Coronavirus live news: Melbourne lockdown extended; anti-mask protests held in Europe

State premier Daniel Andrews extends lockdown by two weeks; Victoria reports 63 new cases and five deaths; thousands attend protests against coronavirus measures in Croatia and Italy. Follow the latest updates

5.36am BST

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany increased by 988 to 249,985, data from the Robert Koch Institute for infectious diseases showed on Sunday.

The reported death toll rose by one to 9,325, the tally showed.

5.18am BST

Companies receiving jobkeeper wage subsidies should not give executive bonuses and should think twice before paying dividends, the head of the Business Council of Australia has said.

Jennifer Westacott made the comments in a wide-ranging interview on ABC’s Insiders program on Sunday during which she also decried the mooted extension of Melbourne’s lockdown and called for investment in renewable energy to kickstart the economy out of the Covid-19 recession:

Related: Australian companies getting jobkeeper shouldn’t be paying bonuses, business council head says

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UKs Furlough scheme will be extended

A leading investment bank has predicted the government will extend the furlough scheme in an attempt to slow the “large and rapid deterioration” of the jobs market.

Morgan Stanley said that, given Britain’s relatively slow transition off furlough, it expected an extension to the scheme, albeit in “a less generous and more targeted format”.

The coronavirus job retention scheme was launched by Rishi Sunak, the chancellor, in March to enable employers to lay off staff temporarily, with 80 per cent of their wages being paid by the taxpayer up to £2,500.

It is being phased out, with employers gradually taking back responsibility for paying furloughed staff and the scheme due to end next month.

Morgan Stanley economists Jacob Nell and Bruna Skarica cited the “comparatively modest” cost of extending the scheme, estimating that a six-month extension, by which time they assume a vaccine will be widely available, would have a net cost of £3 billion.

They said the decision by EU countries such as France and Germany to extend furlough schemes could help sway the government to follow suit. “We see a risk of material scarring from an October windup, which could we think add several percentage points to unemployment and delay recovery to pre-Covid levels significantly.”

Despite the effectiveness of furlough in mitigating job losses, the economists said the “underlying picture in the labour market data was still one of a large and rapid deterioration”.

They said there were a possible 130,000 redundancies to come, the worst affected sectors being non-food retail, car and aviation manufacturers and restaurants and hotels.

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Victoria state of emergency extended; western Sydney school cases; hotel quarantine inquiry resumes


Finance Minister Mathias Cormann has told Australians to brace for a “severe contraction” in the economy, with figures confirming the country is in recession to be released today.

Speaking on Sunrise this morning, Mr Cormann would not comment on whether he thought the size of the contraction would be around 6 or 7 per cent, as has been suggested.

“I’m not going to predict the figures ahead of the release this morning, but we do need to expect a severe contraction and we know what has caused it – economies around the world have been hit very hard by the impact of the coronavirus pandemic,” he said, noting the June quarter average for other OECD countries was closed to 10 per cent.

Mr Cormann said, while “we were certainly heading in the right direction” to restore positive growth in the September quarter, that had been brought into doubt with the second wave in Victoria.

“Based on current indications and the impact of the outbreak in Victoria, that will certainly have a negative impact on the economy,” he said, again not wanting to give an estimate on the September figures.

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Coronavirus India lockdown Day 160 updates | Suspension of scheduled international passenger flights extended till Sept. 30

The novel coronavirus tally in India crossed 36 lakh on Monday with 78,512 new cases, while the number of recoveries surged to 27,74,801, pushing the recovery rate to 76.62%, the Health Ministry said.

The death toll climbed to 64,469 with 971 more people succumbing to the infection in a span of 24 hours, according to the Ministry data.

Meanwhile, the government has allowed considerable relaxation of restrictions, including resumption of metro rail services, as a part of Unlock 4 guidelines.

You can track coronavirus cases, deaths and testing rates at the national and State levels here. A list of State Helpline numbers is available as well.

Here are the latest updates:

1.55 pm | New Delhi

Doing aggressive testing, aim is not to leave untraced cases: Jain

Amid the sudden spike in novel coronavirus infections in Delhi, Health Minister Satyendar Jain said that the Kejriwal government was doing “aggressive testing” and the aim was to ensure no case was left untraced.

Mr. Jain said the government had sufficient stock of COVID-19 testing kits for 10-15 days, but it was procuring more from the market to meet the target of 40,000 tests per day.

The government has already increased the duration of testing hours at hospitals and dispensaries to five hours (9 a.m.-2 a.m.) from the earlier three-hour duration, he told reporters.


1.45 pm | Uttar Pradesh

Doctor in-charge of COVID-19 hospital in Deoria succumbs to virus

A doctor in-charge of a COVID-19 facility here died after contracting the virus, officials said.

Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Alok Pandey, said that Dr. Rajiv Ranjan had tested positive for coronavirus on August 19 and was admitted to the Gorakhpur Medical College where he died late on Sunday.

Dr. Ranjan, who was posted at the Community Health Centre in Rudrapur, was made in-charge of the COVID-19 hospital in March.


1.35 pm | Maharashtra

Strict week-long lockdown in Chandrapur from Sep 3

A week-long lockdown with stricter provisions will be enforced in Maharashtra’s Chandrapur city from September 3 in view of the rising number of COVID-19 cases, the district administration has said.

A notification issued by Collector Ajay Gulhane on Sunday said all shops, including those of essential commodities, will remain closed during the lockdown. Only medical shops and emergency services will be allowed to operate during the seven-long lockdown, it said.

The district reported 270 new COVID-19 cases in the last 36 hours, taking its tally to 2,344, a release issued by the district information officer said.


1.25 pm | New Delhi

Suspension of scheduled international passenger flights extended till Sept. 30

The suspension of scheduled international passenger flights has been extended till September 30, said Indian aviation regulator DGCA on Monday. “However, international scheduled flights may be allowed on selected routes by the competent authority on a case-to-case basis,” noted the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) in a circular.

Scheduled international passenger services continue to remain suspended in India since March 23 due to the coronavirus pandemic.


1.15 pm | New Delhi

Treat doctors losing lives in COVID fight on a par with martyrs of armed forces: IMA to PM

The Indian Medical Association has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi asking that all doctors who have died of COVID-19 be treated on a par with martyrs of the armed forces, and their dependents be provided government jobs in accordance with their qualifications.

In a letter to the prime minister, the country’s largest body of doctors said only an “inclusive national solatium” for all doctors who have lost their lives fighting the pandemic would render justice to the sacrifice of their families.

The IMA cited government data and said 87,000 healthcare workers had been infected and 573 of them had lost their lives due to COVID-19.


1.05 pm | West Bengal

BDO succumbs to COVID-19 in W.B., Mamata pays tribute

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee paid tribute to a Block Development Officer in Murshidabad who contracted COVID-19 during the course of his work and died battling the disease, saying her government would be extending all possible help to his family.

Krishna Chandra Das, 51, BDO, Nowda, was undergoing treatment for the past 20 days. He died at a private hospital here on Sunday night, a Health department official said.

Describing his death as an “irreparable” loss, the CM said, “Grieved to know about the untimely demise of Krishna Chandra Das, who was posted as BDO Nowda in Murshidabad. A dedicated WBCS (Exe) Officer, Das was at forefront of our fight against COVID-19 & displayed great sense of sincerity & commitment in his work during the pandemic.”


1.00 pm | Maharashtra

Spike in cases due to aggressive testing: Maharashtra Health Minister

Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope on Sunday said the spike in COVID-19 cases in the State over the last one month was due to the government’s aggressive approach of “tracking, tracing, testing and treatment”.

Mr. Tope said the State government is focusing on preparedness and creating awareness of the disease. “We are aggressively focussing on four Ts- tracking, tracing, testing and treatment. There are 400 labs for COVID-19 testing and more than 50,000 tests are done daily in the State. The antigen test and RT-PCR tests are being done to the optimum capacity,” the Health Minister said.


12.45 pm | Assam

Increasing oxygen need worries Assam

The COVID-19 pandemic has reduced the gap between the demand for and production of oxygen in Assam, which has the State government worried.

The COVID-19 and non-COVID patients have together been consuming an average of 25 metric tonnes of oxygen per day and the requirement is inching closer to the daily production of 37.86 MT in the State, Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said.

“We have 433 COVID-19 patients on oxygen support, 152 of them from Guwahati alone. From 5 MT in July, the oxygen consumption increased to 8.25 MT per day in August,” he said.

“… If the requirement increases we might have to bring oxygen from West Bengal and Jharkhand,” Dr. Sarma said.


12.30 pm | Uttar Pradesh

20 arrested in U.P. for not complying with govt order on religious gatherings

Twenty people, including three women, have been arrested for not complying with government order on religious gatherings and taking out processions on Muharram, police said. Three persons were arrested in Sadarpur Bahadurpur village when they took out a procession on Sunday evening.

“Tension prevailed in Narainpur village and Nahar Pulia crossing in Rupaideha on Sunday evening when people gathered there and tried to take out a procession. When police stopped them, they confronted it. After this, an FIR was registered against 12 people and they were arrested a number of charges including lockdown violation,” ASP (Rural) Ashok Kumar said.

The ASP said that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Uttar Pradesh government has denied permission for religious gatherings.


12.15 pm | Odisha

Another MLA in Odisha tests positive

BJD MLA Byomakesh Ray tested positive for COVID-19, raising the number of lawmakers infected with coronavirus in Odisha to 13.

“Tested Covid positive. Requesting all those who have got close contact with me to be cautious and isolate themselves. With the blessings of God I am stable now. Feeling Very sad not to be able to serve the flood affected people of Chandabali,” the Chandbali MLA posted on Facebook.

On Sunday, BJD vice-president and Badamba MLA, Debi Prasad Mishra, was diagnosed with the infection.

Of the 13 MLAs who contracted the disease, 11 are from the ruling BJD and two from the BJP.


12.00 pm | New Zealand

New Zealand lifts lockdown in nation’s largest city

New Zealand has lifted a lockdown imposed on the city of Auckland and also made it mandatory to wear masks on public transportation.

The nation’s largest city had been in a lockdown for more than two weeks after an outbreak of the coronavirus was discovered earlier this month. The new outbreak followed more than three months without any community transmission.

Health Minister Chris Hipkins said it was safe to reopen Auckland because all the recent infections have been linked to the same cluster through contact tracing.


11.45 am | Kerala

Low-key Onam celebrations in Kerala amid pandemic

A traditional pookalam at the Coimbatore Malayali Samajam in Coimbatore on Monday, August 31, 2020, as part of Onam celebrations.
| Photo Credit: M.Periasamy


Kerala celebrated a low-key Onam on Monday amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Big celebrations were missing this year as the people largely celebrated Thiruvonam indoors to commemorate the visit of the righteous king King Mahabali to the lands and people he previously ruled.

The Atham festival, which heralds the start of the 10-day Onam festivities, was also held in the shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Extending his wishes, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had yesterday said Onam was a festival of hope and asked the people to celebrate it in line with the COVID-19 protocols.


11.30 am | Maharashtra

Shiv Sena hits out at BJP over demand to reopen temples

The Shiv Sena targeted the BJP for seeking reopening of temples in Maharashtra amid the COVID-19 crisis, and asked whether the NDA constituent will take responsibility if there is an “explosion” of coronavirus cases again.

The opposition BJP in Maharashtra last week staged protests outside temples in parts of the state, demanding reopening of the places of worship.


11.15 am | Odisha

Odisha reports 10 deaths

Odisha’s COVID-19 total increased to 1,03,536 following addition of 2,602 cases on Monday. After recovery of 73,233 cases, there are 29,758 active cases.

The State’s death-toll jumped to 492 after 10 deaths were reported on Monday. Khordha and Kandhamal had three COVID-19 fatalities each.

– Satyasundar Barik

11.00 am | Madhya Pradesh

M.P. village returns to conventional mode as e-learning remains elusive

The lockdown forced schools shut and learning outcomes of students went back by at least six months, said assistant teacher Neeraj Saxena, who teaches 98 students at a primary school in Salegarh hamlet of Intkhedi village in Raisen district. “Allowing the unlearning to continue unabated with schools shut will mean years of effort to bring girl students to school going waste,” said Mr. Saxena.

What about the State government’s e-learning modules transmitted through smartphones, TV and radio? “Parents of just two students have smartphones, while those of 10-12 have keypad ones. There is no electricity for five-six days at a stretch sometimes, and the Internet connectivity is poor,” said Mr. Saxena, supported by guest teacher Amitabh Rathore.

To bridge the digital divide and continue the learning of the 92 students from Bhil and Gond tribes and six from the other backward classes, conventional teaching in a physical form was the only option left. So, starting July, Mr. Saxena, who travels every day to the hamlet, nearly 48 km from Raisen — trudging 4.5 km along an uneven trail through a dense teak forest, a sling bag dangling on his shoulder — set up five informal study groups.


10.45 am | Odisha

Preparations on for second phase of human clinical trial of COVID vaccine

Preparations are underway at a hospital in Bhubaneswar for the commencement of the second phase of human clinical trial of ‘Covaxin’, India’s indigenous COVID-19 vaccine, officials said.

“The Phase I of the trial is still continuing as we are planning for the start of the Phase II trial shortly,” Dr E Venkata Rao, Principal Investigator of the trial at Institute of Medical Sciences and SUM Hospital, faculty of medical sciences, said.


10.30 am | Singapore

COVID-hit Mustafa Centre to send back foreign workers

Singapore’s largest Indian-origin hypermarket, Mustafa Centre, on Monday said it will send home its foreign workers, mostly Indian nationals, whose work passes have expired, as its business has been hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The company will also stop paying employees who have not been called to work a “sustenance allowance” – believed to be SGD300 per month – and it urged this group of staff to take on a second job to earn an income, according to media reports on Monday.


10.00 am | Kerala

The Thrikkakara temple in Kochi wore a deserted look on Thiruvonam day as only a limited number of people are being allowed into the temple premises in keeping with the COVID-19 protocol.

The Thrikkakara temple in Kochi wore a deserted look on Thiruvonam day as only a limited number of people are being allowed into the temple premises in keeping with the COVID-19 protocol.
| Photo Credit: H. Vibhu


The Thrikkakara temple in Kochi is famous for the votive lunch on Onam day, which usually sees the participation of about 50,000 people. This year, however, there is no lunch being served.

9.45 am | New Delhi

Amit Shah discharged from AIIMS

Union Home Minister Amit Shah, who was admitted to the AIIMS here on August 18 for post-COVID care, was discharged on Monday morning, sources said.

The AIIMS had said in a statement on August 29 that “he has recovered and is likely to be discharged in a short time“.

On August 2, Shah, 55, had said on Twitter that he had tested positive for COVID-19. He had undergone treatment at Medanta Hospital and was discharged after he tested negative for the disease.


9.30 am | Uttar Pradesh

Eleven foreign nationals were arrested in Greater Noida on Sunday for allegedly partying in violation of curbs imposed due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

The police said they impounded seven vehicles and seized 237 cans and 51 bottles of beer besides three bottles of liquor from the house in Surajpur.

In view of the pandemic, rules have been issued which prohibit such gatherings.


9.00 am | West Bengal

COVID-19 cases in West Bengal near 1.6 lakh

West Bengal on Sunday recorded 3,019 cases of COVID-19, taking the total case tally to 1,59,785. The State also recorded 50 deaths in the past 24 hours, taking the total death toll due to COVID-19 to 3,176.

With 3,308 people being discharged, the recovery rate improved to 81.96% while the active cases in the State declined to 25,657.


8.30 am | Tamil Nadu

SOP issued for supplementary exams in T.N.

The State government has issued standard operating procedures for conducting supplementary public examinations for Classes 10, 11 and 12 from September.

Supplementary exams for Classes 10 and 12 will begin on September 21, and the Class 11 exam on September 29. Apart from this, the Directorate of Government Examinations will be holding the Class 8 private-study public exam, diploma in elementary education first and second-year exams, government music school exam, diploma in physical education first and second-year exams and the government Sanskrit entrance exam in September. Hall tickets will be available online or be given in exam centres at pre-assigned time-slots.

8.00 am | Karnataka

Patients protest at COVID-19 care centre over food served

The police were called in on Sunday night after several patients at the COVID-19 care centre in Government Ayurvedic Medical College allegedly created a ruckus demanding non-vegetarian food.

The staff informed the authorities after the patients started accusing the management of ignoring their demands. “We pacified the patients and assured them that their demands would be met. The situation is back to normal,” a senior police officer said.

– Anjali Thomas

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Lockdown extended in containment zones till September 30; metro services from September 7

The Ministry of Home Affairs on Saturday extended the lockdown in containment zones across India till September 30. It also announced the guidelines for “Unlock 4”, which will begin on September 1. The current “Unlock 3” will end on August 31.

As per the guidelines, metro rail services across India can be re-started in a graded manner from September 7. Social, political, religious functions, which are till now not permitted even in non-containment zones, will be permitted from September 21. However, there will be a ceiling of 100 persons for any gathering.


However, schools, colleges, other educational institutions will remain closed up to September 30 across India in containment zones.

Nevertheless, the MHA has allowed states and Union Territories may permit upto 50 per cent of teaching and non-teaching staff to schools for online teaching and tele-counselling related work. Students of classes 9 to 12 may be allowed to visit schools that are situated outside containment zones, but with written consent of parents.

But there is no good news for leisure lovers as cinema halls, swimming pools and theatres, excluding open air theatres, will continue to remain shut till September 30. International air travel, except as permitted by MHA, will continue to remain suspended across India.


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Coronavirus: New extended household rules get mixed response

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Getty Images

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People can now form an “exclusive extended arrangement” with up to four households

People in Wales are now able to welcome more family and friends into their homes as coronavirus lockdown rules continue to be relaxed.

From Saturday, people can form an “exclusive extended arrangement” with up to four households – double the previous amount allowed.

Some are pleased, but others are wary of opening their doors to others.

Sheep farmer Llyr Jones said he was looking forward to seeing his mother and neighbours again.

Mr Jones, 41, who lives in Llanfihangel Glyn Myfyr, Conwy county, with his wife and two children, added: “The worst thing that we have found during the height of the pandemic was childcare.

“My wife’s a vet and I’m a farmer, and we are having to take our children to work.

“That brings huge problems but we have to carry on because we are both key workers, but maybe having my mother to come home to look after the children will help.”

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Llyr Jones

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Llyr Jones is looking forward to being able to welcome his mum and neighbours inside

People have been employed on his farm since lockdown began – while they tried to maintain social distancing, it was not always easy.

“It’s impossible to keep to two-metre distances,” he said.

“We have two young children who are in nursery, so they are mixing, they are not social distancing.”

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Lee Dirkzwager

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Lee Dirkzwager remains unsure about opening the doors of her home to others

Lee Dirkzwager, from Gabalfa, Cardiff, has been shielding.

The 73-year-old has a number of underlying conditions, including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

The mother-of-three and grandmother-of-three went out on Sunday but was “quite nervous” about doing so.

“I didn’t enjoy it and came back to what I now call the norm, which is isolation,” she said.

“I think it is going to take a long time to adjust to get back into the flow of pre-March this year.

“And, being honest, I am worried about opening up and having to meet even family.”

The retired office worker admitted she would “love” to see them, but feared the pandemic would return.

“Are we going to be ill next time around?” she said.

She did not enjoy her trip out because there were “so many people”, many unmasked.

“It was totally alien,” she said. “I suppose I’ve become institutionalised being on my own.”

The rules on meeting people indoors were expected to be relaxed last weekend but were postponed.

Events co-ordinator Amy Nation, said there was an “exciting day” ahead at The Bear Hotel in Cowbridge, Vale of Glamorgan, where a wedding was due to be held.

She said there had been big changes to comply with social distancing rules, so seating has been spaced out.

But she said the main difference would be that a large evening party “can’t currently go head”.

A meal following a wedding and civil partnership is allowed for up to 30 people indoors if social distancing can be maintained.

“We have had to adapt,” she told BBC Radio Wales Breakfast.

But Deeside wedding photographer Rich Miller said the industry had been hit hard by cancellations due to the pandemic and he was not yet sure if more weddings would go ahead later in the year.

“Nobody know what way to turn,” he said. “We are all holding on towards the end of the year.”

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Getty Images

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On Friday, First Minister Mark Drakeford said trials of outdoor sports and arts events would be allowed later this month

First Minister Mark Drakeford said at the time it was important not to jeopardise progress.

Mr Drakeford said the next easing of lockdown measures, in three weeks’ time, would include relaxing rules to allow cleaners and tutors to work in people’s homes.

It would also allow small groups to meet indoors for classes and clubs, such as book clubs and weight loss groups.

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Canberra’s coronavirus public health emergency period to be extended by 90 days, ACT Health Minister declares

The public health emergency order for the ACT has been extended to November 19 2020, in response to risks posed by recurring outbreaks of COVID-19 in Victoria and New South Wales.

ACT Health Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith said the extension of the emergency declaration is “necessary to protect Canberrans and reduce the spread of COVID-19 in the ACT”.

“We know that this pandemic is far from over,” she said.

“We’ve seen in New Zealand [that] even after a hundred days with no known cases of COVID-19, they suddenly had a resurgence and new cases emerging.

Ms Stephen-Smith said the extended order meant ACT Chief Health Officer Dr Kerryn Coleman could continue to impose necessary coronavirus restrictions for an additional 90 days.

“The public health emergency allows the Chief Health Officer to make the directions that require quarantine or … restrict the number of people gathering together,” Ms Stephen-Smith said.

“We have almost 500 people in quarantine at the moment, either returned from Victoria or from overseas, or who are close contacts of a known case of COVID-19.

“[This will] enable our Chief Health Officers to be able to react quickly and make directions as they need to, to respond to the situation at the time.”

Health authorities stopped short of issuing a travel ban, but urged Canberrans not to travel to Campbelltown or Liverpool in Sydney.(ABC News: Tom Lowrey)

The extension of the public health emergency order came as Dr Coleman announced the ACT will stay at stage 3.1 restrictions, which allowed food courts and the Canberra Casino to repoen.

“While we are fortunate in the ACT to be in a good position, with no active cases and our last new case being five weeks ago, we do not exist in a vacuum,” Dr Coleman said.

“The impact of this pandemic is going to be with the ACT community for a long time. It is likely that some level of restrictions will be needed and become our new normal, at least for some time.”

Quarantine restrictions remain for some ACT residents

Restrictions on returning to the ACT from certain parts of the country still exist, and ACT Health are still asking Canberrans to reconsider the need for any travel, particularly to areas with COVID-19 cases.

Any ACT resident still in Victoria can only travel to the national capital by air. They will need to notify ACT Health of their intention to return via the website as early as possible, and at least 72 hours before the intended travel date.

The requirement to quarantine for 14 days is still in place, as is the quarantine requirement for people who have had close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19.

Any ACT resident who has visited Sydney or broader NSW should monitor the NSW Health website for regular updates on ‘hotspot’ locations.

Canberrans have also been asked not to invite friends and family from greater Sydney to the ACT at this time.

ACT Health advised Canberrans to continue to:

  • Avoid large crowds
  • Keep 1.5 metres apart
  • Practice good hand and respiratory hygiene
  • Stay home if unwell
  • Get tested if experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms.

Testing numbers remain high in the ACT, with more than 68,000 negative tests now confirmed since the start of the pandemic.

There are no known active cases at this time, and no COVID-19 patients in Canberra hospitals.

The ACT’s total number of cases to date remains at 113. Of these, 110 cases have recovered, and three people have died.

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Victoria coronavirus rental eviction moratorium to be extended to the end of the year

Victoria’s moratorium on rental evictions and rent increases will be extended until the end of the year.

The laws, introduced in late March to protect tenants suffering financial distress because of the pandemic, were due to expire on September 29.

Rental increases and evictions for both residential and commercial tenants will now remain banned until December 31.

“Nobody should be worried about losing a roof over their head right now, particularly given the circumstances around social distancing,” Victorian Treasurer Tim Pallas said.

Land tax relief for eligible residential and commercial landlords is also being extended, and the potential discount has doubled from 25 per cent to 50 per cent.

More to come.

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Local lockdown in Aberdeen extended

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PA Media

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The cluster was linked to bars in the city

A local lockdown in Aberdeen will be extended for another week, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced.

The restrictions were imposed two weeks ago after a spike in Covid-19 cases in the city.

Pubs and restaurants were shut and restrictions were placed on travel and visits to other households.

Ms Sturgeon said the lockdown was having an impact – but that it was “not yet safe” to lift the restrictions.

She said it was hoped restrictions could start to be eased next Wednesday for some lower-risk businesses, such as non-licensed cafes.

A midweek review will be carried out on Sunday.

However, Aberdeen City Council said it did not support the continuation of the lockdown.

Ms Sturgeon said 15 of the 50 new cases in Scotland on Wednesday were in the Grampian area.

There have now been 398 cases since 26 July in Grampian, 226 of which have been associated with the Aberdeen cluster.

“We are not yet in a position to say that this outbreak is over or completely under control,” said Ms Sturgeon.

She said there was some evidence that the original cluster, linked with bars and nightlife in the city, was being contained.

‘Hard-won progress’

“However, we are also continuing to see a number of individual cases and other smaller clusters in the city,” she said.

“That is not necessarily unusual for an outbreak of this scale, but it is something we must monitor very carefully because these cases don’t appear to be linked to the original outbreak.”

The first minister accepted that the news the restrictions in Aberdeen would remain would be disappointing.

But she added: “Moving too quickly with transmission levels as they remain just now would, in our view, risk the hard-won progress that people in Aberdeen have made.”

A £1m support fund has been set up for Aberdeen, with grants of up to £1,500 available for hospitality businesses.

The current restrictions, which apply to 228,000 people in Aberdeen, are:

  • bars, cafes, restaurants and pubs are closed
  • no travel more than five miles for leisure or holidays
  • no travel to the city for leisure or to visit friends and family, even if you live in Aberdeenshire
  • no indoor visits with other households
  • visiting suspended for most hospitals

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Victoria records 282 COVID-19 cases, 25 deaths, state of emergency extended, Jacinda Ardern delays NZ election,, Australia death toll at 421

She said the NZ Electoral Commission had been planning for an election being held under a stage two lockdown – which limits gathering to 100 people – since April.

The prime minister revealed she had considered three options: sticking with September 19, moving to October 17, or delaying to as late as November 21, and had consulted with her coalition partners, opposition parties, business groups and unions.

She said even if she hadn’t consulted widely she would have arrived at this decision and played down the pressure brought to bear by her coalition partner, Deputy Prime Winston Peter Winston, who on Sunday called for the poll to be delayed.

“I did want to take soundings…but at no point did I give any particular weight to any political party,” she said.


“Ultimately, this was my decision.”

Ardern warned that COVID-19 was the “new normal” for the world and pointed out that Singapore, South Korea and Poland had successfully held elections.

“I do want to give an assurance that I don’t intend to change the election date again.”

Parliament is now due to sit on Tuesday, but Ardern said she did not want her Auckland-based Labour MPs to leave the city, which is under a stage three lockdown.

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