Australia's second most populous state Victoria has extended its state of emergency for four more weeks to 19 July, as it battles a spike in coronavirus infections with a pick-up in community transmission.
The move came a day after the state announced it would reimpose restrictions capping visitors to households to five people and outdoor gatherings to ten, starting tomorrow.
The limits had been relaxed on 1 June to allow up to 20 people in households and public gatherings.
Victoria reported 19 new infections today, the fifth day of double digit-rises. The state has now had 1,836 total confirmed cases, or a quarter of the cases in Australia, since the Covid-19 pandemic erupted.
The tally in Victoria includes former Tyrone GAA player Conor McKenna, who now plays in the Australian Football League. He is the first player in the league to test positive for the virus. His teammates and coaching staff have been told to isolate.
The surge in Victoria has alarmed other states, which have had only a few, if any, new cases for several weeks.
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Western Australia, which shut its borders in April, said it would weigh Victoria's situation in determining when to reopen its borders.
Victorian state health minister Jenny Mikakos said 210 of the state's cases are believed tied to community transmission, partly blaming families who have had parties, lunches and dinners attended by people with mild symptoms since restrictions were eased on 1 June.
"We obviously have been concerned by the increasing numbers that we have seen in recent days. It is still a very serious situation," Ms Mikakos said.
State police said they planned to step up enforcement efforts, especially in suburbs where there have been breakouts and patrolling ski resorts and camper-van parks during the upcoming school holidays.
Latin America coronavirus cases top 2 million
Cases of coronavirus in Latin America have surged past two million, with worst-hit Brazil reporting nearly half of the cases as the virus accelerates its spread in the region.
Europe, which has endured months of lockdowns to slow the virus but at a crippling economic cost, was set to further ease restrictions with Spain reopening to tourists and Italy enjoying its first Serie A soccer match in 103 days.
In the US, which has been taking stuttering steps to reopen even as 20 states have reported a rebound in infections, President Donald Trump claimed in Tulsa, Oklahoma, that his measures had "saved millions of lives" as he addressed his first rally in months.
The United States remains the country hardest-hit by the pandemic with 119,719 deaths out of 2,254,630 official cases, according to a tally yesterday by Johns Hopkins University.
With nearly 50,000 deaths and more than one million cases, Brazil is the second worst-affected.
In total Latin America and the Caribbean have 2,007,621 confirmed cases, according to an AFP tally based on official reports.
The figures were particularly alarming in Chile, where the death toll nearly doubled to more than 7,000 under a revised tallying method, and passed 20,000 in Mexico.
Europe meanwhile chalked up more than 2.5 million cases. Although the spread has slowed, Europe is still the worst-affected continent.
The World Health Organization has warned against giving in to isolation fatigue.
Spain reopens border to EU countries
Spain reopens its borders to European Union countries in a bid to gets its tourism industry back up and running after lifting its state of emergency.
British tourists will also be allowed in without having to quarantine, the Spanish foreign minister said.
As his country emerges from a 14-week lockdown, Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez warned that Spain remained vulnerable to the virus, which has claimed more than 28,000 lives there.
"We must remain on our guard and strictly follow hygiene and protection measures," he warned hours before the borders opened.
In France, millions more children were preparing to return to school tomorrow after three months away.
"I cried with joy when I got the confirmation from the teacher that my two children would be going back to school full time," said Noemie from the southern city of Nice.
France is also reopening cinemas from tomorrow and stadiums for team sports, and in another sign of returning normality, actors have also started kissing again on film shoots.
A vaccine remains months off at best despite several trials, and scientists are still learning more about the virus, its symptoms and the extent to which it may have spread before being identified.
"The world is in a new and dangerous phase," WHO's chief Tedros Ghebreyesus warned on Friday. "Many people are understandably fed up with being at home... but the virus is still spreading fast."
The virus has now killed more than 461,000 people and infected 8.7 million worldwide.
The Palestinian Authority announced yesterday that it was temporarily closing the cities of Hebron and Nablus in the occupied West Bank after a sharp rise in infections.
Only goods will be allowed in, Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh told journalists.
Authorities have reported a total of 687 cases in the West Bank, including two deaths so far.