Australia's Victoria state wants to extend emergency for a year
SYDNEY: Australia's Victoria state yesterday recorded its second-most deadly day of the pandemic with 24 deaths, although there is a falling trend in new infections detected, halfway into a strict six-week lockdown.
The south-eastern state detected 149 new cases, compared with 148 reported on Tuesday, well down on the peak of more than 700 daily cases in the first week of this month.
The record daily death toll was 25 reported last week.
Victoria's government wants to extend a state of emergency by another year to combat the spread of the virus, allowing it to prolong or reimpose lockdowns over that period.
The move has alarmed critics of the state government, including members of the federal Cabinet who say an extended state of emergency is undemocratic.
"They take away liberties, they take away the functioning of democracy in the state of Victoria," federal Education Minister Dan Tehan told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
In South-east Asia, Indonesia's capital Jakarta is to allow cinemas to open despite soaring infections rates.
They will be allowed to open as part of a bid to revive the coronavirus-hit economy.
Cinemas will be allowed to operate with strict virus protocols such as compulsory use of face masks, and entry will be limited to moviegoers in the age group of 12 to 60, according to Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan, Bloomberg reported.
Indonesia reported 2,306 new infections yesterday, taking its total number of cases to 160,165. There were 86 more deaths, taking the total to 6,944.
The Philippines' health ministry yesterday reported 5,277 infections, the highest daily increase in 12 days, and 99 more deaths.
The country's tally of confirmed cases rose to 202,361, more than 60 per cent of which were reported in the past month, while deaths increased to 3,137.
The Philippines has the largest number of cases in South-east Asia.
Malaysia confirmed six new cases, which included five local transmissions and one imported case.
This brings the total number of cases in the country to 8,978.
The death toll remains at 125. - REUTERS, THE STAR