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COVID-19: Australia partially lifts travel ban on New Zealand

Australian officials have said the border will partially reopen to New Zealand after lockdown since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, but the agreement is not mutual. File Photo by James Ross/EPA-EFE
Australian officials have said the border will partially reopen to New Zealand after lockdown since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, but the agreement is not mutual. File Photo by James Ross/EPA-EFE

Oct. 3 (UPI) -- Australia has partially lifted a COVID-19 travel ban by allowing certain people to enter two of its areas from New Zealand.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced the plan Friday to partially reopen the border starting Oct. 16. Both countries closed their borders at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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New Zealanders must show that they have not been to a designated COVID-19 hotspot within a fortnight before they fly to Australia, according to the plan. The only two jurisdictions reopening under the plan's conditions are North South Wales and the Northern Territory.

At least for now, Australians are not permitted to travel to New Zealand without quarantining for two weeks, McCormack said.

A spokesperson for New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the earliest possible date for a mutual reopening of the border would be around Christmas.

New Zealanders said that they would not feel "safe" with the arrangement until it was mutual.

McCormack said people from other Pacific island nations permitted to enter New Zealand could come to Australia and work picking fruit or shearing sheep after they completed the required 14-day quarantine in New Zealand.

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Australia has reported 27,121 cases and 893 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins University global tracker of COVID-19 cases and deaths.

New Zealand has reported 1,849 cases and 25 deaths, according to the same tracker.

In India, the number of COVID-19 fatalities surpassed 100,000 Friday, Johns Hopkins data shows. The country reported more COVID-19 cases last month than any other country in the world, The Washington Post reported.

In Mumbai, the capital city of the Indian state of Maharashtra, oxygen supplies were running out as health facilities tried to keep pace with demand.

India has reported the second-highest number of COVID-19 cases of any country worldwide at over 6.4 million and the third-most COVID-19 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins data. The United States has the most cases at over 7.3 million and the most deaths at over 208,700. Brazil has the third-highest number of cases at over 4.8 million and the second-highest number of deaths at over 145,300.

The per capita number of COVID-19 infections reported daily in India and many other low-income countries, including Africa, is lower than France, Spain and the United States, The New York Times reported.

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In Spain, federal authorities imposed new restrictions on more than 3 million people in Madrid as part of an attempt to control a second wave of COVID-19 infections in Europe.

Under the new restrictions, people can only travel outside their home districts for essential journeys, bars and restaurants are not allowed to serve customers after 10 p.m.. and a maximum of six people are permitted to meet in any setting.

The restrictions will also take effect in nine towns around the capital.

Madrid's city authorities have tried to resist the restrictions, which Madrid's justice minister said would cost the capital's economy billions of dollars.

"Thanks for the chaos, [Prime Minister] Pedro Sanchez," Madrid's regional president Isabel Ayuso tweeted.

Meanwhile, many hospitals and extensive care units across Madrid are full with COVID-19 patients amid the second wave, and have had to use overflow capacity prepared earlier on in the pandemic.

Daily, some 10,000 new COVID-19 cases have recently been reported in Spain. On Friday, there were 11,325 new cases and 113 deaths, bringing the total number of cases to 789,932 and the total deaths to 32,086, according to the global tracker.

In Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro told Tass that Russian President Vladimir Putin has delivered a first batch of Russian COVID-19 vaccine to the republic.

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"Sputnik V is already here!," Maduro said. "We are the first country in the Western Hemisphere to begin phase 3 of the clinical trials of this vaccine against COVID-19. On behalf of the Venezuelan people, I thank President Vladimir Putin and the Russian people for their solidarity."

According to authorities, about 2,000 Venezuelans will participate in the vaccine's clinical trials.

On Aug. 11, Russia became the first country to register a COVID-19 vaccine, though Western scientists remain skeptical about its effectiveness.

Russia has reported nearly 1.2 million cases and 21,153 deaths, according to the global tracker of COVID-19 cases and deaths. Venezuela has reported 76,820 cases and 643 deaths.

Worldwide, COVID-19 has infected 34.6 million people and killed over 1 million people, according to the global tracker.

World moves to reopen amid COVID-19 pandemic

Visitors wear face masks as they tour the Whitney Museum of American Art as it reopens on September 3. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

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