Hong Kong will close all schools after the territory reported a spike in locally transmitted coronavirus infections, the city’s education minister said Friday.
The government has ordered all schools to close from Monday, bringing forward the start of the summer holidays, Kevin Yeung said, after the city recorded an “exponential growth” of locally transmitted cases in the past few days.
Authorities had taken the move “for the general good of the community as well as the health of the students,” Yeung said.
Those scheduled to take exams could still do so, he added, although they would have to wear masks and maintain social distancing.
Hong Kong’s public high schools were closed in January amid the early stages of the virus outbreak, and were gradually re-opened from May after the territory successfully curbed new infections.
But new clusters have emerged in the past two days, including at an elderly care home that reported at least 32 cases.
Australia cuts citizen returns as virus surge worsens
Australia will slash the number of returning citizens allowed into the country by half as it struggles to contain a worsening coronavirus outbreak in its second-largest city, officials announced Friday.
From Monday, only 4,000 Australian citizens or permanent residents will be allowed back into the country each day, down from around 8,000 currently, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said.
He said the move was needed to focus resources on countering the “very concerning” virus surge in Melbourne, where authorities reported a record 288 new cases of COVID-19 in the past 24 hours.
Some five million residents of greater Melbourne were ordered into a six-week, stay-at-home lockdown this week in an effort to curb the outbreak, which has rattled a nation that had successfully contained the epidemic in most areas weeks ago.
Italy bans entry from 13 nations
Italy has banned travelers from Brazil and 12 other countries it considers to pose a high risk of COVID-19 transmission.
The full list comprises Armenia, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Bosnia, Brazil, Chile, the Dominican Republic, Kuwait, North Macedonia, Moldova, Oman, Panama and Peru.
“Throughout the world, the pandemic has entered a more acute phase,” said Health Minister Roberto Speranza.
“We cannot throw away the sacrifices made by Italians in recent months,” he added.