MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — The premier of Australia’s Victoria state is stepping up his fight with members of the public who don’t comply with pandemic regulations, saying close contacts of those infected who refuse a test will have to spend 21 days in quarantine.
The state government has announced mandatory quarantine will be extended by 10 days for close contacts if they decide not to be tested on the 11th day of isolation. The change will come into effect at midnight Sunday.
Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews said a “very, very high percentage” of people had submitted to testing but the rule was designed to provide authorities with an even more complete picture.
“This is just double-checking, triple-checking that you haven’t, in fact, still got the virus,” he said.
Victoria reported one more death and 12 new cases on Sunday, ending a three-day stretch without a fatality. The figures take Victoria’s death count from the virus to 810 and the national toll to 898.
In other developments in the Asia-Pacific region:
— India’s confirmed coronavirus toll crossed 7 million on Sunday with a number of new cases dipping in recent weeks, even as health experts warn of mask and distancing fatigue setting in. The Health Ministry registered another 74,383 infections in the past 24 hours. India is expected to become the pandemic’s worst-hit country in coming weeks, surpassing the U.S. The ministry also reported 918 additional deaths, taking total fatalities to 108,334. The number of people who have died of COVID-19 has remained relatively low in South and Southeast Asia — from India to Vietnam and Taiwan — compared to European countries and the United States, said Dr. Randeep Guleria, a government health expert. But others say India’s death toll may not be reliable because of poor reporting and health infrastructure and inadequate testing.
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