As cases in the US state of Florida continue to rise a top Miami doctor warns that the city is facing a fate similar to that of the original virus epicentre of Wuhan.
Meanwhile in Australia Woolworths has confirmed a staff member from a store in the Southern Highlands has tested positive to coronavirus.
This story was last updated at 1:45am on Wednesday.
Wednesday’s key moments:
Miami has become the ‘epicentre of the pandemic’ according to US infections expert
A top Florida infectious diseases doctor says the state’s rapidly increasing number of COVID-19 cases is turning Miami into the new “epicentre of the pandemic”.
“What we were seeing in Wuhan — six months ago, five months ago — now we are there,” Dr Lilian Abbo said during a press conference hosted by the Miami-Dade County Mayor.
Florida reported a record increase in COVID-19 deaths on Tuesday with 133 more lives lost, raising the state’s total deaths to more than 4,500. The previous record increase was 120 on July 9.
The state recorded over 9,000 new cases on Tuesday, down from 12,000 on Monday and a record increase of 15,000 on Sunday.
Florida International University epidemiologist Dr Aileen Marty called the situation in Miami “extremely grave”.
She said the public was not taking the virus seriously enough, ignoring rules on large gatherings, social distancing and wearing masks in public places.
Then United States has now had over 3.3 million cases of coronavirus confirmed and over 135,000 deaths.
NSW Woolworths store closed after staff member tests positive
Woolworths has confirmed a staff member from its Bowral store in the NSW southern highlands has tested positive to COVID-19.
The store said the employee in question last worked on Sunday but did not show any symptoms at the time.
It said it was made aware of the case on Tuesday and has placed signs up at the supermarket notifying customers of the case.
The store described the risk of transmission the community and other staff as “low” and closed overnight for a deep clean.
Britain and France making face masks in shops mandatory
Governments in the UK and France will order people to wear face masks while in shops.
On Monday morning, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has previously urged people to wear them but has since announced his Government would make it compulsory.
Anyone who fails to comply with the order — which comes into effect on July 24 — could face a fine of up to 100 pounds ($180) in the UK.
French President Emmanuel Macron said his Government will introduce similar new rules in coming weeks as he fears as second wave.
“We have some signs that it’s coming back a bit,” Mr Macron said in an interview with French broadcasters.
“Faced with that, we must anticipate and prepare. I want us, in the next few weeks, to make masks compulsory in enclosed public places.
“I ask fellow citizens to wear masks as much as possible when they are outside, and especially so when they are in an enclosed space.”
JPMorgan Chase sets aside billions to cover losses
The largest financial company in the United States has set aside billions of dollars due to the coronavirus pandemic.
JPMorgan Chase has set aside $US8.3 billion ($11.9 billion) during the first quarter of the year and another $US10.5 billion ($15.1 billion) last quarter.
The reserves are to cover potential losses from all the businesses and consumers who are unable to pay their debts due to the slumping economy.
“Despite some recent positive macroeconomic data and significant, decisive government action, we still face much uncertainty regarding the future path of the economy,” JPMorgan Chase chief executive Jamie Dimon said.
Police in the Philippines will do house searches for new cases
Philippine authorities and police will carry out house-to-house searches for COVID-19 patients to prevent wider transmission.
Interior Minister Eduardo Ano urged the public to report cases in their neighbourhoods, warning that anyone infected who refused to cooperate could face time in prison.
The tough approach comes during a week where the Philippines recorded south-east Asia’s biggest daily jump in coronavirus deaths and saw hospital occupancy grow sharply.
Infections have tripled since lockdown restrictions were eased on June 1 to allow more movement and commerce.
“We don’t want positive patients to stay home in (self) quarantine especially if their homes don’t have the capacity,” Mr Ano said.
Israel reports record high daily-infection number
Israel’s Health Ministry confirmed 1,681 new coronavirus cases on Tuesday, a record increase.
The nation has recorded a total of 41,235 cases of the coronavirus.
The country currently has over 21,000 active cases and at least 368 Israelis have died from COVID-19, according to Health Ministry figures.
Health Ministry Director General Hezi Levi said the government is making every effort to try to avoid another countrywide lockdown.
“A general lockdown is without a doubt one of the tools that we try our utmost to avoid reaching for,” Mr Levi told Israel Radio.