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Coronavirus: What we know today, April 3

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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.

Marshall urges SA to remain vigilant as 11 new cases announced

SA Health has confirmed 11 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday bringing the state’s total to 396.

Three of the new cases were from the Ruby Princess cruise ship and patients ranged in age from their 20s to 60s.

Chief public health officer Nicola Spurrier said infection from Adelaide Airport had spread to an additional two close contact cases, bringing the total cluster to 12 Qantas baggage handlers and seven secondary cases.

She said 46 people were now considered recovered.

Premier Steven Marshall said the state had so far experienced no exponential growth with the number of cases stabilising over the past few days.

But reminded South Australians to be vigilant, maintaining good hygiene and social distancing practises.

Police Commissioner Grant Stevens said SA Police had increased the number of checks on people in self-isolation in recent days and found 90 per cent of people were co-operating.

COVID-19 nixes Crows’ Aquatic Centre plans

The Adelaide Crows have put on hold their controversial plan to move their headquarters to the Aquatic Centre site in North Adelaide.

In a statement this afternoon, the club said it had “formally written” to the Adelaide City Council to put the proposal on ice.

“The extremely challenging environment created by the coronavirus pandemic means the club is currently not in a position to advance to stage two of the unsolicited proposal process,” the club said.

Crows CEO Andrew Fagan thanked the council for its support.

“We are extremely disappointed to officially withdraw our proposal however we cannot meet the required obligations of the formal process right now,” Fagan said.

“Like many organisations and industries, our club and the entire AFL is confronting a financial crisis brought about by the coronavirus.”

Virus cases nearly half expectations

Australians staying at home and keeping their distance from each other has halved the number of coronavirus cases from earlier expectations.

But the prime minister has urged patience with tough social distancing measures, saying they still need to be in place at least six months.

More than 5300 Australians have caught the virus, while around 650 have recovered and 28 people are dead.

But Scott Morrison said if the rate of new cases each day had kept at the levels of a week-and-a-half ago, Australia could have have had more than 10,500 cases by now.

Instead, the number of new cases is now increasing by an average of just seven per cent a day, compared to around 25 per cent last week.

“That is a tribute to the work that has been done by Australians in getting around and supporting the very sensible measures that have been put in place all around the country by the state and territory governments,” Morrison said on Friday.

But it has to continue.

“Doesn’t matter what the temperature is, if it’s a warm day, don’t go in masses down to the beach,” Mr Morrison said.

“That’s a simple instruction that all Australians expect other Australians to abide by.”

Morrison committed to giving a public briefing next Tuesday on the modelling of the likely spread of the virus.

State Govt launches “virtual classroom”

The State Government has announced a new platform to allow public school teachers to create “virtual classrooms”.

The Cisco Webex technology allows teachers to deliver live video lessons and upload content for students.

Education Minister John Gardner said the move was part of a new “flexible” learning approach, with some students at expected to be at school and some at home.

“It is vital that there are a range of educational solutions available for our school communities,” he said.

“Virtual classrooms are the next step to giving teachers greater involvement in their students’ days if they are not at school.”

He said SA Health’s advice was still that schools remain open, except if there is a positive COVID-19 test for a student or teacher, in which case the school would be closed for cleaning.

Woman arrested for stealing face masks

A South Australian woman will appear in court after allegedly stealing 100 face masks from a hospital.

The woman went to the Port Pirie Hospital on Tuesday where police say she took the face masks which had been provided to the public on a one-for-one basis.

The 46-year-old was arrested on Thursday and charged with aggravated theft.

She has been bailed to appear in Port Pirie Magistrates Court at a later date.

SA air quality improves

South Australia’s Environment Protection Authority says Adelaide has experienced a slight decrease in air pollution levels over past weeks, due to a downturn in vehicle traffic.

The EPA says motor vehicles are the major contributor to air pollution in Adelaide and two key pollutants – PM2.5 (particulate matter 2.5 micron or less in size) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2) – have both reduced.

Keith Baldry, the EPA’s director of science and information, said these pollutants were related combustion sources such as motor vehicles.

“We expected to see a decline in air pollution levels, especially in the morning and afternoon peak hours, due to there being less traffic on the roads,” Baldry told InDaily.

“However, the decline in air pollution levels (or the improvement in air quality levels) is not as sharply observable as it has been in some parts of China or Italy due to COVID-19-related lockdowns. This is mainly because our air quality levels in Adelaide generally remain in the ‘good’ or ‘very good’ categories.”

New equipment for mothballed hospital

A previously mothballed South Australian hospital will receive a new $1.9 million CT scanner and oxygen tank as part of the State Government’s plan to use it to treat coronavirus patients.

The former Wakefield Hospital has also recently been upgraded with 70 beds with another 65 to be fitted next week.

Premier Steven Marshall said bolstering the state’s hospital capacity was at the centre of the government’s response to prepare SA for what might eventuate.

“We are focused on preparing our health system for the challenges that may lie ahead during this global crisis,” he said.

Global coronavirus cases top one million

Global coronavirus cases have topped one million as the pandemic explodes in the US and the death toll continues to climb in Italy and Spain, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.

The virus has killed more than 51,000 globally with the largest number of deaths in Italy, followed by Spain and the US.

The first 100,000 cases were reported in around 55 days and the first 500,000 in 76 days. Cases doubled to one million within the past eight days.

Total cases reported by Thursday grew 10 per cent from a day earlier, the first time the rate has hit double digits since the virus took hold outside China.

There are 117 countries and territories that have reported above 100 cases, 50 with outbreaks of more than 1000 and seven that have reported 50,000 or more COVID-19 cases, mainly in Europe.

The global fatality rate is now above five per cent of all reported cases, with countries including the UK, the US and Spain reporting a spike in fatalities over recent days.

Around 22 per cent of total cases have been reported by the US, while Italy and Spain have each reported 11 per cent of global cases.

SA tourism operators get financial support

The State Government will provide $5.7 million in support to local tourism operators.

The government will establish two funds – one for small tourism operators and another for organisers of regional and community events.

Operators will also be able to access funding for digital training.

“We’re all working to do everything we can to support the state’s 18,000 tourism businesses to get through this pandemic and to be in the strongest possible position to be able to rebound as soon as it is safe to travel again,” said South Australian Tourism Commission chief executive Rodney Harrex.

“By providing practical on-the-ground support for tourism businesses – on top of the financial support, we’re not only mitigating the impacts of COVID-19, we’re also building resiliency and upskilling operators to strengthen South Australian businesses and support them for the future.”

OFFICIAL SOURCES OF ADVICE AND INFORMATION

Local updates and resources

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

Mental health support line (8am to 8pm): 1800 632 753.

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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