NSW: two new cases, one death
A quick detour to New South Wales where the health department has just released the case numbers from the past 24 hours.
Two new cases of Covid-19 were diagnosed in the 24 hours to 8pm [yesterday], bringing the total number of cases to 4,011. There was one Covid-related death reported, taking the overall number of deaths to 55.
A man in his 70s, whose infection was linked to the Sydney CBD cluster, died on Saturday 19 September.
There were 13,635 tests reported in the 24-hour reporting period, compared with 15,239 in the previous 24 hours.
Of the two new cases to 8pm:
- one is a returned overseas traveller in hotel quarantine
- one is locally acquired, and early investigations indicate the infection may have been acquired at Liverpool hospital. Investigations and contact tracing are continuing.
NSW Health is treating 78 Covid-19 cases, including two in intensive care, one of whom is being ventilated. 86% of cases being treated by NSW Health are in non-acute, out-of-hospital care.
The Victorian government is also announcing the rollout of a $13m package today for the state’s $1.7bn live music industry to be Covid-safe and Covid-ready to come back when restrictions allow.
An initial tranche of 106 live music venues (from small places to venues of 1,000+ capacity) will receive $9.6m in support to keep their businesses going.
“In addition to that, we’ll also announce a series of measures to actually protect those venues which the industry has made very clear is a priority during this shutdown. The state planning scheme will be amended to ensure that the value socially, economically and culturally, that live music presents, will be reflected in the state’s planning scheme, and we will be strongly encouraging all local Government areas to move quickly once that amendment has happened to protect not just music venues but live music presents wherever they are across the state.
Finally, there’s also a $3m package for further supports of a whole range of musicians, of festivals, associations, peak bodies, of crews as a part of the support acts, support to make sure that the wellbeing of the whole set of workforce that goes with our live music industry is protected.”
Daniel Andrews: ‘This is a good day’
This is a good day. A day where Victorians can be proud of the work that they’ve done, their commitment, their resolve to see this off. To defeat this virus in its second wave properly, comprehensively and sustainably.
The Victorian premier, Dan Andrews, is giving his daily briefing to media. He has some updates on the figures I posted earlier.
To confirm, there are 14 new cases and five new deaths. Nine of the new cases are linked to known clusters. The fatalities include four people in their 80s and one in their 90s.
There are no additional cases in regional areas.
There are 94 people in hospital with Covid-19.
There are still 4,267 cases with an unknown source, but that’s a drop of seven since the previous day.
There are 743 active cases across Victoria, including 117 health workers, and 20 in regional Victoria.
The rolling 14-day average is down to 36.2 in metropolitan Victoria and 1.8 in regional Victoria.
“These numbers are coming down,” says Andrews. “We are, thanks to the hard work of every single Victorian, the vast, vast majority of Victorians who are following the rules, doing the right thing, getting tested as soon as they have symptoms.”
NSW fears over taxi driver tests Covid-positive
Health authorities in the Australian state of New South Wales are concerned coronavirus may have spread to taxi passengers who rode with a Covid-19-positive driver across Sydney.
The taxi driver, who appears to have contracted coronavirus from Sydney’s Liverpool hospital – a known cluster – worked across a 11 days during which authorities believe he was potentially infectious.
NSW Health is urging anyone who caught a taxi on 8, 9, 10, 14, 15, 16, 17 and 18 September in the Sydney suburbs of Moorebank, Bankstown, Chipping Norton, Liverpool, Lidcombe, Warwick Farm and Milperra, to monitor for symptoms and get tested if they develop symptoms.
The taxi driver also visited several venues in Sydney while believed to be infectious. Anyone who visited the following venues at the specified time is considered a close contact and required to self isolate for 14 days.
- Campbelltown Golf Club, Glen Alpine – 16 September, 2pm-4.30pm in the TAB area
- Milton Ulladulla Ex Servos Club – 12 September, 2pm-6.15pm
- Carlo’s Italian Restaurante Bar & Seafood, Ulladulla – 12 September, 8pm-9.30pm
- Bannisters Pavilion Rooftop Bar & Grill, Mollymook – 13 September, 12.30pm-2.15pm
From Reuters: on Saturday Mexico’s health ministry reported 5,167 new confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus in the country, bringing the total to 694,121 cases and 455 new deaths, for a cumulative death toll of 73,258.
Deputy health minister Hugo Lopez-Gatell has said the real number of cases in the country is significantly higher.
The Victorian health department has updated details on the new cases, locations, and clusters. Check the website here to see if you have visited a particular location and need to take action.
The following numbers are as of Saturday:
Among the non-aged care outbreaks, there are 26 cases in the Casey community cluster, 13 in the Footscray hospital cluster, seven within the one at Vawdrey Australia Truck Manufacturer, six connected to Dandenong police station, and six in the Alfred hospital cluster.
There are 89 people in hospital.
So far 757 people have died. Most deaths (596) have been in Victoria’s elderly community, aged 80 or over.
There have been 4,527 confirmed cases in aged care homes, including residents and staff.
British billionaire Lord Alan Sugar is quarantining privately in Australia, the Sydney Morning Herald reports this morning.
Anyone arriving in Australia must go through hotel quarantine for 14 days at their own cost – about $3,000. There are “no exceptions”, but some celebrities have been able to quarantine elsewhere as long as the authorities find that place suitable and if they cover the costs of security. They have to follow the same restrictions as everyone else.
The SMH reports NSW police have confirmed Sugar and his wife “submitted a proposal to acquire appropriate, independent locations to be nominated as ‘quarantine facilities’ as allowed under the public health order”.
Sugar riled up more than a few Australians when he tweeted about his arrival into the country (flying on a commercial airline instead of a private jet for the first time in 25 years, because this is a time of great sacrifice) to host Celebrity Apprentice Australia.
There are tens of thousands of Australian citizens and residents stranded overseas because of border closures and caps on international arrivals.
What’s it like to be part of a Covid-19 vaccine trial? Alex Spring spoke to Australian Josh McGrane, an associate professor and educational researcher living in Oxford. McGrane is taking part in the vaccine trials conducted by the University of Oxford’s Jenner Institute.
I probably shouldn’t say it as a researcher, but from a psychological point of view, you do feel “all right, I’m immunised now, let me out of the house” – even though I’m not certain I had the vaccine. It might have been the placebo. There was definitely a psychological impact of feeling a bit like yeah, I’m OK.
Read the full interview here:
$305m for families and childcare providers in Australia
Still in Australia, the government is providing an additional $305m for families and childcare providers, largely targeted at Victoria in light of the second wave lockdown, AAP reports.
The package includes a childcare fee freeze for Victorian families until 31 January and a continuation of the employment guarantee to ensure Victorian providers receiving the recovery payment pass support payments on to educators and employees through wages and payments.
The relaxation of the activity test for Australian families whose activity level has been affected by Covid will also be extended to 4 April.
The education minister, Dan Tehan, said the government had already invested $2.6bn to support families using childcare and the early childhood education and care sector, helping workers and vulnerable families who rely on these services.
“Victorian families and providers will continue to be supported by the federal government so they can get back on their feet following the second wave,” Tehan said on Sunday.
The package includes:
- A recovery payment of 25% of pre-Covid revenue to childcare services in Victoria, until 31 January.
- The recovery payment will start for centre-based day care, family day care and in-home care on 28 September in Victoria. The 40% recovery payment for outside school hours care will also start in Victoria when in-school teaching returns (anticipated to be mid to late October).
- An extra payment of 15% of pre-Covid revenue for Victorian outside school hours care services, increasing their total support payments to 40% of revenue.
- A childcare fee freeze for Victorian families until 31 January.
- Continuing the employment guarantee to ensure Victorian providers receiving the recovery payment pass support payments on to educators and employees through wages and payments.
- The relaxation of the activity test for Australian families whose activity level has been affected by Covid-19 will be extended to 4 April.
NSW 14-day average down to four
The New South Wales 14-day average of locally acquired cases is down to four, the lowest since July, says Casey Briggs on the ABC. Testing numbers have dropped from a daily average of about 20,000 to about 15,000.
Victoria is testing fewer people too but case numbers are dramatically dropping as we reported earlier. Briggs says Victoria’s rate of reduction in cases is following the trajectory of NSW earlier in the year when it got its first wave outbreak under control.
Australia’s prime minister, Scott Morrison, is being interviewed on the ABC’s Insiders program.
He’s asked about what Treasury modelling says will be the impact of cutting back jobseeker and jobkeeper (government payments for those who have lost work or jobs). Morrison isn’t giving any specific answer despite being pushed. He says more than 400,000 jobs have come back and there will be more by Christmas, with Victoria bouncing back too.
“We’re moving forward with the budget … and there are a range of measures in the budget,” he says when asked again about Treasury modelling.
Asked again: “Treasury says we need to boost aggregate in demand in our economy and the full suite of measures to do that job and that’s what the budget will [do]… You don’t have to hold on to every measure forever.”
14 new cases in Victoria and five deaths
Welcome to our new live blog. Helen Davidson here to take you through the next few hours
Here the latest key developments at a glance:
- France reported 13,498 new confirmed coronavirus cases on Saturday, setting another record in daily additional infections since the disease started to spread.
- The UK reported 4,422 new daily cases on Saturday, 100 more new cases than on Friday and the highest daily total since 8 May.
- The taskforce backing a huge gas expansion to help drive Australia’s Covid-19 recovery was receiving “pro bono” advice from a lobbyist firm with links to the Saudi government and gas companies.
- Brazil recorded 33,057 additional confirmed cases of coronavirus in the past 24 hours, and 739 deaths.
- The World Health Organization has endorsed a protocol for testing African herbal medicines as potential treatments for coronavirus and other epidemics.
- The London mayor, Sadiq Khan, has warned that the English capital needs fresh Covid restrictions by Monday if it is to avoid a big rise in infections, while doctors are urging the government to introduce stronger coronavirus measures in England to drive down case numbers and avoid another national lockdown.
- The Philippines reported 3,962 new infections and 100 additional deaths, with both numbers the highest in five days.
- Ontario, Canada’s most populous province, is cracking down on private social gatherings as cases surge.
- After Poland reported record daily new coronavirus cases on Saturday, neighbouring Lithuania and Slovakia also logged their largest daily tallies since the pandemic began.
- A partial lockdown is set to begin in some of Madrid’s poorer districts next week, but residents of one of the worst-hit neighbourhood’s said today they doubted the new measures would work.