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Coronavirus: what we know today

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Follow this post for rolling updates on the impact of the coronavirus in South Australia, the nation and the world, as well as the latest health information and links to official advice.

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Refresh this page for updates – scroll down for links to official health information.

‘When, and not if’

SA Health is assuming that it is a matter of time before a transmission of the COVID-19 coronavirus occurs inside the resident South Australian population, acting Chief Medical Officer Dr Michael Cusack told reporters this afternoon.

So far, all of the people have been diagnosed with the virus in SA had a recent international or interstate travel history, or have come into close contact with someone who does.

“I think we’re working on the premise that we will see community transmission in South Australia,” said Cusack.

“We have seen some evidence of community transmission in Australia, but not in South Australia.

“(However) it’s a question of ‘when’ and not ‘if’.”

He added that SA Health was planning for “a range of scenarios” and that “we would be prepared for the instance when and if we see community transmission”.

SA coronavirus cases rise to 32

The latest SA Health update on COVID-19 this afternoon is that two more people have been diagnosed with the virus in South Australia.

One is a man aged in his thirties who recently returned to Adelaide from Germany.

The other is a man in his sixties who flew in from the United States and has been in close contact with a person who was earlier confirmed to have the virus.

South Australian positive tests rise

The number of South Australians who have tested positive to COVID-19 rose to 30 overnight, Premier Steven Marshall said today.

He said there was still no evidence of community transmission.

Marshall opened the state’s first regional clinic for coronavirus testing and assessment, at Mt Barker Hospital, today.

Anzac Day services restricted

The RSL has cancelled the Anzac Day march throughout South Australia, following interstate bans announced yesterday.

A Dawn Service at the State Memorial on North Tce will proceed, but the public are asked not to attend.

RSL sub-branches will be allowed to hold their own Dawn Services, but again the public are asked not to attend.

The RSL says it was a difficult decision but considered the best interests of ageing veterans and the community.

Arts venues close, events and shows postponed

The Adelaide Festival Centre will close its theatres, venues and bars to the public and suspend all performances from midnight until April 30. The biggest show affected will be the touring production School of Rock the Musical, which was to have run from this Friday until April 19. 

State Opera SA and the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra have also postponed performances, the Art Gallery of SA has suspended all public programs and members’ events, Bakehouse Theatre has temporarily closed, a number of Thebarton Theatre shows have been postponed or cancelled, and Country Arts SA has suspended live performances in its regional venues. 

Music SA general manager Lisa Bishop told InDaily that musicians and venues were being “deeply impacted” by the ban on live gatherings.

Read the full story here.

Another SA school shuts down

Two SA schools will be closed today for cleaning after confirmed cases of coronavirus at the inner-south Adelaide institutions.

Scotch College announced yesterday that it would be closed today and, possibly, tomorrow for “biocleaning” after a student tested positive to the virus.

Late yesterday, the Education Department revealed that nearby Unley High School would also close today “until further notice” after a member of the school community tested positive for COVID-19.

“The school will not be operational again until public health officials indicate that it is safe to do so,” the department said.

UniSA moves classes online

UniSA today told students it will move all currently timetabled face-to-face teaching to online across all campuses from Monday March 23 until June 29, with tutorials to move online by March 30.

Between next Monday and March 30, all UniSA tutorial rooms will be set up to allow for social distancing, allowing for at least 1.5m between participants.

AFL star clear as season start weighs in the balance

Collingwood captain Scott Pendlebury has been cleared of having coronavirus as AFL hierarchy weigh up whether to start the season as scheduled on Thursday night.

AFL bosses will decide today if the season begins after the majority of players expressed support for playing round one in empty stadiums.

The looming decision comes as Pendlebury is cleared of having coronavirus.

“All clear!” Pendlebury tweeted today, a day after being tested following suffering flu-like symptoms.

Pendlebury’s test result clears one hurdle for AFL chief Gillon McLachlan, who has said if one player tested positive for COVID-19 the AFL would shut down for at least 14 days and possibly longer.

The AFL Players Association on Monday night held a conference call with players where a consensus was reach to support the season starting as scheduled.

But Melbourne captain Max Gawn said there was no agreement among players about taking a reported 20 per cent pay cut.

McLachlan said the season will be reduced from 23 rounds to 17, adding every sector of the league will suffer financially as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

– AAP

Qantas grounds 90 per cent of international flights

Qantas will slash international flights by 90 per cent until the end of May in a fresh round of coronavirus-related cuts equivalent to grounding 150 aircraft.

Qantas and Jetstar announced on Tuesday the additional, deeper reductions in their domestic and international flying schedules as travel bans intensify and consumers bunker down amid widening quarantine measures.

The national carrier’s total international capacity will now be cut by 90 per cent from the end of March to at least the end of May, up from a 23 per cent fourth-quarter reduction announced last week.

Group domestic capacity will be cut by 60 per cent until at least the end of May – up from 5.0 per cent.

The route-by-route detail of the changes across Qantas and Jetstar’s schedule is being worked through and will be announced in coming days.

– AAP

Wall Street sinks overnight

Wall Street has suffered its biggest drop since 1987, as investors fear the coronavirus pandemic is proving a tougher opponent than central banks, lawmakers or the White House are currently capable of battling.

The S&P 500 tumbled 12 per cent, its biggest drop since “Black Monday” three decades ago, despite the US Federal Reserve’s surprise move late Sunday to cut interest rates to near zero, its second emergency interest rate cut in less than two weeks and ahead of its scheduled policy meeting on Tuesday and Wednesday.

That added to alarm about the rapid spread of the pandemic and how it has paralysed parts of the global economy and squeezed company revenue.

Stocks fell further late in the session as President Donald Trump urged Americans to halt most social activities for 15 days and not congregate in groups larger than 10 people, in a newly aggressive effort to reduce the spread of the coronavirus in the United States.

– Reuters

But the ASX rises

Investors were on a blue-chip buying spree at noon, lifting the Australian stock market more than two per cent as they snapped up bank, supermarket, healthcare and mining stocks.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 was up 111.9 points, or 2.24 per cent, at 5,113.9 points at noon AEDT on Tuesday after posting its worst day on record on Monday.

The broader All Ordinaries index was up 97.1 points, or 1.92 per cent, at 5,155.3 points as the materials index was up more than six per cent.

BHP Group was up 8.13 per cent at $27.25 while Rio Tinto rose 5.09 per cent to $81.60.

Investors had been bracing for another black day, with futures at 0700 pointing to a four per cent drop after US equities tanked overnight.

CommSec analyst Steven Daghlian says trading is volatile and unpredictable and will remain so until there is some certainty that the deadly coronavirus outbreak is waning.

– AAP

OFFICIAL SOURCES OF ADVICE AND INFORMATION

Local updates and resources

SA Health: www.sahealth.sa.gov.au/COVID2019

National advice and information

Australian Government Coronavirus information hotline: 1800 020 080

Travel

Australian Government travel advice: smartraveller.gov.au

Check your symptoms

Free, government-funded, health advice: healthdirect.gov.au

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