Brazil Senate recalls current, ex-health ministers to COVID-19 probe

Unlike neighbouring France, which plans to offer vaccines to all adults from May 31, Spain is progressively working its way downwards through age groups and has just begun giving shots to people aged 50-59.

University of Melbourne epidemiologist Tony Blakely warned that it’s almost inevitable that a lockdown will be called, particularly if further cases emerge that can’t be linked to others in the northern suburbs cluster. 

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The infectious drinker headed out for a mammoth late-night bender in Prahran, in the city’s southeast, on Saturday night – which ended up kicking on until 4am on Sunday in a bar known for packed crowds and a pumping dancefloor.  With thousands of pub-goers potentially exposed to the virus at the packed venues, it now appears a five-day stay-at-home order is imminent after Victorian health officials were locked in emergency talks on Wednesday night.

PARIS, May 26 (Reuters) – France’s average daily number of new COVID-19 cases fell to its lowest level since mid-September while the number of people being treated for the virus in hospital continued to decline, official data showed on Wednesday.

“The stagnation of the decline we have been seeing is heavily influenced by the epidemic in population groups below the age of 50,” she told a news conference after a weekly meeting of regional health chiefs.

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The number of people in intensive care units with COVID-19 fell by 117 to 3,330, while the overall number of people in hospital with the virus fell by 837 to 18,593. Both numbers have been on a steady downward trend since the end of April.

South Australia became the first state or territory to slam its border shut to Greater Melbourne, while NSW and Queensland are urging residents to reconsider travel to the city and parts of regional Victoria.

MADRID, May 26 (Reuters) – An eight-week decline in Spain’s coronavirus infection rate has begun to tail off, Health Minister Carolina Darias said on Wednesday, pointing to younger people who are less likely to be vaccinated as the cause.

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There are also fears the outbreak, which has now climbed to 15 cases, has spread interstate after health authorities confirmed a virus carrier attended sporting fixtures involving a New South Wales team – who then travelled back to their home state.

An official SA report released on Wednesday found it likely he caught the virus through aerosol transmission due to the “close timing of doors opening and closing” from an adjacent room with an infected guest.

Senators are grilling government officials and other stakeholders to seek answers as to why Brazil has become the country with the world’s second-highest COVID-19 death toll, with more than 450,000 fatalities.

In addition, nine state governors are due to explain irregularities in COVID-19 spending in their states. Wilson Witzel, the former governor of Rio de Janeiro, was impeached in April over alleged graft in the purchase of medical supplies and services to fight the COVID-19 outbreak.

BRASILIA, May 26 (Reuters) – Brazilian senators conducting a high-profile inquiry into President Jair Bolsonaro’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic on Wednesday voted to recall the current and former health ministers for more testimony, as well as summon nine state governors for the first time.

Current Health Minister Marcelo Queiroga and his predecessor, Eduardo Pazuello, an active-duty army general, will both be called to testify again in front of the Senate panel.

Former presidential adviser Arthur Weintraub and businessman Carlos Wizard Martins, who was briefly attached to the Health Ministry, will also be called.

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