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Coronavirus digest: Brisbane enters snap lockdown

Australia's third-most populous city enters one of the "strictest lockdowns" for three days. Elsewhere, Uganda relaxes rules imposed during a six-week lockdown. Follow DW for the latest.

Two women walk past a sign warning the public about social distancing amid the pandemic in Brisbane

Queensland recorded six new cases of the Delta strain

Australia's third-largest city of Brisbane and other surrounding parts in Queensland will enter a snap lockdown for three days from Saturday.

Millions of residents will be placed under stay-at-home orders for those days, state Deputy Premier Steven Miles said. They will only be allowed to leave their homes for essential reasons, including buying groceries and exercising.

The move was important to prevent an outbreak of the delta variant in the city and the area.

Watch video 01:35

COVID-19: Australia locks down due to delta variant outbreak

Six new cases were reported in the state after a school student tested positive for the delta variant last week. Other pupils and teachers infected have been isolated.

The curbs are among the "strictest lockdowns" imposed in the city.

Australia is currently battling to prevent a surge in coronavirus cases, driven by the delta variant. Sydney, the most populous city, and other surrounding areas have entered their fifth week of lockdown.

Sydney police officials have sought to maintain state orders as thousands took to the streets earlier in the week to protest strict lockdown rules.

Watch video 01:18

COVID-19: Australians demonstrate against lockdown measures

Sydney recorded 210 new local cases on Saturday, up from 170 infections a day earlier.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said 80% of the population would have to be vaccinated before authorities relaxed rules. Close to 14% of the population has been vaccinated.

Here are the major developments on coronavirus from around the world.

Americas

US President Joe Biden said new guidelines or restrictions would "in all probability" swing into effect if unvaccinated Americans persisted in their refusal to get their shots. Biden also said that nearly a million Americans had been vaccinated Thursday, and urged state governments to pay persons or take other measures to incentivize those who still refused. Biden did not mention any specifics.

There will be no nationwide mandate for Americans to get vaccinated, the director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said. Dr. Rochelle Walenksy was clarifying comments she made during a televised interview, saying she meant that portions of the federal government and private companies mandated vaccination for workers. 

Watch video 01:51

US: COVID vaccine skepticism remains high

Top US infectious disease expert Dr Anthony Fauci said he hoped regulators would begin granting full approval for COVID vaccines as soon as next month. That could alleviate some of the fears people have about the efficacy of vaccines. Currently, COVID vaccines have been approved under the emergency use authorization.

Florida reported 21,683 new cases of COVID, the state's highest one-day total since the start of the pandemic. Relatedly, cases jumped 50% this week, the state Health Department said. The state is responsible for 1 in 5 new infections nationally.

The Walt Disney Company mandated vaccination for all salaried and non-union hourly employees in the US, the company said in a statement. Walmart, which has become something of a bellwether for personal safety protocols during the pandemic in the country, announced it would require employees to wear face masks in stores as well.

El Salvador detected its first case of the delta variant of the coronavirus on Saturday, Health Minister Francisco Alabi said. The country's total number of cases stands at 86,620 and the total number of deaths at 2,613. 

Watch video 01:39

US government puts pressure on unvaccinated employees

Africa

Uganda will ease curbs imposed during a six-week COVID lockdown as cases fall in the country, President Yoweri Museveni said.

Public and private transport will resume from Monday, though schools and places of worship remain closed. Uganda has officially registered 93,927 COVID cases, of which 2690 have been fatal. 

Watch video 12:01

COVID-19 Special: Uganda’s second wave

Europe

Thousands took to the streets in France to protest against a new health pass, made compulsory for people wising to enter public venues starting on August 9. Over 200,000 people participated in the protests countrywide, with the police arresting 19 demonstrators.

The number of coronavirus cases in Germany increased by 2,400 and the death toll rose by 21. The total number of cases now stands at 3,769,165 and deaths at 91,658.

Some 5000 people took to the streets in the Swiss city of Lucerne to protest against COVID restrictions. One police officer was attacked and injured during the protest.

Asia

Thailand reported a daily record of 18,912 new coronavirus cases and a daily record of178 new deaths on Saturday. The country's total number of cases stands at 597,287 and deaths at 4,857.

China reported new cases in two parts of the country as more than a million people remain under lockdown in the greater Beijing area.

The cases have been recorded in the southeastern Fujian province and in the megacity of Chongqing. The outbreak, linked to the delta variant, is geographically the largest in months.

Pakistan imposed a lockdown in the southern Sindh province, which includes the commercial hub of Karachi and other centers, amid a surge in cases. The lockdown, effective today onwards, will last until August 8. The country reported 4,950 new cases and 65 deaths in the last 24 hours.

rm/mm (Reuters, AP)