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Australia, under lockdown, reports slight dip in COVID-19 cases



A lone passenger wearing a protective face mask walks from an abandoned train station platform on Flinders Street on the first day of a lockdown during morning commute times as the state of Victoria attempts to contain the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Melbourne, Australia, July 16, 2021. REUTERS / Sandra Sanders / File Photo

SYDNEY, July 18 (Reuters) – Australia’s two largest states reported a slight decline in new infections with COVID-19 on Sunday, prompting authorities to say it could take days for strict lockdown measures to advance in containing the spread the delta variant showed.

The country’s most populous city, Sydney, and the entire state of Victoria – totaling nearly half of the country’s 25 million residents – are under orders to stay home after the highly contagious strain of the virus began to flare up last month. Continue reading

The state of New South Wales (NSW), of which Sydney is the capital, reported 105 new cases the previous day, up from 111 the previous day, while Victoria recorded 16 new cases, down from 19.

NSW also recorded one additional death from the virus, bringing the total to four since the start of the year and the national total to 914 since the pandemic began.

“If we work together, we will see these numbers kick off and we will use all of our resources and efforts to achieve this,” NSW Prime Minister Gladys Berejiklian said at a televised press conference.

“We want to make sure that we, especially families and companies, get back on their feet as quickly as possible and that’s why we are going to get everything on their feet in the next two weeks.”

A day earlier, Berejiklian had tightened restrictions on the city of five million, including the closure of all construction and property maintenance work and a ban on around 600,000 people in the hardest-hit suburbs from leaving their immediate neighborhood to work.

Of particular concern to authorities is the number of people circulating in the community prior to diagnosis, which stood at 27 on Sunday, around the same level as in recent days. Berejiklian said the number was unlikely to be close to zero by July 30 to lift restrictions.

She added that the number would likely decrease in five days “because the data is lagging,” and that she wouldn’t rule out further changes to the restrictions.

Neighboring Victoria, with 7 million people under a five-day lockdown slated to end Tuesday, said all 16 new cases were linked to known chains of transmission.

Australia avoided the high rates of infection and death of many other countries in the early stages of the pandemic due to rapid border restrictions, stay-at-home orders and economic incentives.

But a year and a half later, the federal government is under pressure from a sluggish introduction of vaccines, attributed by some experts to the change in government recommendations for the AstraZeneca vaccine (AZN.L) and the limited supply of the drug Pfizer Inc (PFE.N) .

Just over 10% of Australia’s 25 million residents are fully vaccinated, a fraction of the rates in the United States and the United Kingdom.

Reporting by Byron Kaye, editing by Nick Zieminski and Sam Holmes

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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NYC Restaurant Hostess Gets Attacked After Asking For Covid-19 Vaccination Proof



As of August 17, New York City (NYC) requires those 12 and older to provide evidence of them … [+] receive at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine before entering an indoor dining area. The city has ordered that the staff in such restaurants should also be vaccinated. (Photo by Michael M. Santiago / Getty Images)

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Add this to the WTF list that seems to be getting longer and longer every day. Last Thursday night, a restaurant hostess in New York City (NYC) was physically assaulted after asking three Texas women for proof of vaccination. Who would have thought that working in a restaurant could require training in mixed martial arts (MMA).

The scuffle took place at Carmine’s restaurant on NYC’s Upper West Side. As of Aug. 17, New York City (NYC) has required these 12-year-olds to show that they have received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine before entering an indoor dining area. The city has ordered that the staff in such restaurants should also be vaccinated.

Of course, 12 years and older or even 18 years and older does not mean that everyone will behave like an adult with regard to the regulation. The three visitors to Texas reportedly did not take the request for proof of vaccination too kindly. Perhaps they felt that their “freedoms” had been violated, their freedom to eat rigatoni with chicken and broccoli in a restaurant on the Upper West Side.

Even so, at least one of the visitors is said to have started beating and beating the hostess. Other restaurant workers then stepped in to defend the hostess. Eventually, the police finally took the Texas women into custody.

Here is a news segment from CBS New York about the incident:

Hmmm, sleep for your thoughts on this. If you are refused a seat because you are not following a city rule, then it is a good idea to (a) go away and find another way to get dinner, or (b) try to call the hostess Stuff to go out of my way? Well, choosing option “b” is very unlikely to lead the restaurant to say, “Okay, you didn’t beat up our hostess, let’s get you a good table.” You are not Thanos trying to get the infinity stones.

It’s not that restaurants are playing the cannoli hide and seek for fun when enforcing vaccination regulations against Covid-19. You have a personal interest in preventing Covid-19 outbreaks. There is no tendency for potential customers to say, “Oh, hey, let’s go to the place where the Covid-19 outbreak recently hit.” Plus, there is all of the potential suffering and death that restaurants face in the event of an outbreak would have to deal.

As I wrote for Forbes, there are requirements because not enough people volunteer to take Covid-19 precautions. In view of the ongoing Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic, which, by the way, is still a public health emergency, precautions are necessary to prevent the Delta variant from spreading further. It must be understood that Covid-19 precautions like vaccinations and wearing face masks are not just personal choices, they affect everyone around you. People need to understand that the world doesn’t spin around them like a meatball that circles to get into their mouths. Still, it cannot be said these days that pasta people fail to realize this and even resort to harming innocent people.

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Letters: Hawaiian Immersion, Homeless, Dr. Pang, Vaccines & COVID-19 Mandates



Maui Now is looking for your letters to the editor. To submit a letter online: Letter form to the editor

Keakaulike High School does not endorse the Hawaiian immersion program

I have been teaching Advanced Placement Literature and Senior English at Kekaulike High School for 23 years. As of November 2019, we have a new administration at the school that does not support the Hawaiian Immersion Program, Driver’s Education Program, or the Culinary Program. I have Kula Kaiapuni students in my English class who tell me they are being harassed by the administration for having their lunch outside of the Hawaiian Immersion classrooms because there is no space in the cafeteria due to COVID-19 restrictions.

I want to get this topic out into the open because, although I am not a native Hawaiian, I am a Hawaiian at heart and I respect and admire the strength of Hawaiian culture. I want to be “pono” and give a voice to those who are afraid to voice their concerns. – Bea Arendale, Kula

Talk to the homeless to understand the meaning of life

Sit down with homeless people like Aunt Penny to learn the meaning of life. I see them more than most people during the week. We sit, cry, laugh and tell stories. She is really funny. Isn’t it true that those who need our help teach us to be grateful? We all hold a rat race and instead of being grateful for every moment, we measure happiness in things, places, and money.

In my early 20s, I started working with the homeless in Santa Monica, especially mentally ill homeless women. I saw them outside the shelter and they talked to me, some gave me presents and a lady Janet made me a bag that was sewn from her own socks. I loved this bag. I started mingling with the homeless, chatting with them, feeding them, laughing with them, even hugging them. I fell in love with each and every one of them. Even the drug addicts and the alcoholics.

Another shocker to you, they’re not all addicts. Some of them just got lost. … You never know what the story of this woman or man is, and I choose to help others because I am able to. I’ve learned that people are people no matter how dirty, poor, creepy, or disgusting we find them. I’ve learned that even the homeless just want love and respect.


I’ve learned that when people are mean to them, they are so sad. … I’ve learned that the most human thing that is taken from the homeless is everyone’s inability to look them in the eye. I’ve learned that they know that you feel sorry for them, that they make you uncomfortable and that you are scared at times, and they hate that and want to show you that they are just people in a dead end with good hearts and need to be treated the same way like everyone else.


Don’t dehumanize the homeless. Check them out, talk to them and listen to them. … These people experience their deepest moments outdoors for everyone to see. I pray Aunt Penny that one day she will find peace and rest. Her community is very important to her. – Maya Marquez, Paia

Vaccine Mandate Not Locking Up The Economy, Way To Prevent The Spread Of COVID-19

Governor David Ige’s recent attempt to blame tourists for COVID-19 problems in Hawaii ignores that the source of the growth in cases comes from locals, not tourists. Furthermore, his efforts to deter tourists from coming and face another lockdown will bring the economy to its knees again for all the wrong reasons.

Tourists must either arrive tested, quarantined, or fully vaccinated. Such requirements do not exist for Hawaiians who do not leave the state. So blame the tourists? This is about distraction from lack of courage to do the right thing. Instead of blaming tourists, it is time to deny unvaccinated people access to hotels, restaurants, and large public gatherings. And it’s time to make vaccinations mandatory for those who are in close contact with the public like retail stores, restaurants, gyms, etc. Stop blaming the wrong people, Governor, and control the spread through the Rest. – Larry Rosencrantz, Lahaina

Why should vaccinated people protect people who don’t want to protect themselves?


As a vaccinated person, why should I continue to protect those who have chosen not to be vaccinated?
Why keep threatening to close everything again to protect those who choose not to protect themselves?

If a group of people decide to play on the freeway, do we ban the cars and close the freeway to protect those who took the risk to play there?

If you want people to get vaccinated, you are putting them at the risk they are taking rather than rewarding them with restrictions for us who chose to vaccinate. – Theo Amend, Kahului

Witch Hunt by Dr. Lorrin Pang should end

I support Dr. Lorrin Pang wholeheartedly in all of his medical approaches to patient care. I met Dr. Pang first volunteered at the University of Maui College mass vaccination clinics. This man is really dedicated to his job as a healer. He always encouraged vaccination and educated volunteers about vaccines / COVID-19 issues.

It’s sad when a non-medical person like Senator Roz Baker gives a medical opinion. I was trained as an orthopedic surgeon. Medicine is as much an art as it is a science. We’ve used off-label implants, devices, and drugs on a regular basis. Always in the best interests of the patient. Nobody has ever encouraged my resignation or asked the Medical Association to revoke my license. Senator Baker should obey the law and give up the witch hunt. Sad! – Nicholas Valos, Wailuku

Welcome to COVIDLAND, now you go home

It is time for the governor to take the people in and shut them down before more people die. At this rate, no one will be around to serve the tourists.

To the tourists, welcome to COVIDLAND! Hope you enjoyed the drought and bushfires. Now go home! – Malia Kealoha, Paia

The vaccination mandate is excessive and based on fear

I want to be respectful of public office. Still, I am totally amazed by these “proclamations” from our governor and mayor. What enables the government (without influence from other levels) to determine what every private company must do with regard to vaccines? What indicates that it is still a “crisis”? The government is not here to prevent sickness and death. If so, they should address heart disease, opioid addiction, and suicide.

When will our local government wake up and let people live their lives and let businesses thrive at the same time? The only people who are not affected by these restrictions are those who work in the government. This is not a public service. This is over the top and based entirely on fear. I am totally disappointed. – Joshua Rempfer, Pukalani

Maui Now is looking for your letters to the editor. To submit a letter online: Letter form to the editor.

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Here’s how Covid-19 is hitting hospitals in five key European countries



However, the introduction of vaccinations has kept hospital admissions well below the level seen in the first few months of 2021.

As a result, Europe presents a nuanced picture as governments prepare for a possible surge in cases in the autumn and winter months.

Here is the situation in five major European countries.

The UK

After starting one of Europe’s longest and strictest lockdowns in 2021, the UK lifted virtually all remaining restrictions in July, despite a surge in cases. Major events and nightclubs can operate without distancing measures, and masking requirements are no longer required in most public places. At the beginning of September, according to official information, daily recordings of Covid-19 patients reached a moving seven-day average of 1,000 for the first time since February.

But the heavy roll-out of vaccination in the UK has kept the numbers well below the winter peak. More than 4,000 people with the virus were being admitted to UK hospitals every day in January, although cases were only marginally higher than they are now.

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson warned that restrictions could return in winter if the country’s National Health Service (NHS) is at risk of being overwhelmed. “Covid is still out there. Unfortunately, the disease still remains a risk,” he said at a press conference.


Hospital admissions in France rose during August amid warnings of a fourth wave of the virus hitting facilities across the country. By the end of the month, there were more than 11,000 people with Covid-19 in hospitals.

Will Biden's mandates work?  Macron's vaccination card contest may have some cluesBut hospital admissions showed some signs of flattening in September. The total number of patients is back below 10,000 – far from the surge in the country in April when it cared for more than 30,000.

France has put strict restrictions on unvaccinated people in place to spur adoption. As of Thursday, health workers must be fully vaccinated and “health cards” are required to enter restaurants or travel long distances.

The government has confirmed that around 3,000 healthcare workers were suspended after missing the deadline for full vaccination.


Italy faced a huge spike in hospital admissions in April, with more than 32,000 people being admitted to the country’s health facilities. The number of patients then dropped to a low of around 1,250 in mid-July before rising again in recent weeks, according to Our World in Data.

The country has seen close to 5,000 hospitalizations in the past few days.

After being hit hard in the initial stages of the first wave, Italy was one of the first countries to reopen to visitors in 2020. In 2021, entry was largely restricted to residents of the European Union as well as a select list of non-EU countries, including the US, Canada, Japan and the UK.

Italy on Thursday became the first country in Europe to require proof of vaccination, negative test or recent recovery from infection for all public and private sector workers. The rule is designed to convince more people to get vaccinated against Covid-19 and is set to go into effect on October 15.

“This is to do this [work] Making places safer and making the vaccination campaign even stronger, “said Italian Health Minister Roberto Speranza. He called the decree” a strategy that points to the vaccine as the fundamental key to the start of a new season. “About 75% of the Italian population ages 12 and older are currently fully vaccinated, according to government figures.

Tourists in Venice in summer.


Ireland has fared better than some of its closest neighbors in terms of case numbers and deaths, which are among the lowest in Europe – largely thanks to one of Europe’s toughest lockdowns during the pandemic.

Together with its EU counterparts, it is now open to visitors again. Hospital admissions have increased since then, but are still lower than in previous waves.

There are now signs of a plateau in hospital admissions – there were about 60 people in intensive care units each day in September, compared to a high of 221 in January.

Unlike the neighboring United Kingdom, Ireland still limits capacity for large indoor and outdoor events, including sporting events.

Ireland’s restrictions are due to be relaxed from September 20th, allowing fully vaccinated people to meet indoors in groups of up to 100 people. Starting October 22, the government plans to lift the last remaining restrictions on face covering, social distancing and large gatherings.


Denmark essentially returned to pre-pandemic life this month, allowing citizens to enter nightclubs and restaurants without showing a “Covid Pass”, use public transport without a face covering, and meet in large numbers without restrictions.

It’s too early to say whether this move will result in a significant increase in cases and hospital stays. The number of hospital patients in Denmark has risen over 100 in the last few weeks – again a small fraction of the previous wave in January when almost 1,000 people were in hospital. Denmark lifted its last remaining Covid-19 restrictions this month.

The transmission rate, or R-rate, is currently 0.7, Health Minister Magnus Heunicke tweeted on Wednesday, which means the epidemic continues to shrink. If it’s above 1.0, Covid-19 cases will increase in the near future. If it’s below 1.0, cases will decrease in the near future.

“The vaccines and the great efforts made by all of Denmark’s citizens over a long period of time are the basis for our doing so well,” said Heunicke.

The country has had far lower case numbers than its neighbor Sweden, which became an outlier in Western Europe when it opposed a strict lockdown in 2020. But the two nations are now roughly in line on hospital admissions.

CNN’s Sarah Dean, Nicolo Ruotolo and Laura Smith-Spark contributed to the coverage.

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