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Victoria records 0 COVID-19 cases for 20th consecutive day, SA lockdown begins


In measures tougher than those imposed during Victoria’s second coronavirus lockdown, South Australians are now restricted from leaving their homes and banned from all outdoor exercise until next Tuesday. Only one person per household is allowed to undertake essential activities such as shopping each day.

South Australia’s outbreak – seeded, like Victoria’s second wave, at a quarantine hotel – grew by two cases to a total of 22 on Wednesday, with seven suspected cases awaiting test results and more than 4000 close contacts in quarantine or self-isolation.

Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt said the federal government supported the severe lockdown in South Australia, but disputed the assertion that support was in contrast to the rhetoric towards the Victorian government during that state’s second-wave lockdown.

“With great respect, that’s an incorrect representation,” he said to ABC Radio Adelaide host David Bevan.

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Mr Hunt took aim at the length of the second Victorian lockdown, and the disputed point that Victoria refused Australian Defence Force assistance.

“We wanted Victoria to go hard and go early and we did the absolute best to get the Australian Defence Force in, not just at the start in March but again in June and July,” he said.

“When the Victorian response had gone on for 100 days of lockdown, not six days, we were deeply concerned about mental health.”

South Australian authorities said the unprecedented lockdown measures were designed to be a “circuit-breaker” to halt any major spread of the virus.

But Dr Thompson said he believed six days may not be long enough to be effective, as COVID-19 could take as long as 14 days to incubate in a person’s body.

“I think it’s slightly on the short side to be perfectly honest,” he said.

People queuing at Woolworths at West Torrens in Adelaide on Wednesday.

People queuing at Woolworths at West Torrens in Adelaide on Wednesday.Credit:Getty

“If you’re only aiming for one incubation period, you’re losing your margin for error.”

Dr Thompson said while it was encouraging that South Australia was taking lessons from how Victoria’s deadly second wave unfolded, he questioned the need for the entire state to be locked down as all cases had so far been isolated to metropolitan Adelaide.

“I would probably suggest they’re being extremely harsh by doing that,” he said.

Despite South Australia’s extraordinary restrictions, residents are still able to fly interstate to Victoria.

Two flights from Adelaide and Mt Gambier are due to arrive in Melbourne on Thursday, with all passengers to be health screened.

Those from metropolitan Adelaide will be required to undergo a COVID-19 test and isolate until their results are returned, while regional South Australians are free to enter the state without a test if they have no symptoms.

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Truck drivers entering Victoria from South Australia on the Western Highway are being tested at Nhill, 60 kilometres east of the border.

Drivers will be able to continue their journey after their fast-tracked results are sent to them, according to Victoria’s health department.

There is no mandatory health screening for any other residents driving across the land border into Victoria, but the Victorian government has urged South Australians to cancel all non-essential travel.

“Most of the traffic across the border is border communities … [so] we put resources where there is the greatest risk,” deputy Chief Health Officer Allen Cheng said on Wednesday.

Premier Daniel Andrews said truck drivers who refused a test would be turned around, and anyone refusing a test arriving by air would be required to quarantine for 14 days.

“There is no reason to refuse a test,” he said.

Presuming Victoria’s run of zero cases continues, Mr Andrews will announce a further relaxation of coronavirus restrictions on Sunday. Victorians are expected to be allowed to have 10 people in their homes, up to 50 people may be allowed to gather in public and hospitality venues could be able to host 100 customers indoors and 200 outdoors.

Mr Andrews has also flagged that Victorians may no longer have to wear face masks outdoors where people are socially distanced from others.

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Australian News

South Australia imposes new COVID-19 restrictions as 12 ‘critical’ hours begins


A leading Australian epidemiologist has given a warning to the nation as South Australia holds its breath over the next 12 “critical” hours.

Officials are racing against the clock to contain the spread of the virus in the state, while the premier has issued advice to residents to wear masks on public transport and where it’s not possible to socially distance.

On Monday South Australian premier Steven Marshall told residents his “unequivocal priority” was keeping the people of the state safe and strong but noted “time is now of the essence and we must act swiftly and decisively”.

“We cannot wait to see how bad this gets,” he said, as the cluster sat at 17 overnight, 15 from the one family.

The Australian Defence Force has been called for assistance, states are shutting borders and a new health alert was issued overnight from SA Health urging everyone who was in the Emergency Department at Lyell McEwin Hospital between 5.30pm Friday 13 November and 8.00am Saturday 14 November to get tested and contact officials.

A number of schools and a Hungry Jack’s have been forced into lockdown as the radius of the spread continues to grow.

RELATED: See which states closed to South Australia as outbreak explodes

RELATED: What you can and can’t do in South Australia

RELATED: ‘Very troubling’: new community transmitted cases in SA

New COVID restrictions are being reimposed in South Australia after the troubling outbreak in Adelaide’s northern suburbs over the weekend that was a first for the state since April and which has thrown more doubt over Australia’s border reopenings.

Health officials anticipate new COVID-19 restrictions imposed on residents overnight will be in place for at least two weeks.

From Tuesday gyms, recreation centres, trampoline and play cafes will close, while community sport will be cancelled but outdoor bootcamps can continue.

Hospitality venues will be capped at 100, while bookings will be capped at 10. No stand-up drinking will be permitted.

Wedding guests must register their attendance, while funerals have been capped at 50 people. Church services will be capped at 100 people.

Masks will be mandatory for people providing personal care services, such as nail salons, tattoo parlours and hair dressers, and masks will be encouraged for clients too.

Work from home advice stating it should be done “where possible”, has also been reinforced. The government also advised residents to avoid visitors and against any unnecessary travel.

Dr Emma Miller, a senior lecturer and epidemiologist from Flinders University, told ABC News: “We are in a pandemic, this is the nature of the beast”.

She said despite South Australia’s “world class” public health system, it “does not necessarily mean we can get on top of this outbreak”.

“Absolutely it’s inevitable, it takes one slip, one slight bit of inattention … and off we go again.

“We have the right public health system to be able to do so, but that doesn’t mean we necessarily will because this is a very effective disease, we don’t know how long it’s actually been in the community.”

Dr Miller warned Australians have “got to a bit of a level of complacency in the population with testing” and we “don’t really know whether we can get on top of it”.

She said uncertainties in human behaviour and lapses of attention will inevitably result in the “occasional bit of leakage”. She suggested a quarantine facility that was removed from major Australian CBD’s that could contain “any leakages that will occur”.

“This is a worldwide problem, we have a huge wave of viral infections literally bearing down on us even though we are an island state.

“We’re living in a pandemic, this is the reality of a pandemic, that we will always be under the pressure of the magnitude of the viral exposure that’s pressing down on us.

“There is absolutely no such thing as no risk.”

Doctor Miller said that there may be “other cases lurking” in South Australia.

Meanwhile Mr Marshall has accepted an offer of defence force assistance from Prime Minister Scott Morrison as it tries to contain the outbreak.

“The virus hasn’t gone anywhere. It’s still there and it will seek to exploit any vulnerability how small or great and that’s why there are layers to our defence,” the PM said.

It is yet uncertain in which capacity the ADF will play a role.

The state saw huge turnouts at testing facilities on Monday as residents flocked in panic over the cluster, with warnings that hundreds may have been exposed to the deadly virus after the positive cases travelled and shopped around the city.

Mr Marshall confirmed all international flights into South Australia have also been suspended while the NT health department ordered popular tourist train the Ghan, which connects Adelaide and Darwin, to turnaround on what was to be the final trip of the season.

Western Australia Premier Mark McGowan on Monday afternoon reintroduced a hard border closure for the neighbouring state, starting from 6pm except for “strict exemption” categories.

Queensland has announced they too will be closing off the border to parts of South Australia from midnight tonight.

Northern Territory’s Chief Minister Michael Gunner closed the borders to the Top End to the entire state of South Australia “effective immediately”.

Moments later, Tasmania’s Premier Peter Gutwein announced his state would also be implementing new border measures for visitors from South Australia, urging anyone who had entered since November 8 to self isolate at their hotel or place of residence for 14 days.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews, whose own state has come out the other side of a devastating second wave of the disease, has followed suit.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian, however, said her state would not be making any changes to current border arrangements, meaning residents flying in from South Australia can enter the state freely without going in to mandatory quarantine.

South Australia chief public health officer Professor Nicola Spurrier said despite the panic there have been no more positive cases returned yet. Officials will be anxiously awaiting results on Tuesday after the slew of tests taken yesterday.

“What we do want is people with symptoms to get tested because if we have a lot of the worried well come out and get tested, it does mean that our turnaround time might blow out,” she said in a press conference Monday.

“Those people with symptoms we make sure that those get on the run the quickest.”



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FIFA begins process of selecting Australian, New Zealand host cities for 2023 Women’s World Cup


FIFA has began conducting virtual workshops with the 12 Australian and New Zealand candidate cities hoping to host matches at the 2023 Women’s World Cup.

Football Federation Australia (FFA) has described the workshops, which will be held over the next two weeks, as a “significant milestone” following FIFA’s decision to award Australia and New Zealand hosting rights for the tournament.

FIFA, along with FFA and New Zealand Football, will detail the selection process, with bid cities to have the opportunity to present their latest legacy and logistical plans.

The Australian cities hoping to be selected are Adelaide, Brisbane, Launceston, Melbourne, Newcastle, Perth and Sydney.

New Zealand cities in the running are Auckland, Christchurch, Dunedin, Hamilton and Wellington.

The last Women’s World Cup, held in France in 2019, was staged across nine cities, although since that tournament the number of competing nations has expanded from 24 to 32.

US women's soccer team celebrate winning 2019 world cup
The 2023 Women’s World Cup will host more nations than the 2019 edition, won by the US.(AP: Alessandra Tarantino)

FFA’s Women’s World Cup 2023 head Jane Fernandez said FIFA would be looking closely at several items in the selection process.

“They’ll make the decision based on all the work that is being done now, to analyse all of the stadiums, all of the infrastructure, the costs, and things like this, and that will determine the (final) number of stadiums,” she told The Ticket.

“The virtual workshops will include not only each city telling their story about the infrastructure, but definitely they also need to explain what the legacy will be to their city by hosting the Women’s World Cup in 2023.

FFA head of game development and retired Australian international, Sarah Walsh, said participation was at the foundation of the legacy framework.

“It’s fair to say it’s (participation) one of the most supported (legacy components) by FIFA,” she said.

“They’re really keen to see how we’re going to boost participation, which means building capabilities in the current system and the 2,000-plus clubs … and on top of that it’s delivering modified products like ‘soccer mums’ and social programs that create more flexibility in the offering for women of all ages.”

FFA wants to cater for women ‘of all backgrounds’

FFA also hopes the removal of barriers for women in other areas of the game will be one of the lasting positives.

Walsh said creating pathways for women to take up roles in areas such as communications, media, coaching, refereeing, and administration — particularly in decision-making roles — was crucial.

She said it was important to build support programs, and mentoring and leadership programs, and to also “think about whether we look at quotas and putting that into our coaching courses”.

“We want to make sure our game is accessible to women of all backgrounds,” Walsh said.

“So there’s an Indigenous element in there, there’s CALD (culturally and linguistically diverse) communities and [people of] all abilities.”

FIFA is hoping the 2023 Women’s World Cup — the first to be co-hosted by two confederations (Asia and Oceania) — will drive growth in the South Pacific and in the world’s most populous countries, China and India.

“This is something that FIFA are very interested in,” Walsh said.

“Because obviously hosting a World Cup between Australia and New Zealand is great for our two countries but how can we utilise this to build a platform for other countries and deliver some of our programs into Asia and Oceania?”

Fernandez said the final cost of the World Cup would be determined once decisions were made around the number of stadiums and host cities.

“Whilst I’m sure FIFA has a number of different budgets being prepared, the final number won’t be known until the selection has been completed,” she said.

“But we know that the Australian (federal and state) governments have committed up to $94.4 million … a significant investment, and it shows the value governments place on hosting the tournament.”

FFA chief executive James Johnson said the Women’s World Cup was a key component of his organisation’s “XI Principles”, the title given to its plan for the future of the game in Australia.

“Australia’s co-hosting of the next FIFA Women’s World Cup ensures that we continue to be a globally-minded organisation, and will play a significant role in ensuring Australia becomes the centre of women’s football in the Asia-Pacific region,” he said in an FFA statement.

FIFA delegates will visit each of the candidate cities once COVID-19 restrictions have eased. The successful bid cities are expected to be announced by March next year.



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Australian News

US Open begins at Winged Foot with both Patrick Reed and Will Zalatoris holing out for aces on the seventh


The US Open golf tournament has got off to a flying start, with two players hitting hole-in-ones in the opening round and one of them just missing out on a second.

The Winged Foot course is normally a brutal test for golfers — when Australia’s Geoff Ogilvy won the US Open title here in 2006, his winning total was 5-over par. Many people feel this week’s champion will struggle to get near par for the 72 holes.

But on a benign opening day at the course in Mamaroneck, New York, the world’s best golfers took the layout apart — and not one but two of them managed aces at the par-three seventh.

First up, American Patrick Reed stepped up at the 151-metre hole and hit a perfect nine-iron tee-shot that took one hop and landed straight in the cup.

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There were a few smiles and some polite reaction from his playing partners, but with fans not allowed at this week’s second golf major of 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there was none of the normal excitement seen after an ace.

“It would have been nuts. Up here in New York, the fans are amazing,” he said.

Reed — who two holes earlier had taken a nasty six on the par-four fifth — ended the day in a tie for second at 4-under, one shot behind fellow American Justin Thomas.

A few hours later, next up was 24-year-old Will Zalatoris, who took the same club but a different approach. His nine-iron bounced a handful of times on the green before rolling into the hole.

Not content with one, Zalatoris nearly had another on the 13th, when his tee-shot bounced off the flagstick to narrowly avoid going in.

Thomas went into the week saying it was a “different kind of fun” to grind out pars, to hit middle irons to difficult pins instead of the low scoring at so many other tournaments.

He delivered six birdies and finished with a 25-footer on the 18th on a putt he barely moved to get it started down one of the many wicked slopes on Winged Foot’s greens.

A golfer finishes his swing out of a bunker, with sand spraying in the air.
Justin Thomas was not perfect, but he was able to get himself out of trouble with a first-round 65 to lead the US Open.(AP: Charles Krupa)

He leads from a group of three — Reed, Belgium’s Thomas Pieters and American Matthew Wolff.

One shot further back are Rory McIlroy, Lee Westwood and Louis Oosthuizen.

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“Yeah, 65 is fun no matter where you play, especially at Winged Foot,” Thomas said.

“I was in a really good frame of mind, and I was focused. I just was sticking to my routine and playing every shot, as opposed to getting ahead of myself.

“It’s one of those rounds where … next thing you know, you make the putt on 18, you’re done for the day.”

He played with Masters champion Tiger Woods and PGA champion Collin Morikawa, who could not get done fast enough.

Woods was in five bunkers through five holes and then appeared to steady himself with three straight birdies around the turn to get under par, but only briefly. He made three bogeys coming in, still had a chance to post a reasonable score and then let it get away.

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From short of the steep shelf fronting the 18th green, he flubbed a flop shot, pitched the next one about 2.4 metres beyond the pin and missed the putt to take double bogey for a 73.

“I did not finish off the round like I needed to,” Woods said, a feeling he conveyed five more times out of the six questions he faced after his round.

Neither did Morikawa, who shot 40 on the back nine for a 76.

Zach Johnson had an even-par round to start — like many his card was full of birdies and bogeys.

His highlight came on the first hole, where he ran his putt from the edge of the green four metres past the hole, using the contours of the green to feed it back down the slope and in for a brilliant birdie.

Tough day for the Australians

There were nine Australians in the field for the US Open — and despite the helpful conditions, none of them managed to shoot par or above.

Adam Scott hit four birdies and five bogeys in a 1-over par 71, the same score as Cameron Smith.

Jason Day (2-over) had a tough start, with a double bogey on the par-three third.

As Day put it, he “half-scrapped” the ball out to his right on his second shot and ended up on the downslope of a bunker.

“It was just outside, and then [I] kind of just went straight underneath it, left myself in the rough again over the bunker,” Day said.

“It was a tough lie, going back into the grain … and I hit it, and it came out left, went down the hill – nearly holed the fourth [shot], but that’s the way it is.”

Lucas Herbert also shot a 72, while Marc Leishman was a further shot back on 3-over.

Scott Hend was 4-over after the opening round, Curtis Luck was 5-over, Matt Jones shot a 76 and Melbourne amateur Lukas Michel had a 10-over par round of 80.

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Inquest into 3yo girl’s death from flu begins


A Sydney GP who helped revive a three-year-old girl the day before she tragically died from the flu has told an inquest she was “probably the sickest child I’ve ever seen”.

But medical staff at one of the city’s biggest children’s hospitals failed to recognise the life-threatening condition of Caitlin Reese Cruz, counsel assisting the inquest Maria Gerace told the Lidcombe Coroners Court on Monday.

She said a series of systemic errors at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead, including poor record keeping and lack of equipment, might have robbed Caitlin of a chance of survival.

Caitlin had been rushed to the hospital about 2.20pm on the afternoon of October 22, 2016 after she collapsed in her father’s lap at a GP clinic in Rhodes.

Her lips were blue, she was barely breathing, her pulse and blood pressure were non-discernible and she didn’t move when a cannula was inserted into her arm.

Despite a brief recovery, less than 24 hours later at 11.15am she was pronounced dead, with a post-mortem revealing her heart had swollen from fluid caused by a viral influenza B infection.

Ms Gerace told the court on the first day of the week-long inquest Caitlin’s condition rapidly deteriorated after she was finally admitted to the intensive paediatric care unit on the morning of October 23.

That followed hours of “inadequate” care, with reports passed between medical staff that did not paint a “clear and complete picture” of her symptoms, nor the “urgency and concern” of her treating GP that day, Ms Gerace said.

She said among the concerning failures in care was Caitlin waiting hours to receive an ECG – a test that detects heart issues – as the machine in the hospital’s emergency ward was “out of charge”.

When she was later admitted into a ward a doctor was unable to find a hammer to test her reflexes because equipment had been moved to another part of the hospital.

While in the ward a junior doctor reviewed an ECG taken of the girl’s heart but failed to interpret the results in written records. A senior physician did not see the results for nearly 12 hours.

The young girl from Lidcombe fell ill with a fever on October 20. She had been tired, complained of stomach pains and had little to no appetite.

A worsening in Caitlin’s condition led her concerned father Mitch Cruz to book her into My Health Medical Centre in Rhodes two days later.

One of the doctors who worked to revive her at the clinic on October 22 told the court Caitlin was “probably the sickest child I’ve ever seen in an emergency in general practice”.

A tearful Dr Sumeena Qidwai said she screamed for her receptionist to call an ambulance after observing Caitlin to be “floppy and blue” and appearing to be in imminent cardio-pulmonary arrest.

“I couldn’t feel a peripheral pulse and I was unable to hear her heart rate,” she said.

She described Caitlin as being almost completely non-responsive and believed she was in “imminent danger of death”.

“I’ve never done a cannula where a child didn’t even flinch. She did not flinch,” she said.

Husband Dr Faisal Qidwai told the court Caitlin did not appear to be breathing, and he fixed an oxygen mask to her, turning the flow up high.

When Caitlin left for hospital she had made somewhat of a recovery, now able to breathe on her own and responding to conversation, he said.

However, Dr Sumeena Qidwai told the court she did not think it was appropriate for her to write a referral letter to give to attending paramedics due to the urgency of the situation.

She directly addressed Caitlin’s parents Mitch and Maria, saying she hoped the inquest could help them “heal”.

The inquest continues before Deputy State Coroner Derek Lee.



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Business

AAP newswire ‘begins its next chapter’ as sale finalised


The consortium, led by Nick Harrington, is made up of a number of people including philanthropist John McKinnon, and has been supported by senior media executive Peter Tonagh.

The new-look AAP, directed by CEO Emma Cowdroy and editor Andrew Drummond, will continue to produce content including breaking and world news, sport, court and political reporting, plus photography and a FactCheck service.

The new owners have committed to retain scores of the current AAP workforce, but there will be job losses. Changes to the business are expected to be finalised ahead of settlement on July 31.

Cowdroy, who has previously worked as AAP’s senior legal counsel, championed news of the sale.

“This is not only great news, but it’s vital for our democracy, as public-interest journalism is more important than ever,” she said.

“Fast, factual reporting, objective news and geographical reach to all corners of Australia, is our DNA.”

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Other parts of the AAP Group will be retained by the current shareholders. This includes Medianet, Mediaverse, AAP Directories, Pagemasters and Racing operations.

Outgoing AAP Chairman Campbell Reid on behalf of the board paid tribute to the professionalism of staff over recent months.

“You have all stayed true to the spirit that the news is published no matter what, and this stands the newswire in great stead as it begins its next chapter. The board wishes the new team every success,” he said.



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Australia coronavirus live updates: Ruby Princess set to leave as inquiry begins into coronavirus response – latest news | Australia news


It is a tragic day for Victoria police, I said last night, it is a tragic day obviously for the families of these officers and we feel very deeply for them.

The whole force is reeling this morning from what has occurred last night. It is an unprecedented event for us to lose so many officers in one event, in one very terrible collision on the freeway.

And officers just doing their work, doing their job, doing a duty that is performed by officers many times a day across our state and it is just a timely reminder of how tragic this police work can be at times. And, indeed very unexpectedly at times.

The whole police family is feeling that this morning and will for many, many days to come.

We are providing welfare to the officers and providing welfare, also to the many, many colleagues of our fallen officers as well.



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Repatriation of Ruby Princess cruise crew begins


Ruby Princess crew members have clapped and cheered from their balconies as the first of their workmates finally began to disembark the troubled cruise ship in NSW to fly home.

One crew member performed an impromptu haka after disembarking the vessel on Tuesday, earning applause from those on board.

One woman from Ireland, meanwhile, said she was “absolutely delighted” and “never thought the day would come”.

“I’ve been in the cabin for like, about a month now,” she said in footage shared by NSW Police.

“It’s so surreal … it’s slightly overwhelming.”

At least 49 crew members from six countries were due to disembark the ship, which has been docked at Port Kembla for more than two weeks following a COVID-19 outbreak.

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NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller said the health and safety of crew and the wider community would remain the priority as the repatriation process began.

“The movement of the first crew contingent today is an important milestone, and has us one step closer to the Ruby Princess leaving Australian waters,” Mr Fuller said in a statement on Tuesday.

One crew member expected to leave the ship has tested positive for COVID-19 and will be taken to a NSW Health-managed hotel for 14 days of quarantine before returning home, according to police.

The remaining 48 crew have tested negative and arrangements are being made for flights to their home countries.

NSW Police says more crew members will disembark in coming days, but hundreds will remain on board and return with the ship to its port of origin.

Deputy Commissioner Gary Worboys said the ship was on track for a Thursday departure.

The Ruby Princess initially docked in Sydney in March, when the ship’s passengers and some crew disembarked.

It has since been linked to at least 21 deaths and hundreds of coronavirus cases across Australia.

Most of the crew have remained in isolation on the ship and 190 of those on board had tested positive for COVID-19 as of Sunday night.

Another 12 crew members infected with coronavirus have previously been evacuated to NSW hospitals.

NSW opposition leader Jodi McKay said the ship should stay on Australian shores until every crew member was either well or repatriated to their home countries.



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Burnie hospital stops admissions as coronavirus probe begins, while Premier warns of tighter restrictions


Posted

April 05, 2020 13:45:02

The Tasmanian hospital where staff members have tested positive for coronavirus has stopped admissions and begun an outbreak investigation.

Tasmania COVID-19 snapshot

  • Confirmed cases: 82
  • Deaths: 2

What do I do if I think I have coronavirus?
If you think you might have COVID-19 because you feel unwell with a fever, cough, sore throat or shortness of breath and have travelled recently or had contact with a confirmed case, phone your GP or the Tasmanian Public Health Hotline on 1800 671 738.

The Government has flagged different testing criteria for Devonport residents.

Need an interpreter?
Phone the Tasmanian Interpreting Service on 131 450 and tell them your language.

For more information and factsheets:
Visit the Tasmanian Department of Health’s coronavirus page here.

The announcement came as the state Premier forewarned of even tighter restrictions after witnessing firsthand members of the public flouting social-distancing rules.

Three health workers at the North West Regional Hospital, in Burnie, hospital have now tested positive for the virus.

The latest person is aged in their 20s.

Today at the daily public briefing, director of Public Health Mark Veitch said an outbreak investigation involving the hospital and government agencies was now underway.

“This is obviously a much more complex investigation than usual and it will involve investigation into the community to discover whether there is any source of infection for these people,” he said.

Chief Medical Officer Tony Lawler said the surgical and medical ward at the hospital would stop patient admissions as a result of the infections.

“We’re not talking about transferring patients who are on those surgical and medical wards to other hospitals, we’re talking about patients who are presenting to the emergency department and who are not suspected of having COVID-19,” he said.

Professor Lawler said anyone needing admission may be transferred to the Mersey Hospital in Devonport, the Launceston General Hospital or the co-located private hospital.

Dr Veitch said about 18 staff were now in isolation after being in contact with the infected staff members.

A school-aged child identified as the second positive case yesterday had been travelling with a family member on the Ovation of the Seas cruise ship and had been in quarantine after arriving back in the state, Dr Veitch said, adding the child had not attended school since returning.

The child was “well enough to be managed at home,” Dr Veitch said.

More than 3,000 COVID-19 tests had been conducted in the state as of yesterday, with a total of 82 people returning positive results since testing began.

Dr Veitch said 26 of those infected had been since discharged from care.

He rejected calls for frontline health workers and police to undergo testing.

“If you test people who are well and get a negative test, it doesn’t mean they won’t get sick the next day,” he said.

“And it can provide a false sense of reassurance to people.”

‘It’s not a game. We’ve got a long way to go’

Premier Peter Gutwein foreshadowed a further toughening of measures to stop the spread of the virus, saying he had witnessed firsthand members of the public seemingly ignoring social-distancing advice.

Mr Gutwein said he “sat in the car with the children, while my wife went in” to do the shopping in Launceston.

“I was very concerned at the number of people who were out and about browsing shops, moving throughout the community … many appeared to be buying essential supplies, many were not,” he said.

He said he had also heard reports of “long lines of people” outside of Hobart’s farmers’ market with “no social distancing occurring”.

“I think today is the last day of the farmers’ market,” he said.

“It’s not a game. We’ve got a long way to go.

“We have gotten in early, we have put these restrictions in place and we have a chance to flatten the curve and ensure that we don’t become an Italy, or a Spain, or New South Wales or a Victoria.”

“We are in front, but we’ve got to make certain that we stay there.”

Mr Gutwein said boat owners should only use boat ramps near where they lived.

“If you own a boat, you will be restricted to launching that boat within the municipality in which your primary residence address is listed,” he said.

He said the move was designed to ensure people did not congregate at boat ramps over the Easter break.

Attorney-General Elise Archer announced that due to the ongoing pandemic, the Legislative Council elections for the seats of Huon and Rosevears — which were due to occur next month — had been deferred.

She said it was anticipated the elections would be held before the end of August, when the Legislative Council would next sit.

What the experts are saying about coronavirus:

Deferral ‘impacts on Tasmania’s democracy’, Greens say

Tasmanian Greens Leader Cassy O’Connor issued a statement, describing the deferral as a “matter of real concern … that the decision, which impacts on Tasmania’s democracy, was not dealt with by Parliament”.

“Tasmanians are likely to be living this reality for the foreseeable future. Our democratic institutions need to be robust enough to adapt and function,” she said.

“In the absence of Parliament playing a role in the decision to defer the Huon and Rosevears elections, there has to be real clarity and openness about the process of what will happen from here, particularly given the likelihood physical distancing will still be a necessity on August 25.”

Ms O’Connor said the Greens welcomed “the Premier’s stated commitment to be open and transparent about decisions being made under the emergency powers Parliament gave his Government on trust and those already considerable, necessary powers vested in the director of Public Health”.

“There’s growing community concern to see parliamentary oversight continue in this time of emergency,” she said.

“Given the uncertainty over whether there’ll be any real change to physical distancing advice by August, the Tasmanian Parliament needs to find ways to meet electronically as a priority.”

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COVID-19: Australia begins first stage of testing for potential vaccines – CNA


  1. COVID-19: Australia begins first stage of testing for potential vaccines  CNA
  2. Coronavirus Australia live news: National death toll climbs to 23 as CSIRO launches trial stage of two COVID-19 vaccines  ABC News
  3. Coronavirus: Aussie scientists begin testing COVID-19 vaccines | Nine News Australia  Nine News Australia
  4. Australia begins animal trials for COVID-19 vaccine  Anadolu Ajansı
  5. CSIRO starts trials for two potential COVID-19 vaccines | ABC News  ABC News (Australia)
  6. View Full coverage on Google News



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