Mon, 06 Jul 2020

Australia Lifts More Restrictions; Saudi Mosques Reopen

Voice of America
01 Jun 2020, 16:05 GMT+10

Australia is continuing to ease coronavirus restrictions, allowing more people to gather in restaurants, public parks and other attractions.

Gatherings in the country's largest state, New South Wales, had been limited to 10 people. That limit has been increased to 50.

Museums, libraries and zoos are reopening.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he hopes the easing of restrictions will help the economy rebound after, like so many other global economies, being hit hard by the pandemic.

But Morrison said another government stimulus package may be necessary.

About 90,000 mosques across Saudi Arabia opened for the first time in more than two months Sunday, but some restrictions remain in place.

Worshippers 15 years old and younger are not allowed inside, and the elderly are being encouraged to stay home to pray. Mecca, Islam's holiest city, remains closed, but Jerusalem's al-Aqsa mosque - Islam's holiest site outside Saudi Arabia - was open again Sunday for the first time since mid-March. All who enter must have their temperatures checked.

With the U.S. Atlantic hurricane season officially starting Monday, the Associated Press reports many counties across the southern U.S. still do not have complete plans on how to open up public shelters if a storm strikes during the coronavirus outbreak.

"Our biggest change to our hurricane plan is sheltering. How are we going to shelter those that have to evacuate? How are going to shelter those that are positive COVID patients? There are multiple ideas that we are considering right now," Mississippi Emergency Management Agency Director Greg Michel said.

Vice President Mike Pence said last week that the federal government is ready should there be the twin disaster of a hurricane and COVID-19.

The federal emergency plan includes urging people to stay in hotels. But some state officials say that may not be an option because of the current unemployment crisis caused by the pandemic.

U.S. forecasters say this will be an unusually busy hurricane season with as many as six major storms hitting the U.S.

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