Countries around the world are reopening, but some have seen spikes in new cases leading to more restrictions in certain cities.
COVID-19 still proves to be a challenge as countries around the world reopen after their lockdowns.
As the global number of infections nears 17 million and certain regions have reported a rise in new cases, some cities have had to reimpose strict safe distancing measures with the possibility of a return to lockdowns.
Here are four cities that are tightening their restrictions again to fight the virus.
Hong Kong has seen a daily increase of more than a hundred new COVID-19 cases over the past eight days, prompting the implementation of their most stringent distancing measures thus far on Jul 29.
Dining out has been banned, and gatherings have been limited to two people, down from the previous four. Public gatherings were previously limited to 50 people at the start of the month.
In a statement on Tuesday night, Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said: “We are on the verge of a large-scale community outbreak, which may lead to a collapse of our hospital system and cost lives, especially of the elderly.
“In order to protect our loved ones, our healthcare staff and Hong Kong, I appeal to you to follow strictly the social distancing measures and stay at home as far as possible.”
Vietnam is in the midst of evacuating 80,000 visitors from tourist hotspot Danang after three residents tested positive for COVID-19 on Jul 25.
These are the first confirmed cases of community transmission in the country since April.
The city has since been closed to visitors, with all flights, trains and buses to and from Danang suspended for 15 days from Jul 28.
Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc announced the re-implementation of social distancing and closure of all non-essential services in Danang on Monday, but stated he was not ordering a total lockdown of the city.
On Jul 30, Vietnam’s health ministry reported eight new cases in Danang, and one in Hanoi. This brings the total number of Vietnamese cities and provinces with new cases to six, all reported within the span of six days.
Over in Hanoi, large gatherings have been banned, and bars and pubs have been ordered to close as over 21,000 people returning from Danang will be closely monitored and have to undergo rapid testing.
Melbourne’s second lockdown this year did not seem to slow down the spike in new cases, with a record 723 new cases reported on Jul 30. The second-most populated city in Australia has been on a six-week lockdown since Jul 9.
People in metropolitan Melbourne and the Mitchell Shire are only allowed to leave home to shop for food and essential items, provide care, exercise, and work or study – if they cannot do so from home.
Mask-wearing is now compulsory for the entire state of Victoria, the first time it is included in Australia’s COVID-19 response.
Councils drastic action to enforce lockdown laws
A Melbourne council is taking drastic action to enforce lockdown laws. It's filling skate parks with rocks and sand to stop young people ignoring bans on using the facilities. www.7NEWS.com.au #7NEWSPosted by 7NEWS Melbourne on Tuesday, 28 July 2020
Sydney has also been declared a coronavirus hot spot after two 19-year-old women who returned from Melbourne did not isolate themselves for 14 days.
They eventually tested positive for COVID-19, causing the state of Queensland to close its borders to all visitors from Sydney from Aug 1.
A nighttime curfew has been imposed in the major business hub and sea port city of Antwerp in Belgium since 27 Jul. Citizens are to remain home from 11.30pm to 6am, and wearing a face mask in public is mandatory for those who are 12 years old or above.
In order to avoid another nationwide lockdown, Prime Minister Sophie Wilmes announced more drastic nationwide social distancing measures on Jul 27.
This includes reducing the number of people residents are allowed to meet, from 15 different people per week, to five of the same people over the next four weeks. People have also been asked to work from home where possible.
Although much of the world is opening up and trying to reach a new normal, we cannot take for granted the importance of safe distancing measures.
As many cities around the world are experiencing, a second or even third wave of infections is a threat we need to work hard to avoid.
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