- Melbourne looks to be on course to ease out of a strict lockdown and curfew from September 28, as the average number of cases drops.
- Some 29.4 million people around the world have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and 931,454 people have died, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Nearly 20 million people have recovered from the disease.
Here are the latest updates:
Wednesday, September 16
01:00 GMT – Victoria on course to ease Melbourne lockdown by month’s end
Australia’s Victoria state looks to be on course to relax a strict lockdown in the city of Melbourne by the end of the month after the average number of cases over the last two weeks dropped below 50, which is within the target range for the state to ease restrictions from September 28.
The fall in cases in recent days – 42 were reported across the state on Wednesday – from early August’s triple-digit highs means some curbs will be eased in rural areas of the state late on Wednesday.
In these places, outdoor gatherings of up to 10 people will be permitted, residents of a household will be allowed to visit one other home, and cafes will be able to seat up to 50 people outside.
#COVID19VicData UPDATED: We have reissued today’s data as there are 81 cases with unknown source in Metro Melbourne, not 82, as earlier tweeted. Yesterday there were 42 new cases reported and 8 lives lost. Info: https://t.co/eTputEZdhs pic.twitter.com/buI8b9yv7J
— VicGovDHHS (@VicGovDHHS) September 15, 2020
00:00 GMT – Poorly-fitting masks increase risk to health workers who are female or Asian: study
A new study has found female healthcare workers and medical staff with Asian heritage are more vulnerable to COVID-19 infection because they are less likely to be using face masks that fit them properly.
The analysis published in the journal Anaesthesia looked at studies into the assessment of filtration masks like the N95 and FFP2 models, which are used by medical workers in high-risk situations.
Their review looked at research that showed higher initial fit-pass rates in Caucasians (90 percent) compared with Asians (84 percent) and said particularly low initial fit-pass rates were found in Asian women, with a reported average of just 60 percent.
In the US, the report said authorities use a fit-test panel to assess the suitability of the N95 masks provided to healthcare workers, but they noted that the facial dimensions represented by the panel were based on a group of people in which women and Asians were “underrepresented”.
In many countries around the world, women make up at least three-quarters of all healthcare staff. The authors said that to ensure a mask is not liable to leak, it needs to adequately fit the face shape of the wearer, adding that fit appears to be more important for protection from airborne viral spread than the filtration capacity of the mask itself.
Hello and welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the coronavirus pandemic. I’m Kate Mayberry in Kuala Lumpur.
Read all the updates from yesterday (September 15) here.
Al Jazeera and news agencies