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Asia Today: Australia hot spot extends state of emergency

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Australia’s hot spot Victoria state on Wednesday extended its state of emergency for another six months as its weekly average of new coronavirus infections dipped.

The Victorian Parliament’s upper chamber passed legislation by a 20-19 vote to extend the state of emergency, which enhances the government’s powers to impose pandemic restrictions.

The government had wanted a 12-month extension.

The state health department reported 90 new infections and six deaths in the latest 24-hour period. There were only 70 new infections reported on Tuesday.

The latest seven-day average of new reported infections has dropped into double-digits — 95 — for the first time in weeks. The previous week’s average was 175 infections a day.

In other developments in the Asia-Pacific region:

— South Korea has seen a triple-digit daily jump in reported coronavirus infections for the 20th straight day, prompting authorities in recent days to impose tough social distancing rules. The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Wednesday the 267 new cases took the country’s tally since the pandemic began to 20,449 reported infections with 326 deaths. South Korea has seen a rise in infections since early last month, many associated with churches, restaurants and schools. Authorities have recently restricted dining at restaurants and ordered the shutdown of churches, fitness centers and night establishments in the Seoul area as it struggles to track many of the new infections.

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