A medical worker swabs at the Bondi Beach drive-through coronavirus disease testing centre in Sydney. File/Reuters
Gulf Today Report
Australia is on track for a 10th day of no new local COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, allowing its most populous state of New South Wales (NSW) to relax coronavirus restrictions after controlling a fast-spreading cluster.
New South Wales has recorded no local cases for 10 days after low single digit numbers earlier in January. Victoria state, which is hosting the Australia Open tennis tournament, has gone three weeks without a local case, according to Reuters.
This photo shows people in hazardous material overalls due to the coronavirus outbreak in Melbourne. File/Reuters
Australia has recorded more than 22,000 local cases since the pandemic began and 909 deaths.
Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt tweeted on Wednesday marked the 10th day of no community transmission of COVID-19 Australia wide, adding the country’s success comes at a time when global coronavirus cases have crossed 100 million with the death toll surpassing 2 million.
The COVID-free run allowed NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklien to ease coronavirus restrictions from Friday, including relaxing rules around mask wearing and increasing numbers in house parties, weddings, funerals and places of worship.
The restrictions had kicked in late last year to successfully curb virus clusters in Sydney’s northern beaches and western suburbs. The outbreaks saw other states and territories close borders or restrict travel from NSW.
Berejiklien hinted that restrictions would be eased further in two weeks if there were no further cases, adding she was “striking the right balance” between economic growth and virus control.
“They both go hand in hand, you can’t have an open economy unless you make sure you get the health settings right,” she said, while urging Sydneysiders to come out and get tested for COVID-19 even for the “mildest of symptoms.”
Despite its relative success in handling the pandemic, Australia’s international borders will likely remain shut to non-citizens this year although there may be exclusive travel arrangements called “bubbles” with its South Pacific neighbours.
Australia suspended a one-way “travel bubble” which allowed New Zealanders entry after a highly infectious coronavirus strain was found in New Zealand.
New Zealand on Wednesday reported two more cases of the South African variant, both returned travellers in hotel quarantine who had previously returned negative test following their 14-day isolation. New Zealand has reported zero community transmission cases in the past three days.
Australia would make a decision on whether or not to lift the ‘trans-Tasman bubble’ suspension on Thursday.
More than 22,500 test results were conducted in the past 24 hours in Australia’s second most populous city Melbourne and authorities urged residents to get tested amid fears of community transmission from a worker at the Holiday Inn in the city.
The rate of new coronavirus cases has abated significantly in both countries without straining the capacity of their health systems. New Zealand has enforced a wide-ranging lockdown and Australia is also tightly restricting many activities.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the ban on anyone who is not a citizen or permanent resident coming to Australia "will be in place from 9pm tomorrow evening".
When the Civil Defence men reached the accident site, one of them recognised the car. To his horror, it turned out to be his father’s vehicle. His two sisters were also inside the vehicle.
His Highness Dr Sheikh Sultan Bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, on Thursday approved the second phase of Sharjah Education Academy, that aims to develop the professional capabilities of educational cadres and granting professional and university qualifications in the field of education.
Fog blanketed separate areas of the UAE on Thursday morning, and lasted 6 hours from 12am until 8am, due to a weak surface low extension with a weak high extension in the upper atmosphere.
A migrant specialist in the Gulf since 2010 has welcomed and hailed the commitment and dedication of the UAE and Philippine governments in addressing concerns surrounding household service workers (HSWs), resulting in the implementation of a progressive bilateral labour agreement