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Australia reports highest coronavirus deaths in 3 months, infections climb

first_img“This demonstrates the growing toll this terrible virus is taking on our community,” Health Minister Jenny Mikakos told reporters in the state capital, Melbourne.With authorities unable to bring new infections below triple digits, residents in Melbourne and most of the state are now required to wear masks outside of their homes.Nationally, Australia has recorded about 13,000 coronavirus cases with a death toll of 128.Mountain to climb Australia reported its highest daily number of coronavirus-related deaths in three months on Thursday as new infections continued to climb in its second most populous state.Victoria state said it had confirmed another 403 infections, while five people had died from the virus in the last 24 hours.The fatalities, including a man in his 50s, mark the country’s biggest one-day rise in COVID-19 deaths since late April. Topics :center_img The rise in new infections came after Australia began relaxing strict containment measures imposed in mid-March.While the social distancing rules – which limited mobility of residents and shuttered businesses – slowed the spread of COVID-19, Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said it has taken a heavy toll on the economy.The government reported its biggest budget deficit since World War Two on Thursday after committing to fiscal stimulus of around A$289 billion, or 14.6% of gross domestic product (GDP).The budget swung into a massive deficit of A$85.8 billion ($61.3 billion) in the year-ended June 2020 compared with an earlier forecast for a surplus, Frydenberg said.The shortfall will climb further next year, hitting A$184.5 billion in 2020-21.”Australia is experiencing a health and economic crisis like nothing we have seen in the last 100 years,” Frydenberg told reporters in Canberra.”Our economy has taken a big hit and there are many challenges we confront. We can see the mountain ahead.”Setbacks to recoveryAnalysts expect the economy will rebound in coming months as life returns to some sort of normal, though much depends on whether authorities can keep a lid on new virus outbreaks in Melbourne and Sydney, its two biggest cities, a Reuters poll found.Victoria has for more than two weeks required nearly 5 million people to stay home unless leaving for permitted essential reasons.Residents who do not wear facemasks are liable to fines of A$200.State police said they will show some discretion over the coming week, though state Premier Daniel Andrews urged people to comply, citing the cases of four children hospitalized with COVID-19.”We all need to work together, doing simple things, doing, large and small things, each of us to protect each other,” Andrews told reporters in Melbourne.”It’s all about the small things, the small improvements in our internal processes, and in terms of compliance across the Victorian community that add up.”Authorities in Australia’s most populous state, New South Wales are also on high alert for new cases despite the border with Victoria being closed.last_img read more

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Smart Phone or Online, Local Kids Can Track Santa

first_imgLocal residents can track the whereabouts of Santa tonight.Before visions of sugarplums dance in their heads, Indiana children can keep an eye on Old Saint Nick’s journey around the globe tonight.For more than 50 years, the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) has been tracking Santa on Christmas Eve and providing children and anyone young at heart with up-to-date information about Santa’s whereabouts.U.S. Army Capt. Ruth Castro says NORAD uses the latest technology to pin down the exact location of the reindeer-powered sleigh.“We use a lot of our different military assets,” she says. “We use radars, we use satellites, we use our Santa Cams.”“The good thing is that Rudolph has his red nose, so a lot of our infrared stuff can detect that. So, that’s how we’re able to keep track of them.”Starting at 6 a.m. Eastern Standard Time, trackers can find Santa’s whereabouts onlineTo track Santa click here.And this year, tracking is also available on smart phones, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, or by calling 1-877-HI-NORAD.The NORAD Tracks Santa program is funded by contributions and staffed by more than 1,200 volunteers.And Castro says when the sleigh is flying over the United States, fighter jets provide the escort to ensure safety.“These pilots, they just kind of come up towards Santa while they’re in the North American airspace, and they just kind of guide him through while he’s here,” she explains. “And then, they say their hellos and then he’s off.”Castro says it’s tough to know when Santa will be in the skies over individual states, like Indiana, because he alters his flight path somewhat from year to year.“He changes his route, he never really tells us where he’s going, he doesn’t file his flight plan like he should,” she explains. “He just does what he wants – since he is Santa.”NORAD’s Santa-tracking mission began accidentally in 1955, when a department store placed an ad encouraging families to call Santa Claus – with the wrong phone number.A military colonel answered and instructed his staff to check the radar for indications of Santa making his way from the North Pole. Any child who called was given an update – and that’s how the tradition began.last_img read more

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