Australian states tightened borders and restricted pub visits on Tuesday, while Disney prepared to close its Hong Kong theme park and Japan stepped up tracing as a jump in novel coronavirus cases across Asia fanned fears of a second wave of infections.
Many parts of Asia, the region first hit by the coronavirus that emerged in central China late last year, are finding cause to pause the reopening of their economies, some after winning praise for their initial responses to the outbreak.
Australia largely avoided the high numbers of cases and casualties seen in other countries with swift and strict measures, but a spike in community-transmitted cases in Victoria state and a rise in new cases in New South Wales has worried authorities.
South Australia cancelled plans to reopen its border to New South Wales on July 20, while Queensland introduced a mandatory two-week quarantine for people who have visited two areas in Sydney’s western suburbs.
New South Wales, which has seen several dozen cases linked to the outbreak in Victoria, said pubs will be limited to 300 people, responding to an outbreak centred at a large hotel in southwestern Sydney.
“Indoor activity, where people aren’t seated is a huge health risk. It increases the chance of transmission,” state Premier Gladys Berejiklian told reporters.
Australia’s second largest city, Melbourne, is in the second week of a six-week lockdown.