A city hall worker sprays a disinfectant at Merdeka Square, or independence square, situated in front of the Sultan Abdul Samad Building, background, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020. Malaysia will restrict movements in its biggest city Kuala Lumpur, neighboring Selangor state and the administrative capital of Putrajaya from Wednesday in an attempt to curb a sharp rise in coronavirus cases. (AP Photo/Vincent Thian)
MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Australia’s Victoria state has reported just one new case of COVID-19 and no deaths as the city of Melbourne moves closer towards the easing of some lifestyle restrictions.
The state’s coronavirus death toll remains at 816 and the Australian total is 904.
Melbourne residents are expecting COVID-19 restrictions to be eased on Sunday but it is unclear how much freedom will be regained.
Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews has indicated the changes would be more “in the social space,” prompting pleas from business operators for relief from restrictions that once included an overnight curfew.
Current restrictions include a two-hour exercise limit within 5 kilometers (3 miles) of work or home and mandatory face masks covering the mouth and nose when a person leaves their home.
In other developments in the Asia-Pacific region:
— Qingdao, a coastal city in eastern China, has completed coronavirus testing for its 11 million residents following an outbreak and found no new infections so far. As of Friday, the 10.9 million samples came back negative. Xue Qingguo, Qingdao’s deputy mayor, told state broadcaster CCTV that the risk of community transmission “is basically eliminated.” The citywide testing was ordered after 13 people were infected in China’s first locally transmitted cases in over two months. The source of the outbreak was traced to two dock workers who had tested positive for the virus in September but did not exhibit any symptoms at first. They had visited a hospital in Qingdao and were sent to a CAT scan room, which was not disinfected properly afterward and led to the infection of other patients, according to health officials. Health Commission Director Sui Zhenhua and Deng Kai, president of Qingdao’s thoracic hospital to which the cases have been linked, have been placed under investigation in connection with the outbreak. On Saturday, the National Health Commission reported 13 new imported cases. China has reported 4,634 deaths among 85,659 confirmed cases.
— India reported 62,212 new cases in the past 24 hours, raising its total to more than 7.4 million and continuing a downward trend. The Health Ministry on Saturday also registered 837 additional fatalities, taking the death toll to 112,998. The worst-hit western Maharashtra state accounted for nearly 36% of total fatalities. According to the Health Ministry, India’s average number of daily cases dropped to 72,576 last week from 92,830 during the week of Sept. 9-15, when the virus peaked. It is recording an average of around 70,000 cases daily so far this month. But some experts say India’s figures may not be reliable because of poor reporting and inadequate health infrastructure. India is also relying heavily on antigen tests, which are faster but less accurate than traditional RT-PCR tests. Health officials have warned about the potential for the virus to spread during the religious festival season beginning later this month. Health Minister Harsh Vardhan told reporters on Friday that the next two months were particularly crucial because of the winter season and festivals. New Delhi is also bracing for high air pollution levels, making the coronavirus fight more complicated in upcoming months.
— Health officials in Thailand say five people in the same family in a province bordering Myanmar have tested positive for the coronavirus. The cases are the first since early September involving local transmission of the disease. Dr. Opas Karnkawinpong, director-general of the Department of Medical Sciences, said a married couple in Tak province were confirmed to be infected on Oct. 13. He said their daughter, niece and nephew were found positive in an initial test, and results of second confirmation test would be known Saturday night. None had visible symptoms but the cases were discovered when the ministry extended testing in the border area due to a surge of cases in Myanmar. Nine people close to the family members were put under quarantine, and provincial authorities are considering what additional measures should be taken.
Follow AP’s pandemic coverage at http://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak
7 Stocks That Could Provide a Year-End Rally
It’s rough in the markets right now. Underlying the volatility is uncertainty. The VIX Index (INDEXCBOE: VIX) otherwise known as the Fear Index is unofficial, but an eerily accurate predictor of market sentiment. And the VIX is up 30% in the last month.
Is this uncertainty due to concerns over additional lockdown measures? Is it about the lack of additional coronavirus stimulus? Is the market reacting to a surge in jobless claims? Or is this just the somewhat normal volatility that comes in an election year that promises to be like none in American history.
The answer is all of the above and then some. But does that mean you should stay out of equities? I don’t think so. Where are you going to go? The Fed has promised interest rates are going nowhere fast. And that bit of news is weighing down the bond market.
So stocks it is. But although growth-seeking investors may be tempted to look at the tech sector to see what’s on sale today, I suggest taking a more targeted approach. Rather than looking at a single sector, try to look at solid performers in different sectors that may be ready to surge over the last three months.
The pandemic brought the entire market down. But once investors took a breath they found bargains. And if you had the courage to put your money to work in those stocks, you’ve been rewarded.
Times like these call for the same type of courage. And that’s why we’ve put together this special presentation with seven stocks that look ready to surprise investors with nice end-of-year gains.
View the "7 Stocks That Could Provide a Year-End Rally".