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In Australia, premier of the country’s most populous state, Gladys Berejiklian has confirmed a new cluster detected on the northern beaches of Sydney has grown to 28 cases.
The New South Wales premier said those suburbs would be on lockdown for the next three days. People should only be leaving their houses for essential reasons.
“We do have the potential to get on top of it, but it does require hard work on the behalf of all of us.”
Berejiklian urged leaders of other states and territories to implement “measured” and “proportionate” responses to Sydney’s outbreak, in particular regarding potential border closures. This year, for the first time in a century (since the Spanish flu), Australia’s internal state borders were closed, some for months.
Some states, such as Queensland and Victoria, have implemented quarantine orders for people travelling from Sydney’s northern beaches. Western Australia has closed its borders to travellers from NSW.
Berejiklian said vast parts of NSW were completely unaffected, and people living there who had gone through months of “torture” should be free to see their loved ones.
She agreed with any action that related to declaring the northern beaches as a ‘hot spot’.
Berejiklian said no-one in NSW should travel on public transport, or go to supermarkets or places of worship without masks.
“Nobody should be getting on public transport without a mask … It would just be crazy if people are undertaking those activities without wearing a mask.”
Emmanuel Macron has been diagnosed with Covid-19 after developing symptoms, the Élysée Palace has announced, forcing several other European leaders who recently met the French president into self-isolation.
The palace said Macron was “very likely” to have been infected at a European council summit in Brussels late last week, where he was seen mingling with the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, Italy’s prime minister, Giuseppe Conte, and others, all wearing masks.
Back in Australia, where there are fears state borders might be closed again. There has been a massive rush at Sydney Airport, with people seeking to leave New South Wales ahead of any lockdown. A new cluster of infections have been identified on Sydney’s northern beaches.
Colombia’s daily confirmed cases of coronavirus reached their highest level since mid-August on Thursday, as the government warned people against large holiday gatherings.
The Andean country, which has had a total of 1,468,795 confirmed cases and 39,787 deaths, recorded 12,196 new cases on Thursday, according to health ministry data.
The figure was the highest since Aug. 19, when there were 13,055 new cases.
President Ivan Duque and health officials have repeatedly warned Colombians against gathering in crowds at shopping areas and urged them to keep family celebrations limited in order to reduce spread of the virus.
Duque on Wednesday said rising cases numbers could be traced to celebrations to mark the feast of the Immaculate Conception – known locally as Night of the Candles – when families gather to put candles in their windows or outside their homes.
The daily death toll also rose past 200 on Wednesday and Thursday, reaching 204 and 227 respectively. Daily new recorded deaths have not surpassed 200 since September.
Colombia expects to vaccinate about 15 million people against COVID-19 in 2021, including health care workers, those over 60 and those with pre-existing conditions.
Intensive care units in Bogota, a epicentre for infection, were at 74% capacity on Thursday, according to local health department figures.
Brazil and Colombia are reporting the highest number of new cases in South America, the World Health Organization said this week.
Good morning/afternoon/evening (wherever you may be), Ben Doherty in Sydney, Australia with you, helming our continuing coverage of the global coronavirus pandemic for the next few hours.
As ever, comments, contributions and correspondence all welcomed at firstname.lastname@example.org or by twitter @BenDohertyCorro.
To begin, a quick recap of the latest coronavirus developments across the world over the last few hours:
- US president-elect Joe Biden tested negative for Covid-19, after an incoming White House adviser, Cedric Richmond, contracted the virus, a spokeswoman for Biden said in a statement.Richmond was not in close contact with Biden as defined by the Centers for Disease Control
- Emmanuel Macron ‘very likely’ infected with Covid-19 during EU council. The French President tested positive for the coronavirus on Thursday, prompting a track-and-trace effort across Europe following numerous meetings between the French leader and EU heads of government in recent days.
- Six week lockdown to start in Northern Ireland from Boxing Day. Northern Ireland is preparing for a sweeping lockdown and the deployment of paramedics from the Republic of Ireland in an effort to control Covid-19. Health officials on Thursday proposed a six-week lockdown and approved a plan to reinforce the ambulance service with units from across the border.
- Portugal imposes overnight curfew on New Year’s Eve. An overnight curfew from 11pm will come into force in Portugal on New Year’s Eve, prime minister António Costa said, as the country introduces measures to reduce the spread of the coronavirus during the usually busy night.
- Australia’s largest city of Sydney told to brace for more Covid-19 cases. Australia’s largest city of Sydney should brace itself for more Covid-19 cases, New South Wales state premier Gladys Berejiklian has warned, as authorities rushed to contain a new virus cluster in the city’s northern coastal suburbs.
- Colombia daily coronavirus cases reach highest since August. Colombia’s daily confirmed cases of coronavirus reached their highest level since mid-August on Thursday, as the government warned people against large holiday gatherings.
- King of Sweden blasts country’s ‘failed’ coronavirus response. The king of Sweden has said the country has failed in its response to Covid-19, as hospitals in the Stockholm region warned they were struggling to cope with a surge in cases and polls showed public confidence in the authorities had plunged to a new low.
- US surpasses 17m coronavirus cases as vaccines are distributed. The United States on Thursday surpassed a total of 17m coronavirus cases, with infections rising by more than a million a week during the early winter surge – while at the start of the year it took three months for the US to accumulate its first million cases.
Source: The Guardian
Keyword: Coronavirus live news: Northern Ireland lockdown looms; leaders self-isolate after Macron falls ill | World news