Melbourne lockdown to stay as arrests made over Covid protests

Melbourne lockdown to stay as arrests made over Covid protests
People gather at a so-called ‘Freedom Day’ protest in Melbourne (James Ross/AAP/AP)

Victoria state announced a slight easing of restrictions in Melbourne on Sunday but Australia’s second-largest city will remain in lockdown until at least October 26.

State police charged a protester with assault after an officer suffered cuts to the head during an anti-lockdown rally in Melbourne on Saturday.

Police said seven other people were charged with breaching Covid-19 directions after some 200 people gathered to protest near the city centre.

Scuffles between demonstrators and police resulted in more than 160 fines for contravening lockdown measures or not wearing a mask.

(PA Graphics)

“Despite all the warnings, it was disappointing to see individuals turn out to protest in the city, putting the lives of Victorians at risk,” a police statement said.

On Sunday, health officials said Victoria recorded 63 new cases and five more deaths. It takes the state’s total fatalities to 666 and the national death toll to 753.

Among other developments in the Asia-Pacific region, India recorded another record surge of 90,632 cases in 24 hours, as infections spread to smaller cities and rural areas.

According to the country’s health ministry, India’s caseload reached 4,113,811, slightly short of Brazil’s confirmed 4,123,000 infections.

Police arrest a man as people gather at the so-called ‘Freedom Day’ protest in Melbourne (James Ross/AAP/AP)

The ministry on Sunday also reported 1,065 deaths for a total of 70,626. More than a million cases have been detected in India in less than two weeks. Authorities say India’s daily testing now exceeds one million people.

South Korea confirmed 167 additional cases of the coronavirus, a gradual downward trend in new infections.

The figures announced Sunday by the Korea Centres for Disease Control and Prevention raised the country’s tally to 21,177, with 334 deaths.

It was the fourth straight day the daily jump has come below 200.

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