Melbourne Quarantine, Hong Kong, Donald Trump: Your Monday Briefing

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Good morning.

We’re covering a strict quarantine imposed in Melbourne, how Hong Kong has changed under the security law and Paris couture fashion week as catwalks go digital.

ImagePolice officers enforcing the quarantine in Melbourne on Sunday. 
Credit…Asanka Ratnayake/Getty Images

The strict quarantine, which started on Saturday, is the first of its kind in Australia during the pandemic and is being monitored by hundreds of police officers.

Dr. Paul Kelly, Australia’s acting chief medical officer, has described the towers as “vertical cruise ships” with the potential to cause a major surge in coronavirus cases.

Details: Australia’s total case count remains relatively small, but public health officials have become increasingly alarmed by the outbreak in Melbourne. About 200 new cases emerged in and around the city over the past two days, a growth rate not seen since March.

Here are the latest updates and maps of the outbreak.

In other developments:

Credit…Lam Yik Fei for The New York Times

Seemingly overnight, Hong Kong is different. The territory’s distinct culture of political activism and free speech, at times brazenly directed at China’s ruling Communist Party, appears to be in danger.

On Saturday, the city’s public library system said that books by some prominent activists had been removed from circulation while officials reviewed whether they violated the new national security law that went into effect last week.

Sticky notes that had plastered the walls of some businesses have been taken down by pro-democracy owners fearful of the words scribbled on them. Parents are wondering whether to stop their children from singing a popular protest song. Activists are devising coded ways to express what are now dangerous ideas.

The Hong Kong government has insisted that free speech is not under threat from the law, but crimes under the measure are punishable by life imprisonment in the most serious cases.

Quotable: “This is home,” said Ming Tse, sitting in the cafe he manages, which once loudly supported the protesters. “But I don’t think this place loves us anymore.”

Credit…Jiji Press/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Yuriko Koike cruised to a second term on Sunday, with voters endorsing her highly visible pandemic response even as a resurgence in the Japanese capital made clear that her challenge was far from over.

Tokyo has avoided the kind of spiraling death tolls seen in other world capitals, but the city reported 111 new infections on Sunday, its fourth straight day over 100. The country as a whole has recorded more than 20,000 cases and fewer than 1,000 deaths.

The victory for Ms. Koike, an ultraconservative former defense minister who speaks English and Arabic, was something of a turnabout. Just a few years ago, she had seemed to have fallen out of favor with the public.

Performance: Ms. Koike made herself the face of Tokyo’s response to the virus. She anchored news conferences nearly every night to deliver daily test figures and advice on how to avoid infections, presenting a much more relaxed image than Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Credit…John Moore/Getty Images

Six months into the pandemic, scientists still do not have a firm understanding of the infection fatality rate of the coronavirus. So far, in most countries, about 20 percent of all confirmed Covid-19 patients become ill enough to need oxygen or even more advanced hospital care but whether those patients survive depends on a host of factors.

Our science and health reporter looked at the complicated factors that can determine how often the virus kills.

Japan flooding: Torrential rains in the south have caused widespread flooding and mudslides, killing at least 16 people, according to public broadcaster NHK. Another 17 were feared dead. Thirteen others were reported missing.

South China Sea tensions: Two American aircraft carriers — the Ronald Reagan and the Nimitz — were sailing to the South China Sea over the weekend for what Navy officials described as a freedom-of-navigation operation while China’s military conducts exercises nearby.

Jeffrey Epstein scandal: Lawyers for Prince Andrew had discussions with a Washington lobbyist with ties to the Trump administration about the possibility of assisting the prince with fallout from his relationship with the disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein.

Credit…Mauricio Lima for The New York Times

Snapshot: Above, the village of Hasankeyf in Turkey on the banks of the Tigris River, which was submerged beneath the rising waters of the Ilisu Dam, the latest of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s megaprojects. Our reporter and photographer visited the area several times for half a year to witness the disappearance of the valley.

What we’re reading: This article in The Atlantic about how white U.S. evangelicals are reaching out to Black pastors for help in crafting their public statements. “This seems like another reason that the reality of race in America might actually be changing,” says the Briefings editor, Andrea Kannapell.

Credit…Julia Gartland for The New York Times (Photography and Styling)

Cook: The secret to the crunchiest fruit crumble is double-baking the crumb topping to keep it wonderfully crisp.

Watch: Revisit “Jurassic Park” and “Jaws” — two of the classic blockbuster movies that defined summer.

Do: It’s time to get moving. Jump-start your fitness routine with these workouts from home, from a six-minute session for beginners to 20 minutes of vigorous exercise.

Staying safe at home is easier when you have plenty of things to read, cook, watch and do. At Home has our full collection of ideas.

The haute couture fashion shows in Paris will be virtual this week. For many who have, over the years, made the week a visual extravaganza, the coronavirus has meant unemployment. Our fashion writers spoke to some of the models, lighting technicians, photographers, florists, seamstresses, dressers and musicians whose labor creates the dream. Here’s what they said.

Acielle Tanbetova, photographer

“Normally, I would be shooting backstage for American Vogue, and between the shows, I’d shoot street style.

Last year, I was traveling nonstop, shooting from one fashion week to another. So it’s very strange to be at home right now. I took this time for myself and to study, to improve myself, to reflect.

I’ve been invited to Copenhagen Fashion Week in August, so that will be my first fashion week since the start of the Covid-19 crisis. I think it will be an interesting test case for how these kinds of events can be organized in a safe and practical way. And I wonder what kind of outfits there will be — more simple and practical? Will everyone be wearing masks?”

Credit…Francois G. Durand/WireImage

Romaine Dixon, model

“I haven’t done any work since the quarantine started. I haven’t done any Zoom shoots. It’s a real blow to my social media profile. Because I have savings, I’ll be all right for some time. But I need to get back to work.”

Charly Lavado, freelance pattern maker and dressmaker

“It has been a big shock. After lockdown was declared in March, Dior (and all the French fashion houses) canceled all temporary contracts for the foreseeable future, and there was no clarity on whether there would be a summer couture show or even a collection.

Usually, this time of year would be so busy. I would pattern-cut at least three looks for the collection and complete at least one of those dresses myself. In January, I made a mousseline green plissé gown that looked simple, but every stitch was so technically challenging. I am not complaining, though. I love what I do.”

Philippe Cerceau, lighting designer

“After the clothes themselves, lighting is the most important thing at a fashion show. With bad lighting, the audience can’t see any of the beautiful details or the finish of a collection.

In January, my clients for couture were Dior, Valentino, Elie Saab and Viktor & Rolf. For July, there are none.

The last few months have been so quiet, so I painted my house instead. We’ve started to get some inbound now for the September shows in Paris, but it is still early days.”

That’s it for this briefing. See you next time.

— Carole

Thank you
To Melissa Clark for the recipe, and to Theodore Kim and Jahaan Singh for the rest of the break from the news. You can reach the team at

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