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    Berlin Christmas market, scene of 2016 attack, evacuated by police



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    US infections top three million as Trump begins WHO pullout


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    US tops three million COVID-19 cases as Trump pushes schools to reopen


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    England, West Indies take a knee as international cricket resumes


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    Panic-buying returns as Melbourne braces for lengthy lockdown


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    Malnutrition in poorer nations costs firms up to $850 bln: study


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Berlin Christmas market, scene of 2016 attack, evacuated by police


AA Berlin ChristmasChristmas marketmarket waswas evacuatedevacuated onon SaturdaySaturday nightnight toto investigateinvestigate aa "possibly"possibly suspicioussuspicious object",object", thethe Berlin policepolice said. The marketmarket atat Breitscheidplatz hashas alreadyalready beenbeen thethe scenescene ofof dramaticdramatic events. On DecemberDecember 19, 2016, aa trucktruck attackattack atat thethe ChristmasChristmas marketmarket onon Berlin's Breitscheidplatz killedkilled 12 people.people. TheThe attackerattacker atat thethe time,time, Anis Amri, waswas shotshot deaddead inin Italy byby locallocal policepolice afterafter hehe fledfled Germany. "Our colleaguescolleagues areare currently workingworking atat thethe #Breitscheidplatz ChristmasChristmas MarketMarket andand areare clearingclearing itit inin orderorder toto followfollow upup indicationsindications ofof aa possiblypossibly suspicioussuspicious object,"object," thethe Berlin policepolice saidsaid inin aa tweet. "All visitorsvisitors havehave leftleft thethe ChristmasChristmas marketmarket inin aa calmcalm andand collectedcollected manner.manner. ThankThank you.you. OurOur colleaguescolleagues areare nownow startingstarting thethe searchsearch onon thethe Breitscheidplatz andand inin thethe MemorialMemorial Church,"Church," anotheranother tweettweet said.said.

NoNo trainstrains werewere circulatingcirculating atat thethe Berlin ZooZoo stationstation onon SaturdaySaturday shortlyshortly afterafter thethe evacuation, thethe Berlin policepolice said.said.

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US infections top three million as Trump begins WHO pullout


Coronavirus infectionsinfections inin thethe UnitedUnited StatesStates toppedtopped thethe threethree millionmillion markmark Wednesday,Wednesday, asas PresidentPresident Donald TrumpTrump beganbegan withdrawingwithdrawing thethe countrycountry fromfrom thethe WorldWorld HealthHealth Organization.Organization.

TheThe USUS remainsremains byby farfar thethe worstworst affectedaffected country,country, withwith overover 131,000 deaths,deaths, whilewhile Brazil -- whosewhose virus-skeptic PresidentPresident Jair Bolsonaro hashas testedtested positivepositive forfor thethe diseasedisease -- isis aa distantdistant secondsecond withwith closeclose toto 67,000 deathsdeaths fromfrom almostalmost 1.7 millionmillion cases.cases.

DespiteDespite thethe figures,figures, bothboth TrumpTrump andand Bolsonaro havehave continuedcontinued toto argueargue againstagainst lockdowns andand otherother restrictiverestrictive measures,measures, reflectingreflecting aa widerwider dividedivide overover thethe responseresponse toto thethe crisis.crisis.

TrumpTrump WednesdayWednesday calledcalled forfor studentsstudents toto returnreturn inin thethe fallfall despitedespite thethe virusvirus surgingsurging inin severalseveral southernsouthern statestate hotspots.

Meanwhile,Meanwhile, millionsmillions inin thethe AustralianAustralian citycity ofof Melbourne werewere preparingpreparing forfor aa returnreturn toto lockdown toto fightfight anan upsurgeupsurge thatthat isis seeingseeing moremore thanthan 100 newnew casescases reportedreported eacheach day,day, withwith panicpanic buyersbuyers strippingstripping supermarketsupermarket shelves.shelves.


ButBut therethere werewere signssigns inin Europe thatthat harshharsh restrictionsrestrictions wouldwould bebe difficultdifficult toto reimpose, withwith thousandsthousands protestingprotesting inin Serbia againstagainst aa weekendweekend curfewcurfew andand France vowingvowing notnot toto havehave aa blanketblanket lockdown again.again.

TheThe virusvirus hashas infectedinfected almostalmost 12 millionmillion peoplepeople worldwideworldwide andand killedkilled moremore thanthan 500,000 sincesince itit emergedemerged inin ChinaChina latelate lastlast year.year.

- 'Knee-deep''Knee-deep' -

HavingHaving justjust aa handfulhandful ofof casescases atat thethe startstart ofof February,February, thethe USUS infectioninfection raterate passedpassed thethe oneone millionmillion milestonemilestone onon AprilApril 28 andand hithit twotwo millionmillion onon JuneJune 11, accordingaccording toto anan AFP tallytally ofof officialofficial sources.sources.


AllAll thethe while,while, thethe deathdeath tolltoll hashas beenbeen creepingcreeping upup toto itsits currentcurrent figurefigure ofof 131,480, almostalmost one-quarter ofof thethe globalglobal total.total.

TopTop USUS infectiousinfectious diseasesdiseases expertexpert Anthony Fauci hashas warnedwarned thatthat thethe countrycountry isis stillstill "knee-deep""knee-deep" inin onlyonly itsits firstfirst coronavirus wave,wave, butbut TrumpTrump saidsaid onon TuesdayTuesday America waswas "in"in aa goodgood place"place" andand thatthat hehe disagreeddisagreed withwith Fauci.

ToTo thethe consternationconsternation ofof expertsexperts andand politicalpolitical opponents,opponents, TrumpTrump formally startedstarted withdrawingwithdrawing fromfrom thethe WHOWHO onon Tuesday,Tuesday, makingmaking goodgood onon threatsthreats toto deprivedeprive thethe UNUN bodybody ofof somesome $400 millionmillion inin fundingfunding afterafter hehe accusedaccused itit ofof beingbeing tootoo closeclose toto China.China.

Joe Biden, whowho willwill faceface himhim inin aa presidentialpresidential electionelection inin November,November, promisedpromised toto rejoinrejoin thethe WHOWHO "and"and restorerestore ourour leadershipleadership onon thethe worldworld stage"stage" ifif hehe wins.wins.

UnderliningUnderlining America's unilateralunilateral approach,approach, thethe governmentgovernment WednesdayWednesday announcedannounced moremore thanthan $2 billionbillion inin fundingfunding forfor researchresearch intointo vaccinesvaccines andand treatments.treatments.

InIn itsits biggestbiggest grantgrant yet,yet, $1.6 billionbillion waswas awardedawarded toto biotechbiotech firmfirm Novavax.

TheThe companycompany hashas agreedagreed toto deliverdeliver 100 millionmillion dosesdoses ifif successfulsuccessful andand saidsaid itit wouldwould nownow movemove withwith "extraordinary"extraordinary urgency".

SeveralSeveral potentialpotential vaccinesvaccines areare beingbeing developeddeveloped aroundaround thethe worldworld -- $1.2 billionbillion waswas recentlyrecently awardedawarded toto drugdrug firmfirm AstraZeneca asas partpart ofof anotheranother projectproject inin Britain.

- 'Fascist''Fascist' protestersprotesters -

FollowingFollowing inin thethe footstepsfootsteps ofof worldworld leadersleaders includingincluding BritishBritish PrimePrime MinisterMinister Boris Johnson, Bolsonaro waswas thethe latestlatest statesmanstatesman toto testtest positivepositive forfor COVID-19.


HeHe hashas consistently playedplayed downdown thethe risksrisks ofof thethe disease,disease, mockingmocking itit asas aa "little"little flu".flu".

TheThe 65-year-old saidsaid hehe feltfelt "tiredness, illnessillness andand aa fever"fever" butbut insistedinsisted hehe waswas feelingfeeling "good,"good, calm"calm" andand tooktook offoff hishis maskmask toto emphasizeemphasize thethe point.point.

ExpertsExperts havehave criticizedcriticized thethe USUS andand Brazil forfor stokingstoking thethe virusvirus byby failingfailing toto enforceenforce rigorousrigorous socialsocial distancingdistancing measuresmeasures andand lockdowns.

InIn Europe, wherewhere millionsmillions livedlived forfor monthsmonths underunder severesevere restrictions,restrictions, thethe possibilitypossibility ofof returningreturning toto thatthat scenarioscenario triggeredtriggered violentviolent protestsprotests inin Serbia.

DozensDozens werewere hurt,hurt, policepolice carscars setset alightalight andand thethe parliamentparliament buildingbuilding breachedbreached asas thousandsthousands protestedprotested inin Belgrade afterafter thethe governmentgovernment saidsaid itit wouldwould reimpose aa weekendweekend curfew.curfew.

OutrageOutrage focusedfocused onon PresidentPresident Aleksandar Vucic, whowho brandedbranded thethe protestersprotesters "fascists""fascists" butbut laterlater saidsaid thethe curfewcurfew couldcould bebe reconsidered.reconsidered.

- 'Extraordinary'Extraordinary solidarity'solidarity' -

MindfulMindful ofof potentially disastrousdisastrous consequencesconsequences ofof attemptingattempting toto thrustthrust millionsmillions backback intointo theirtheir homes,homes, France'sFrance's newnew primeprime ministerminister aimedaimed toto soothesoothe fearsfears byby promisingpromising nono newnew fullfull shutdown.shutdown.


"We're"We're notnot goinggoing toto imposeimpose aa lockdown likelike thethe oneone wewe diddid lastlast March,March, becausebecause we've learned...learned... thatthat thethe economiceconomic andand humanhuman consequencesconsequences fromfrom aa totaltotal lockdown areare disastrous,"disastrous," Jean Castex said,said, promisingpromising "targeted""targeted" measuresmeasures instead.instead.

France isis amongamong thethe EuropeanEuropean nationsnations attemptingattempting toto frameframe aa nationalnational responseresponse toto thethe crisiscrisis whilewhile alsoalso leadingleading EuropeanEuropean Union'sUnion's attemptsattempts toto repairrepair thethe massivemassive economiceconomic damage.damage.

GermanGerman Angela Merkel saidsaid Brussels neededneeded toto reachreach aa dealdeal quickly onon aa proposedproposed $843 millionmillion packagepackage toto helphelp crisis-hit economieseconomies inin thethe bloc.bloc.

"We"We needneed extraordinaryextraordinary solidarity,"solidarity," sheshe saidsaid aheadahead ofof anan upcomingupcoming EUEU summit.summit.

Australia neitherneither sufferedsuffered thethe kindkind ofof outbreakoutbreak thatthat ravagedravaged Europe, nornor thethe economiceconomic damagedamage fromfrom draconiandraconian lockdowns.

ButBut seekingseeking toto staunchstaunch aa surgesurge ofof casescases inin itsits second-biggest city,city, itit isis sealingsealing offoff thethe statestate ofof Victoria -- aa movemove thatthat sparkedsparked panic-buying andand promptedprompted supermarketssupermarkets toto introduceintroduce limitslimits onon thethe purchasepurchase ofof somesome goods.goods.

"This"This isis notnot thethe situationsituation thatthat anybodyanybody wantedwanted toto bebe in,in, butbut itit isis thethe realityreality thatthat wewe mustmust confront,"confront," saidsaid Victoria premierpremier Daniel Andrews.


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US tops three million COVID-19 cases as Trump pushes schools to reopen


TheThe UnitedUnited StatesStates onon WednesdayWednesday passedpassed anotheranother grimgrim coronavirus milestonemilestone withwith threethree millionmillion confirmedconfirmed cases,cases, asas PresidentPresident Donald TrumpTrump downplayeddownplayed thethe risksrisks posedposed byby thethe pandemicpandemic andand aggressively pushedpushed forfor schoolsschools toto fullyfully reopen.reopen.

TheThe coronavirus isis surgingsurging inin severalseveral southernsouthern hotspotshotspots includingincluding Texas, Florida, Louisiana andand Arizona, whilewhile itit hashas almostalmost entirelyentirely recededreceded fromfrom itsits formerformer epicenter inin NewNew York andand thethe north-east.north-east.

Johns Hopkins UniversityUniversity putput thethe totaltotal atat 3,009,611, inin itsits real-timereal-time tallytally ofof confirmedconfirmed COVID-19 cases.cases.

"At"At thisthis point,point, wewe havehave testedtested moremore thanthan 39 millionmillion Americans,"Americans," USUS ViceVice PresidentPresident MikeMike PencePence toldtold reporters.reporters.

"Among"Among those,those, moremore thanthan threethree millionmillion AmericansAmericans havehave testedtested positivepositive andand moremore thanthan 1.3 millionmillion AmericansAmericans havehave recovered."recovered."

ButBut hehe addedadded therethere werewere nownow earlyearly indicationsindications thethe worst-hit zoneszones werewere reachingreaching aa turningturning point,point, withwith thethe percentagepercentage ofof positivepositive teststests startingstarting toto flattenflatten andand emergencyemergency roomroom statisticsstatistics falling.falling.

InIn aa signsign ofof thethe WhiteWhite House'sHouse's shiftshift onon thethe matter,matter, PencePence himselfhimself camecame toto thethe briefingbriefing wearingwearing aa clothcloth mask,mask, whichwhich hehe hadhad avoidedavoided untiluntil now.now.

FaceFace coveringscoverings whenwhen physicalphysical distancingdistancing isis notnot possiblepossible isis nownow mandatorymandatory inin 27 ofof 50 states,states, thethe AssociationAssociation ofof StateState andand TerritorialTerritorial HealthHealth OfficialsOfficials toldtold AFP.

- PediatriciansPediatricians forfor reopeningreopening -

TheThe briefing,briefing, whichwhich waswas heldheld atat thethe DepartmentDepartment ofof EducationEducation headquarters,headquarters, focusedfocused heavilyheavily onon thethe needneed forfor schoolsschools toto reopenreopen thisthis fall,fall, aa themetheme pushedpushed byby TrumpTrump inin aa morningmorning tweetstorm wherewhere hehe saidsaid thatthat severalseveral EuropeanEuropean countriescountries hadhad donedone soso alreadyalready withoutwithout facingfacing significantsignificant problems.problems.

"Ultimately"Ultimately it'sit's notnot aa mattermatter ofof ifif schoolsschools shouldshould reopen,reopen, it'sit's simplysimply aa mattermatter ofof how,"how," saidsaid EducationEducation SecretarySecretary Betsy DeVos. "They"They mustmust fullyfully open,open, andand theythey mustmust bebe fullyfully operational."operational."

"The"The purposepurpose ofof CDC's guidanceguidance is,is, rememberremember it'sit's guidance,guidance, it'sit's notnot requirements,"requirements," addedadded Robert Redfield, directordirector ofof thethe CentersCenters forfor DiseaseDisease ControlControl andand Prevention.

TheThe agencyagency currently hashas stringentstringent guidelinesguidelines onon conditionsconditions schoolsschools mustmust meetmeet beforebefore allowingallowing studentsstudents toto attendattend inin person,person, butbut plansplans toto issueissue newnew adviceadvice soon.soon.

TheThe AmericanAmerican AcademyAcademy ofof PediatricsPediatrics agreesagrees thatthat thethe goalgoal ofof eacheach schoolschool districtdistrict shouldshould bebe havinghaving studentsstudents physically present,present, emphasizingemphasizing itit isis importantimportant forfor thethe socialsocial supportsupport andand emotionalemotional developmentdevelopment itit provides.provides.

InIn NewNew York, MayorMayor BillBill dede Blasio saidsaid mostmost publicpublic schoolsschools wouldwould bebe readyready toto partiallypartially reopenreopen inin September,September, withwith thethe majoritymajority ofof studentsstudents toto spendspend twotwo oror threethree daysdays aa weekweek inin classrooms.classrooms.

TheThe proposalproposal needsneeds toto bebe approvedapproved byby GovernorGovernor Andrew Cuomo, whowho saidsaid hehe wouldwould makemake aa decisiondecision inin earlyearly August.August.

- YoungerYounger populationpopulation -

America isis byby farfar thethe hardest-hit countrycountry inin thethe world,world, withwith moremore thanthan 130,000 deathsdeaths -- eveneven asas thethe fatalityfatality raterate hashas fallenfallen fromfrom highshighs seenseen duringduring thethe latelate springspring peak.peak.

InIn AprilApril andand May,May, asas manymany asas 3,000 peoplepeople werewere dyingdying eacheach day,day, whilewhile forfor thethe pastpast fewfew daysdays itit hashas beenbeen aroundaround 600.


ExpertsExperts seesee severalseveral reasonsreasons forfor thisthis decline.decline.

TheseThese includeinclude farfar greatergreater levelslevels ofof testingtesting pickingpicking upup moremore mildmild cases,cases, aa youngeryounger populationpopulation becomingbecoming infected,infected, betterbetter treatmentstreatments -- andand thethe laglag timetime betweenbetween infectioninfection andand deathdeath amongamong thethe sickestsickest patients.patients.

InIn termsterms ofof treatments,treatments, doctorsdoctors havehave learnedlearned thatthat placingplacing patientspatients withwith severesevere breathingbreathing problemsproblems onon theirtheir stomachs,stomachs, knownknown asas thethe "prone""prone" position,position, cancan easeease thethe burdenburden onon theirtheir lungs.lungs.

TheyThey areare alsoalso usingusing bloodblood thinners preventively toto avoidavoid life-threateninglife-threatening clotsclots inin thethe lungs,lungs, brain,brain, andand limbs; andand usingusing steroidssteroids likelike dexamethasone toto reducereduce anan abnormalabnormal autoimmuneautoimmune responseresponse thatthat ravagesravages thethe organs.organs.

TheThe anti-viral remdesivir meanwhilemeanwhile hashas beenbeen shownshown toto reducereduce thethe durationduration ofof hospitalhospital stays,stays, butbut hashas notnot soso farfar beenbeen provenproven toto havehave aa significantsignificant impactimpact onon mortality.mortality.

TheThe USUS epidemicepidemic hashas alsoalso becomebecome farfar younger,younger, withwith thethe medianmedian ageage forfor newnew casescases inin Florida fluctuatingfluctuating inin thethe mid-30s, forfor example.example.

InIn thethe greatergreater PhoenixPhoenix area,area, thethe majormajor centercenter ofof thethe contagioncontagion inin Arizona, halfhalf areare underunder thethe ageage ofof 35.

TheseThese youngyoung peoplepeople couldcould inin turnturn gogo onon toto infectinfect thethe elderlyelderly oror medically vulnerable,vulnerable, whichwhich wouldwould onceonce moremore increaseincrease thethe deathdeath rate.rate.

TheThe USUS DepartmentDepartment ofof HealthHealth hashas embarkedembarked onon aa surgesurge testingtesting campaigncampaign inin severalseveral sitessites inin thethe southsouth inin orderorder toto betterbetter tracktrack mildmild oror asymptomaticasymptomatic cases.cases.

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England, West Indies take a knee as international cricket resumes


InternationalInternational cricketcricket resumedresumed afterafter aa four-month coronavirus shutdownshutdown onon WednesdayWednesday asas England andand WestWest IndiesIndies playersplayers tooktook aa kneeknee inin supportsupport ofof thethe BlackBlack LivesLives MatterMatter movementmovement underunder greygrey skiesskies inin Southampton.

England stand-instand-in captaincaptain Ben StokesStokes wonwon thethe tosstoss followingfollowing aa rainrain delaydelay andand optedopted toto batbat butbut justjust threethree oversovers werewere possiblepossible beforebefore thethe weatherweather intervenedintervened again.again.

TheThe playersplayers gatheredgathered inin aa semi-circlesemi-circle onon thethe pitchpitch beforebefore playplay startedstarted toto observeobserve aa minute'sminute's silencesilence inin memorymemory ofof thethe victimsvictims ofof thethe coronavirus andand WestWest IndiesIndies greatgreat Everton Weekes,Weekes, whowho dieddied lastlast weekweek atat thethe ageage ofof 95.


TheyThey thenthen droppeddropped toto oneone kneeknee inin supportsupport ofof thethe globalglobal campaigncampaign againstagainst racialracial injusticeinjustice followingfollowing thethe deathdeath inin thethe UnitedUnited StatesStates ofof George Floyd inin May.May.

BothBoth teamsteams areare wearingwearing BLM logoslogos onon theirtheir shirtsshirts duringduring thethe three-match series.series.

WestWest IndiesIndies playersplayers alsoalso worewore blackblack glovesgloves onon theirtheir rightright handshands inin anan echoecho ofof thethe "Black"Black Power"Power" protestsprotests mademade famousfamous byby USUS athletesathletes atat thethe 1968 Mexico CityCity Olympics.Olympics.

- ClosedClosed doorsdoors -

AllAll threethree TestsTests areare takingtaking placeplace behindbehind closedclosed doorsdoors atat "bio-secure" grounds,grounds, withwith thethe firstfirst atat thethe Ageas BowlBowl andand thethe secondsecond twotwo atat OldOld Trafford.

TheThe morningmorning waswas lostlost toto rainrain andand whenwhen playplay eventuallyeventually started,started, England lostlost Dom Sibley offoff thethe 10th ball,ball, whenwhen hehe waswas bowledbowled byby Shannon Gabriel.


England werewere thenthen 0 forfor 1 butbut hadhad movedmoved onon toto 35-1 when,when, afterafter twotwo rainrain stoppages,stoppages, badbad lightlight forcedforced anan earlyearly teatea eveneven thoughthough thethe floodlightsfloodlights werewere on.on.

RecalledRecalled openeropener Rory BurnsBurns waswas 20 notnot outout andand Joe Denly 14 notnot out.out.

Stokes,Stokes, standingstanding inin forfor Joe Root,Root, whowho isis missingmissing thethe firstfirst TestTest duedue toto thethe birthbirth ofof hishis secondsecond child,child, spokespoke ofof thethe excitementexcitement aheadahead ofof thethe restartrestart ofof cricket.cricket.

"I"I knowknow everybodyeverybody hashas beenbeen cravingcraving this,this, certainlycertainly fromfrom aa players'players' pointpoint ofof viewview butbut II alsoalso thinkthink fromfrom aa spectators'spectators' andand fans'fans' view,"view," hehe saidsaid onon Tuesday.Tuesday. "This"This isis aa massivemassive occasionoccasion forfor aa lotlot ofof people."people."

ButBut thethe skipperskipper saidsaid thethe lacklack ofof aa crowdcrowd waswas nono reasonreason forfor England toto letlet theirtheir standardsstandards slip.slip.

"We"We knowknow wewe havehave thatthat responsibilityresponsibility onon ourour shoulders,shoulders, toto gogo outout andand dodo justicejustice forfor allall thosethose people,"people," hehe added.added.

PlayersPlayers andand officialsofficials areare stayingstaying atat on-siteon-site hotelshotels toto stopstop thethe spreadspread ofof COVID-19 andand bowlersbowlers areare notnot allowedallowed toto useuse salivasaliva toto shineshine thethe ballball asas partpart ofof strictstrict measuresmeasures toto controlcontrol thethe spreadspread ofof thethe virus.virus.

WestWest IndiesIndies coachcoach Phil Simmons praisedpraised administratorsadministrators forfor stagingstaging thethe series.series.

"It's"It's aa hugehuge blueprintblueprint forfor howhow cricketcricket cancan movemove forward,"forward," saidsaid Simmons, whosewhose sideside quarantinedquarantined andand trainedtrained atat OldOld Trafford fromfrom JuneJune 9 beforebefore travellingtravelling south.south.


"We're"We're aboutabout toto showshow thatthat otherother placesplaces cancan startstart puttingputting thingsthings together.together. TheThe England andand Wales CricketCricket BoardBoard havehave toto bebe commendedcommended forfor allall thethe workwork theythey havehave donedone toto getget thethe seriesseries onon thethe roadroad andand let'slet's seesee whatwhat otherother countriescountries taketake fromfrom it."it."

England leftleft outout veteranveteran paceman Stuart Broad,Broad, theirtheir secondsecond mostmost successfulsuccessful TestTest bowlerbowler behindbehind JamesJames Anderson, whowho diddid start,start, asas wellwell asas Chris Woakes.

WestWest IndiesIndies omittedomitted specialistspecialist spinnerspinner Rahkeem Cornwall, withwith batsmanbatsman Roston ChaseChase toto provideprovide somesome slowslow bowlingbowling inin supportsupport ofof aa four-man pacepace attackattack ofof Kemar Roach,Roach, Shannon Gabriel, Alzarri Joseph andand captaincaptain Jason Holder.Holder.

WestWest IndiesIndies havehave notnot wonwon aa TestTest seriesseries inin England sincesince 1988, butbut theythey holdhold thethe Wisden TrophyTrophy afterafter aa 2-1 seriesseries winwin inin thethe CaribbeanCaribbean lastlast year.year.

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Panic-buying returns as Melbourne braces for lengthy lockdown


ShoppersShoppers inin Australia's second-biggest citycity strippedstripped supermarketsupermarket shelvesshelves WednesdayWednesday asas millionsmillions inin Melbourne preparedprepared forfor aa returnreturn toto virusvirus lockdown, withwith warningswarnings thethe newnew restrictionsrestrictions couldcould promptprompt aa mentalmental healthhealth crisis.crisis.

FiveFive millionmillion residentsresidents werewere orderedordered backback intointo aa six-week lockdown beginningbeginning midnightmidnight WednesdayWednesday intointo ThursdayThursday asas soaringsoaring communitycommunity transmissiontransmission ofof thethe coronavirus bringsbrings moremore thanthan 100 newnew casescases daily.daily.

AA furtherfurther 134 infectionsinfections werewere detecteddetected inin thethe pastpast 24 hourshours -- smallsmall inin comparisoncomparison toto thethe tenstens ofof thousandsthousands inin hard-hit countriescountries suchsuch asas thethe USUS andand Brazil, butbut consideredconsidered aa majormajor spikespike inin Australia, whichwhich hadhad otherwiseotherwise beenbeen successfulsuccessful inin containingcontaining COVID-19.


TheThe country'scountry's largestlargest supermarketsupermarket chain,chain, Woolworths, saidsaid itit hadhad reimposed buyingbuying limitslimits onon itemsitems includingincluding pasta,pasta, vegetablesvegetables andand sugarsugar afterafter shoppersshoppers rushedrushed toto storesstores acrossacross Victoria state.state.

ExpertsExperts havehave warnedwarned thatthat peoplepeople everywhereeverywhere willwill havehave toto getget usedused toto thethe "new"new normal"normal" ofof on-and-off restrictionsrestrictions asas newnew clustersclusters emergeemerge andand subside,subside, whilewhile therethere areare alsoalso concernsconcerns overover thethe economiceconomic andand mentalmental healthhealth impactsimpacts thethe measuresmeasures willwill bring.bring.

"As"As frustratingfrustrating asas itit isis II supportsupport (the(the lockdown) -- butbut askask meme againagain inin sixsix weeks,"weeks," stoicstoic Melbourne residentresident Michael Albert toldtold AFP.

TreasurerTreasurer Josh Frydenberg saidsaid thethe Melbourne lockdown wouldwould costcost thethe economyeconomy upup toto Aus$1 billionbillion ($700 million)million) aa week,week, tellingtelling publicpublic broadcasterbroadcaster ABCABC thethe burdenburden wouldwould "fall"fall heavilyheavily onon businesses".businesses".

"This"This isis notnot thethe situationsituation thatthat anybodyanybody wantedwanted toto bebe in,in, butbut itit isis thethe realityreality thatthat wewe mustmust confront,"confront," saidsaid statestate PremierPremier Daniel Andrews.


RestaurantsRestaurants andand cafescafes willwill bebe limitedlimited toto servingserving takeawaytakeaway food,food, whilewhile gyms,gyms, beautybeauty salonssalons andand cinemascinemas willwill bebe forcedforced toto closeclose again.again.

ResidentsResidents willwill bebe restrictedrestricted toto theirtheir homeshomes exceptexcept forfor work,work, exercise,exercise, medicalmedical carecare oror toto buybuy essentialsessentials -- aa returnreturn toto socialsocial isolationisolation thatthat waswas onlyonly recentlyrecently lifted.lifted.

ProfessorProfessor Michael Kyrios, aa clinicalclinical psychologistpsychologist atat Flinders University,University, warnedwarned thatthat Victoria neededneeded toto bracebrace forfor aa "coming"coming mentalmental healthhealth crisis"crisis" asas aa result.result.

- GuardsGuards replacedreplaced -

"This"This willwill likelylikely placeplace thethe mentalmental healthhealth carecare systemsystem inin aa precariousprecarious situationsituation withwith veryvery limitedlimited abilityability toto mobilise resourcesresources inin responseresponse toto thethe increasedincreased incidenceincidence ofof mentalmental illnessillness arisingarising fromfrom thethe COVID crisis,"crisis," hehe said.said.


HealthHealth authoritiesauthorities saysay theythey havehave linkedlinked manymany ofof thethe Melbourne coronavirus casescases toto hotelshotels wherewhere residentsresidents returningreturning fromfrom overseasoverseas werewere beingbeing quarantined.quarantined.

LocalLocal mediamedia reportedreported securitysecurity guardsguards hadhad breachedbreached infectioninfection controlcontrol regulationsregulations -- includingincluding allegedly havinghaving sexsex withwith guestsguests heldheld inin isolationisolation -- promptingprompting thethe governmentgovernment toto replacereplace thethe privateprivate contractorscontractors withwith prisonprison staffstaff andand launchlaunch anan inquiry.inquiry.

AustralianAustralian PrimePrime MinisterMinister Scott Morrison saidsaid thethe countrycountry waswas nownow consideringconsidering limitinglimiting thethe numbernumber ofof citizenscitizens returningreturning fromfrom abroad,abroad, afterafter Victoria beganbegan divertingdiverting internationalinternational flightsflights toto otherother citiescities toto easeease thethe burdenburden onon itsits quarantinequarantine facilities.facilities.

"There"There isis aa volumevolume thatthat cancan bebe accommodatedaccommodated byby thethe (other)(other) statesstates andand territoriesterritories currently, butbut theythey certainlycertainly wouldn't wantwant toto seesee thatthat increase,"increase," hehe toldtold reportersreporters inin Canberra.


ThousandsThousands ofof healthhealth workersworkers areare knockingknocking onon doorsdoors inin thethe worst-affected areasareas ofof Melbourne urgingurging residentsresidents toto getget testedtested forfor coronavirus, withwith officialsofficials sayingsaying aboutabout 10,000 peoplepeople havehave refusedrefused afterafter beingbeing influencedinfluenced byby onlineonline disinformation.disinformation.

AroundAround 3,000 peoplepeople inin thethe citycity havehave alreadyalready beenbeen lockedlocked insideinside theirtheir homeshomes sincesince SaturdaySaturday inin Australia's stricteststrictest coronavirus responseresponse toto datedate afterafter aa clustercluster emergedemerged inin aa high-risehigh-rise publicpublic housinghousing estate.estate.

AA totaltotal ofof 75 casescases havehave beenbeen detecteddetected inin thethe densely populatedpopulated towerstowers duringduring aa majormajor testingtesting blitz.blitz.

LongLong queuesqueues ofof carscars werewere backedbacked upup atat Victoria's borderborder WednesdayWednesday afterafter neighbouringneighbouring NewNew SouthSouth Wales closedclosed thethe boundaryboundary forfor thethe firstfirst timetime inin thethe pandemicpandemic -- essentiallyessentially sealingsealing offoff thethe statestate fromfrom thethe restrest ofof Australia.

TheThe hastily announcedannounced decisiondecision leftleft residentsresidents ofof borderborder townstowns scramblingscrambling toto obtainobtain permitspermits toto crosscross forfor workwork oror otherother essentialessential reasons,reasons, whilewhile schoolschool holidayholiday travellerstravellers werewere rushingrushing toto returnreturn home.home.

PolicePolice checkpointscheckpoints havehave beenbeen setset upup atat majormajor roadroad crossingscrossings andand dronesdrones areare monitoringmonitoring largelarge sectionssections ofof thethe vastvast border,border, withwith oneone manman arrestedarrested WednesdayWednesday afterafter allegedly attemptingattempting toto crosscross illegally.

Australia hashas recordedrecorded almostalmost 9,000 casescases ofof coronavirus andand 106 deaths.deaths.

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Malnutrition in poorer nations costs firms up to $850 bln: study


Hunger,Hunger, poorpoor nutritionnutrition andand obesity notnot onlyonly presentpresent aa healthhealth burdenburden inin developingdeveloping countriescountries butbut carrycarry aa hiddenhidden economiceconomic penaltypenalty thatthat costscosts businessesbusinesses upup toto $850 billionbillion aa year,year, accordingaccording toto aa newnew reportreport publishedpublished Wednesday.Wednesday.

ResearchersResearchers saidsaid malnutritionmalnutrition reducesreduces thethe resilience ofof populationspopulations toto risksrisks suchsuch asas infectiousinfectious diseasedisease outbreaksoutbreaks andand extremeextreme climateclimate events,events, asas wellwell asas causingcausing aa reductionreduction inin productivityproductivity andand earnings.earnings.

WithWith thethe coronavirus pandemicpandemic expectedexpected toto drivedrive millionsmillions moremore intointo hungerhunger andand poverty,poverty, theythey calledcalled forfor governmentsgovernments andand businessesbusinesses alikealike toto focusfocus onon nutritionnutrition asas partpart ofof recoveryrecovery efforts.efforts.

"While"While thethe costscosts ofof undernutrition andand overweight/obesity toto societiessocieties andand governmentsgovernments areare wellwell explored,explored, thethe costscosts andand risksrisks toto companiescompanies createdcreated byby malnutritionmalnutrition inin thethe workforceworkforce andand thethe widerwider communitycommunity havehave remainedremained underunder thethe radar,"radar," saidsaid leadlead researchersresearchers Laura Wellesley, aa seniorsenior researchresearch fellowfellow atat Chatham House.House.

"We"We showshow thatthat thethe costscosts andand risksrisks areare significantsignificant andand thatthat itit isis inin thethe interestsinterests ofof businessesbusinesses toto taketake action."action."

TheThe report,report, whichwhich waswas compiledcompiled withwith thethe VividVivid EconomicsEconomics group,group, defineddefined malnutritionmalnutrition asas bothboth undernutrition andand overnutrition -- encompassingencompassing conditionsconditions fromfrom stuntingstunting andand anaemiaanaemia toto beingbeing overweightoverweight andand obese.obese.

InIn developingdeveloping nationsnations wherewhere thethe prevalence ofof malnutritionmalnutrition isis high,high, researchersresearchers estimatedestimated thatthat thethe directdirect costscosts ofof productivityproductivity lossloss wouldwould totaltotal betweenbetween $130 billionbillion andand $850 billionbillion aa year.year.

ThatThat isis equivalentequivalent toto betweenbetween 0.4 perper centcent andand 2.9 percentpercent ofof thethe combinedcombined grossgross domesticdomestic productproduct ofof thosethose countries.countries.

TheThe reportreport extrapolatedextrapolated thethe resultsresults fromfrom modellingmodelling 19 lower- andand middle-income countriescountries inin Asia, Africa, CentralCentral America andand Europe.

AccordingAccording toto thethe 2020 GlobalGlobal NutritionNutrition Report,Report, aroundaround oneone inin ninenine peoplepeople globally areare hungryhungry oror undernourished,undernourished, whilewhile oneone inin threethree peoplepeople areare overweightoverweight oror obese.obese. AlmostAlmost aa quarterquarter ofof childrenchildren underunder fivefive areare stunted.stunted.

- PovertyPoverty warningwarning -

ProblemsProblems thatthat onceonce existedexisted atat oppositeopposite endsends ofof thethe wealthwealth spectrumspectrum areare increasinglyincreasingly convergingconverging inin poorpoor andand middle-income countriescountries asas populations,populations, householdshouseholds andand eveneven individualsindividuals faceface aa "double"double burden"burden" ofof beingbeing overweightoverweight andand undernourished.undernourished.

"Both"Both obesity andand undernutrition areare outcomesoutcomes ofof poorpoor nutrition,nutrition, andand bothboth shouldshould bebe tackledtackled togethertogether ifif we'rewe're toto easeease thethe malnutritionmalnutrition burdenburden onon companiescompanies andand societies,"societies," Wellesley said.said.


SheShe calledcalled forfor effortsefforts toto reducereduce bothboth problems,problems, suchsuch asas payingpaying aa fairfair livingliving wage,wage, subsidising nutritiousnutritious foodfood forfor staff,staff, providingproviding breastfeeding supportsupport forfor mothersmothers andand educationeducation onon howhow toto eateat healthily.

TheThe reportreport stressedstressed thatthat actionaction toto tackletackle malnutritionmalnutrition isis inin businesses'businesses' bestbest interests.interests.

DirectDirect costscosts forfor companiescompanies includeinclude thethe reductionreduction inin productivityproductivity associatedassociated withwith staffstaff ill-health andand limitslimits toto workers'workers' physicalphysical andand cognitivecognitive capacity,capacity, Wellesley said.said.

ItIt alsoalso trapstraps householdshouseholds intointo povertypoverty meaning,meaning, theythey havehave lessless moneymoney toto spendspend asas consumers,consumers, thusthus impedingimpeding thethe developmentdevelopment ofof aa healthyhealthy workforce.workforce.

TheThe reportreport comescomes asas Philip Alston, thethe formerformer UnitedUnited NationsNations envoyenvoy onon extremeextreme povertypoverty andand humanhuman rights,rights, slammedslammed thethe internationalinternational communitycommunity forfor fosteringfostering aa misleadingmisleading narrativenarrative thatthat globalglobal povertypoverty isis beingbeing eradicatederadicated whenwhen inin factfact hehe saidsaid itit isis rising.rising.

HeHe warnedwarned thatthat thethe pandemicpandemic isis expectedexpected toto pushpush hundredshundreds ofof millionsmillions intointo unemploymentunemployment andand poverty,poverty, whilewhile increasingincreasing thethe numbernumber atat riskrisk ofof acuteacute hungerhunger byby moremore thanthan 250 million.million.

"Even"Even beforebefore COVID-19, wewe squanderedsquandered aa decadedecade inin thethe fightfight againstagainst povertypoverty withwith misplacedmisplaced triumphalismtriumphalism blockingblocking thethe veryvery reformsreforms thatthat couldcould havehave preventedprevented thethe worstworst impactsimpacts ofof thethe pandemic,"pandemic," hehe said.said.

Alston criticised thethe useuse ofof thethe WorldWorld Bank'sBank's internationalinternational povertypoverty lineline -- currently $1.90 perper dayday -- asas "flawed","flawed", sayingsaying itit givesgives aa deceptively positivepositive picture.picture.