Victorian coronavirus cases linked to homes, social settings as worst-hit workplaces revealed


Homes and social settings have made up a significant proportion of Victoria’s coronavirus outbreaks during the state’s second wave, while abattoirs and warehouses remain some of the workplaces hardest hit by the virus.

The country yesterday had its deadliest day of the pandemic, with 21 COVID-19 deaths and 410 new cases recorded in Victoria.

There have now been 15,646 confirmed cases of the virus in the state, about half of which are still active infections.

What the Government classes as “other” outbreaks — student accommodation, backpacker hostels, social settings, families and home settings — have accounted for 5,004 cases from June 1 to August 11.

Those infections are spread across 369 outbreak settings in Victoria.

When the state halted the easing of restrictions in mid-June, the Premier said rising COVID-19 infections were being driven by family-to-family transmission.

By mid-July, and following the reintroduction of stage 3 restrictions in Melbourne and the Mitchell Shire, authorities said new infections were being driven by transmission in workplaces.

Now, under stage 4 restrictions, about a quarter of a million Victorians have been stood down from their jobs or told to stay home from work as entire industries close in a bid to stop the spread of the virus.

An empty street at night during Melbourne's coronavirus curfew.
A stage 4 curfew is in place from 8:00pm to 5:00am daily across Melbourne.(ABC News: Daniel Fermer)

Today marks one week since the bulk of the new workplace rules came into effect, which Premier Daniel Andrews yesterday said was “the most significant elements of stage 4”.

“With compliance up … and these measures in place our experts remain firm in the view that this will drive the numbers down,” he said.

Coronavirus clusters linked to warehouses, schools

The Government data reveals there were 551 coronavirus infections linked to 14 abattoirs from June 1 to August 11.

A number of the state’s largest outbreaks have been in meat processing facilities, including regional Victoria’s biggest cluster.

The JBS food processing company this week confirmed it was closing its Brooklyn abattoir, which has been linked to at least 138 cases, indefinitely.

“The persistent community transmission of COVID-19 in Victoria and the directives from DHHS have meant it is impossible to operate JBS Brooklyn in the current COVID environment,” the company said.

During the same June to August period, 439 cases were linked to 43 outbreaks at Victorian warehouses, and 172 cases were linked to nine food distribution centres.

A sign outside JBS says 'stay home if unwell'.
Health authorities have consistently pointed to abattoirs as high-risk settings for coronavirus transmission.(ABC News: Simon Winter)

Other workplace settings hit by the virus between the start of June and this week have been retail, with 80 cases across 14 sites and supermarkets, with 84 infections linked to 11 clusters.

There have been 630 cases linked to 69 school outbreaks.

The vast majority of the cases at schools are understood to be related to transmission in the community, rather than within the classroom.

Nursing homes remain of grave concern to authorities, with nearly 2,000 currently active coronavirus cases linked to the sector.

More than 1,000 healthcare workers currently have the virus, but the Premier said early analysis showed the “majority of healthcare workers are acquiring coronavirus outside of the workplace”.

Mr Andrews told Wednesday’s daily press briefing a more detailed breakdown would be provided about how and where transmission was occurring in outbreak settings.

Hotel quarantine divisions continue

Four ADF officers wearing masks and blue gloves stand in a group.
Additional ADF officers are helping with the police enforcement of coronavirus restrictions.(ABC News: Chris Le Page)

Flaws in Victoria’s hotel quarantine program continue to be in the spotlight after days of conflicting political statements over the involvement of defence force personnel in the scheme.

An inquiry is currently investigating whether every case in the state’s second wave can be traced back to the botched program.

Questions have been raised about the use of private security firms and subcontractors to guard returned travellers, and why police or ADF officers were not used in their place.

Mr Andrews said on Monday it was “fundamentally incorrect” to say ADF staff were on offer but Victoria said no.

His comments were swiftly disputed by Defence Minister Linda Reynoldsand her comments were then contradicted by a statement from Victoria’s Emergency Management Commissioner.

The dispute has prompted state Opposition Leader Michael O’Brien to step up pressure on the Government and call for the Premier’s resignation.

The ABC understands in March, 100 ADF personnel were put on standby to be deployed to Victoria to assist with hotel quarantine.

The ADF was involved in the planning for the scheme but officers not used by the Victorian Government until later in the year.



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Victoria records another 21 deaths and 410 new coronavirus cases on deadliest day of pandemic so far

A further 21 persons have died and 410 Victorians have contracted coronavirus.

The record selection of deaths, tweeted by the Section of Wellbeing and Human Expert services on Wednesday, will take the condition toll to 267 and the nationwide toll to 352.

More info on those people who succumbed to the virus will be presented afterwards on Wednesday.

Victorian authorities had warned deaths would keep on to rise presented the selection of individuals in hospital with the virus.

As of Tuesday, 650 persons ended up in hospital and 43 of those in intense treatment.

A lot more than 150 of Victoria’s over-all deaths have been from aged care residences.

Main Wellness Officer Brett Sutton explained to a parliamentary inquiry 20 deaths a day was “somewhat modest” in contrast with what was going on in other pieces of the entire world.

Wednesday’s file variety of deaths comes amid a war of terms concerning the condition and federal governments over Victoria’s botched resort quarantine scheme.

Premier Daniel Andrews reported the Australian Defence Drive experienced not been on offer you to guard the resorts when the plan commenced.

But Defence Minister Linda Reynolds reported ADF guidance had been made available to Victoria on several instances.

Careers Minister Martin Pakula, whose section co-ordinated the resort quarantine plan, is because of to confront the inquiry on Wednesday.

Metropolitan Melbourne residents are matter to Stage 4 restrictions and should comply with a curfew involving the hrs of 8pm and 5am.

Throughout the curfew, people today in Melbourne can only leave their house for function, and important overall health, treatment or security causes. In between 5am and 8pm, folks in Melbourne can go away the property for exercising, to store for important goods and products and services, for operate, for wellbeing treatment, or to treatment for a sick or elderly relative.

All Victorians have to have on a face covering when they go away household, no make a difference where by they live.

Folks in Australia ought to keep at minimum 1.5 metres absent from some others. Check out your state’s constraints on gathering limits. 

If you are suffering from chilly or flu symptoms, remain household and organize a check by calling your medical professional or call the Coronavirus Wellness Details Hotline on 1800 020 080. 

Information and data is accessible in 63 languages at sbs.com.au/coronavirus.



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Auckland to go back into lockdown after New Zealand records first community coronavirus cases in 102 days

People in New Zealand’s most significant town will go again into at the very least three days of lockdown following the region recorded 4 new coronavirus conditions with no regarded supply of an infection.

The state on Sunday notched up 100 days no cost of coronavirus neighborhood transmission.

But in an unscheduled late-night news convention on Tuesday, Primary Minister Jacinda Ardern reported four people from the exact same south Auckland spouse and children have now tested good to the virus.

From 12pm neighborhood time on Wednesday, inhabitants in Auckland will move back again less than Degree 3 limitations, the 2nd harshest out there.

The four new instances are joined to extra than one particular workplace and may well have distribute to multiple suburbs, Ms Ardern stated. The clients had no heritage of overseas travel or links to hotel quarantine services.

“I know that this data will be very tricky to receive,” Ms Ardern mentioned. 

“We have also been below right before … if we have a system and adhere to it, we can function our way via difficult and unknown cases.”

Underneath the Degree 3 limitations, which will be in place till at the very least midnight on Friday, non-crucial employees will have to do the job from dwelling, with restaurants, bars and general public facilities closed.

Educational facilities will also shut to young children of non-necessary staff and accumulating limits will use to weddings and funerals. 

The rest of the country will also move to Stage 2 limits, with mass gatherings minimal to 100 individuals.

Journey to Auckland from other locations will also be banned.

“Relocating an complete city, and New Zealand’s most significant city, into Amount 3 constraints is not a final decision we acquire evenly,” Ms Ardern stated.

“This go implies that we can be cautious, but also make certain that we have more info in advance of we make any conclusions that have a lengthier-phrase effect.

“Collectively we have overwhelmed the virus just before and with quickly action and by acting jointly, we can beat it yet again. We have appear as well considerably to go backwards.”

Ashley Bloomfield, the main govt of New Zealand’s Ministry of Health and fitness, reported though the new situations were being about the state was “perfectly-geared up” to struggle them. 

“We have been indicating for some months that it was unavoidable that New Zealand would get an additional scenario of local community transmission,” he said.

“That time is now and the overall health process is perfectly-organized.”

Soon immediately after the announcement, Auckland Mayor Phil Goff urged people to do the appropriate issue.

“Make sure you continue to be serene, remember to do not worry purchase and make sure you observe the lockdown policies,” he tweeted.

The new situations appear about a month out from New Zealand’s election working day.

The New Zealand Initial celebration, led by Deputy Primary Minister Winston Peters, suspended its campaign subsequent the announcement.

People today in Australia have to continue to be at the very least 1.5 metres absent from some others. Check your state’s restrictions on gathering boundaries. 

If you are going through cold or flu signs and symptoms, keep property and prepare a examination by calling your health practitioner or contact the Coronavirus Health Facts Hotline on 1800 020 080. 

Information and data is available in 63 languages at sbs.com.au/coronavirus.





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New Zealand records four new COVID-19 cases and plunges back into lockdown


New Zealand‘s remarkable COVID-19 run is over, with the country plunging back into lockdown after four members of the same family tested positive on Tuesday. 

The nation has been the envy of the world for its handling of the COVID-19 crisis, with Monday marking 101 days without a single case of community transmission.

For three months, New Zealanders have enjoyed the return of usual freedoms after an autumn lockdown proved effective in eliminating the deadly virus. 

But Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern scheduled a last minute press conference for 9.15pm on Tuesday night and announced those freedoms would be put on hold. 

Stay-at-home orders will be implemented throughout Auckland for 72 hours from midday on Wednesday after the new cases were identified in the city.

More than 1.6million people won’t be allowed to leave their homes unless for essential reasons. 

The rest of the nation will enter a level two lockdown – mandating social distancing and placing caps on gathering sizes. 

Contact tracing is now underway among multiple workplaces across New Zealand, and close contacts of the confirmed cases have been ordered to self isolate.  

The popular PM will plunge Auckland back into a stage three lockdown from Wednesday in an attempt to stem the spread of the virus as part of her ‘resurgence plan’

Poll

Should New Zealand go back into lockdown following the new COVID-19 cases?

  • Yes 268 votes
  • No 230 votes

Ms Ardern is concerned about the origin of the outbreak, given the family have no links to overseas travellers or managed hotel isolation. 

An Auckland man in his 50s tested positive to coronavirus twice on Tuesday, five days after he first developed symptoms, sparking fears he could have spread the virus throughout his community.

The man’s partner and preschool aged child are also among the new confirmed cases.

‘We have not yet been able to determine the source of these cases, there is no known link to hotel quarantine,’ Ms Ardern said on Tuesday night. 

‘One of the most important lessons we have learned from overseas is to go hard at this… in line with our precautionary approach, we will be asking Aucklanders to take swift lockdown.’ 

Ms Ardern revealed authorities are ‘expecting to see more cases’ linked to the cluster. 

The new lockdown is part of the prime minister’s coronavirus ‘resurgence plan’, but could wreak havoc on the already struggling economy.

More than 1.6million people won't be allowed to leave their homes unless for essential reasons as four new cases of community transmission were identified on Tuesday

More than 1.6million people won’t be allowed to leave their homes unless for essential reasons as four new cases of community transmission were identified on Tuesday

Countdown supermarkets are experiencing unprecedented demand after the lockdown announcements were made

Countdown supermarkets are experiencing unprecedented demand after the lockdown announcements were made

The Reserve Bank indicated back in May that just four weeks of strict stage four lockdowns had wiped an estimated $10billion from the economy. 

New Zealand’s jobless rate in the second quarter of 2020 fell to about four per cent, from 4.2 per cent in the previous reporting period.

That figure was well below market expectations, which indicated the figure could be upwards of 5.8 per cent.

Some 111,000 Kiwis are currently unemployed, but a second lockdown could cause that number to soar.  

The latest lockdown could ‘send chills down the backs of businesses,’ Infometrics economist Brad Olsen said after the announcement.

‘Initial Infometrics estimates are that 28 per cent of Auckland’s workforce [or 250,000 people] could be unable to work at level three,’ he revealed.

‘Our immediate estimates suggest that spending Auckland could be $60 million to $69m lower throughout the three days of level three announced.’

The short lockdown could knock 0.2 percentage points off the GDP for the September quarter alone, his colleague Gareth Kiernan revealed.  

‘You are asked to stay home in your bubble unless you are an essential worker,’ she said.  

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern scheduled a last minute press conference for about 9.15pm on Tuesday night as word spread of the lockdown

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern scheduled a last minute press conference for about 9.15pm on Tuesday night as word spread of the lockdown

All bars, restaurants and public services must close by midday on Wednesday, as gatherings of more than 10 are prohibited.

Schools will also close to all students other than children of essential workers. 

‘If you are in Auckland, we ask that you wear a mask when accessing essential services,’ Ms Ardern added.

‘While this initial three day lockdown will primarily effect the Auckland region, I am asking our team of five million to stay alert as well. We have defeated this virus before and can do it again.’ 

The rest of the nation will enter a three day level two lockdown.

Level two lockdown involves social distancing, mindful hand-washing regimes, staying home and seeking testing if unwell, and wearing a mask in areas where distancing isn’t possible. 

Ms Ardern would not indicate whether the lockdown would be extended if contact tracing and widespread testing do not identify the source of the current outbreak.

Police stop vehicles in Auckland during the initial stage four lockdown in March

Police stop vehicles in Auckland during the initial stage four lockdown in March 

Auckland will reenter a stage three lockdown from midday Wednesday. Pictured: Police performing checks during the last lockdown

Auckland will reenter a stage three lockdown from midday Wednesday. Pictured: Police performing checks during the last lockdown

‘If we are not able to identify the source, we should be able to identify whether we have wider geographic spread,’ NZ’s Director General of Health Ashley Bloomfield said. 

‘We have been saying for some weeks that it was inevitable that New Zealand would get another case of community transmission.’ 

Authorities hope their swift action will help to manage the potential spread of the virus following the latest outbreak. 

‘We’ve had 102 days, and it was very easy to feel like New Zealand was out of the woods,’ Ms Ardern said on Tuesday night.

‘No country has gone as far as we did to not have a resurgence. But because we were the only ones, we knew we had to have a plan.

‘My request is to not be dispirited or disheartened… This is something we have prepared for.’ 

New Zealand first went into level four lockdown on March 25, acting swiftly once the threat of COVID-19 was present.

By April 27, the virus appeared somewhat under control and the lockdown was eased to level three. 

Passengers wear protective masks and gloves at Auckland International Airport following an initial outbreak in April

Passengers wear protective masks and gloves at Auckland International Airport following an initial outbreak in April

Queen Street in the Auckland CBD was deserted durung the last COVID-19 virus lockdown in March

Queen Street in the Auckland CBD was deserted durung the last COVID-19 virus lockdown in March

May 13 signalled the beginning of level two lockdown while most restrictions were entirely eased on June 9. 

Ms Ardern said she has no doubt New Zealand will defeat the virus for a second time. 

Following the announcement, Auckland Mayor Phil Goff called for calm within the community. 

‘I understand that people are probably feeling a little bit scared, a little angry and a little confused right now. None of us wanted to go back into a lockdown, but we always knew this was a very real possibility,’ he said.

‘I am urging Aucklanders to come together like we did last time to stamp out community transmission. Please remain calm, please do not panic buy and please follow the lockdown rules.’

New Zealand records first cases of community transmission of COVID-19 for 102 days 

THE CASES

* Four members of a south Auckland family have tested positive to COVID-19.

* The ‘index case’ is a person in their 50s who has been symptomatic for five days and has no overseas travel history.

* Six family members received a rapid test on Tuesday evening; three tests came back positive and three are negative.

* Health officials are moving to isolate and test contacts of the family, including two Auckland workplaces.

THE RESPONSE

* Auckland returns to a ‘level three’ lockdown from noon on Wednesday until midnight on Friday. Aucklanders are being asked to stay home except for essential work or essential needs.

* The rest of New Zealand returns to ‘level two’ for the same timeframe, with caps on gatherings and the return of social distancing.

* These measures have been enacted to buy health officials time time to test and isolate contacts, and to locate the source of the outbreak.

* Every worker at NZ’s border regime and managed isolation facility will also be tested in the next few days.

Ms Ardern assured the public supermarkets would remain open and fully stocked during any lockdown, and urged people not to flock to stores. 

Despite her plea, supermarket stores across Auckland were inundated with panicked residents by the time the press conference finished. 

About 50 people queued out the front of Countdown in Westgate, northwest Auckland, by about 10pm on Tuesday night.

The store normally closes about 11pm, but shut its doors at 10.30pm following the influx of people.  

Countdown at Manukau and Johnsonville in Wellington are experiencing similar crowds of shoppers hoping to stock up on essentials. 

The cases bring into question New Zealand’s election day scheduled for September 19.

New Zealand First, the party of Deputy PM Winston Peters, suspended its campaign in the wake of the announcement. 

Ms Ardern discouraged panic buyers following the announcement of new lockdown orders. Pictured: Shoppers queuing into the distance outside a Costco in Melbourne to stock up ahead of Stage Four restrictions and a curfew

Ms Ardern discouraged panic buyers following the announcement of new lockdown orders. Pictured: Shoppers queuing into the distance outside a Costco in Melbourne to stock up ahead of Stage Four restrictions and a curfew

Auckland motorways are seen empty of traffic as the initial COVID-19 lockdown took effect. Auckland will re-enter stage three lockdown

Auckland motorways are seen empty of traffic as the initial COVID-19 lockdown took effect. Auckland will re-enter stage three lockdown



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Bird flu spreads to eastern Victoria, with cases in Geelong and Bairnsdale



Several thousand turkeys will be destroyed following the discovery of a new strain of avian influenza virus, also known as bird flu, at two Victorian properties.

One property is at Lethbridge, north-west of Geelong, while the second is at Bairnsdale in eastern Victoria.

Lethbridge has been the site of ongoing monitoring for avian influenza over the past 10 days following several previous outbreaks.

Agriculture Victoria’s chief veterinary officer, Graeme Cooke, told the ABC infected turkeys were “very, very recently” transported from Lethbridge to Bairnsdale, causing the virus to spread.

“The source of the virus is very often wild birds, but we know in Bairnsdale the birds were moved from the infected farm in Lethbridge to the farm in East Gippsland,” Dr Cooke said.

Dr Cooke said it was government policy not to name infected properties, but sources have told ABC Gippsland there is only one turkey farm in Bairnsdale.

New strain no risk to public

The newly identified virus is of the H5N2 strain, which Agriculture Victoria describes as “low pathogenic”, which “causes much reduced clinical signs” in comparison to high pathogenic strains.

Both high and low pathogenic strains infect chickens, ducks, geese, turkeys, guinea fowl, quail, pheasants and ostriches, and can be spread by asymptomatic wild birds including waterfowl and seabirds.

Dr Cooke said there were no food safety issues identified, and that adequately cooked poultry meat and eggs from the properties are safe to eat.

The Government said neither viruses were a risk to the public, as the strains rarely affect humans unless there was direct and close contact with sick birds.

A 2-kilometre control area near Bairnsdale has been set up, and a restricted area buffer zone is in place within a 1 kilometre radius of the infected site.

The movement of birds, equipment and other products within and out of the designated area will require a permit until further notice.

Dr Cooke said the new strain was identified as part of the management of a string of earlier avian influenza cases in the Lethbridge area.

A free-range egg farm near Lethbridge, in the Golden Plains Shire, tested positive for the highly pathogenic strain, H7N7 avian influenza last month.



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Queensland confirms no new COVID-19 cases


The two teenage girls who allegedly dodged a train station border checkpoint have tested negative to COVID-19, as Queensland recorded no new cases on Tuesday.

It comes after hysteria swept through the Sunshine Coast yesterday afternoon after police cornered the girls, aged 15 and 16, who they had been looking for for 24 hours. It’s believed they entered the state on Friday from Sydney and did not comply with the chief health officer’s directive to quarantine.

Shops were closed and deep cleaning undergone as a precaution, but premier Annastacia Palaszczuk confirmed on social media on Tuesday morning that there were only 11 active cases in the state.

More to come.



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No new coronavirus cases in SA, as Health Minister blames test result delays on IT glitch


Some South Australians getting tested for coronavirus have had to wait up to a week for results because of an IT glitch.

The Health Minister said the problem occurred for people who were being tested for coronavirus for a second or subsequent time.

It had now been solved, he said.

But ABC Radio Adelaide received several calls and messages this morning from people complaining about wait times, prompting more feedback to SA Health on social media.

Caller Claire, of Largs North, said she had her test last Tuesday but no-one had contacted her with a result. Although she found a note on her My Health Record saying her test was negative.

“My daughter and I, we’re home,” she said. “I no longer have symptoms, she has a bit of a cold.

“The fact is that we’re OK but we’re still waiting.”

Testing has ramped up over the past week, with more than 7,000 people being swabbed each day.(ABC News: Isabel Dayman)

Another person said they were tested last Thursday and were still yet to receive a result.

People getting tested are meant to get a result within two days, according to the SA Health website.

Testing has ramped up over the past week, with more than 7,000 people being swabbed each day.

Drive-through testing without a GP referral is now available at Daw Park’s Repatriation General Hospital, blowing out test wait times there to up to two hours today.

Minister says issue solved

Opening two new dementia wards at the same hospital today, Health Minister Stephen Wade said an “IT system” had resulted in “a few reports” of people not getting results.

He said the problem mainly affected people getting a second or subsequent test.

A man with two women behind him
Health Minister Stephen Wade opens two new wards at the Repatriation General Hospital.(ABC News)

Two tests are compulsory for South Australians returning from Victoria.

Mr Wade urged people who did not get results back within two days to contact their doctor.

“We will certainly get the test results back as quickly as possible, but it would be helpful if people don’t get a result back within a two-day period if they could follow that up,” he said.

Most tests are done by the state government-owned SA Pathology.

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Clinical services director Tim Dodd said the “vast majority of people get their results sent out via text very quickly”.

“We’re putting additional resources in the laboratory and also ensuring that we are able to get results out as quickly as possible,” he said.

Labor’s Stephen Mullighan said the Government should provide SA Pathology with more staff to help bring down processing times.

“Now is the time the Government should be providing whatever funding is needed to our health agencies, including SA Pathology, in order to get people’s responses back to them as quickly as possible,” he said.

“Clearly there are improvements that need to be made and those improvements can be made if the Government provides SA Pathology with more staff.”

People lining up outside a hospital
More than 7,000 coronavirus tests are being conducted in South Australia every day.(ABC News: Brittany Evins)

No new cases in SA today

No new cases of coronavirus were recorded today or over the weekend in South Australia.

SA Health did not include an essential worker in his 30s in its tally yesterday.

The man was tested interstate and received the positive result after entering South Australia from Victoria.

Eight cases are still active out of 459 recorded.

Mr Wade said none of the 94 close contacts in the Thebarton cluster had tested positive since going into isolation last week.

A queue of cars on a side road with trees photographed from the air
Cars queue at a South Australian-Victorian border checkpoint at Bordertown.(Supplied: Peter Brookman)

Tasmanian arrested at border

A man from Tasmania has been arrested for allegedly driving off from a checkpoint on the South Australia-Victoria border.

Police say the man stopped at the checkpoint at Bordertown, in the state’s south-east last night.

A check revealed he had flown from Victoria to Adelaide earlier that day and did not complete a cross border form.

He was flown back to Victoria but drove back to the border.

He was again refused entry at the checkpoint and was directed to return, but he allegedly drove off towards Adelaide before being stopped.

The 45-year-old will appear at Mount Gambier Magistrates Court today.



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Germany’s confirmed coronavirus cases rise by 436 to 216,327: RKI


August 10, 2020

BERLIN (Reuters) – The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany increased by 436 to 216,327, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed on Monday.

The reported death toll rose by one to 9,197, the tally showed.

(Reporting by Berlin Newsroom; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)





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