One in five Australians are reporting high or very high levels of psychological distress linked to the Covid 19 pandemic, with young people, women and those living with a disability the most affected by poor mental health.
A survey conducted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics into the household impact of Covid-19 also reveals that the recent Victorian outbreak led to a surge in psychological distress with almost a third of people in the state reporting feelings associated with depression and anxiety compared with 18% in the rest of Australia:
Interest in Tokyo Olympics ‘muted’
Global interest in the Tokyo Olympics is muted, an Ipsos poll of 28 countries showed, amid concerns over Covid in Japan and withdrawals of high-profile athletes, with the host country among the most disinterested.
The poll released on Tuesday found a global average of 46% interest in the Games, but excitement varied across markets, with less than 35% in Japan.
The pandemic-hit Olympics, due to start in nine days, have lost public support amid lingering concerns over infection risks and a state of emergency being declared in Tokyo, despite organisers promising strict coronavirus measures.
Spectators have been barred from attending all Olympic events in Tokyo and surrounding regions and Japanese officials are asking residents to watch the Games on TV to keep the movement of people to a minimum.
Only 22% of Japanese say the Games should go ahead, the Ipsos survey showed.
Tokyo governor Yuriko Koike said a sufficient number of hospitals combined with a speed-up in the Covid vaccination rollout among the elderly meant the city will be able to hold “safe and secure” Olympics.
South Korea reports 1,615 new cases as distancing rules tightened for most of country
South Korea on Wednesday tightened social distancing curbs across most of the country to try to combat its worst-ever outbreak of coronavirus after new cases on Tuesday soared past previous daily peaks to 1,615.
Amid growing concerns over the more contagious Delta variant and a stagnating vaccine rollout, the latest daily tally easily surpassed the previous record – last Friday’s 1,378.
Cluster infections have spread rapidly around the capital Seoul and neighbouring areas fuelled by the Delta variant, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) said.
Prime minister Kim Boo-kyum said from Thursday the government would tighten distancing rules across most of the country, with the exception of some southern regions, to level 2 on the country’s four-level scale. Under level 2, gatherings of more than eight people are banned, and restaurants and bars must close by midnight.
That is still two levels below the toughest curbs available to the government. Those restrictions – level 4, including a ban on gatherings of more than two people after 6pm – were imposed from Monday in the greater Seoul area.
Hello and welcome to today’s live coverage of the coronavirus pandemic with me, Helen Sullivan.
South Korea on Wednesday again tightened social distancing curbs across most of the country to try to combat its worst-ever outbreak of coronavirus after new cases soared past previous daily peaks to 1,615.
Meanwhile, global interest in the Tokyo Olympics is muted, an Ipsos poll of 28 countries showed, amid concerns over Covid in Japan and withdrawals of high-profile athletes, with the host country among the most uninterested.
- The death toll in a fire that spread through a coronavirus hospital in southern Iraq is at least 92 with more than 100 others injured, health officials said, as an angry crowd blaming local authorities for negligence gathered near the city’s morgue as two police vehicles were torched in Nasireyah.
- Daily vaccinations hit a new high in France on Tuesday. “Today you are 792,339 to have received a first jab, a new record,” the country’s prime minister Jean Castex wrote on Twitter.
- German chancellor Angela Merkel said she is not planning to follow France and other countries in introducing compulsory Covid-19 vaccinations for parts of the population, despite the number of jabs given yesterday at its lowest since February amid apparent hesitancy.
- Thailand defended mixing two different Covid-19 vaccines, after the WHO’s top scientist warned it was a “dangerous trend” not backed by evidence.
- The European Medicines Agency said it is analysing data on rare cases of a nerve disorder reported among recipients of Johnson & Johnson’s Covid-19 vaccine, after the US added a warning label to the shot.
- Cyprus has reported a record-high number of new Covid-19 infections, health ministry data showed, with the number of positive cases surging past 1,000.
- Greece will require customers at indoor restaurants, bars and cafes to prove they have been vaccinated against Covid-19, the government announced.
- Pfizer has been making a hard sell for emergency approval of boosters – additional doses given to those already vaccinated, especially immunocompromised adults.
- Bangladesh is to lift its nationwide lockdown for the country’s second-biggest religious festival, the government has said, even as new infections rise. The removal of the curbs would “normalise economic activities” ahead of the celebrations, it added. Tens of millions of people usually head back to their villages to mark Eid al-Adha with their families.
- India’s Covid vaccination rollout has continued to falter due to supply shortages and vaccine hesitancy, casting doubt on the government’s pledge to vaccinate the entire population by December.
- Philippine police temporarily suspended a requirement for officers seeking promotion to meet body fat targets, after chiefs argued pandemic restrictions had made it difficult for officers to work out and lose weight following a study that showed almost 35% of personnel were overweight and nearly 10% obese.