(Reuters) – Here’s what you need to know about the coronavirus right now:
Sydney police to step up enforcement after COVID record
Australian authorities on Tuesday vowed to crank up policing of lockdown rules in Sydney, but dismissed suggestions that tougher measures, including a curfew, were needed after the city reported its biggest single-day new case number yet.
With more than five million residents of Australia’s biggest city now in lockdown for more than six weeks, Sydney reported 343 new infections in an outbreak stoked by the highly transmissible Delta strain, up 66 from the day before and topping the last one-day peak set on Saturday.
Tougher policing in the most-affected areas has divided Sydney and stoked resentment in some of Australia’s most migrant-heavy neighbourhoods.
Arkansas nearly out of ICU beds
Only eight intensive care unit beds were available on Monday in the state of Arkansas, its governor said, as the rapid spread of the Delta variant pushed cases and hospitalizations in the United States to a six-month high.
In neighboring Texas, Governor Greg Abbott asked hospitals to postpone elective surgeries as the variant raged through swathes of the country including many southern states grappling with low vaccination rates.
Nationwide, COVID-19 cases have averaged 100,000 for three days in a row, up 35% over the past week, according to a Reuters tally of public health data. Louisiana, Florida and Arkansas reported the most new cases in the past week, based on population.
Bangladesh starts vaccine drive for Rohingya refugees
Bangladesh began vaccinating thousands of Rohingya Muslims on Tuesday in the world’s largest refugee settlement amid a surge in infections in the country, officials said.
Aid workers have long warned of a potential humanitarian disaster if there is a significant outbreak in the refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar, the border district where over a million Rohingya who fled a brutal military crackdowns in neighbouring Myanmar have found sanctuary.
Around 48,000 Rohingya, aged 55 and above, will be inoculated between Tuesday and Thursday with the help of UN agencies.
France’s Martinique island imposes tougher lockdown
France’s overseas territory of Martinique will enter a tougher lockdown for three weeks from Tuesday to tackle a COVID-19 outbreak on the West Indian island, a local government official said on Twitter.
Authorities in Martinique also advised tourists to leave.
Martinique had already imposed an evening curfew but the tougher lockdown, which startat at 7 p.m., will shutter shops selling non-essential items, close beaches and restrict people’s movements.
East Timor detects domestic transmission of Delta variant
East Timor has recorded its first case of community transmission of the Delta variant, raising concerns by its health ministry about a possible spike.
Genomic sequencing by Australia’s Doherty Institute in the first week of August found that of 27 samples taken in the country’s Ermera region from people infected with the coronavirus, 12 were of the Delta variant.
Ermera has the highest number of active cases and lowest vaccination rate in East Timor, which borders Indonesia, where the Delta variant has been fuelling one of Asia’s worst coronavirus epidemics.
(Compiled by Linda Noakes; Editing by Giles Elgood)