People line up to enter a supermarket hours before a citywide curfew is introduced in Melbourne. Picture:Erik Anderson/AAP Image
People line up to enter a supermarket hours before a citywide curfew is introduced in Melbourne. Picture:Erik Anderson/AAP Image

What you need to know about the coronavirus right now

By Reuters Time of article published Aug 3, 2020

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Here's what you need to know about the coronavirus right now:

State of emergency in Victoria

Australia's second-biggest city, Melbourne, entered its first day of tougher restrictions to contain the spread of a resurgent coronavirus on Monday as residents braced for further business closures.

The state of Victoria declared a state of emergency on Sunday and imposed a nightly curfew from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. for six weeks for the capital as part of the country's harshest restrictions on movement to date.

Supermarkets will remain open along with restaurant takeaway and delivery services, but some businesses that previously had not been forced to close will be asked to shut. Schools will move to remote learning from Wednesday.

Congress can afford the relief, says Fed's Kashkari

White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said on Sunday he was not optimistic about reaching agreement soon on a deal for the next round of legislation to provide relief to Americans hit hard by the pandemic.

Both sides said on Saturday they had their most positive talks yet. But there was no sign of movement on the biggest sticking point - $600 per week in extra federal unemployment benefits for Americans that has been a lifeline for millions of jobless Americans and expired on Friday.

The US economy could benefit if the nation were to "lock down really hard" for four to six weeks, Neel Kashkari, president of the Minneapolis Federal Reserve Bank, said on Sunday, adding that Congress can well afford large sums for coronavirus relief efforts.

Parishioners wearing masks as a measure to prevent the spread of Covid-19 pray during a mass at the Our Lady of Consolation Parish in Quezon city, Philippines. Picture: Aaron Favila/AP

China helping with Hong Kong testing

Seven Chinese health officials arrived in Hong Kong on Sunday, the first members of a 60-person team that will carry out widespread coronavirus testing in the territory as it races to halt a third wave of illness. The initiative marks the first time mainland health officials have assisted Hong Kong in its battle to control the epidemic.

A group of Hong Kong councillors said on Sunday some residents fear China may use the presence as an opportunity to collect DNA samples for surveillance purposes.

The territory's government denied that, saying virus testing would only be conducted in the city and samples would not be transported to the mainland.

Dogs occupy the empty roadside stalls shut due to lack of business in Dharmsala, India. The town is usually teeming with tourists in the summer months but is now mostly empty due to the epidemic. Picture Ashwini Bhatia//AP

Millions of 90-minute tests

Millions of Covid-19 tests able to detect the virus within 90 minutes will be rolled out to British hospitals, care homes and laboratories to boost capacity in coming months, the health minister said on Monday.

They will comprise 5.8 million tests using DNA and 450,000 swab tests. Neither will need to be administered by a health professional, said Matt Hancock.

"The fact these tests can detect flu as well as Covid-19 will be hugely beneficial as we head into winter, so patients can follow the right advice to protect themselves and others," he said.

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