who are given permits and exemptions, Berejiklian said.
HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE VIRUS OUTBREAK:
— Coronavirus pandemic and Floyd’s death merge in brutal blow to Black well-being
— Fewer children will attend summer camp due to the pandemic; some camps won’t survive
— Debates become highly-emotional as schools across the U.S. decide how and if to open
— Iran mandates masks as public shrugs off resurgent virus
— Gig workers face shifting roles, competition in coronavirus pandemic
— Naked men and drunks: England assesses the reopening of pubs
Follow all of AP’s pandemic coverage at http://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak
HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines has reported its biggest spike in coronavirus infections in recent days as the government eases quarantine restrictions to revive the economy, raising the possibility its crowded capital may be placed back under a strict lockdown.
The Department of Health reported a total of 2,434 cases in recent days, most of them in metropolitan Manila, raising the number of confirmed cases nationwide to more than 44,250, including 1,297 deaths. The infections and deaths are among the highest in Southeast Asia.
Interior Secretary Eduardo Ano said there’s a possibility the capital area may revert back to a lockdown if the uptick continues and hospitals get filled to capacity again.
At least one major Manila hospital, the Chinese General Hospital and Medical Center, said its COVID-19 ward was running at full capacity and appealed that new patients be taken elsewhere.
President Rodrigo Duterte eased the lockdown in metropolitan Manila, an epicenter of infections, on June 1 to bolster an economy on the brink of recession. One major commercial and tourism region, central Cebu city, was placed back under a strict lockdown in mid-June due to alarming infection spikes.
LOS ANGELES — Californians mostly heeded warnings to stay away from beaches and other public spaces during the long weekend.
State officials urged social distancing amid a spike in coronavirus infections and hospitalizations.
Many communities canceled July 4 fireworks shows and other annual festivities — changes that appeared to successfully keep crowds at bay. However big waves at Southern California beaches proved irresistible to some surfers.
California reported 6,500 additional confirmed cases of the virus on Saturday. The actual number of infections is thought to be far higher because many people have not been tested, and studies suggest people can be infected with the virus without feeling sick. ___
PHOENIX — Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego is pointing to a “crisis” involving coronavirus testing shortages in her city due to surging cases in Arizona, which leads the U.S. in new coronavirus cases per capita.
Gallego, a Democrat, said some residents over the weekend had to line up for eight hours by car to get tested.
Gallego told ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday that Arizona went from “zero to 60” by being one of the first states to reopen after it was among the last to implement stay-at-home orders.
Arizona health officials reported 3,536 additional coronavirus cases Sunday and four more known deaths. That brings the state’s documented totals to 98,089 confirmed cases of COVID-19 cases and 1,809 known deaths.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. — West Virginia has experienced its biggest two-day jump in confirmed coronavirus cases, according to health statistics released Sunday.
The Department of Health and Human Resources website showed an increase of 76 positive cases on Sunday and 118 on Saturday. West Virginia has seen a 16% jump in confirmed cases over the past week and a 30% increase in the past two weeks, the statistics showed.
West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice said Thursday he would decide by early this week whether he will order that face masks be worn inside buildings and when social distancing isn’t possible. The governor had lifted most virus restrictions implemented to prevent the spread of the virus.
At least 95 people in West Virginia have died from the virus and more than 3,300 have tested positive since the outbreak began.
JACKSON, Miss. — Mississippi House Speaker Philip Gunn says he has tested positive for the coronavirus as state health officials report more than 200 new infections and five deaths linked to the pandemic.
Gunn, a Republican, said in a video posted Sunday to Facebook that he got tested because he had been in close proximity to another member of the House who tested positive.
“I felt like I needed to go get myself tested just because I had been with this person and this morning was informed that I too have tested positive for COVID,” Gunn said. “I feel very fortunate that I don’t really have very many symptoms and feel fine.”
Gunn said he called everyone that he had been in close proximity to recently to let them know of his diagnosis and planned to self-quarantine.
Gunn is the state’s highest-ranking political figure to publicly disclose a positive test for the coronavirus. He did not say who the other House member was. The Mississippi Department of Health posted its latest coronavirus statistics Sunday. The state recorded 226 new cases through Saturday bringing the total number of confirmed and probable infections to 30,900 across the state. Five more people also died from COVID-19.
MADRID — Authorities in northwestern Spain have ordered the lockdown of a county with a population of 71,000 for fears of a coronavirus outbreak.
Regional authorities in Galicia announced Sunday that movement to and from A Mariña county located on Spain’s northern Atlantic coast will be prohibited starting at midnight. It will run through Friday, two days before the region holds elections.
The decision comes one day after regional authorities in northeast Catalonia locked down an area with over 200,000 inhabitants.
Both lockdowns only allow people to leave the areas for work and other extenuating circumstances.
The small-scale lockdowns come two weeks after Spain ended a national state of emergency that enable the national government to lockdown the entire country and prohibit travel between provinces or certain areas since mid-March.
Over 28,000 people are confirmed to have died from the virus in Spain.
MEXICO CITY — Residents of the town of Sonoyta, across from Lukeville, Arizona, briefly blocked the main road leading south from the U.S. border over the weekend over fears of coronavirus outbreaks.
Arizona has seen a major upsurge in infections and there were worries about intensified contagion during the July 4 weekend.
Sonoyta Mayor José Ramos Arzate issued a statement Saturday “inviting U.S. tourists not to visit Mexico.”
Local residents organized to block the road with their cars on the Mexican side Saturday.
Video posted by residents showed several travelers complaining that they had a right to cross because they were Mexican citizens. The road is the quickest route to the seaside resort of Puerto Peñasco, also known as Rocky Point.
Ramos Arzate wrote that people from the United States should only be allowed in “for essential activities, and for that reason, the checkpoint and inspection point a few meters from the Sonoyta-Lukeville AZ crossing will continue operating.”
DALLAS — Leaders in two of Texas’ biggest cities are calling on the governor to empower local governments to order residents to stay home as the state’s continued surge in confirmed cases of the coronavirus tests hospital capacity.
Austin Mayor Steve Adler, a Democrat, told CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday that he wants Republican Gov. Gregg Abbott to return control to local governments. He says hospitals are facing a crisis and that ICUs could be overrun in 10 days.
In the Houston area, Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo, who is also a Democrat, says a stay-at-home order is needed.
Texas reported its highest daily increase in the number of confirmed coronavirus cases Saturday with 8,258.
WASHINGTON — Republican Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson says if President Donald Trump were to hold a campaign rally in his Trump-friendly state, people will need to wear masks.
Hutchinson says he would expect people to follow his state’s health guidelines by practicing social distancing or wearing masks if unable to do so.
He says he understands the value of having national Fourth of July celebrations such as at Mount Rushmore in South Dakota and that there is some “virus fatigue,” but that people should have been wearing face coverings to “set an example.”
Trump won Arkansas in 2016 with over 60% of the vote.
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, a Democrat, says he’d like to see a national strategy on the coronavirus, including a mask requirement. He says his state is seeing “small spikes in reinfection” from residents coming back from Florida, South Carolina and other virus hotspots, and the U.S. is “as strong as our weakest link right now.”
Trump has recently held campaign-style events in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Phoenix and Washington D.C. where he and many rally attendees didn’t wear masks.
Hutchinson and Murphy spoke on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
LJUBLJANA, Slovenia — Slovenia says 15 people have been infected with the new coronavirus at a nursing home for the first time in weeks as the country faces a spike in cases.
Authorities said Sunday that nine residents and six staff have so far tested positive at the nursing home in the southwestern town of Vipava. The first case was confirmed on Friday.
Slovenia says this is the first resurgence of the virus in the country’s nursing homes since May. Most of the country’s 111 fatalities from the new coronavirus have been recorded among elderly nursing home residents.
Slovenia has confirmed 1,700 cases of the new coronavirus among the country’s 2 million people. The numbers have started to rise in the past days with 21 new cases confirmed on Sunday.
ROME — After five straight days of small increases, the number of day-to-day confirmed COVID-19 cases in Italy has dipped.
According to Health Ministry figures on Sunday, 192 cases were registered in the previous 24 hours, compared to 235 in Saturday’s tally.
Feeding some of those recent increases, concerned authorities have said, were hotspots of contagion blamed on infected people entering Italy.
Among them was a businessman in northeast Italy who took ill after driving back from a trip in Serbia but despite a fever attended a funeral and a birthday party shortly after he returned home. That man is now hospitalized in intensive care.
The majority of Italy’s 20 regions registered a handful or fewer of new cases on Sunday.
Italy’s confirmed coronavirus infections as of Sunday total 241,611. But many with mild symptoms, as well as numerous elderly residents of nursing homes, didn’t get tested.
Including the seven deaths were registered on Sunday nationwide, 34,861 people with confirmed coronavirus have died in Italy during the pandemic.
ATHENS, Greece — Greece has banned Serbian travelers because of a spike in COVID-19 cases in that country.
The ban will take effect at 6 a.m. Monday and will last until July 15, but can be extended, a government spokeswoman announced Sunday.
Greek authorities also announced nine new cases of coronavirus and no fatalities in the past 24 hours Sunday.
Seven of the nine cases involved tourists tested upon arrival.
Greece’s total number of confirmed coronavirus cases is now 3,519, with 192 dead.
PRISTINA, Kosovo — The Kosovar government on has reimposed curfew times in the capital and three other cities following a significant spike of the new virus cases.
Prime Minister Avdullah Hoti said Sunday that in Pristina and three other cities with the highest increasing numbers there ill be again a curfew time from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. (1900-0300 GMT). Public transport also will cut in half the allowed number of passengers in the buses, too.
A day earlier Kosovar authorities reported 8 deaths from the coronavirus, the highest daily number in the Western Balkan country since the start of the outbreak in March. New daily cases were 178, also the highest so far.
Increased new cases and daily deaths have worried the authorities in the nation of 1.8 million population after the ease of the lockdown measures a month ago.
Masks are mandatory in all public places.
During the two-month long lockdown the country dealt well in coping with the virus. But following that the daily new cases and deaths have increased significantly, with at least 3,356 confirmed cases and 66 deaths as of Saturday.
MIAMI — Florida health officials say the state has reached a grim milestone: more than 200,000 people have tested positive for COVID-19.
State statistics released Sunday show about 10,000 new people tested positive. Saturday’s numbers — more than 11,400 cases — marked a record new single-day high. More than 3,700 people have died.
About 43% of the cases are in three counties: Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach.
Miami Mayor Francis Suarez said Sunday on ABC’s “This Week” that the high numbers of positive tests both in his county and the state are “extremely worrisome.”
Suarez, who had the virus in March, says it’s clear the growth is “exponential at this point” and officials are closely monitoring hospitalizations. They’re also closely watching the death rate, which “give us the impression” that “much stricter” measures have to be taken.
Florida’s death count is the ninth highest in the country overall and the 27th highest per capita at 17.4 deaths per 100,000 people.
Over the past two weeks, the rolling average number of daily new cases has increased by 5,323.1, an increase of 184.1%.
NEW YORK — Tattoo parlors and other personal care businesses like nail salons will be allowed to welcome customers in New York City starting Monday, as it enters Phase 3 of reopening.
The rest of the state’s regions have already moved into Phase 3. New York City will still be more limited, as officials decided last week to hold off on allowing indoor dining indefinitely out of concerns that it would cause a spike in new coronavirus cases. Outdoor dining is in effect.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo said there were more than 530 new confirmed cases of the virus reported around the state on Saturday and eight deaths. At the height of New York’s virus outbreak, new infections reached daily totals of more than 10,000 and deaths topped 700.
So far, reopening had been allowed for retail stores and offices.
WASHINGTON — The Food and Drug Administration commissioner is declining to back up President Donald Trump’s claim that 99% of coronavirus cases are “harmless.”
Dr. Stephen Hahn tells CNN and ABC that he’s “not going to get into who is right and who is wrong,” but that government data clearly show “this is a serious problem.”
He adds that “any case is tragic” and that to stem the tide of surging cases people should follow government guidance to practice social distancing and wear a mask.
In Fourth of July remarks, Trump said the U.S. was testing too much and falsely asserted that “by so doing, we show cases, 99% of which are totally harmless.”
The World Health Organization in fact has said about 20% of those diagnosed with COVID-19 progress to severe disease, including pneumonia and respiratory failure. Those with mild or no symptoms, meanwhile, could spread the virus to others.
The mayor of Austin, Texas, where COVID-19 cases are surging, called Trump’s remarks “dangerous” and “wrong.” Mayor Steve Adler urged people to listen to local officials for public safety guidance rather than the “ambiguous message coming out of Washington.”
WASHINGTON — Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego is pointing to a “crisis” involving coronavirus testing shortages in her city due to surging cases in Arizona, which leads the U.S. in new coronavirus cases per capita.
Gallego, a Democrat, said some residents over the weekend had to line up for eight hours by car to get COVID-19 tests and that the federal government has been slow to help.
Gallego tells ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday that Arizona went from “zero to 60” by being one of the first states to reopen after it was among the last to implement stay-at-home orders.
She says that led to an explosion of cases, citing crowded nightclubs with free champagne and people unwittingly spreading the virus at large family gatherings.
She faults mixed public messaging after President Donald Trump’s recent visit to Phoenix. Gallego says while she was urging people to stay at home and avoid gatherings of more than 10 people, Trump undercut that by holding large events and not wearing a mask.(backslash)
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