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Countries around Asia facing second wave of infections

HK, Vietnam and China clamping down again to contain spread as cases rise

SYDNEY: Countries around Asia are confronting a second wave of infections and clamping down again to try to contain the coronavirus, with Vietnam reporting new cases as it locked down the city of Danang, and Hong Kong imposing more measures.

In China, infections not involving people returning from overseas hit the highest number since early March, with a total of 57 domestic transmissions reported out of 61 new cases.

In the north-east, Liaoning province reported a fifth straight day of new infections and there were two cases reported in the neighbouring province of Jilin near the North Korean border - the first since late May.

Among the total infections announced yesterday, four were imported.

Residential communities in Dalian and Urumqi have been placed under lockdown, with the authorities declaring "wartime mode" to combat the virus.

Experts still have not confirmed the origin of the recent Xinjiang cluster, which has infected 178 people to date.

Hong Kong banned gatherings of more than two people yesterday, stopped restaurant dining and introduced mandatory face masks in public places as it tries to rein in a new outbreak.

The measures, which take effect tomorrow, are the first time the city has completely banned dining in restaurants.

The authorities reported 145 cases yesterday, a new daily record, of which 142 were locally transmitted.

Vietnam yesterday reported 11 new locally transmitted cases, all linked to a hospital in the central province of Danang. It included four healthcare workers, the country's health ministry said.

Vietnam has registered a total of 431 cases, with no deaths.

The country has carried out more than 430,000 tests and nearly 12,000 people are under quarantine.

Vietnam is also evacuating 80,000 people, mostly local tourists, from Danang.

The evacuation will take at least four days with domestic airlines operating approximately 100 flights daily from Danang to 11 Vietnamese cities, the government said in a statement.

Those returning from Danang to other parts of the country would have to quarantine at home for 14 days, the health ministry said.

Genome analysis by scientists in Vietnam showed that the strain of coronavirus found in Danang had not previously been detected in the country, the health minister said, according to state broadcaster VTV.

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The strain, previously detected in Bangladesh, Britain and Ireland, appeared to be more contagious than previous strains found in Vietnam, VTV said.

Following the discovery of the new cases, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc ordered the police to crackdown on illegal immigration to the country.

Australian authorities warned a six-week lockdown in parts of south-eastern Victoria state may last longer after the country registered its highest daily increase in infections.

Victoria reported a daily record of 532 new cases yesterday, and six more deaths, taking the state toll to 77, almost half the total national death toll.

Victoria currently has more than 4,500 active cases after weeks of triple-digit daily increases. - REUTERS

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