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Coronavirus: What we know today, June 5

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Follow this post for rolling updates on the impact of the coronavirus in South Australia, the nation and the world.

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

KEY POINTS

COVID-19 exemption granted to SA anti-racism protesters

Police Commissioner Grant Stevens has granted an exemption from COVID-19 restrictions to anti-racism protesters who will gather in Adelaide’s CBD tomorrow.

Stevens, who is also the state coordinator under emergency management legislation, said he had taken the advice of the chief public health officer Nicola Spurrier and he believed the risk of community transmission was low.

But it came as Prime Minister Scott Morrison urged people around the country not to join the protests – following demonstrations across the US and UK in the wake of the death of George Floyd at police hands – warning it would risk increasing the spread of coronavirus.

The SAPOL Commissioner’s decision also put SA at odds with other states, after New South Wales fell into line with Victoria in urging protesters not to attend.

But Stevens today said he hoped to see the Adelaide protest conducted safely, with SA Police “working with” attendees to help them understand their social distancing obligation

Read the full story here.

No new cases reported by SA Health today

South Australia has recorded no new cases of COVID-19.

The state’s total remains at 440 with 436 of those now cleared.

Four people have died from the disease.

Rent relief for some struggling tenants

The State Government will offer up to $1000 in rent relief to some residential tenants who are struggling due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Treasurer Rob Lucas announced the scheme today, which will support people who are either receiving JobKeeper or JobSeeker payments, have less than $5000 in savings and are paying more than 30 per cent of their income in rent.

The scheme, which Lucas says would cover about 10,000 tenancies at a cost of $10 million, will be provided via landlords who have agreed with their tenants to provide rent relief of at least $1000.

Tenants can register their interest at https://treasury.sa.gov.au/Growing-South-Australia/COVID-19

“We know many South Australians are doing it incredibly tough at the moment and these $1000 grants will encourage landlords to support tenants across the state to keep their head above water during this challenging time,” Lucas said.

The Opposition says more than 10,000 renters would be struggling in SA and more support is needed.

Young student among latest Victorian cases

A Victorian prep student has tested positive to coronavirus, forcing the school to close, as community transmission continues in Melbourne’s inner west and north.

The young student at Newbury Primary School in Craigieburn is among the state’s three latest cases of COVID-19.

The prep student went to school without symptoms late last week but developed symptoms over the weekend, Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said on Friday.

The student was tested on Wednesday. The health department became aware of the result on Thursday and the school was shut on Friday for cleaning.

Contact tracing is now being done to identify whether any staff or students are required to self-isolate, and to determine whether further action is required to reduce the risk of infection.

Sutton said the school was notified late last night so some parents may only be finding out today about the closure.

“These are community cases. They are almost certainly picked up in the community, they happen to be attending school but this is not a transmission within the school, and the risk of transmission in the school remains very low,” Sutton told reporters.

Close contacts of the student will be identified and told to self-isolate.

Debt flow-out quantified

Australian government debt could blow out by $620 billion by the end of the decade thanks to the coronavirus.

The Parliamentary Budget Office has crunched the medium-term impacts of the pandemic based on the Reserve Bank of Australia’s latest forecasts.

Its analysis released on Friday showed government debt in 2029/30 could be between 11 and 18 per cent of GDP ($500 billion to $620 billion) higher than it would have been otherwise.

The country’s deficit, or underlying cash balance, could deteriorate by between $16 billion and $30 billion in the same period.

The PBO does not expect any budget surpluses this decade.

Drug recommended for COVID-19 patients

The anti-viral drug remdesivir has been recommended for the treatment of COVID-19 patients in Australia, by the national taskforce bringing together the country’s peak health groups.

The National Covid-19 Clinical Evidence Taskforce says Australian doctors treating adults with moderate, severe or critical COVID-19 should consider using the drug to aid recovery times.

Antiviral drug remdesivir is the first medication to be recommended as a considered treatment for patients hospitalised after contracting coronavirus.

Originally developed for the treatment of ebola, clinical trials have shown remdesivir may improve recovery time for people with moderate to critical COVID-19 symptoms.

Taskforce Executive Director, Associate Professor Julian Elliott, said while it’s early days this was a significant step forward.

“This is the first information we have that a drug has a beneficial effect as a treatment for COVID-19,” he said.

“The preliminary data published so far from two clinical trials indicate that it can reduce the time for someone to recover from COVID-19.

“However, we do not yet have definitive information that remdesivir will reduce the risk of dying from the disease.”

Elliott said the taskforce reviewed evidence to speed up the development of the recommendation in less than two weeks.

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

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