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Coronavirus: What we know today, March 30

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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.

KEY POINTS

Wage subsidies announced

Businesses will be given wage subsidies of up to $1500 a fortnight to keep workers on during the coronavirus crisis as part of an unprecedented $130 billion package.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison unveiled the federal government’s third and biggest round of economic stimulus on Monday.

“We want to keep the engine of our economy running through this crisis,” Morrison told reporters in Canberra.

Read the full story here

National snapshot

By the numbers:

Clampdown on wineries and cellar doors

The sale of alcohol or other produce via wineries and cellar doors will be banned in SA, as will the testing or sampling of produce, as police move to further curtail the coronavirus spread after an outbreak in the Barossa.

Police Commissioner Grant Stevens said today the outbreak highlighted wine areas as “a significant risk area for transmission”.

However, he said police would not be enforcing the Prime Minister’s direction limiting public gatherings to two people in SA, saying for now only the limit on 10 people was enforceable.

“When it comes to enforcement, we’ll be looking at that 10 or more rule,” he told reporters.

South Australia’s rate of increase of confirmed coronavirus cases slowed again today, rising by just six for a total of 305.

It followed yesterday increase of 12 new cases reported to SA Health.

However, the number of people requiring intensive care increased to eight, four of whom are in a critical condition.

Half of the daily increase were attributed to cruise ship passengers from the Ruby Princess and Ovation of the Seas.

State chief public health officer Dr Nicola Spurrier said given SA’s high testing rates she was “feeling confident that if we do have cases we’re able to pick those up”.

Cruise ship passengers now account for 101 – or around a third – of the total cases in SA, with Spurrier warning around 2000 Australians remain on vessels around the world and would be repatriated in coming days.

Schools, preschools and childcare centres will be closed in the Barossa Valley from today in a bid to reduce unnecessary travel after a cluster of coronavirus cases was linked to the area.

SA Health advised the Education Department to close the facilities in Tanunda, Nuriootpa, Williamstown, Angaston and Lyndoch.

Spurrier said although schools were not at risk, it was a way of reducing unnecessary travel. Principals and childcare directors have been notified and were contacting parents and staff.

She urged South Australians to avoid travelling to and from the area and said people who visited those towns from March 14 and had developed symptoms must self-isolate and get tested.

AFL breakthrough but Port Magpies might be pandemic victim

The AFL has secured a lifeline from banks which will allow it to continue operating through the coronavirus crisis and potentially save clubs from extinction.

The deal, announced on Monday, comes a week after the AFL and all of its clubs had been forced to stand down about 80 per cent of staff in the face of the biggest financial crisis to hit the sport.

It also follows a restructured deal being agreed on between the AFL and players, who will take a significant pay cut.

The total amount derived from the AFL loans is reportedly more than $500 million.

“I want to thank the NAB and the ANZ for their support, but I also want to stress that while this is a relief, it is not a return to business as usual or a release valve,” AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan said.

“The football community is, like businesses across every sector, still very much in the financial fight of its life with the losses this year stretching to many hundreds of millions of dollars.

“What this means is we have a chance to get through but we will only get through this period if we are united as an industry and every one of us at all levels of the AFL continue to make the hard decisions to drastically and urgently cut costs.”

The AFL’s decision to purchase Marvel Stadium – then known as Etihad Stadium – in 2016 was crucial in recent days as the league leveraged the venue ownership in negotiations with the banks.

McLachlan said the AFL was committed to playing the remaining 144 games of the 2020 season, plus finals, and implored football fans to adhere to government advice to slow the coronavirus spread.

However, Port Adelaide chief executive Keith Thomas admits the future of the AFL club’s long-standing state league outfit could be in jeopardy as the sport grapples with the financial crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

The Port Adelaide Magpies are South Australia’s most successful Australian rules team with 36 SANFL premierships – a national record across the major state-based competitions.

The club is celebrating its 150th year in 2020, but it could also be the Magpies’ last.

“I would hate to contemplate that the Port Magpies won’t get through,” Thomas said on SEN SA Breakfast on Monday morning.

“We are committed to it in the SANFL, but we’ll have to wait and see.

“The reality is we have to see where this lands, I don’t know how the SANFL is planning to move through it.

“It’s too early in the conversation to fully understand what’s going to happen to football in general.

“There are going to be a lot of structural conversations in the next few months.”

As with all AFL clubs, Port Adelaide was forced to stand down about 80 per cent of its staff last week after the national competition went into shutdown.

Moratorium on eviction for renters

Renters will be offered a moratorium on evictions, in a bid to deal with the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said a series of principles had been agreed at Sunday night’s national cabinet.

“The most significant of those is that states and territories will be moving to put a moratorium on evictions of persons as a result of financial distress … for the next six months,” he said.

Further work is being done by federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg and his state and territory counterparts on commercial tenancies.

But Morrison underlined the need for landlords to work with their tenants and banks on solutions, which should start immediately.

“We need you to sit down, talk to each other and work this out,” he said.

Measures will be put in place to encourage agreements, as part of the idea of “hibernating” businesses until the coronavirus crisis passes.

New social isolation rules

No more public gatherings of more than two people is the new rule, as governments seek to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Sixteen Australians have now died after contracting COVID-19 but the rate of infections has dipped to nine per cent, from a high of 30 per cent.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison and state and territory leaders on Sunday agreed on medical advice to further tighten the rule around gatherings from 10 to two.

It will be up to the individual states and territories whether it is strictly enforced by police. The move won’t mean a ban on a family of more than two people from going for a walk.

As well, there is new advice relating to who should self-isolate.

People aged over 70 or having chronic illnesses will be discouraged from leaving their homes unless they require medical care.

Around the world

Worldwide coronavirus infections have surpassed 660,000 with more than 30,000 deaths as countries desperately try to bring down the spread through isolation and containment strategies.

The United States leads the world with more than 120,000 reported cases. Five other countries have higher death tolls: Italy, Spain, China, Iran and France. Italy has more than 10,000 deaths, the most of any country.

Millions of residents of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut have been issued with warnings to avoid all non-essential travel for 14 days.

The travel advisory came late Saturday after the number of confirmed American deaths passed 2,000, more than double the level two days earlier.

In Italy, the coronavirus death toll has risen by 756, bringing the country’s total fatalities to 10,779.

In the UK, a senior medical official warned some lockdown measures to combat coronavirus in Britain could last months and only be gradually lifted, while Prime Minister Boris Johnson warned the situation will get worse before it gets better.

Britain has reported 19,522 confirmed cases of the disease and 1228 deaths, after an increase of 209 fatalities as of 5pm local time on Saturday compared with the previous day, the health ministry said.

“The important thing is this is a moving target,” Deputy Chief Medical Officer Jenny Harries said.

“If we do well it moves forward and comes down and we manage all our care through our health and care systems sensibly in a controlled way and that is what we are aiming for,” she told a news conference.

“This is not to say we would be in complete lockdown for six months but it means that as a nation we have to be really, really responsible and keep doing what we are all doing until we are sure that we can gradually start lifting various interventions.”

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

Government information via WhatsApp: click here

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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