Global COVID-19 roundup: Footvolley returns to Rio while Australia suspends parliament

Global COVID-19 roundup: Footvolley returns to Rio while Australia suspends parliament
Copyright AP
By Richard Good
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Meanwhile, US infections are close to hit the four million mark.


Footvolley has returned to the beaches of Rio de Janeiro for the first time in five months, as Brazilians dare to hope that the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic might be behind them.

The number of new cases has levelled off in recent days in the world’s second worst-hit country, but the World Health Organisation (WHO) is warning there’s no room for complacency.

"There is absolutely no guarantee that that will go down by itself,” said WHO health emergencies chief Michael Ryan. “We have seen this in other countries. There is a plateau. There is an opportunity here now for Brazil to push the disease down, to suppress the transmission of the virus, to take control."

In the US, committed shoppers can still be seen on the streets of Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, but elsewhere in California, teams of military doctors are being deployed to make up for hospital staff shortages as the West coast state suffers a new surge of cases.

Confirmed infections in the United States are fast now approaching the 4 million mark.

In Australia's New South Wales lengthy queues have been forming outside testing centres.

The country was largely spared by the first coronavirus wave in Spring, but new cases have been rising rapidly for two weeks now and the government’s been forced to cancel an upcoming session of parliament to deal with the crisis.

Meanwhile, Australian doctors say they’ve created a new blood test for coronavirus that generates results in just twenty minutes.

Tehran’s airport has reopened for international flights despite the Iranian government warning that infections are surging. Authorities say they cannot afford to impose a lockdown because of the economic damage it would cause.

The secretary-general of the United Nations, António Guterres, on Saturday said that the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the inadequacies of the current world order as he called for a new model of global governance to tackle the problem of inequality.

"COVID-19 has been likened to an x-ray revealing fractures in the fragile skeleton of the societies we have built," he said.

"It is exposing fallacies and falsehoods everywhere. The lie that free markets can deliver healthcare for all. The fiction that unpaid care work is not working. The delusion that we live in a post-racist world. The myth that we are all in the same boat. Because while we are all floating on the same sea, it is clear that some are in superyachts while others are clinging to drifting debris".

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