MELBOURNE, Australia — Australia’s second-largest city, Melbourne, has loosened lockdown restrictions as new and active COVID-19 continue to decline.
From midnight Sunday, Melbourne residents will no longer face limits on the time they can spend away from their homes for education or recreation. Previous restrictions allowing Melburnians to travel only 5 kilometers (3 miles) from home will increase at midnight to 25 kilometers (15 miles).
Outdoor gatherings of up to 10 people from two households will be allowed and golf and tennis can resume.
Victoria state reported only two new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday and no deaths. The rolling 14-day average of cases dropped to eight, the lowest in four months.
There were only 137 active cases across Victoria state on Sunday with 12 people receiving hospital treatment, none in intensive care.
Regulations will be further loosened on Nov. 2 with the partial reopening of shops, bars and restaurants.
HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE VIRUS OUTBREAK:
— Rural Midwest hospitals struggling to handle virus surge
— Trump plays down virus as he steps up pitch for second term
— US resorts adapt to new normal of skiing amid pandemic
— Chancellor Angela Merkel has urged Germans to come together like they did in the spring to slow the spread of the coronavirus as the country posted another daily record of new cases.
— Iran has its death toll from the coronavirus has passed the milestone of 30,000, in what has been the Mideast region’s worst outbreak.
— Europe’s economy was just catching its breath from what had been the sharpest recession in modern history. A resurgence in coronavirus cases this month is a bitter blow that will likely turn what was meant to be a period of healing for the economy into a lean winter of job losses and bankruptcies.
Follow AP’s pandemic coverage at http://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak
HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:
The Navajo Nation, which sprawls across Arizona, New Mexico and Utah, reported 53 new coronavirus cases and no new deaths Saturday.
The total number of cases on the reservation is now 10,913. The total number of deaths remains at 571.
FAIRBANKS, Alaska — State officials say an outbreak of coronavirus has infected 33 inmates at a prison in Fairbanks, causing the facility to go into quarantine for 14 days.
The Alaska Department of Corrections says 32 of the cases at the Fairbanks Correctional Center are men and one is a woman. All of those infected were housed in the general population.
Other inmates are being tested for coronavirus, with results expected by Monday. The inmates with coronavirus are being isolated in a separate unit of the prison.
The facility serves northern Alaska and has male and female inmates, some of whom are serving sentences and others of whom are awaiting trial.
Pennsylvania is reporting 1,857 new COVID-19 cases, the second-highest daily total since the beginning of pandemic, days after officials said the commonwealth was seeing a “fall resurgence” of the coronavirus.
The numbers announced Saturday by the state health department are exceeded only by the 1,989 cases reported April 9 and bring the statewide total to almost 181,000. Nine new deaths were reported, bringing the total number of deaths associated with the virus to 8,466.
On Wednesday, the state’s health secretary pronounced Pennsylvania “at the start of the fall resurgence” of COVID-19 but said there were no plans to reimpose a stay-at-home order or shut down businesses again in response.
Dr. Rachel Levine said Pennsylvania is more prepared for such an influx than it was in the spring, citing a contact tracing program in place, more personal protective equipment supplies and enough hospital beds available.
OKLAHOMA CITY — The number of hospitalizations due to the coronavirus remained near a record high in Oklahoma on Saturday while the number of reported cases increased by 1,195 and deaths rose by 14.
Some 792 people were hospitalized, the state Department of Health said Saturday, one fewer than the one-day record of 793 reported Friday. There are 106,503 total cases reported since the pandemic began in March and 1,168 deaths due to COVID-19, the illness caused by the virus.
The department said that there were 8,272 new coronavirus cases during the week ending Thursday, an increase of 15% from the previous week, and 58 additional deaths from the previous week due to COVID-19.
INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana’s daily average of new coronavirus infections continued growing at record levels with Saturday’s update from state health officials, who also added 31 more COVID-19 deaths to the state’s toll.
The state health department’s daily update showed Indiana’s seven-day rolling average of newly confirmed COVID-19 infections reached 1,799 as of Friday. That is the highest level the state has seen during the pandemic and has more than doubled over the past three weeks.
The 2,521 new infections reported Saturday, a daily high, marked the second straight day that figure topped 2,000 in a single day. The health department said the number was inflated by about 100 cases that weren’t previously included because of technical issues. The newly recorded deaths raise Indiana’s death toll to 3,918, including confirmed and presumed coronavirus infections, according to the health department.
Gov. Eric Holcomb cited the increase in cases on Wednesday when he said he would continue the statewide mask mandate for another month. Holcomb chastised those who resist wearing masks as disregarding the safety of others.
NEW YORK — Movie theaters in New York state can reopen beginning next Friday with restrictions on audience size and other precautions in place, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Saturday.
Theaters in New York City aren’t included, and counties must have a positivity rate below 2% on a 14-day average and have no “cluster zones.”
Audiences will be restricted to 25% of capacity with a maximum of 50 people per screen, Cuomo said at his briefing. Masks will be required and there will be assigned seating to ensure social distancing.
This week, the Global Cinema Federation sent an open letter to Cuomo urging him to let theaters reopen, saying Hollywood studios may continue delaying their remaining 2020 releases if theaters remain closed. The group asked Cuomo to adopt a county-by-county plan for theater openings based on virus data, similar what it said California Gov. Gavin Newsom has done.