The Latest: Serbian police say 23 held, 60 hurt in clashes
BELGRADE, Serbia — Serbian police say 23 people have been detained and scores of police officers and demonstrators injured in clashes that erupted over announced return of lockdown measures against the new coronavirus.
Police director Vladimir Rebic told the state RTS television that police are working to identify more people who took part in the rioting in central Belgrade that left 43 police officers and 17 demonstrators injured.
Thousands of people came out in the streets on Tuesday evening after autocratic President Aleksandar Vucic announced that a curfew will be imposed for the entire weekend in Belgrade. Serbia on Tuesday reported the highest single-day death toll of 13 amid 299 new COVID-19 cases.
Clashes erupted after some supporters of right-wing groups stormed the parliament during protests. Police responded by throwing loads of tear gas.
Vucic has described the virus situation in Belgrade as “alarming,” saying hospitals in Belgrade were full. But many in Serbia blame the populist strongman for lifting the previous lockdown measures just so he would cement his grip on power after parliamentary elections. He has denied those claims.
Rebic says “hooligans” threw rocks, bottles and other objects at police and set on fire five police vehicles. Videos from the scene showed police beating up some of the demonstrators and detaining them.
HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE VIRUS OUTBREAK:
— Desperation rather than information is still driving many decisions about how to treat the disease
— Deaths and patient care at a Houston hospital are a window into the surging outbreak in Texas
— Brazil's president is confident he'll recover from COVID-19 thanks to unproven hydroxychloroquine
— Government data show how Congress created virus aid, then reaped the benefits
— Trump presses officials to reopen schools this fall, arguing some are keeping schools closed for political reasons
HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:
NEW DELHI — Authorities in Mumbai, one of India's worst-hit cities, are allowing people to get tested for COVID-19 without a doctor’s prescription.
Other major Indian cities are still requiring a prescription, even though low testing rates have been a concern in the country that now has the third most cases in the world.
“We want to test as many people as possible,” said Iqbal Singh Chahal, a senior administrative official in Mumbai.
More than 5,000 people have died because of the virus in Mumbai, a western coastal city known as India’s financial capital and home to the Bollywood film industry.
India has started to improve its testing rates though it still needs to do more as its outbreak surges. A country of 1.3 billion people, India has been conducting a little less than 7,400 tests per million population.
More than 200,000 samples are being tested every day now, compared to just a few hundred when the exercise had begun in March, according to the Indian Council of Medical Research, India’s top medical research body.
India reported 482 new deaths in the last 24 hours, taking the toll to 20,642. It also recorded 22,752 new infections, increasing the total to 742,417. Only the United States and Brazil have more.
ISLAMABAD — Pakistan’s daily infection rate dropped below 3,000 for the second straight day, though medical experts caution it may be due to less testing.
Barely 21,000 tests for the coronavirus are carried out each day, compared to a peak of nearly 33,000. Still some medical professionals, particularly in the eastern city of Lahore, the capital of Pakistan’s Punjab province where nearly 60% of the country’s 220 million people live, are suggesting the virus may have peaked in June.
Pakistan’s prime minister has mandated masks but enforcement and use are erratic and social distancing is limited. Still the government has implemented lockdowns on at least 800 markets, businesses and residential areas where hospots of the infection have emerged.
As of Wednesday, Pakistan has recorded 237,489 infections with 2,980 new cases recorded in the last 24 hours among 21,951 tests conducted. So far 4,922 people have died of the virus, with 80 deaths recorded in the last 24 hours.
Prime Minister Imran Khan has resisted complete lockdowns, saying they would hit the poorest hardest. The poverty rate in Pakistan has climbed from around 30% to 40%, according to economists.
CANBERRA, Australia — Prime Minister Scott Morrison says a shutdown of Australia’s second-largest city is necessary and promised continuing financial support for businesses that fear they won’t survive a second lockdown.
The Victoria state government said Melbourne and part of its surrounds will lock down for six weeks from Wednesday night because the rate of coronavirus spread was unsustainable. The state also reported another 134 coronavirus cases.
Morrison said the federal government’s medical advice concurred the move was necessary but he hoped the time frame could be shorter.
Australia’s seven other states and territories would continue to relax pandemic restrictions, the prime minister said.
“Let’s remember that seven states and territories around the country remain in a very strong position when it comes to our response to COVID-19,” Morrison said. “That’s what we’re seeking to continue to protect.”
Breaches of infection controls at Melbourne hotels where international travelers are required to isolate for 14 days have been blamed for much of the disease spread. Morrison said he wanted to reduce the numbers of exemptions from Australia’s travel ban because of the strain on hotel quarantine.