China punishes 30 officials for failing to curb outbreak


BEIJING—More than 30 Chinese officials have been fired or received other punishments over accusations they failed to respond properly to the latest surge of the coronavirus in the country.

Among those fired were a vice mayor, heads of city districts and health commissions, and staff in hospital management, airport and tourism departments.

China’s National Health Commission on Monday announced 94 new cases of domestic transmission had been recorded over the previous 24 hours.

The latest outbreak is linked to the airport in the eastern city of Nanjing. The highly contagious Delta variant spread among airport workers and has since spread from tropical Hainan province in the south to Inner Mongolia in the far north.

The outbreak has prompted renewed travel restrictions, community lockdowns and the sealing off of the entire city of Zhangjiajie, with a population of 1.5 million.

Key developments:

Victoria lifts lockdown

MELBOURNE, Australia—Victoria state in Australia is lifting its pandemic lockdown beginning Tuesday, except in the city of Melbourne.

Australia’s second-most populous state imposed a seven-day lockdown last Thursday due to concerns about the spread of the Delta variant of the coronavirus.

But Victoria Premier Daniel Andrew says all the cases detected in Victoria in recent days have been in Melbourne, with 11 more reported there Monday. So the lockdown will end in the rest of the state at the end of Monday.

Neighboring New South Wales state on Monday reported 283 new coronavirus infections and one Covid-19 death in the latest 24-hour period. The death toll from the latest outbreak that was first detected in Sydney on June 16 is now 29.

Sydney has been in lockdown since June 26 and will remain under tight pandemic restrictions until at least August 28.

Malaysia eases restrictions for fully vaccinated citizens

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia—Malaysia says it will ease lockdown restrictions for people who are fully vaccinated as the government seeks to allay public anger against perceived mismanagement of the pandemic.

Daily infections breached 20,000 for the first time Thursday despite a lockdown since June 1. Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin said Sunday the government has decided to provide some leeway for those who have been fully vaccinated as “many are faced with pandemic fatigue.”

From Tuesday, spouses can cross districts to meet each other and parents whose children are studying in other states.

Muhyiddin says local tourism, non-contact outdoor sports and exercise as well as dine-in at eateries will also be allowed in at least eight states and areas where cases have dipped.

So far, 35 percent of the country’s population has been fully vaccinated.

Saudi gives cash to family of health workers

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia—Saudi Arabia says it is giving the equivalent of $133,000 to the family of each medical worker who died fighting the coronavirus pandemic in the kingdom.

An announcement made Sunday said the financial award will apply to all health care workers who died as a result of the virus, including non-Saudis and personnel who worked in private sector settings.

The Health Ministry has not said publicly how many of the kingdom’s 8,320 pandemic deaths involved health workers.

Saudi Arabia has a population of 30 million and has administered nearly 30 million vaccine doses. The kingdom currently reported fewer than 1,000 new cases a day.

Arizona Covid infections rise

PHOENIX—Arizona health officials reported more than 2,000 additional Covid-19 cases for the fifth consecutive day Sunday as virus-related hospitalizations continued to rise.

The state’s coronavirus dashboard reported 2,639 additional cases and 12 deaths, increasing the pandemic totals to 946,054 cases and 18,388 known deaths.

Health officials had reported 2,653 cases Saturday with 34 deaths.

The seven-day rolling average of daily new cases nearly doubled over the past two weeks from 1,145.1 on July 22 to 2,227.6 on Thursday, according to Johns

Hopkins University data

The rolling average of daily deaths more than doubled during the same period, rising from 6.3 to 16.9.

Tunisia starts largest vaccine campaign

TUNIS, Tunisia—Tunisia has launched its largest coronavirus vaccination campaign as the country faces a surge of cases.

Authorities aim to vaccinate over 1 million of people aged 40 and over in only one day, compared with 30,000 to 60,000 a day previously.

In a televised address Sunday, President Kaïs Saied called on people to get the shot “so that life gets back to normal in Tunisia.”

Authorities provided free buses for people going to vaccination centers, many set up in schools.

Tunisia has a population of 12 million, and it has reported more deaths per capita in the pandemic than any African country. More than 20,000 Tunisians have died from Covid-19. So far 9 percent of the population has been fully vaccinated. AP

Image courtesy of Chinatopix via AP

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