Australia's COVID-19 epicentre reports zero daily cases for first time in 4 months
SYDNEY (Reuters) - Australia's Victoria state said on Monday it had gone 24 hours without detecting any new COVID-19 cases, a milestone last achieved four months ago, raising hopes that a stringent lockdown of Melbourne will be eased. Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews on Sunday delayed the reopening of the city - home to 5 million people - amid an outbreak in Melbourne's north
SYDNEY (Reuters) - Australia's Victoria state said on Monday it had gone 24 hours without detecting any new COVID-19 cases, a milestone last achieved four months ago, raising hopes that a stringent lockdown of Melbourne will be eased.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews on Sunday delayed the reopening of the city - home to 5 million people - amid an outbreak in Melbourne's north.
Officials said they had tested about 15,000 people in the area and all had come back negative.
"This is one of the best outcomes we could hope to see," said Jeroen Weimar, Commander of Testing and Community Engagement for Victoria.
Andrews is under intense pressure to lift Melbourne's lockdown, imposed in July. Businesses and the federal government argue it will delay Australia's economic rebound.
Australia's economy shrank 7% in the three months to the end of June, the biggest quarterly shrinkage since records began in 1959. The unemployment rate hit a 22-year high of 7.5% in July as businesses and borders closed to deal with the coronavirus.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has highlighted the fact that neighbouring New South Wales state has much looser restrictions despite regularly reporting higher daily case numbers.
Australia has so far recorded just over 27,500 COVID-19 infections, far fewer than many other developed countries.
Victoria, which accounts for more than 90% of the 905 deaths nationally, did not record any new deaths from the virus in the past 24 hours.
(Reporting by Colin Packham and Renju Jose; Editing by Peter Cooney and Stephen Coates)
This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.
By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States
BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.