Vietnam put its entire southern region in a two-week lockdown starting midnight Sunday, as confirmed COVID-19 cases exceeded 3,000 for the third day in a row.
The lockdown order includes the Mekong Delta and Ho Chi Minh City metropolis, the country’s financial and economic hub with over 35 million people — nearly a third of Vietnam’s population.
Officials say they have to act as the number of infections reached nearly 50,000 since the outbreak re-emerged at the end of April after several months of no cases being recorded.
Ho Chi Minh City, the epicentre of the surge, had already announced a full lockdown a week ago but now accounts for most of the country’s cases with over 2,000 daily.
-From The Associated Press, last updated at 7 a.m. ET
What’s happening in Tokyo
An alternate on the United States women’s gymnastics team has tested positive for COVID-19 in a training camp in Japan, the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee said Monday.
The USOPC did not say if Olympic champion Simone Biles or any of the other favourites to win the team gold were isolated because of contact tracing. The positive test was the latest in a growing line of daily reports of athletes and others testing positive at the pandemic-delayed Olympics. The unnamed gymnast was the first American.
Earlier, officials said a third athlete at the Olympic Village in Tokyo has tested positive for COVID-19, with the Czech Republic team reporting the latest case Monday in a player on the country’s beach volleyball team.
Two South African men’s soccer players had their COVID-19 cases announced Sunday. The players and a team video analyst who tested positive one day earlier were moved to the “isolation facility” managed by the Olympic organizing committee.
Their 21 close contacts around the South Africa team now face extra scrutiny before their first game Thursday against Japan in Tokyo. The monitoring regime includes daily testing, travelling in a dedicated vehicle, training separately from teammates not affected and being confined to their rooms for meals.
Meanwhile, Tokyo 2020 Olympics sponsor Toyota will not run Games-related TV commercials because of lacklustre public support for the Olympics, with two-thirds of Japanese doubting a safe Games can be held during the COVID-19 pandemic, local media reported.
The Olympics, which were postponed for a year because of the pandemic, are set to officially open Friday and run until Aug. 8.
Japan has seen a total of 842,018 reported cases of COVID-19, according to Johns Hopkins University’s coronavirus tracker, with 14,993 reported deaths.
Tokyo reported 1,008 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday, the 29th straight day that cases were higher than seven days previously. It was also the fifth straight day with more than 1,000 cases. The Olympics will open under a state of emergency in Tokyo and three neighbouring prefectures.
-From The Associated Press, Reuters and CBC News, last updated at 7:40 a.m. ET
What’s happening around the world
As of early Monday morning, more than 190.4 million cases of COVID-19 had been reported worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University, with more than four million reported deaths.
In Africa, Tunisia’s government decided to deploy the armed forces to vaccinate people in the regions with the worst infection rates and in areas with particularly low vaccination rates. Tunisia is currently recording one of the world’s highest daily per-capita infection rates and has reported Africa’s highest per-capita pandemic death toll. The country has reported a total of 546,233 cases of COVID-19, according to Johns Hopkins University’s case-tracking tool, with 17,527 reported deaths.
In Europe, more than 100,000 people marched across France on Saturday to protest against President Emmanuel Macron’s plans to force vaccination of health workers and require a COVID-19-free certificate to enter places such as restaurants and cinemas.
Corks popped, beats boomed out and giddy revellers rushed onto dance floors when England’s nightclubs reopened Monday as the country lifted most remaining restrictions after more than a year of lockdowns, mask mandates and other pandemic-related curbs.
For club-goers and nightclub owners, the moment lived up to its media-given moniker, “Freedom Day.” But the big step out of lockdown was met with nervousness by many Britons, and concern from scientists, who say the U.K. is entering uncharted waters by opening up when infections are not falling but soaring.
As of Monday, face masks are no longer legally required in England, and with physical distancing rules shelved, there are no limits on the number of people attending theatre performances or big events.
In the Americas, Minneapolis Federal Reserve president Neel Kashkari said many U.S. economic sectors faced rapidly rising prices and were struggling to adjust to reopening after the shutdown.
In the Middle East, Saudi citizens will need two COVID-19 vaccine doses before they can travel outside the kingdom from Aug. 9, state news agency SPA reported on Monday, citing the ministry of interior. The decision was made based on new waves of infection globally, new mutations, and the “low efficacy of one vaccination dose against these mutations,” the statement said.
In the Asia-Pacific region, South Korea will expand tougher COVID-19 restrictions on private gatherings to outside the Seoul metropolitan area, as the country struggles to contain its worst outbreak, its prime minister said on Sunday.
-From Reuters and The Associated Press, last updated at 6:55 a.m. ET