Coronavirus update: Spanish town ordered into lockdown amid fears over second wave

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Spanish authorities have ordered more than 32,000 people into lockdown in the central riverside town of Aranda del Duero in a bid to slow the spread of coronavirus.

In Norway, people have been advised to avoid all travel abroad, even to countries with few COVID-19 cases, to prevent a resurgence in infections.

This story will be regularly updated throughout Saturday and was last updates at 12:30am.

Saturday’s key moments:

Spanish town ordered into lockdown to slow virus spread

Spanish authorities have ordered about 32,000 people into lockdown in the central riverside town of Aranda del Duero in a bid to slow the spread of coronavirus.

The residents of Aranda del Duero, known for its vineyards, will find their movements restricted to the absolute minimum and be barred from entering or leaving the town, which lies 150 kilometres north of Madrid.

The move comes six weeks after a nationwide easing of such measures.

Other areas have already put local lockdowns in place, including in the Basque Country, Catalonia and Aragon regions.

Philippines defends coronavirus response after soaring cases

The Philippines has seen a jump in coronavirus infections due to intensified testing, the presidential spokesman said after the country overtook Indonesia to record the most cases in South-East Asia.

Infections have surged nearly seven-fold to more than 122,000, while deaths have more than doubled since a strict lockdown was lifted in June.

It prompted authorities to reimpose a lockdown in and around Manila earlier this week.

“While we do not want to see these numbers, this is a result of our intensified testing,” Harry Roque, spokesman of President Rodrigo Duterte, told a briefing.

A woman in a face mask
More than a million Philippine doctors and nurses warned of a collapse of the healthcare system without tighter controls.(ABC News: Kimberly Dela Cruz)

“This means we know where our enemy COVID is,” Mr Roque said, adding that it allowed health authorities to properly trace, isolate and treat patients.

Eighty medical groups representing more than 1 million Philippine doctors and nurses warned last week of a collapse of the healthcare system without tighter controls and called for more testing and tracing.

Nearly 1.6 million people have been tested in the country, though this is less than 2 per cent of its 107 million population.

The Philippines has said it plans to test 10 million people by the second quarter of 2021.

There are now 100 testing laboratories in the Philippines, up from just one in February.

The Philippines’ health ministry on Friday reported 3,379 additional cases, bringing the total of confirmed infections to 122,754. Deaths rose by 24 to 2,168.

The country now has the highest case load in eastern Asia including China, dismaying many Filipinos.

Vietnam PM says risk of widespread COVID-19 infection ‘very high’

The risk of COVID-19 spreading widely in Vietnam is “very high”, its Prime Minister said on Friday, after a new outbreak in the central city of Da Nang late last month ended a three-month run of no new domestic cases.

Aggressive contact tracing, targeted testing and strict quarantining had helped Vietnam halt an earlier contagion, but it is now racing to control infections in Da Nang and beyond after a new outbreak was detected there on July 25.

“The risk of community infection is very high, requiring more determination, solidarity and responsibility from the political system in order to take stronger and more determined measures over the next two weeks,” Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said, according to a government statement.

People wearing masks walk down a fairly crowded street in Vietnam.
Da Nang has reported more than 200 cases since the virus reappeared.(Reuters: Kham)

Vietnam reported 37 new coronavirus infections on Friday, raising the number of cases in the country to 784 with 10 deaths.

Da Nang has confirmed more than 200 cases since the virus reappeared there.

Authorities have said the situation in Da Nang was “under control” and the outbreak would likely peak in the next 10 days.

Broad restrictions are in place in the popular resort town of 1.1 million and a sports stadium has been converted into a 1,000-bed field hospital, to be used if hospitals are overwhelmed or to isolate potential cases.

Norwegians urged to avoid overseas travel to prevent virus spread

Norwegians should avoid all travel abroad, even to countries with few COVID-19 cases, to prevent a resurgence in the coronavirus, the health minister has said.

“There is still little contamination in Norway but we see increased contamination in countries that used to have control over their situations,” Bent Hoie said.

While not a member of the European Union, Norway belongs to the passport-free Schengen travel zone.

It had some of the strictest travel restrictions in Europe in the early phase of the pandemic before gradually lifting them from June.

In another move, bars and restaurants may no longer serve alcohol after midnight, Mr Hoie said.

Authorities would also issue fresh recommendations on wearing face masks on August 14, he said.

The one exception, Mr Hoie said, would be for people arriving from countries that Norway has placed on a 10-day quarantine, including France, Switzerland and Belgium.

Effective immediately, such travellers must wear face masks from the moment they cross the border, or arrive at the airport, until they reach their homes to start quarantine.

Kiki Bertens joins growing list of top players skipping US Open

Dutch tennis player Kiki Bertens throws her Wilson brand tennis racket.
Kiki Bertens is the latest tennis star to decide against travelling to New York to play the US Open.(Reuters: Hannah McKay)

Women’s world number seven Kiki Bertens has joined a growing list of players withdrawing from this month’s US Open due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Dutch player said on Friday (local time).

Men’s defending champion Rafa Nadal and women’s world number one Ashleigh Barty have also opted against travelling to New York to play the hardcourt Grand Slam as well as the Western & Southern

Open that will work as a warmup for the US Open.

“After long consideration, I have decided not to go to the States for Cincinnati and the US Open,” the 28-year-old said on Instagram.

The US has close to 5 million cases of COVID-19 and almost 160,000 people have died.

The US Open organisers (USTA) have created a bio-secure “bubble” in New York to hold the tournament from August 31 without spectators.

But concerns remain about whether players would face mandatory quarantines upon returning home from the US Open.

Former world number one Andy Murray, who won the US Open in 2012, said players travelling to New York needed assurance that they would not face mandatory quarantines after returning to Europe.

“Our Prime Minister indicated yesterday that we should be quarantined for 14 days after coming back from the States,” Ms Bertens said.

South Korea allows travellers from China to enter for first time since outbreak

A man in a hazmat suit standing outside a Chinese marketplace
A seafood market in Wuhan, in China’s Hubei Province is where the outbreak allegedly began.(Reuters)

For the first time since February, South Korea has announced it will allow travellers from Hubei province in China, where the coronavirus originated, to enter the country.

The COVID-19 outbreak emerged in Wuhan in Hubei province at the end of last year, and no-one with a recent travel history to the province has been allowed into South Korea since February 4.

The relaxation follows China announcing on Wednesday that it would accept visa applications from South Korean workers and students for the first time since March.

South Korea’s new rules will apply from Monday.


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