News National Bali sets a reopening date, but other travel hotspots continue to suffer
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Bali sets a reopening date, but other travel hotspots continue to suffer

Balinese residents pray spaced apart amid concerns of a new coronavirus outbreak during a Hindu ritual in Bali. Photo: AAP
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Indonesia’s resort island of Bali has reopened after a three-month virus lockdown, allowing local people and stranded foreign tourists to resume public activities before foreign arrivals resume in September.

Normally bustling beaches and streets on the idyllic south-east Asian island emptied in early April except for special patrols to ensure health protocols to contain the coronavirus were observed.

Authorities restricted public activities, closed the airport and shuttered all shops, bars, sit-down restaurants, public swimming pools and many other places on the island that’s home to more than four million people.

The local government began lifting the limits on Thursday, but tourists will face stringent rules in hotels, restaurants and on beaches, Bali Governor I Wayan Koster said.

Koster told a news conference the island will gradually reopen shuttered places to locals and the foreigners stranded there during the outbreak.

The island will open to Indonesians from other parts of the country on July 31 and new foreign arrivals on September 11.

But idyllic locations continue to struggle under a surge of cases.

Mexico

Mexico has posted a fresh record for new coronavirus cases reported on a single day, with 6995 infections, overtaking Spain to register the world’s eighth-highest case count, according to a Reuters tally.

Despite the soaring figures, Mexico’s coronavirus tsar Hugo Lopez-Gatell said the pandemic was “slowing”.

The figures pushed Mexico’s overall tally of infections to 275,003 cases.

Mexico on Wednesday also recorded 782 additional fatalities, bringing its overall death toll to 32,796, the world’s fifth-highest total.

The government has said the real number of infected people and deaths is likely significantly higher than the confirmed numbers due to low levels of testing.

Dr Lopez-Gatell, the deputy health minister who spearheads Mexico’s coronavirus response, said the new figures do not mean the spread of the virus is accelerating.

“The epidemic in Mexico is slowing down,” he said, adding that the velocity of the spread was decreasing.

He highlighted progress in Mexico City, the epicentre of the virus.

He said despite officials in the capital loosening restrictions and reopening for business two weeks ago, there have been no signals the virus was on the rise.

But that’s not the case with its northern neighbour.

United States

The United States has reported more than 60,000 new COVID-19 cases, the biggest increase ever reported by a country in a single day, according to a Reuters tally.

The US faces a bleak summer with record-breaking infections and many states forced to close parts of the economy again, leaving some workers without a pay cheque.

In addition to nearly 10,000 new cases in Florida, Texas reported more than 9500 cases and California reported more than 8500 new infections.

California and Texas also each reported a record one-day increase in deaths.

It was the second day in a row that US deaths climbed by more than 900 in a day, the highest levels seen since early June, according to the tally.

Tennessee, West Virginia and Utah all had record daily increases in new cases, and infections are rising in 42 out of 50 states, according to a Reuters analysis of cases for the past two weeks compared with the prior two weeks.

The US tally stood at 60,020 late on Wednesday, with a few local governments not yet reporting.

The previous US record for new cases in a day was 56,818 last Friday.

The United States has reported more than three million cases and 132,000 deaths from the virus, putting President Donald Trump’s pandemic strategy under scrutiny.

Globally, cases rose to more than 12 million on Wednesday, with 546,000 deaths.