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- SA negotiating AFL exemptions – but health authorities warn of “high risk”
- Latest SA and national data
- Independent retailers claim COVID-19 trading extension has cost them dearly
Questions over safety of any AFL quarantine waivers
Modified quarantine requirements are being considered to allow local AFL players in and out of South Australia when the season resumes, but SA Health authorities are concerned about a “high risk” to community safety.
South Australia’s deputy chief public health officer Chris Lease told the AFL yesterday that the Crows and Port Adelaide would not be able to return to South Australia after playing interstate without going through the required 14-day quarantine period.
Likewise, SA Health would not waive the quarantine rule for interstate clubs coming to Adelaide to play.
In a letter to the AFL, Lease said the competition’s quarantine measures “lack the level of detail and rigour to provide confidence that the protocol would reduce the risk of COVID19 transmission in SA”.
He said SA Health would have further discussions with the AFL once this detail was provided.
Premier Steven Marshall is hoping to work out a compromise, telling Parliament yesterday that one potential solution would be for the SA clubs to be based here, fly out for games interstate, and then return to undergo a “modified” version of quarantine.
He said today it was unlikely that AFL teams would be able to fly into South Australia for games in at least for the first part of this season.
However, he was happy to talk to the AFL about quarantine arrangements for South Australian club players flying interstate and then returning to SA, with the safety of the local community a priority.
“This is not an easy task – there’s a lot of complexity to that but we’re prepared to sit down and do it,” he said.
SA Health’s leaders in this area remain cautious today.
Chief public health officer Nicola Spurrier said today opening up AFL competition across state borders would be a “relatively high risk”, but her team would consider what could be done taking in all factors, including economic and social ones.
She told ABC Radio Adelaide she would be examining the AFL’s updated protocols today to assess the risks, but she would do everything she could to protect South Australians.
While SA Health did grant some exemptions to the normal quarantine rules, “it is quite serious and it is, indeed, a potential risk for our state”.
“For us it is a relatively high risk (AFL competition resuming) and that is at this point in time,” she said.
“But going forward, we don’t know how Victoria is going to be looking with their numbers. They had 17 new cases yesterday, but they have increased the rate of their testing.
“What we will need from the AFL is details about when they are intending to start their matches, what their fixtures look like, and the like.
“Now, we were sent some updated protocols last night and so my intention is to look at those.”
Latest SA statistics
SA Health reported there were no new cases of COVID-19 in South Australia, in its latest update this afternoon.
The last new case was reported on May 7.
There remains one active case in the state. One person is in hospital recovering from the effects of the virus.
South Australia has had 439 reported cases, with 434 people cleared and four deaths.
The figures will be updated this afternoon.
Independent retailers say extended hours have cost them
The peak body for South Australia’s independent supermarkets says the State Government’s extension of trading hours during the COVID-19 pandemic has cost them a quarter of their normal weekend turnover.
Treasurer Rob Lucas has just announced another extension of trading hour exemptions for shops, including extended trading in the suburbs on the Queen’s Birthday public holiday in June.
The CEO of SA Independent Retailers, Colin Shearing, says the move has shifted spending from local retailers to big national chains.
“Since the opening up of trading hours under COVID-19 we have witnessed, as predicted, small SA owned retailers losing up to 25% of their turnover over the weekends and up to 40% of their turnover over the recent ANZAC Day and Easter Monday Public Holidays periods,” he said.
“If the Treasurer is advising that this further extension is supported by advice from public health experts, then why hasn’t any public health expert consulted with any of our retailers, our association or any other SA owned small retail business in South Australia during the entire COVID-19 crisis?”
The extended trading hours allow longer opening on weekends for all shops as well as the option of 24-hour trading on weekdays.
Australia has recorded about 6970 cases to date, with fewer than 740 active cases. No active cases in the ACT but the SA has 1, WA 7, NSW 510, NT 2, QLD 18, VIC 113.
The national death toll is 98 – NSW 47 (after another death linked to the Ruby Princess), Victoria 18, Tasmania 13, WA 9, Queensland 6, SA 4, ACT 3. (Two QLD residents who died in NSW have been included in both state’s counts)
More than 5.6 million of an estimated 16 million people have registered for the federal government’s coronavirus tracing app, COVIDSafe, since April 26.
The federal government has announced a three-phase easing of coronavirus restrictions in the coming months, with states and territories to determine the timing.
The initial phase sees cafes, restaurants and shops reopen plus outdoor gatherings allowed of up to 10 people. Five people permitted to visit other homes and up to 10 guests allowed at weddings, while funerals can have 20 mourners indoors and 30 outdoors. Real estate home inspections and auctions can resume with a 10-person limit, while children will return to schools and child care.
Social distancing and hygiene measures will be retained.
Around the states
Victorians from Wednesday are allowed to have a maximum of five visitors in their homes. Gathering limits are relaxed to 10 for outdoor activities including fishing, hiking, golf. Weddings can have up to 10 guests. Indoor funerals can have up to 20 people with 30 for outdoors.
NSW has announced it would follow phase one, but regional travel within the state is still banned. Restrictions will ease around outdoor gatherings and cafes and restaurants from Friday. Working from home is encouraged.
The staged return to school classrooms began in NSW and Queensland on Monday while Victorian prep, grades 1, 2, years 11 and 12 students will return to classrooms on May 26 with the rest returning from June 9.
People are being encouraged to return to work in WA from May 18, with cafes and restaurants allowed up to 20 patrons. Regional travel restrictions will also be eased.
South Australia to allow all elective surgery to resume this week. Regional accommodation to reopen, including caravan parks, hotels, motels and Airbnb services. Alcohol-free dining with ten-person limit allowed at cafes and restaurants, and seasonal workers must self-isolate before they enter the state.
The ACT is allowing outdoor gatherings of up to 10 people from Saturday but dining out will not restart immediately.
The Northern Territory has relaxed restrictions on parks, golf, fishing and swimming. Restaurants and bars are to reopen with a two-hour limit on May 15 followed later by entertainment venues. Internal borders restricting access to indigenous communities will remain in place until at least June 18.
In Queensland, shopping for non-essential items is permitted while up to five members of a single household can visit other homes. Up to 10 people will be able to congregate in parks, at pools and on playgrounds from May 16.
Tasmanians to ease some restrictions from this coming Monday with national parks and reserves open to residents within 30km for exercise while public gathering limits will increase to 10 people.
US officials grilled on death rate vs likes of Australia
America’s top infectious disease expert has been grilled about why the US COVID-19 death rate is “off the charts higher” than Australia, South Korea, New Zealand and other nations.
Dr Anthony Fauci, who has become the face of America’s pandemic battle and a regular at US President Donald Trump’s press briefings, was one of four experts testifying via video-link before a US Senate panel on Tuesday.
Senator Tim Kaine told the hearing the US has the seventh highest per capita COVID-19 death rate in the world with more than 81,000 lives lost.
“Our death rate is off the charts higher than that in India, Australia, New Zealand, Japan and Mexico,” Kaine, a Democrat from Virginia, said.
“It’s nearly three times the death rate in Germany, twice as high as Canada’s rate.
“The question is, ‘Why?’”
Kaine, who repeatedly cut Fauci off from answering questions he posed, said the COVID-19 death rate in the US was 45 times higher than in South Korea.
Fauci agreed the US figures were unacceptable and the US had to do better.
“A death rate at that high is something that in any manner of form in my mind is unacceptable,” Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said on Tuesday.
Fauci agreed access to healthcare gave people a better chance of survival from the virus.
OFFICIAL SOURCES OF ADVICE AND INFORMATION
Local updates and resources
State Government central information
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
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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