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Coronavirus: What we know today, March 22

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Follow this post for rolling updates on the impact of the coronavirus in South Australia. Today, a dramatic clampdown on entertainment venues, the Marshall Government imposes self-isolation rules on travellers coming here from interstate as SA’s total number of confirmed cases hits 100, a huge new national stimulus package, and the AFL season halts after one round.

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

KEY POINTS

National lockdown on entertainment venues

Clubs, pubs, restaurants, cafes, casinos, cinemas and churches will be forced to close from noon on Monday in a dramatic clampdown on social activity – with Prime Minister Scott Morrison warning it is just the first stage of expected measures.

Morrison and state and territory leaders on Sunday night agreed that from noon on Monday there would be new restrictions on a range of indoor venues.

“We now need to take action because we cannot have the confidence as a group of leaders that the social distancing guidelines and rules that we have put in place won’t be followed to the level of compliance that we require to flatten the curve and slow the spread and save lives,” Morrison said.

He acknowledge the economic impact would be devastating, but lamented that many Australians were not taking social distancing seriously, with many pouring onto beaches and into night spots over the weekend.

Restaurants and cafes will be able to continue to do takeaway and delivery only, with no more dining in.

Schools, however, will remain open for now – apart from in Victoria, which is closing classrooms on Tuesday ahead of the official start of their school holidays at the end of the week.

SA hits 100 cases

South Australian cases of COVID-19 have spiralled to triple figures, with 33 new positive tests taking the total to 100 for the state.

Chief public health officer Nicola Spurrier today said SA Health would no longer be detailing specific cases daily, as the number had now spiralled to a point that this was no longer practical.

She said the current cases ranged in age from 20s to 70s, but that “nobody is in a serious clinical situation” with “no admissions to ICU in SA”.

Spurrier flagged likely new measures to control the spread after another national cabinet meeting tonight.

Yesterday, ten people from a US tour group were among 17 new positive coronavirus cases in SA.

The tourists are part of a larger group of 18 from the US who are all now in isolation at their accommodation in the Barossa Valley, north of Adelaide.

Other positive tests in SA were linked to overseas or interstate travel or were close contacts of previous cases, although Spurrier said it was only a matter of time before community transmission was detected in SA.

Mandatory self-isolation for people entering SA

Premier Steven Marshall says South Australia will require 14-day self-isolation for every person entering South Australia from interstate.

The measures will be introduced progressively between now and 4pm Tuesday when border control points will be in place on road entrances to SA and the interstate rail terminal.

Marshall said there would be some exemptions to maintain freight movements, essential services and for people who live in border communities.

He said the move would “essentially turn off the tap” overnight of people coming to SA, with SA Police staffing 12 entry stations to the state and requiring travellers to read and understand the new rules.

The decision was made by Cabinet this morning after advice from South Australia’s public health officials overnight.

“We do not make this decision lightly but we have no choice,” the Marshall said.

Police commissioner Grant Stevens said police had been making spot-checks on international travellers to ensure they were self-isolating and none had been found in breach.

He said police were relying on the goodwill of the public to obey the isolation rules.

Marshall’s comments came after Labor leader Peter Malinauskas called for the state’s borders closed to “all non-essential travellers” given the rapid increase in cases in border states.

He said SA should follow NT and Tasmania’s lead and enforce a 14-day quarantine period for anyone arriving here, including South Australian residents, with exemptions for essential emergency personnel and freight drivers.

Full story here.

Federal Govt announces huge new stimulus injection

Australia will gamble on an unprecedented $189 billion stimulus package to protect the nation from a looming recession, including cash payments of up to $100,000 for small businesses, unsecured loans, wage subsidies and new welfare payments for the unemployed.

The Government on Sunday announced the massive shot in the arm for the economy aimed at helping employers retain staff with an injection of cash 10 times the value of his original $17 billion stimulus package.

The new spending is likely to keep the budget in deficit for years to come but is necessary to protect the nation from being plunged into a prolonged recession.

Read the full list of measures here.

Non-essential Australian travel called off

All non-essential travel within Australia should be cancelled to help stop the spread of coronavirus.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison and state and territory leaders agreed to the recommendation overnight.

The leaders will meet again on Sunday evening to discuss stronger measures to deal with local outbreaks, within state jurisdictions.

AFL aborts season till June at earliest

The AFL season has been postponed amid the further travel restrictions to combat the spread of coronavirus imposed by the federal government.

Round One was only given the green light 24 hours before the season opener, and league chief executive Gillon McLachlan announced on Sunday the competition would pause until at least May 31.

The AFLW season has been abandoned and no premier will be named.

AFL boss Gillon McLachlan said: “To say this is the most serious threat to our game in 100 years is an understatement.”

“It is unprecedented in its impact,” he said.

“It is unprecedented in the impact it is having on our game and the wider community, and as a community and as a code, we all need to take the unprecedented and required actions to get through this together.”

Italy shuts down all non-essential businesses

The Italian government is shutting down all non-essential businesses in a bid to stem the spiralling number of coronavirus infections and deaths.

Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said among other things, supermarkets, banks, post office and pharmacies would remain open.

He spoke of the “greatest challenge since the Second World War”.

Italy reported almost 800 new coronavirus deaths on Saturday with the outbreak showing no signs of abating despite ever stricter curfews being enforced nationwide.

In its daily bulletin, the Civil Protection Authority in Rome said 4825 people had died, an increase of 793 compared to the day before, making it the highest daily fatality figure since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic in the country.

The number of total infections rose by more than 4800 to 53,578. Italy is the country with the most officially reported deaths due to the coronavirus in the world.

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

– Reporting by InDaily staff, AAP and Reuters

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