Australia is delivering humanitarian supplies to Beirut as the city continues to reel from a blast that left more than 170 people dead and 30,000 homeless.
On Saturday the country’s prime minister, Scott Morrison, announced the delivery will include shelter kits and mobile warehouses to replace destroyed storage facilities, in addition to the $5m in aid already promised to organisations like the Red Cross Movement and Unicef.
The federal government said the supplies will be distributed by trusted NGOs, including the Red Cross, and Australia’s UN partners. An Australian Defence Force C-130J Hercules aircraft based in the Middle East is touching down in the Lebanon capital on Saturday.
Police in Victoria, Australia, have issued 223 fines to people in the past 24 hours for breaching the state’s tough lockdown measures. Twenty-seven of them were for failing to wear a face covering when leaving home, now mandatory in the state.
Other fines included:
- A man who lives in Truganina and was allegedly located in Box Hill. Police said the man believed Covid-19 to be a conspiracy, and that he was targeted by police.
- A man who resides in Morwell allegedly travelled by train to Drouin so he could go for a walk.
- A driver in Wyndham was allegedly intercepted by police whilst on his way to buy fast food. Police said he was also watching Netflix on his phone whilst driving.
Businesses in England are “delighted” to be welcoming customers back through their doors on Saturday, as part of the latest easing of lockdown restrictions in the country, the Press Association reports.
A new raft of eased restrictions will come into place in England on Saturday, allowing businesses such as casinos and indoor theatres to reopen, while wedding receptions of up to 30 people will also be permitted.
Tattoo studios, beauty salons, spas and hairdressers will all be able to offer additional services from Saturday, including front of face treatments such as eyebrow threading.
Alice Bellamy, 67, from Calne in Wiltshire, has been a beauty therapist for 27 years and runs specialist laser hair removal studio Woman to Woman & The Male Perspective Ltd.
She said: “I am indeed delighted. One day’s notice is not amazing but it’s typical of the total ineptitude of this Government and its handling of this pandemic.
“But I am overjoyed and so are my clients, my phone has been hot, hot, hot.”
The lockdown restrictions were due to be eased on 1 August, but a spike in coronavirus cases at the time resulted in them being paused for two weeks.
Meanwhile Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said an estimated 160,000 holidaymakers were expected to try to return to the UK from France on Friday before the new quarantine measures were brought in.
Travellers returning to or visiting the UK from France, the Netherlands, Monaco, Malta, Turks & Caicos and Aruba after 4am on Saturday will be required to self-isolate for two weeks.
We expect to hear more from the Victorian government on the 303 new cases reported earlier this morning, but in the meantime it’s worth noting these figures at least appear to be a sign of a slow downward trend.
Over the past five days Victoria recorded 372, 278, 410, 331 and 303 cases respectively.
“The seven-day trend indicates the peak was probably four or five days ago and we will continue to see lower numbers overall from here on in,” the state’s chief medical officer Brett Sutton said on Friday.
The New Zealand Herald reports that a person who has tested positive for Covid-19 after arriving in Japan had recently visited Rotorua and Taupō in NZ, prompting health officials in the country to warn there was a possibility people may have been infected at two locations:
- The Wairakei Terraces between 6pm and 7pm on Thursday, 6 August 6 and;
- Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland on Friday, 7 August, between 9am and 10.15am
New Zealand had appeared to have effectively eliminated the Covid-19 virus, but a new outbreak saw 13 new cases diagnosed in the country on Friday.
The Australian prime minister, Scott Morrison, has just been talking to Sydney radio station 2GB about the findings of the Ruby Princess inquiry, which cleared federal agencies of wrongdoing in the saga.
It is as we said it was. We were being straight with people about what happened and I think the inquiry has borne that out.
On the New South Wales health department, which was criticised in the final report for making “serious errors” in handling the debacle, Morrison said it had been “a very difficult time”.
Officials will make mistakes in a pandemic that none of us have had to manage before. I think there have been some humble learnings in NSW and I’ve seen NSW go from strength to strength.
Good morning and welcome to our rolling coverage of the Covid-19 pandemic. Here’s how things stand:
- Australia’s Covid-19 death toll stands at 379 after Victoria reported 303 new cases and four deaths on Saturday. It came after a man in his 20s became the youngest person to die of the virus in Australia on Friday amid the second-wave outbreak in the city of Melbourne. Also on Friday a long-awaited report into the Ruby Princess cruise ship debacle – which saw hundreds of infections spread around the country after the ship was allowed to dock in Sydney despite having infectious patients on board – found the New South Wales Health department made multiple “serious errors”.
- France has recorded another new post-lockdown record rise in cases, with 2,846 new infections. The UK has removed the country from its travel corridor, meaning all holidaymakers returning from France will have to self-isolate for two weeks, prompting British tourists to scramble to cross the Channel before the cut-off time on Saturday 4am BST.
- In the UK, the North West, West Yorkshire, East Lancashire and Leicester face a third week under tightened coronavirus restrictions as the latest figures showed no decrease in the number of infections, the Department of Health has said.
- Germany has declared almost all of Spain as a coronavirus risk region following surging infections – a further blow to the country’s tourism industry.
- Greece is limiting public gatherings to 50 people amid a recent spike in cases. The measure will be in place until 24 August in areas with high infection numbers. The government has imposed a midnight curfew on bars and restaurants in Athens and other regions.
- The EU has reached a deal with British company AstraZeneca for at least 300m doses of its vaccine candidate. The deal includes an option to purchase a further 100m doses should the vaccine prove safe and effective.
- Brazil has reported 50,644 new coronavirus infections and 1,060 new deaths, the health ministry said on Friday. The country’s tally now stands at 3,275,520 confirmed cases and 106,523 deaths, making it second globally in terms of the number of cases and deaths after the US.
- Croatia recorded 208 new coronavirus cases on Friday, the country’s chief epidemiologist Krunoslav Capak has said. Croatia will require bars and nightclubs to close after midnight for a period of 10 days from this weekend, similarly to Greece.
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