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Coronavirus: What we know today, May 17

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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

No active cases in SA

South Australia has no active cases of coronavirus for the third consecutive day.

SA Health confirmed today there was no new COVID-19 infections across the state.

The last new case was reported on May 7.

One person remains in hospital while they recover from the effects of the virus, but are not considered an active case.

Around 1110 tests were conducted by SA Pathology, taking the state’s total to 78,833.

Source: Department of Health, States and Territories Report 16/5

Crows breach ‘didn’t help’ AFL restart

AFL chairman Richard Goyder says Adelaide’s training protocol breach “probably didn’t help” the league’s attempts to secure training and travel exemptions for the Crows and Port Adelaide.

A group of 16 Crows players broke AFL coronavirus protocols last week during a training session conducted while quarantining in the Barossa Valley.

SA chief health officer Professor Nicola Spurrier said the training breach had nothing to do with the decision to deny exemptions, but Goyder conceded it hadn’t helped the situation.

“It probably didn’t help the internal conversations in South Australia,” Goyder told ABC Grandstand radio.

“At the end of the day (the breach) was two times eight minutes and it was a stupid thing.

“It’s happened, we’ve dealt with it and the protocols from here on are pretty clear.”

Assistant coach Ben Hart received a six-week suspension while the 16 players were given suspended one-match bans.

Goyder defended the sanctions and said they’d been delivered while the league was investigating potential breaches from other clubs.

“You’ve got to look at the context, what happened and the time in which it happened … it was the appropriate penalty,” Goyder said.

“At the same time we were investigating a number of other instances of potential breaches from clubs – I hasten to say investigating.”

The Crows are set to share a flight with Port Adelaide when they relocate to the Gold Coast.

They plan to depart on Sunday May 24 and begin full-contact training the next day.

Risk remains as COVID-19 restrictions ease

Health authorities are warning Australians to approach their new-found freedoms with care, for fear of sparking a second wave of COVID-19.

States and territories have begun lifting restrictions on outdoor and indoor gatherings and business operations, following weeks of measures to limit the spread of coronavirus.

Deputy Chief Medical Officer Michael Kidd on Saturday said people cannot afford to be complacent.

“The pandemic is not over. The risk to vulnerable people remains significant,” he told reporters in Canberra.

Australian Medical Association president Tony Bartone said there was still a risk the virus could flare up as hot spots or small outbreaks.

The number of cases in Australia stood at 7036 on Saturday after 20 new cases were reported over 24 hours.

The death toll from the pandemic remained at 98.

UK govt backs virus dog-sniffing research

British researchers are launching a trial to see whether dogs can use their noses to detect whether humans have COVID-19 before they show symptoms.

Britain’s health department said on Saturday that disease control experts are looking into whether dogs which have been trained to sniff out certain cancers and malaria can potentially be used as a “non-invasive, early warning measure” to identify the coronavirus.

Researchers at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and Durham University are collaborating with the charity Medical Detection Dogs.

Six dogs, including Labradors and Cocker Spaniels, have started basic training for the trial. In the initial phase, researchers plan to gather odour samples from both people infected with the virus and those who aren’t.

The health department says the dogs will then undergo thorough training using the samples and will only be deployed if backed by strong scientific evidence.

No proof virus spreads via surfaces: WHO

It has still not been proven if people can catch the coronavirus by touching surfaces such as handles, doorknobs or keyboards where it lingers, the World Health Organisation says.

Nonetheless, it is recommended that people disinfect objects, according to guidelines issued by the UN agency.

The guidelines reference a study that showed the virus could survive on the outside of a medical face mask for up to seven days.

But the WHO also noted that studies about the ability of the coronavirus to survive should be viewed with some scepticism, since such studies are conducted in laboratories with little bearing on real world conditions.

In the mentioned study, the virus survived on stainless steel and plastic for four days, on glass for two and on fabric and wood for one.

Another study showed it surviving for four hours on copper, 24 hours on cardboard and 72 hours on plastic and stainless steel.

Although there have been no cases to date of people catching the virus from a surface, such transmission can’t be ruled out given the behaviour of other known coronaviruses.

That’s why it’s important to disinfect surfaces of objects like sinks, toilets, electronic devices and handholds, the WHO says.

OFFICIAL SOURCES OF ADVICE AND INFORMATION

Local updates and resources

State Government central information

SA Health

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

This article is supported by the Judith Neilson Institute for Journalism and Ideas.

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