Australia

Australia's Victoria state marks week of triple-digit coronavirus cases

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Australia’s Victoria state marked a week of triple-digit increases in new coronavirus infections on Sunday, while a community outbreak in neighbouring New South Wales (NSW) has put the state on high alert.

Victoria reported 273 new cases of the coronavirus and another COVID-19 death on Sunday, while NSW had nine cases linked to an outbreak at Sydney pub. Both states account for more than half of Australia’s population of 25 million.

Australia to offer residence option to 10,000 Hong Kongers

Sydney, Jul 12 (AP/PTI) The Australian government says it will offer around 10,000 Hong Kong passport holders currently living in Australia a chance to apply for permanent residence once their current visas expire.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison's government believes China's imposition of a new tough national security law on the semi-autonomous territory means pro-democracy supporters may face political persecution.

U.S. bans Pakistan International Airlines flights over pilot concerns

SYDNEY (Reuters) - The U.S. Department of Transportation said it has revoked permission for Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) to conduct charter flights to the United States, citing Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) concerns over Pakistani pilot certifications.

The information is contained in a revocation of special authorisation dated July 1 provided by the department to Reuters on Friday.

Pakistan last month grounded almost a third of its pilots after discovering they may have falsified their qualifications.

Australia: Queensland locks out people from virus spots in Victoria

Canberra, Jul 9 (AP/PTI) An Australian state has closed its doors to people fleeing a second lockdown in Australia's second-largest city.

Queensland Health Minister Steven Miles said on Thursday that a number of people were willing to pay for their own 14-day hotel quarantine to be allowed to escape Melbourne and other parts of Victoria state that began a six-week shutdown Wednesday because of an expanding coronavirus outbreak.

Australia ends Hong Kong extradition treaty, extends visas

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Australia suspended its extradition treaty with Hong Kong and extended visas for Hong Kong residents in response to China’s imposition of a tough national security law on the semi-autonomous territory, the prime minister said Thursday.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced a range of visas that will be extended from two to five years and offers of pathways to permanent residency visas. It is not clear how many Hong Kongers are expected to get the extensions.

Australia’s 2nd largest city foils nation’s pandemic success

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Australia has been among the world’s most successful countries in containing its coronavirus outbreak — with one exception.

The southeastern state of Victoria had some of the nation’s toughest pandemic measures and was among the most reluctant to lift its restrictions when the worst of its outbreak seemed to have passed.

Australia closes state border for first time in 100 years after COVID-19 spike

SYDNEY (Reuters) - The border between Australia’s two most populous states will close from Tuesday for an indefinite period as authorities scramble to contain an outbreak of the coronavirus in the city of Melbourne.

The decision announced on Monday marks the first time the border between Victoria and New South Wales has been shut in 100 years. Officials last blocked movement between the two states in 1919 during the Spanish flu pandemic.

Australians widen protests backing Black Lives Matter, indigenous people

(Reuters) - Thousands gathered in Sydney and other Australian cities over the weekend in support of the Black Lives Matter movement and an increased focus of the mistreatment of indigenous people.

A month since Australia’s first such rallies, the crowds were smaller amid health warnings about the spread of the coronavirus, as infections grow in the state of Victoria, home to Melbourne, the second-largest city.

Australia to lock down 300,000 in Melbourne suburbs after coronavirus spike

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Authorities will lock down more than 300,000 people in suburbs north of Melbourne for a month from late on Wednesday to contain the risk of infection after two weeks of double-digit rises in new coronavirus cases in Australia’s second most populous state.

Australia has fared better than many countries in the pandemic, with around 7,920 cases, 104 deaths and fewer than 400 active cases, but the recent jump has stoked fears of a second wave of COVID-19, echoing concerns expressed in other countries.

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