PM takes decision after cases shoot up in parts of Britain, several other nations, too, tighten curbs, including China; Victoria may also increase lockdown measures; meanwhile, Vietnam records its first even casualty to COVID-19
Muslims, wearing masks as a precaution against COVID-19, gather for the Eid al-Adha prayer inside Hagia Sophia, in Istanbul on Friday. Small groups of pilgrims performed one of the final rites of the Islamic hajj on Friday as Muslims worldwide marked the start of the Eid al-Adha holiday amid a pandemic
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson put some of the country’s next steps out of lockdown on hold on Friday with just a few hours’ notice, saying the number of new COVID-19 cases was on the rise for the first time since May. UK is reporting about 4,900 new cases daily, up from 2,000 a day at the end of June. Johnson called off plans to allow casinos, bowling alleys and skating rinks to open on Saturday. The return of wedding receptions was also delayed, along with plans to allow some fans back into sports stadiums and limited audiences into theatres. He said the measures will be reviewed after two weeks.
Defending the sudden move, Britain’s health secretary Matt Hancock said the government had no choice. People from different households in Greater Manchester, Lancashire and West Yorkshire have been asked to not meet indoors, affecting over 4 million people.
1st COVID death in Vietnam
Vietnamese state media reported on Friday the country’s first ever death of a person with the coronavirus. The Thanh Nien newspaper said a man, 70, died at a hospital in Da Nang where over 90 cases have been reported in the past week. The Health Ministry has not confirmed the death. At least six other elderly patients with COVID-19 are currently in critical condition. Vietnam reported a daily high of 45 new cases on Friday, all of them connected to the hospital.
China tightens curbs too
China is also tightening travel restrictions in the Xinjiang capital. People arriving in Urumqi from regions considered to have high infection risk must undergo two-week quarantine. Since mid-July, the Xinjiang outbreak centered in Urumqi has seen over 600 cases. China on Friday said it crossed the 100-mark for the third consecutive day on Thursday with 127 new cases. Among these fresh infections, 123 were domestically transmitted.
Victoria mulls stricter rules
In Australia, Victoria state’s leader warned that tougher restrictions could be looming after COVID-19 hot spot reported another 627 cases. Melbourne and a neighbouring semi-rural district are over halfway through a six-week lockdown. Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews said the lockdown was being analysed to determine the next steps.
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