New Zealand announced on Tuesday it was shutting down its largest city, Auckland, after four new cases of COVID-19 were discovered in the city, the first evidence of domestic transmission after being coronavirus-free for 102 days.New Zealand's successful fight against COVID-19 was hailed globally and the Pacific island nation of 5 million was seen as one of the safest places, as the pandemic raged globally.Director General of Health Ashley Bloomfield said the four cases were within one family in South Auckland. One person is in their 50s. They had no history of international travel. Family members have been tested and contact tracing is under way.News of the cases sent panic across the country with media reporting people rushing to supermarkets to stock up, and businesses preparing to shut.Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said Auckland would move to level 3 restriction from noon on Wednesday as a "precautionary approach", which would mean people should stay away from work and school, and gatherings or more than 10 people would again be restricted.The restriction would be applied for three days until Friday, which she said would be enough time to assess the situation, gather information and make sure there was widespread contact tracing."This is something we have prepared for," Ardern said in a surprise news conference, adding that the increased caution was as the source of the virus was unknown."We have had a 102 days and it was easy to feel New Zealand was out of the woods. No country has gone as far as we did without having a resurgence. And because we were the only ones, we had to plan. And we have planned," she said.New Zealand is set to vote in a national election on Sept. 19, in which Ardern is seen to winning comfortably, according to opinion polls, on the back of her handling of the pandemic.But the return of the virus could backfire on the government.Ardern said she has not given any consideration to the impact of the new restrictions on the polls at this stage."This will come as a shock to all New Zealanders who believed what we had been told – that we had got on top of this virus," the main opposition National Party leader Judith Collins said in a statement.Parliament is scheduled to be dissolved on Wednesday to make way for the election.'Remain calm'Auckland Mayor Phil Goff 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."Ardern said travel into Auckland, on the North Island, would be restricted unless you lived there.She said the rest of New Zealand would enter alert level 2 from midday on Wednesday for three days. This would mean social distancing measures would be applied again and mass gatherings would be limited to 100 people.New Zealand was placed under a tight lockdown for weeks after reported its first known case on Feb. 26 and the last case of community transmission was detected on May 1.It marked 100 days without a domestic transmission of the coronavirus on Sunday, but warned against complacency as countries like Vietnam and Australia which once had the virus under control now battle a resurgence.Bloomfield said the unknown nature of the new cases meant it was likely there would be more positive case in the coming days.He said people should use masks in places where it was hard to physically distance."The case is a wake up call for any complacency that may have set in," Bloomfield said.(REUTERS)
When Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his rival, Benny Gantz, agreed to form an “emergency” government in May after three bitter and deadlocked election campaigns, the goal was to stabilize Israeli politics in the face of a global pandemic. With little common ground and a severe lack of trust, the uneasy alliance now has just two weeks to reach a budget deal or plunge the nation into its fourth election since last year.
A total of 193 deaths registered in the week ending 31 July mentioned coronavirus on the death certificate.
The UK and France are holding talks amid a series of migrant crossings over the English Channel. Boris Johnson has suggested the Government will seek to review the legal framework by which new arrivals are able to stay after making the journey.
Dental patients and staff need to be protected from any potential infection by aerosol-generating procedures, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Tuesday, as dentists return to work in areas where the COVID-19 pandemic is easing. "WHO guidance recommends in case of community transmission to give priority to urgent or emergency oral cases, to avoid or minimise procedures that may generate aerosol, prioritise a set of clinical interventions that are performed using an instrument and of course to delay routine non-essential oral health care," Benoit Varenne, a WHO dental officer, told a news briefing. The WHO last month released general guidelines on the transmission of the coronavirus which acknowledged some reports of airborne transmission, but stopped short of confirming that the virus spreads through the air.
Belarus opposition candidate implies threat to family after leaving countrySvetlana Tikhanovskaya left for Lithuania after election result prompted protest action
Monet water lillies to star at the UK's National Gallery. Impressionist artists will ‘brighten up the walls’ at the London gallery in a major exhibition from September 2021
England fast bowler Stuart Broad was fined 15% of his match fee for using what the ICC described as “inappropriate language” following the dismissal of Pakistan's Yasir Shah during the first test. Broad admitted to the offense that occurred on Saturday during Pakistan’s second innings in the team's three-wicket loss to England in Manchester.
Detectives have no further lines of inquiry in the Stephen Lawrence murder investigation and it will be moved to an “inactive phase”, Metropolitan Police chief Cressida Dick has announced.The 18-year-old was murdered by a group of racists in Eltham, south-east London, in 1993, and only two of his five killers have ever faced justice.
Scotland Yard has closed the active investigation into the racist murder of the Stephen Lawrence after 27 years, it has announced. The black teenager was stabbed to death in an unprovoked racist attack in Eltham, south east London in April 1993. The initial police investigation was dogged by allegations of racism and incompetence and despite identifying five suspects they were not charged. In 2012 two of the original suspects, Gary Dobson and David Norris, were jailed for life following a forensic break through, but at least three suspects have avoided justice. Announcing the decision to close the active investigation, Dame Cressida Dick, the Met Commissioner said it was a matter of regret but there were no viable lines of enquiry remaining at the moment.
What do Trump's executive actions mean for $600 unemployment aid?After Congress failed to agree on a new stimulus package, the president issued four measures to assist Americans. Here’s what you need to know
One man has died in protests in Belarus as demonstrators clashed with police for a second night after a disputed election handed a sixth term to strongman Alexander Lukashenko. Thousands take to the streets of the capital Minsk, saying Lukashenko had stolen the election from his surprise challenger, political novice Svetlana Tikhanovskaya.
Why would anyone argue against billionaires paying more tax? Just see Useful Idiot theoryJeff Bezos and Mark Zuckerberg have both made tens of billions of dollars during the pandemic. Yet many people still defend the super-rich
Safe asylum routes proposed to cut Channel crossingsAs UK government seeks to cut number of refugees crossing Channel, experts offer ‘safe and legal’ routes to claim asylum
Sara Buie lined up a summer lifeguard job to help pay for a new laptop, textbooks and a backpack for her freshman year at Virginia’s James Madison University. The iconic summer job for high school and college students has been on the wane for nearly 20 years.
Two people are now confirmed dead following a natural gas explosion that destroyed three row houses in Baltimore and sent seven people to the hospital, authorities said Tuesday. Baltimore Fire Department spokeswoman Blair Adams said at a 9 a.m. news conference that a man was pulled from the debris shortly before 1 a.m. A woman had been pronounced dead at the scene shortly after Monday morning’s explosion. Seven others were hospitalized, five in critical condition, Adams said.
An elderly couple who fell after being “chased” by a cow in Solano County, California, were rescued via helicopter on August 9, according to the California Highway Patrol (CHP).This footage shows rescuers hoisting the couple off the ground and up into a CHP helicopter. The highway patrol said the rescue took place in Lynch Canyon.The CHP said it sounded the helicopter’s sirens to get the cow and its calf to move away from the couple.The couple were taken to the hospital and treated for injuries, according to the highway patrol. Credit: CHP – Golden Gate Division Air Operations via Storyful
Rome mayor Virginia Raggi, from the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement, has announced plans to run for a second term, hoping to steal a march on rivals in a long campaign for next year's vote. Raggi, 42, became the Eternal City's first woman mayor when elected in 2016, in a major breakthrough for 5-Star ahead of national polls two years later when it won almost twice as many votes as its nearest rival. "You can't change Rome in five years, but you can turn things in the right direction, and we have turned things in the right direction," Raggi told daily Il Fatto Quotidiano in an interview on Tuesday, confirming her aspiration for another term.