Australia Australia virus epicentre state says new cases drop to three-month low
'Circuit break': PM considering national restrictions on social lives to curb infections
Boris Johnson is considering the introduction of new national restrictions - possibly as soon as next week - as the prime minister races to try and get a handle on the spread of coronavirus. With COVID-19 cases now doubling every seven to eight days, the government is looking at introducing nationwide restrictions for a short period to try to "short-circuit" the virus and slow the spread of the disease. Government figures stressed the plans being drawn up stopped short of a full national lockdown, as seen in the spring, when the country was told to "stay at home".
SYDNEY (Reuters) - The Australian state at the centre of the country's coronavirus outbreak on Sunday reported a sharp daily decline in new cases, raising the chances that it will be released from a hard lockdown in the capital city within weeks.
Victoria, Australia's second-most populous state and home to a quarter of its 25 million people, recorded 14 new cases of the virus that causes COVID-19 in the prior 24 hours, down from 21 new cases the day before and its lowest since June 19.
Fewer virus cases keep Melbourne on track
Victoria's daily infection rate is on track towards the planned easing of coronavirus restrictions come September 28, with more anti-lockdown protests expected.The state recorded 21 new cases in the 24 hours to Saturday morning, its lowest figure since June 24.
The state capital, Melbourne, has been under one of the toughest lockdowns, including a nightly curfew, but the state government has said it will let construction sites, manufacturing plants, warehouses and childcare facilities reopen on Sept. 28 if increases in average daily cases stay below 50.
Victoria also recorded five additional deaths associated with the virus in the prior 24 hours, taking the national death toll to 849, according to government data.
Australia had largely escaped the high casualty numbers of many other countries as the virus swept the world earlier this year, but a second outbreak in Victoria saw daily case increases over 700, put the country on high alert and prompted most states to close their internal borders.
Thousands fined for breaking 'unclear' lockdown rules, MPs warn
Britons are being fined for breaches of coronavirus lockdown regulations that are "unclear and ambiguous", a parliamentary committee has warned. The Joint Committee on Human Rights said it was "unacceptable" that "many thousands" were receiving fixed penalty notices (FPNs) despite evidence the police did not fully understand their powers.It added that the way regulations were being enforced by the police was having a "disproportionate impact" on young men from black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds.
None of the country's seven other states and territories had reported daily case numbers by Sunday morning. The country has reported just under 26,900 infections.
(Reporting by Byron Kaye; Editing by David Gregorio)
Video: Five households spark major Melbourne outbreak (Sky News Australia)
Tory MPs threaten restrictions rebellion as Johnson promises post-COVID jobs revolution .
Boris Johnson is launching a skills revolution to tackle coronavirus job losses, while battling against a Tory backlash over further COVID-19 restrictions. In a move aimed at creating a jobs recovery, the prime minister plans to expand post-18 education and training to help people made redundant retrain for a new job.Mr Johnson is promising a £2.5 billion Lifetime Skills Guarantee, which he says will give adults without an A-level or equivalent qualification the chance to take a free vocational college course.