The New York Times Monday, July 6, 2020
We’re covering a strict quarantine imposed in Melbourne, how Hong Kong has changed under the security law and Paris couture fashion week as catwalks go digital.
By Carole Landry
Police officers enforcing the quarantine in Melbourne on Sunday. Asanka Ratnayake/Getty Images
Australia confines thousands to home quarantine
Officials in Victoria have locked down nine public housing towers in Melbourne, the state capital, ordering 3,000 residents to not leave their homes for any reason for at least five days.
The strict quarantine, which started on Saturday, is the first of its kind in Australia during the pandemic and is being monitored by hundreds of police officers.
Dr. Paul Kelly, Australia’s acting chief medical officer, has described the towers as “vertical cruise ships” with the potential to cause a major surge in coronavirus cases.
Details: Australia’s total case count remains relatively small, but public health officials have become increasingly alarmed by the outbreak in Melbourne. About 200 new cases emerged in and around the city over the past two days, a growth rate not seen since March.
Here are the latest updates and maps of the outbreak.
In other developments:
■ The coronavirus has isolated North Korea’s economy as no sanctions could. It has devastated the regime’s ability to bring in money through legal and illegal trade, leaving it scrambling to protect the country’s diminishing foreign currency reserves.
■ Despite attempts by countries to set up their own factories to cope with the pandemic, China has laid the groundwork to dominate the market for protective and medical supplies for years to come.
■ Many Independence day celebrations in the U.S. over the weekend were muted as the worsening coronavirus pandemic caused large numbers of Americans to pull back from their usual festivities.
■ Health experts and even some Republicans pushed back after President Trump, in a speech on Saturday at the White House, repeated his false claim that an abundance of testing had made the country’s coronavirus caseload appear worse than it was, asserting that 99 percent of the nation’s cases were “totally harmless.”
■ In an open letter, 239 scientists in 32 countries have outlined evidence showing that smaller virus particles can linger in the air indoors and infect people, and called for the World Health Organization to revise its recommendations.
Protesters holding blank placards on Friday to avoid arrest for slogans that may be banned under the new security law. Lam Yik Fei for The New York Times
Hong Kong navigates a new reality
Seemingly overnight, Hong Kong is different. The territory’s distinct culture of political activism and free speech, at times brazenly directed at China’s ruling Communist Party, appears to be in danger.
On Saturday, the city’s public library system said that books by some prominent activists had been removed from circulation while officials reviewed whether they violated the new national security law that went into effect last week.
Sticky notes that had plastered the walls of some businesses have been taken down by pro-democracy owners fearful of the words scribbled on them. Parents are wondering whether to stop their children from singing a popular protest song. Activists are devising coded ways to express what are now dangerous ideas.
The Hong Kong government has insisted that free speech is not under threat from the law, but crimes under the measure are punishable by life imprisonment in the most serious cases.
Quotable: “This is home,” said Ming Tse, sitting in the cafe he manages, which once loudly supported the protesters. “But I don’t think this place loves us anymore.”
Tokyo’s governor, Yuriko Koike, speaking to the news media on Sunday. Jiji Press/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
Tokyo’s governor wins even as virus hangs on
Yuriko Koike cruised to a second term on Sunday, with voters endorsing her highly visible pandemic response even as a resurgence in the Japanese capital made clear that her challenge was far from over.
Tokyo has avoided the kind of spiraling death tolls seen in other world capitals, but the city reported 111 new infections on Sunday, its fourth straight day over 100. The country as a whole has recorded more than 20,000 cases and fewer than 1,000 deaths.
The victory for Ms. Koike, an ultraconservative former defense minister who speaks English and Arabic, was something of a turnabout. Just a few years ago, she had seemed to have fallen out of favor with the public.
Performance: Ms. Koike made herself the face of Tokyo’s response to the virus. She anchored news conferences nearly every night to deliver daily test figures and advice on how to avoid infections, presenting a much more relaxed image than Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
If you have 6 minutes, this is worth it
Virus mystery: Just how deadly is it?
Six months into the pandemic, scientists still do not have a firm understanding of the infection fatality rate of the coronavirus. So far, in most countries, about 20 percent of all confirmed Covid-19 patients become ill enough to need oxygen or even more advanced hospital care but whether those patients survive depends on a host of factors.
Our science and health reporter looked at the complicated factors that can determine how often the virus kills.
Here’s what else is happening
Japan flooding: Torrential rains in the south have caused widespread flooding and mudslides, killing at least 16 people, according to public broadcaster NHK. Another 17 were feared dead. Thirteen others were reported missing.
South China Sea tensions: Two American aircraft carriers — the Ronald Reagan and the Nimitz — were sailing to the South China Sea over the weekend for what Navy officials described as a freedom-of-navigation operation while China’s military conducts exercises nearby.
Jeffrey Epstein scandal: Lawyers for Prince Andrew had discussions with a Washington lobbyist with ties to the Trump administration about the possibility of assisting the prince with fallout from his relationship with the disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein.
Mauricio Lima for The New York Times
Snapshot: Above, the village of Hasankeyf in Turkey on the banks of the Tigris River, which was submerged beneath the rising waters of the Ilisu Dam, the latest of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s megaprojects. Our reporter and photographer visited the area several times for half a year to witness the disappearance of the valley.
What we’re reading: This article in The Atlantic about how white U.S. evangelicals are reaching out to Black pastors for help in crafting their public statements. “This seems like another reason that the reality of race in America might actually be changing,” says the Briefings editor, Andrea Kannapell. The New York Times