Croats advised to wear masks when they head to the polls on Sunday
Some 3.85 million Croats are eligible to go to polls on Sunday to elect a new government at a time when coronavirus infections are on the rise and the economy is facing a sharp downturn, reports Reuters.
Polling stations will open at 05.00 GMT and close at 17.00 GMT when the exit polls will be released. The first preliminary official results are expected some two hours later.
The ruling centre-right Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) has had a slight advantage in most opinion polls over its main rival, the Social Democrats (SDP), but neither party is seen being able to form a cabinet on its own.
Croatia has reported a relatively small number of coronavirus infections – 3,000 Covid-19 cases and around 100 deaths recorded so far – but infections have accelerated in the past two weeks, with new daily cases currently peaking at around 80.
Voters have been strongly advised to wear masks and respect other hygiene measures at the polling stations.
Awatif Taha, a community worker who lives in the locked down Flemington public housing towers in Melbourne, has written about being abruptly confined to her apartment.
The police have been good tonight – very polite and very respectful. But it is still a shock to see so many of them.
We are worried now about how we will get food and medication. Some people were planning to shop tomorrow and have no food. We need to know how this will be handled. People need medication, bread, milk, things for babies. We don’t know yet how that will be done. I am happy for the government to take care of us. I just want to thank Australia.
Ghana’s president will self-isolate for 14 days
Ghana’s President Nana Akufo-Addo will isolate for 14 days on the advice of doctors after a person in his close circle tested positive for coronavirus, Reuters reports.
“He has, as at today, tested negative, but has elected to take this measure out of the abundance of caution,” a government statement said, adding that the president will continue to work during the period, in compliance with Covid-19 safety protocols.
The statement did not say if the close person was a staff or family member.
Ghana has recorded 19,388 coronavirus cases, one of the highest number of cases in sub-Saharan Africa, with 117 deaths.
The West African nation’s deputy trade and industry minister Carlos Kingsley Ahenkorah resigned on Friday for violating coronavirus self-isolation measures after he tested positive for the virus.
Abdirahman Ibrahim, a resident of one of the Melbourne tower blocks that has been placed under lockdown, has spoken to Australian Associated Press about the restrictions.
He learned of the lockdown while watching the 6pm news, and thinking he had until 11.59pm, ran downstairs to buy formula for his seven-month-old twins, only to be stopped by police.
Just two hours prior, Premier Daniel Andrews had announced a “hard” lockdown for nine public housing towers in North Melbourne and Flemington, effective immediately.
“What the Victorian government is doing is discriminating the people who don’t have a voice. We are not different from the rest of the Victorian community which is in lockdown now,” said Ibrahim, a father of five.
In other areas, people placed under lockdown have been allowed to leave the house for essentials, he added.
Ibrahim is a casual pick-packer in a warehouse in Melbourne’s west and is not paid if he doesn’t turn up. His household supplies are low as he and his wife do their weekly shop on Sundays.
The premier’s office told AAP urgent requests for food and supplies were being triaged via Victoria Police and health department officials on site and interpreters are assisting.
The government’s decision to lock down all nine towers was made because of “patterns of movement, friendship groups, family groups,” the premier said.
Hello and welcome to our live coverage of the coronavirus coverage with me, Rebecca Ratcliffe.
The World Health Organization reported a record increase in coronavirus infections globally on Saturday, which have risen by 212,326 in 24 hours. In total there are now 11, 185,627 cases worldwide, and 528,354 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.
In the US, president Donald Trump said the country is getting close to fighting its way out of this “terrible plague from China” during an Independence Day message, even as a surge in coronavirus cases was recorded. Texas reported 8,258 new cases in the 24 hours to Saturday, the highest single-day surge since the pandemic started, taking overall infections in the state to 191,790. Meanwhile, confirmed infections in Florida increased by a record 11,458 on Saturday. This is the second time in three days that the figure has increased by more than 10,000.
In Australia, a strict lockdown has begun across nine tower blocks in Melbourne, as authorities try to contain a rise in cases in the city. Hundreds of police swarmed the area blocking driveways and doorways and barring people from going out.
In other developments:
- The World Health Organization discontinued its trials of the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine and combination HIV drug lopinavir/ritonavir in hospitalised patients with Covid-19, after they failed to reduce mortality.
- Catalonia has put more than 200,000 people back into lockdown after more than 350 cases of coronavirus were detected.
- The Philippines recorded a record 7,027 new infections this week, pushing the overall tally in the country to 41,830.
- Brazil recorded 37,923 new confirmed coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours as well as 1,091 deaths.
- The 20-member cabinet in Africa’s last absolute kingdom of eSwatini has been ordered into isolation after one minister contracted coronavirus.
- In Israel, 1,008 people have been diagnosed with Covid-19 over the 24 hours to Saturday, raising the number of active cases in the country to 10,060.
- Jordan on Saturday began putting electronic bracelets on travellers who have arrived recently in the kingdom to ensure that they observe home-quarantine.
- The British prime minister, Boris Johnson, is likely to face further questions after his own father refused to refute whether he had acted improperly flouting UK travel advice to visit his villa in Greece.
If you have contributions for the coronavirus global live blog please do email me [email protected], or I’m @rebeccarat on Twitter.