Asia Today: 3,000 Australians in Melbourne in hard lockdown

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Australia’s Victoria state recorded 108 new coronavirus cases Saturday, forcing authorities to lock down nine public housing towers and three more Melbourne suburbs.

Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews said 3,000 people in the housing towers will go into “hard lockdown,” meaning “there will be no one allowed in ... and no one allowed out.”

Residents in the Flemington and Kensington housing units will receive deliveries of food and medicine, along with alcohol support.

The suburbs of Kensington, Flemington and North Melbourne will join 36 others in being subject to stage 3 coronavirus restrictions. Residents can only leave their homes for food or essential supplies, medical care or care-giving, exercise or for work or education.

After a recent flareup, Victoria has 509 active cases of COVID-19 with 25 people hospitalized, including three in intensive care.

In other developments in the Asia-Pacific region:

— India on Saturday recorded its highest single-day spike in new coronavirus cases, with 22,771 people testing positive in the last 24 hours. India has now confirmed 648,315 cases — fourth in the world behind the U.S., Brazil and Russia. It also has reported 18,655 deaths from the virus. Of the 442 deaths in the last 24 hours, 198 were in Maharashtra state.

— Tokyo confirmed 131 new cases of the coronavirus on Saturday, exceeding 100 for a third day in a row and hitting a new two-month high, prompting Gov. Yuriko Koike to urge residents to avoid nonessential out-of-town visits. The number of cases in the Japanese capital has been increasing since late June, triggering concerns of a resurgence in infections after a state of emergency was lifted in late May. Koike urged residents to avoid nonessential visits to neighboring prefectures, where new cases have also increased recently. Saturday’s new cases — the most since 154 were recorded on May 2 — followed 107 cases on Thursday and 124 on Friday. Tokyo now has 6,654 cases, including 325 deaths, about one-third of the national totals.

— South Korea has reported 63 new cases of the coronavirus, continuing a weekslong resurgence as new clusters pop up in various parts of the country. The figures bring national totals to 13,030 infections, including 283 deaths. Twenty-eight of the new cases were reported from the densely populated Seoul area, where about half of South Korea’s 51 million people live. Infections were also reported in major cities such as Busan, Daegu, Daejeon and Gwangju, where hundreds of schools have been shut and social restrictions elevated. Twenty-seven cases were linked to international arrivals. South Korea has enforced two-week quarantines on all overseas passengers since April. While health authorities are finding it increasingly difficult to trace contacts and predict infection routes, the Seoul government has so far resisted calls to reimposed stronger social distancing measures after easing them in mid-April, citing concerns about hurting the economy.

— China’s government reported three new confirmed coronavirus cases on Saturday and said the number of patients hospitalized for treatment declined to 402. One case was reported in Beijing. Cases that are believed to have come from abroad were confirmed in Shanghai and the southern province of Guangdong. That latest report raises the Chinese mainland’s total confirmed cases to 83,545 with 4,634 dead since the pandemic began.


Follow all of AP’s pandemic coverage at and

More From

  • Weekly poems elevate New Hampshire city's virus newsletters

    Valerie Rochon is eager to read her email every Monday morning, even when it makes her cry. Tammi Truax, the city’s poet laureate, has been contributing to the newsletters since early April, elevating the collection of public health updates and community resources with a layer of emotion and introspection. “I think she’s absolutely brilliant,” said Rochon, who leads the Portsmouth chamber of commerce.

  • Turkish currency hits all-time law amid market jitters

    Turkey’s currency dropped to an all-time low against the dollar on Thursday as the global recession created by the pandemic brings to the fore weaknesses in the country's economy. The Turkish lira fell to 7.2775 against the dollar before recovering slightly to around 7.24, compared with the previous record low of 7.26 in May. The drop is in part fueled by high inflation, a wide current account deficit and the government’s push for cheap credit to drive the economy that was already fragile before the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • Pope on Hiroshima: Possession of nuclear weapons "immoral"

    Pope Francis on Thursday marked the 75th anniversary of the nuclear attack on Hiroshima by calling for peace and repeating that not only the use of atomic weapons but their mere possession is immoral. Francis sent a message to organizers of the anniversary commemoration, recalling that he had prayed at the Hiroshima peace memorial during his 2019 visit to Japan and met with bombing survivors, known as hibakusha. “It has never been clearer that, for peace to flourish, all people need to lay down the weapons of war, and especially the most powerful and destructive of weapons: nuclear arms that can cripple and destroy whole cities, whole countries,” Francis said in the message.

  • England take 3 wickets as Pakistan limited to 187-5 at lunch

    England fought back to take three cheap wickets and limit Pakistan to 187-5 at lunch on day two of the first test at Old Trafford on Thursday. Seamers James Anderson, Stuart Broad and Chris Woakes probed incessantly and earned edges to share the wickets. Shan Masood was 77 not out, playing defense impressively in the longest innings in terms of balls by a Pakistan opener in England in 24 years.