Countries once praised for their handling of coronavirus are struggling to deal with new outbreaks
The renewed outbreaks serve as a stark warning to global leaders of how quickly an apparent success story can unravel.
Just a few months ago, Australia was being lauded for its pandemic response.
Like the US, it closed its borders to foreign visitors who had recently been in China. As the virus spread, the government on March 19 closed its borders to all non-citizens and non-residents. Stricter curbs on social gatherings, expanded testing, and restaurant and bar closures followed as cases rose, with some states sealing their borders.
For a while, the outbreak was considered broadly under control.
But Covid-19 cases in the state of Victoria have spiked in recent weeks. The state recorded 671 new cases in a single day on Saturday, prompting state premier Daniel Andrews to declare a “state of disaster” on Sunday.
Thirteen new deaths were announced on Monday, bringing Victoria’s total to 136, and a total of 11,937 confirmed infections, according to the state’s chief health officer, Professor Brett Sutton.
The border between Victoria and New South Wales — Australia’s two most populous states — was closed for the first time in 100 years in July.
Only one person is allowed to leave each home once a day — outside of curfew hours — to pick up essential goods, and they must stay within a 5 kilometer (3.1 miles) radius of their home.
The government took further action to curb a second wave in March when Hong Kong residents began returning to the city, bringing the virus back with them. Authorities barred non-residents from entering Hong Kong, halted transit through the city’s airport, and implemented strict quarantine and testing on arrivals.
For many weeks, daily virus cases were down to single digits, and sometimes zero.
But despite these measures, Hong Kong has seen more than 1,000 new cases in recent weeks, and health officials have warned of a potential crisis if the outbreaks are not brought under control.
The city reported 80 new cases and two deaths on Monday — the first time in nearly two weeks that cases have dropped below triple digits — bringing the city’s total to 3,590 cases and 37 deaths.
Hong Kong’s Asia World-Expo center has been turned into a makeshift hospital with 500 beds; it began receiving coronavirus patients on Saturday afternoon, according to the Hong Kong government.
Europe’s poster child for how to handle a pandemic has hit rough waters in recent weeks.
Back in March, when more than 4% of patients with coronavirus were dying worldwide, Germany’s Covid-19 mortality rate stood at just 0.4%.
Over the months that followed, the country appeared to thwart the outbreak, thanks to its rapid response, mass testing and Chancellor Angela Merkel’s calm, clear communication of what was at stake.
Authorities recorded 955 new cases last Friday, the highest figure since the beginning of May, according to its center for disease control, the Robert Koch Institute.
The latest uptick has been attributed to laxer enforcement of distancing and hygiene rules, as well as travelers returning from abroad, prompting the health ministry to offer free coronavirus tests to travelers coming into the country. Tests will be mandatory for those returning from high-risk countries.
The country of 97 million lifted social distancing rules in April after a three-week national lockdown.
Vietnam’s initial success at containing the virus was thanks to an aggressive strategy of early screening of passengers at airports along with a strict quarantine and monitoring program.
Yet after nearly 100 days with no cases, last month Vietnam saw its largest single-day increase in infections since the pandemic hit the country in late January.
Three residents caught the virus in the central city of Da Nang, prompting the government to evacuate some 80,000 tourists in the area, suspend domestic flights to the city, and reimpose social distancing measures.
As of Monday, a total of 103,268 people who have had close contact with patients or came from pandemic-hit areas have been placed under quarantine, according to the state-run Vietnam News Agency.
On May 25, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe lifted the country’s state of emergency, saying in a briefing that “we were able to end the outbreak in about one month and a half with Japan’s own way.” He said the nation would gradually increase social and economic activities to create a “new life” with the coronavirus.
But the country now faces a resurgence of the virus, recording some of its worst numbers since the pandemic began.
On Sunday, Japan recorded 1,331 new coronavirus cases — the fifth day in a row the country had recorded daily increase of over 1,000 infections, pushing the country’s total to 39,399 cases and 1,025 deaths.
New research from Japan suggests that many coronavirus clusters outside of hospitals may have been started by people who are younger than 40 or don’t feel sick, underscoring the importance of measures, such as face coverings, to slow the spread.
CNN’s Vanessa Yung, Isaac Yee, Angus Watson, James Griffiths, Helen Regan, Fred Pleitgen, Sol Han, Yoko Wakatsuki, Junko Ogura, Kaori Enjoji, Tomas Etzler, Ivana Kottasova and Oren Liebermann contributed reporting.
Police Will Patrol The Kent Border And Fine Lorry Drivers Without The Right Paperwork After Brexit
4 min read
Police may be asked to patrol a new internal ‘Kent border’ to check whether lorries heading across the Channel and into the EU have the right paperwork from January.
Michael Gove’s plan, designed to ease expected traffic jams in the county when the Brexit transition period ends, raises serious questions on how the neighbouring counties of Essex, East Sussex, Surrey and the Greater London region will be affected.
Cabinet minister Gove, who is in charge of no deal planning, confirmed in the Commons that lorry drivers would need a Kent Access Permit and could be policed at the county border.
“We want to make sure people use a relatively simple process to get a Kent Access Permit which means that they can proceed smoothly through Kent because they do have the material required.
“If they don’t have the material required, then it will be the case that through policing, ANPR cameras and other means we will do our very best to make sure his constituents are not inconvenienced,” he said.
The proposal came in Gove’s statement on a worst-case scenario for Britain when the transition period ends. He said the plan was to avoid high level congestion. The details were laid out in a consultation paper released on August 3.
PoliticsHome contacted the Cabinet Office but is still awaiting further details on how this would be policed and the potential impact for surrounding counties and their police forces.
The backlash against Gove’s statement was immediate, with the Road Haulage Association, RHA, saying they were extremely sceptical that the government was prepared and that haulage operators would be left “carrying the can”.
The government’s worst-case scenario plan estimates that between 30 to 50 percent of trucks crossing the Channel won’t be ready for the new regulations coming into force on 1 January 2021.
RHA chief executive, Richard Burnett said: “We already know this. It’s what we’ve been saying for many months. We know that traders and haulage operators will face new customs controls and processes and we know that if they haven’t completed the right paperwork their goods will be stopped when entering the EU.
“Mr Gove stresses that it’s essential that traders act now to get ready for new the formalities. We know for a fact that they are only too keen to be ready but how on earth can they prepare when there is still no clarity as to what they need to do?
“Government’s promises that the UK will be ready for business on 1 January are just a whitewash, and right now it appears that traders and haulage operators are being left to carry the can.”
The Kent Access Permit was included in a consultation on the legislative changes that would be needed to enforce Operation Brock, the traffic management system for Kent in the case of no-deal.
It explains that hauliers using designated roads in Kent leading to the Port of Dover and Eurotunnel must be in possession of a digital permit.
Each permit would be valid for 24 hours to cover a single trip. The government said police and Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency enforcement officers could issue penalties and fines to hauliers found heading for Dover or Eurotunnel without one.
Lorry drivers heading to Kent but not travelling internationally, would not be required to use the system.
Fines could be handed out on the spot with UK drivers having up to 28 days to pay. If a driver refused to pay, their HCV could be impounded.
Food and Drink Federation Chief Executive Ian Wright CBE said a delay of up to two days at the ports could mean shortages of fruit, vegetables and products of animal origin.
He ingredients and some food products would not arrive fit for human consumption.
He said: “The absence of clarity in certain areas including product labelling means it is too late for a lot of businesses to be fully ready for 1 January 2021. We are urging the UK Government to provide targeted periods of adjustment, and even amnesty, to minimise the impacts on manufacturers and UK shoppers.”
Breonna Taylor: Two officers shot during Louisville protests
Two officers have been shot amid huge protests in the US city of Louisville after a grand jury decided no officers would face charges for killing unarmed black woman Breonna Taylor.
Ms Taylor, 26, a hospital worker, was shot multiple times as three officers stormed her home on 13 March.
One, Brett Hankison, has been charged, not with Ms Taylor’s death, but with “wanton endangerment” for firing into a neighbour’s apartment in Louisville.
Two other officers face no charges.
Cases of killings of unarmed black people by police have fuelled anger across the US and beyond, triggered especially by the death of George Floyd in policy custody in Minneapolis in May.
Louisville Police Chief Robert Schroeder said the police officers shot on Wednesday did not have life-threatening injuries.
He added that a suspect was in custody.
A state of emergency has been declared in Louisville and the National Guard have also been deployed.
Mayor Greg Fischer has set a 21:00-06:30 (01:00-10:30 GMT) curfew in the city for three days. He earlier said he had declared a state of emergency “due to the potential for civil unrest”.
Despite the curfew, crowds were still gathered after 21:00. Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear urged the protesters to go home.
“We know that the answer to violence is never violence and we are thinking about those two officers and their families tonight. So I’m asking everybody: please, go home. Go home tonight,” he said.
Protests over the grand jury’s decision were also held in New York, Washington, Atlanta, and Chicago.
What did the prosecutor say?
Under Kentucky law, someone is guilty of wanton endangerment if they commit an act that shows “an extreme indifference to the value of human life”.
This lowest-level felony offence can come with a five-year sentence for each count. Brett Hankison was charged on three counts.
Ms Taylor’s relatives and activists for whom her death has become a rallying cry had been calling for the three officers, who are all white, to be charged with murder or manslaughter.
But this was rejected by a grand jury that reviewed the evidence.
On Wednesday, Judge Annie O’Connell announced the charges that had been brought against Mr Hankison.
Kentucky Attorney General Mr Cameron then held a news conference in which he expanded on the decision. “This is a gut-wrenching emotional case,” he said.
“There is nothing I can offer them today to take away the grief and heartache as a result of losing a child, a niece, a sister and a friend,” he added in a message to Ms Taylor’s family.
Mr Cameron said a ballistics report had found that six bullets struck Ms Taylor, but only one was fatal.
That analysis concluded that Detective Myles Cosgrove had fired the shot that killed Ms Taylor.
The attorney general said it was not clear if Mr Hankison’s shots had hit Ms Taylor, but they had hit a neighbouring apartment.
The top prosecutor said the other two officers – Jonathan Mattingly and Mr Cosgrove – had been “justified to protect themselves and the justification bars us from pursuing criminal charges”.
Mr Cameron, a Republican who is the state’s first black attorney general, added: “If we simply act on emotion or outrage, there is no justice.
“Mob justice is not justice. Justice sought by violence is not justice. It just becomes revenge.”
He added that the FBI was still investigating potential violations of federal law in the case.
What’s the reaction?
Ben Crump, a high-profile lawyer for the Taylor family, said the outcome was “outrageous and offensive”.
Officials this month agreed to pay her family $12m (£9.3m) in a settlement.
Asked for his reaction to the decision, Mr Trump told a White House news conference: “I thought it was really brilliant.”
He praised Kentucky’s attorney general, who addressed the Republican party convention last month, for “doing a fantastic job”.
“I think he’s a star,” he said, adding that he approved of the Kentucky governor’s decision to send in the National Guard.
Governor Andy Beshear, a Democrat, urged Kentucky prosecutors to release the evidence that was presented to the grand jury.
“I think having more of the facts out there so people can see, people can truly process it, is where we need to be,” Mr Beshear told reporters.
What happened to Ms Taylor?
Shortly after midnight on Friday 13 March, she was in bed with her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, when they heard a banging on the door.
Plainclothes Louisville police officers were carrying out a narcotics raid, and they used a battering ram to enter the property.
A judge had granted a warrant to search Ms Taylor’s home because investigators suspected a convicted drug dealer – her ex-boyfriend, Jamarcus Glover – was using the address to receive packages. She had no criminal record.
Mr Walker fired a shot from his licensed gun, later telling police he thought that Glover had broken in, according to the New York Times.
Officials say Mr Walker’s bullet struck a police officer, Jonathan Mattingly, in the leg – an injury for which he later required surgery.
The three officers returned fire, discharging 32 rounds, according to a ballistics report from the FBI.
Ms Taylor, who had also got out of bed amid the commotion, was shot and died on the hallway floor.
According to an arrest report, the officers had been granted a “no-knock” warrant, allowing them to enter the property without warning.
But Mr Cameron said on Wednesday the officers had not actually served such a warrant. The attorney general said the officers’ statements that they identified themselves “are corroborated by an independent witness”.
Some neighbours told local media they did not hear the officers announce themselves.
No drugs were found at the property, though Jefferson County prosecutor Thomas Wine has previously said the search was cancelled after the shooting.
The subsequent police report contained errors, including listing Ms Taylor’s injuries as “none” and saying no force was used to enter, when a battering ram had been used.
Mr Walker was initially charged with attempted murder and assault of a police officer, but the case against him was dropped in May amid national scrutiny of the case.
What about the officers?
Mr Hankison was fired from the Louisville Metro Police Department in June after investigators found he had “wantonly and blindly fired 10 rounds” during the raid, according to his termination letter.
Mr Mattingly and Mr Cosgrove were reassigned to administrative duties.
The Louisville Courier-Journal has reported that six officers are under internal police review for their role in the shooting.
Mr Mattingly wrote an email on Saturday to more than 1,000 colleagues in which he criticised city leaders and protesters.
“Regardless of the outcome today or Wednesday, I know we did the legal, moral and ethical thing that night,” he wrote in the message, which was published by media outlets on Tuesday.
“It’s sad how the good guys are demonised, and the criminals are canonised.”
“Your civil rights mean nothing,” he added, “but the criminal has total autonomy.”
India and China agree to stop sending troops to disputed Himalayan border
Indian and Chinese senior military commanders met on Monday to discuss stabilizing tensions along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), the loosely defined demarcation line that separates the two countries.
In a joint statement, both sides agreed to strengthen communication on the ground to avoid misunderstandings or action “that may complicate the situation.”
They also agreed to not take any unilateral action that would change the situation on the ground, according to the statement.
Another round of high-level military meetings will be held “as soon as possible,” the statement said.
At least 20 Indian soldiers were killed in that incident, the deadliest border conflict with China in over 40 years. China has never acknowledged any casualties from that clash.
India and China share a 2,100 mile-long (3,379-kilometer) border in the Himalayas, but both sides claim territory either side of it.
The most recent dispute was around Pangong Tso, a strategically located lake some 14,000 feet (4,200 meters) above sea level that spans an area stretching from the Indian territory of Ladakh to Chinese-controlled Tibet, in the greater Kashmir region, where India, China and Pakistan all claim territory.
The Line of Actual Control, which marks the de facto border and passes through the lake, was established in the wake of the 1962 Sino-Indian war. Though it shows up on maps, India and China do not agree on its precise location and both regularly accuse the other of overstepping it, or seeking to expand their territory.
In 1996, the two countries signed an agreement which states that neither side shall open fire within 2 kilometers (1.24 miles) from the LAC to “prevent dangerous military activities.”
CNN’s Nectar Gan, Swati Gupta and James Griffiths contributed.
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