Cities and states across the United States, United Kingdom and Australia are closing businesses and reverting to lockdown measures, as coronavirus numbers surge following a spate of recent reopenings.
In the U.S., cases are surging in the south and southwest. At least a dozen states and cities are revising plans to reopen.
WATCH | COVID-19 surge in U.S. leads some states to reinstate restrictions:
California and Texas saw record spikes in new infections on Monday, and Los Angeles reported an “alarming” one-day surge in America’s second-largest city that put it over 100,000 cases.
Los Angeles County ordered all its beaches closed for the Fourth of July after reporting its highest single-day number of new cases.
In Australia, Melbourne will lock down dozens of suburbs for a month in a bid to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus that causes the COVID-19 disease. Residents will face fines if they leave home for reasons other than to give or receive care, to exercise, to buy essentials or to go to work or school. People who live outside those suburbs will only be allowed to enter them for the same reasons.
And the U.K. said Tuesday it will introduce legal changes shortly to enforce a lockdown imposed on the English city of Leicester, where there has been a flare-up of the virus. This comes as the country’s COVID-19 death toll has hit 43,659, according to John Hopkins University, underlining the country’s status as one of the worst hit in the world.
In a statement in Parliament, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the government won’t be recommending that the city joins in the easing of the lockdown in England that is due to take place on Saturday, which includes the reopening of pubs and restaurants.
He also said non-essential retailers, such as department stores and electronic retailers, will have to close again, two weeks after they reopened.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has promised to shake Britain’s economy out of its coronavirus-induced crisis, saying on Tuesday he wants to fast-track infrastructure investment.
“We cannot continue simply to be prisoners of the crisis,” Johnson said. “It’s absolutely vital for us to set out the way ahead, so that everyone can think and plan for the future — short, medium and long term.”
Johnson is looking to move past criticism of his government’s handling of the pandemic with a plan to repair the economic damage and reshape the country.
What’s happening with COVID-19 in Canada
As of 8 p.m. ET on Tuesday, Canada had 104,204 confirmed and presumptive coronavirus cases. Provinces and territories listed 67,592 of the cases as recovered or resolved. A CBC News tally of deaths based on provincial reports, regional health information and CBC’s reporting stood at 8,639.
Air Canada is indefinitely suspending 30 domestic regional routes and closing eight stations at regional airports across Canada because of an unprecedented drop in demand for air travel as a result of COVID-19.
The Montreal-based airline said Tuesday the cuts are being made because of continuing weak demand for both business and leisure travel because of COVID-19-travel restrictions and border closures.
B.C. Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said news of COVID-19 exposure at a Vancouver strip club should serve as a reminder that the province needs to stay vigilant about preventing spread of the virus.”It is a team effort that we need to continue together in B.C.,” Henry said. “One slip is all it takes.”
B.C. is easing restrictions for visits in long-term care homes and assisted living facilities in the province, allowing residents to have in-person visits for the first time since March.
Residents will be able to see one person at a time — a single, “designated” visitor — in a designated area. The visits will be booked in advance and can happen indoors, outdoors or, in some cases, in a single room. Visitors will be screened for illness upon entry and must wear a mask.
Visits will not be allowed in facilities with ongoing outbreaks of COVID-19.
During Monday’s daily briefing, Henry said another 26 new cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in British Columbia since Friday, but no more deaths have been reported.
Meanwhile in Ontario on Tuesday morning, Toronto’s mayor and medical officer of health recommended that non-medical masks and face coverings be made mandatory in indoor public spaces.
“It is about respecting and protecting each other,” Mayor John Tory said at a morning news conference. He said it will be a key element to reopening the city safely.
WATCH | Toronto mayor backs mandatory masks for indoor public spaces:
“We hope there are more and more people out in the stores and in the businesses across the city. We want that to happen for the sake of our economy and for the sake of returning to a nearer to normal kind of life.”
On Monday, the province’s Health Ministry rejected a call by some municipal leaders for a provincial mandatory mask policy, saying it “isn’t necessary” to require all residents to wear face masks when they are indoors in public spaces in large urban centres.
WATCH | Ontario Premier Doug Ford says mandating mask wearing a regional decision:
In an email on Monday evening, Alexandra Hilkene, spokesperson for Health Minister Christine Elliott, said local medical officers of health have the power to implement mandatory face mask policies in their respective health regions under existing legislation.
“Doing so at a local level would ensure responsiveness to community needs without applying the same policy to regions with little or no COVID,” Hilkene said in the email.
WATCH | Federal government reluctant to make masks mandatory:
What’s happening around the world
At a U.S. Senate hearing focused on ways to safely reopen schools and businesses, Dr. Anthony Fauci said Tuesday COVID-19 cases could grow to 100,000 a day in the U.S. if Americans don’t start following public health recommendations.
Asked to forecast the outcome of recent surges in some U.S. states, Fauci said he can’t make an accurate prediction but believes it will be “very disturbing.”
“We are now having 40-plus-thousand new cases a day. I would not be surprised if we go up to to 100,000 a day if this does not turn around, and so I am very concerned,” said Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
WATCH | Fauci says states need to follow guidelines carefully when reopening again:
Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, who chairs the hearing, said President Donald Trump should start wearing a mask at least some of the time because politics is getting in the way of protecting the American people from COVID-19.
“The stakes are too high for the political debate about pro-Trump, anti-Trump masks to continue,” said Alexander, who had to self-quarantine after he was exposed to a staff member who tested positive. But the senator said he was protected because that person was wearing a mask.
This week, the Brazilian cities of Belo Horizonte and Cuiabá rolled back reopening to only essential businesses due to an increasing number of coronavirus cases in the last few days.
While the cases and deaths caused by the virus were falling in cities like Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, reopening of commerce and easing the restrictions saw it spread to the countryside, affecting other cities and small towns.
WATCH | Brazilian authorities shut down bar disguised as pet shop:
According to Dr. Margareth Dalcolmo, pneumologist and researcher at the renowned FIOCRUZ Institute, less than 20 per cent of the Brazilian municipalities can properly treat patients in serious conditions.
She said that the lack of efficient logistics, such as the ability to transport patients to larger cities with ICUs, hospitals and functional health systems will present a problem for Brazil, which registered nearly 59,000 deaths on Monday.
The European Union announced Tuesday that it will reopen its borders to travellers from 14 countries, but most from the U.S. have been refused entry for at least another two weeks because of soaring coronavirus infections there. Travellers from other countries including Russia, Brazil and India will also miss out.
As Europe’s economies reel from the impact of the coronavirus, southern EU countries like Greece, Italy and Spain are desperate to entice back sun-loving visitors and breathe life into their damaged tourism industries.
Citizens from the following countries will be allowed into the EU’s 27 members and four other countries in Europe’s visa-free Schengen travel zone: Algeria, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay.
Officials said China is “subject to confirmation of reciprocity,” meaning it must lift all restrictions on European citizens entering China before the EU will allow Chinese citizens back in.
The United Nations pushed governments at a virtual conference on Tuesday for nearly $10 billion in aid for Syria, where nine years of war has displaced millions in a humanitarian crisis exacerbated by soaring food prices and the pandemic.
“Syrian men, women and children have experienced injury, displacement, destruction, terror … on a massive scale. The danger of COVID-19 remains acute,” said UN Special Envoy for Syria Geir Pedersen.
According to the Johns Hopkins tally, there have only been 269 confirmed cases, but the World Health Organization (WHO) has warned the real situation is probably far worse and the number of infections likely to accelerate.
WATCH | Infectious disease specialist on China’s early vaccine test and possible flu threat:
South Korea has reported 43 newly confirmed cases of COVID-19 from across the country as infections begin to spread beyond the greater capital area, which has been at the centre of a virus resurgence since late May.
The figures announced by South Korea’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Tuesday brought national totals to 12,800 cases, including 282 deaths. Seventeen of the new cases came from the Seoul metropolitan area, where about half of South Korea’s 51 million people live, while infections were also reported in other major cities, such as Daejeon, Gwangju, Busan and Sejong.
Twenty of the new cases were linked to international arrivals.
Uzbekistan has imposed an overnight curfew in some parts of the country, including the capital Tashkent, as it seeks to curb a fresh rise in infections following the gradual lifting of a two-month lockdown.
The Central Asian country had been cautiously lifting a countrywide lockdown that had been in place in April and May. However, after a decline in COVID-19 cases between mid-April and mid-May, it has once again seen a steady rise.
The new restrictions will see residents of “red” and “yellow” areas deemed at higher risk barred from leaving their homes between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. local time except for medical emergencies, the government said on Tuesday.
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