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Coronavirus: What we know today, June 6

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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

Adelaide Black Lives Matter protest goes ahead

More than 5000 people filled Victoria Square and marched through the city today for a Black Lives Matter protest, after SA Police Commissioner Grant Stevens granted an exemption from COVID-19 restrictions.

Speaker Jack Buckskin welcomed the large turnout, telling the gathering whether Aboriginal or non-Aboriginal, they were all part of the same society.

“This is about us coming together as people,” he said.

“Today we stand united. Our movement happens with people.”

Stevens says the “unique and extraordinary” event, led by SOS Blak Australia SA Action Group, meant the event could go ahead, but those taking part were asked to be mindful of their own health and the health of others.

Many of those attending wore masks and made some efforts to socially distance, though large groups appeared to be in close contact.

Rallies also took place in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, and Hobart today, with tens of thousands showing solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement against police brutality in the United States, including the death of George Floyd who suffocated under the knee of a police officer, and to call for an end to Aboriginal deaths in custody.

The Sydney ‘Stop All Black Deaths in Custody’ rally was allowed to go ahead at the last minute, after a late decision by the Court of Appeal overturned a ban placed on the event.

The decision came 12 minutes before the rally’s scheduled start at 3pm outside Town Hall on Saturday, provoking cheers among throngs of protesters who had gathered there anyway.

Queensland Police estimate over 10,000 people gathered for the  demonstration in Brisbane alone.

In Victoria, thousands attended a protest held at the Victorian Parliament, where Sue Ann Hunter, a Wurundjeri woman, gave a welcome to country to the protesters on behalf of Aboriginal elders who were advised to stay away from the protest for health reasons.

Protesters were largely wearing face masks and organisers offered hand sanitiser.

Volunteers were in place to remind protesters to space themselves out.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison had urged Australians not to attend, highlighting Indigenous populations as particularly vulnerable to the virus.

He employed a different line of messaging last weekend, when he said “it’s a free country” in response to reports of anti-lockdown and anti-vaccine protests.

Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese said there are a range of ways that people can make their feelings known.

“I support the right to protest but I also support making sure that we don’t have a second wave, we need to be very conscious about health outcomes,” Albanese said.

No new cases in SA

South Australia reported no new cases of COVID-19 today. There have been a total of 440 cases reported in the state, but there are no more active cases and 436 people have been cleared of the virus.

SA Pathology has now undertaken almost 112,000 tests.

Infectious fruitpicker travelled from Victoria to Queensland

Across Australia, just two new local COVID-19 cases were reported and two historical cases came to light.

One case was of a Melbourne male in his 20s, who was infectious with COVID-19 when he flew to Bundaberg via Brisbane for a fruit-picking job this week.

A mass alert has been issued as the man, who had been in contact with a known COVID-19 case in Victoria, had socialised with about 15 family and friends in Brisbane, and then worked the next day in Bundaberg with a number of colleagues.

‘This is a time for heightened alertness for all our population in Brisbane and Bundaberg,” Queensland Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young said.

Western Australia also recorded one new case relating to overseas travel and the person is in hotel quarantine, the WA Health Department said.

The department said serology testing confirmed a couple, who returned from overseas in March and completed their quarantine period, had also had the virus.

There were no new cases reported in the country’s two largest states, NSW and Victoria.

Australia has had just over 7250 confirmed COVID-19 cases while the death toll remains at 102.

Australia pushes back against China’s racism warning

Federal Tourism Minister Simon Birmingham has rejected claims from China that Chinese people have been subjected to racist abuse and violence due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Birmingham responded after China’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism issued a travel warning against travel to Australia, citing racial discrimination and violence against Chinese people in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Birmingham said Australia was a “safe and welcoming” multicultural country.

“We reject China’s assertions in this statement, which have no basis in fact. Our rejection of these claims, which have been falsely made by Chinese officials previously, is well known to them,” he said in a statement.

China did not give any specific examples of such discrimination or violence, but there have been reports of people of Asian appearance experiencing verbal harassment in Australia.

Erin Chew, the founder of the Asian Australian Alliance, said while there may be political motivation behind China’s statement, that didn’t make the rise in racial attacks less true.

“It’s as though they are only caring about racism due to the political agenda with other countries. But in many ways from the other side, I can see the reason they put out the warning because it is true,” she told SBS News.

China issued a warning to tourists travelling to the US earlier this year after some said they were mistreated in connection with the outbreak.

The travel advisory comes in the midst of rising tensions between China and Australia, particularly since the Morrison government led calls for a global inquiry into the response to the pandemic.

The Chinese government last month announced an 80 per cent tariff on Australian barley, but denied this was in connection to the inquiry push.

Brazil threatens to withdraw from WHO

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has threatened to follow the Unites States in pulling his country out of the World Health Organisation, despite recording 1,000 daily deaths for a fourth-consecutive day.

Brazil’s Health Ministry reported another 1,005 deaths on Friday night, taking the overall tally to 35,026, the third highest globally, with 30,830 new cases bringing the overall number of infections to 645,771, the second most in the world behind the United States.

Bolsonaro continues to argue for quickly lifting state isolation orders, arguing that the economic costs outweigh public health risks.

WHO issues mask advice as SA businesses deny service

The World Health Organisation has updated its guidance to recommend that governments ask people to wear fabric face masks in public places to curb the spread of COVID-19.

The UN agency says that although the benefits of widespread use of face masks by the public is still not yet supported by direct scientific evidence, there is now enough observational evidence from countries that have recommended the wearing of masks.

The WHO says medical masks should be reserved for healthcare professionals and people in at-risk groups. Everyone else should use what it terms non-medical or fabric masks.

The agency recommends mask users should:

The call comes as South Australian Equal Opportunity Commissioner Dr Niki Vincent investigates three complaints of discrimination against Adelaide businesses related to the wearing of face masks.

The complaints include two people denied service at a food outlet because their face masks had made other customers uncomfortable.

Vincent said businesses are not allowed to discriminate based on presumed illness, race, disability or age, and noted that at-risk populations in particular may only feel safe wearing masks in public.

Marshall looks to open borders with WA

South Australia’s transition committee is looking at a potential travel bubble with WA, as well as with the NT, Tasmania, and the ACT, according to Premier Steven Marshall.

Marshall on Friday said travel between WA and SA was “definitely an option” and other proposals are also on the table, with an announcement due “very soon”.

He previously indicated July 3, the start of SA school holidays, as a likely date for the next significant relaxation of restrictions on the economy.

“Western Australia has done extraordinarily well in terms of their fight against the coronavirus, just like we have done in South Australia,” Marshall said.

“It’s up to (WA Premier) Mark McGowan to make his decision with regard to the border and I know that our transition committee is looking at issues like borders as we speak.

“I think that we’re in a good position with Western Australia, the Northern Territory, Tasmania and maybe also Canberra.

“This is the potential for almost a first wave of lifting the border restrictions very safely and gradually.”

Labor leader Peter Malinauskas has flagged concerns about the ACT being a potential backdoor to NSW, given there are no border restrictions between the two.

Marshall visited Kangaroo Island on Friday to announce up to $52 million from insurance payouts from the bushfires would be used to fast-track tourist infrastructure redevelopment, and $33m for a desalination plant.

US jobs bounce as lockdown strategy shifts

The United States added a surprise 2.5 million jobs last month, rebounding from April’s record 20.7 million drop, and pushing the unemployment rate down to 13.3 per cent.

Analysts had expected unemployment to further grow to 19.8 per cent.

United States President Donald Trump has called for a shift in strategy against the coronavirus pandemic to focus resources on protecting “high-risk populations” as he pushes for a total end to stay-at-home orders in states throughout the country.

It comes as the WHO warned that the COVID-19 pandemic is far from over and that countries should be cautious about easing lockdown measures, with new cases continuing to rise.

More than 6.68 million people have been reported infected with the new coronavirus globally and 391,108 have died, according to a Reuters tally.

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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