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Coronavirus: What we know today, June 13

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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

Showdown to serve as stadium test case

The Adelaide Oval is preparing to host 2240 fans for tonight’s Showdown clash between Adelaide and Port Adelaide, in the first AFL match to feature live spectators this season.

Fans who won “golden tickets” to the game will be encouraged by stadium management to maintain social distancing as they enter and exit the ground, with every second turnstile to be used to create space, and patrons seated in alternate rows four seats apart.

Ticketing will be on mobile phones only to ensure Adelaide Oval has the contact details of all people who are in the stadium.

Toilets will be managed to limit the number of people in a bathroom at any one time.

Attendees are encouraged to download the COVID-Safe app to their phone before arriving at the game, and anyone with symptoms is urged not to attend.

Port Adelaide was allocated 1475 tickets as the home team, with Adelaide allowed 475 tickets.

The crowd will also feature 240 corporate guests and 50 Adelaide Oval members.

The decision to allow a crowd caused controversy, with protests also scheduled for today banned due to concerns about public gatherings.

The match will serve as a test case for whether to further ease restrictions, after Friday’s National Cabinet meeting determined that the decision to allow crowds at stadiums with capacities greater than 40,000, such as the Adelaide Oval, crowds will be up to state and territories.

Stadiums with up to 40,000 seats will be allowed a maximum crowd of 25 per cent of their capacity from next month.

South Australia’s chief public health officer, Professor Nicola Spurrier, will attend the match and take note of social distancing measures particular in regard to crowd management and public transport would be considered.

“We see this has a fantastic learning opportunity for our state, how to do this sort of thing right,” she said.

Port Adelaide and the Crows could play fly-in, fly-out football from Round 8, once South Australia’s border opens.

The teams are considering staying in the Gold Coast hub for two additional weeks, with Adelaide Oval games potentially from July 23.

Missing from tonight’s Showdown will be Port Adelaide vice captain Ollie Wines, one of a raft of players to be suspended for breaching COVID-19 restrictions.

Wines gave an interview to a television network outside his house, breaking rules which dictate interviews must be done at a player’s club or via video links.

“It’s a mistake and it’s an unfortunate mistake made by Ollie and clearly made by one of the broadcast partners too, which is a little strange,” said Power coach Ken Hinkley.

Wines was suspended for one match earlier in the week, as was Essendon’s Brandon Zerk-Thatcher.

Suspensions on Friday were also handed out to Melbourne duo Kysaiah Pickett and Charlie Spargo, who attended a non-essential gathering and travelled via Uber.

SA records no new cases

SA recorded 18 days straight of no new COVID-19 cases on Saturday, according to SA Health.

More than 124,000 tests have now been undertaken across the state.

Australia recorded nine new cases in the space of 24 hours to Saturday morning, including four in Victoria, three in NSW, and one each in WA and Queensland.

Influenza cases plummet

The number of influenza cases in 2020 has dropped significanrlt since COVID-19 social distancing measures were introduced, according to new data from the Immunisation Coalition.

Across Australia, influenza cases fell from 20,032 cases in the first three months of the year, to 504 in April and May.

Only 36 “laboratory-confirmed influenza-associated deaths” have been recorded in 2020, according to the Australian Influenza Surveillance Report, compared to over 900 influenza-linked deaths in 2019.

For South Australia,SA Health data shows that there were three influenza-related deaths up until May 30, compared to 37 over the same time period the year before.

There has been 1516 cases of the flu across the state compared to 17,484 at the same time last year.

Australian Medical Association SA president Dr Chris Moy told the ABC that high vaccination rates this year are likely a factor, but this could present problems down the track, and that some people should consider a booster shot.

“It may be that the peak effect of the vaccinations may actually occur a little bit too early,” he said.

Small protests across the country

Around 30 South Australians have defied coronavirus restrictions by attending a Black Lives Matter rally at Victoria Square despite the protest being cancelled after an exemption for the event was denied.

Police officers, mounted on horses, watched over a rain-drenched Victoria Square in Adelaide’s CBD as protesters chanted while holding signs and wearing masks.

Gina, 20, says she was not intimidated by authorities but had been expecting a larger turnout.

“Civil unrest is what sparks change,” she said.

“We have to continue to fight even if they say you can’t. We’re taking all the precautions; wearing masks and having hand sanitiser.”

At least 1,000 people gathered in Langley Park in Perth, but numbers are significantly below expectations of around 15,000 attendees, after Premier Mark McGowan asked people to hold off from protesting until after the pandemic is over.

A thousand people also attended a rally in Darwin, which had no police presence and was endorsed by the NT government.

Small protests for refugee rights were also held in Sydney, Brisbane, and Melbourne.

Refugee activists in Melbourne spread themselves out in an attempt to avoid the same fines copped by the Black Lives Matter organisers the previous weekend.

The Refugee Action Collective said its rallies would have no more than 20 people in eight different locations to protest against the indefinite detention of asylum seekers.

In Sydney, protesters navigated restrictions on gatherings by walking around the Sydney CBD in groups of 20.

Mixed response to border reopening

South Australia’s move to reopen its borders on July 20 has attracted mixed reviews, with the state’s peak business group urging for an earlier date and the Western Australian government indicating it is premature.

Following discussions at Friday’s national cabinet meeting, Premier Steven Marshall confirmed the state would remove the need for interstate visitors to quarantine for two weeks after they arrive.

Business SA chief executive Martin Haese urged the state government to allow visitors from  areas with little to no Covid-19 infections, including Western Australia and the Northern Territory, immediately.

“Five weeks in business right now is an eternity. Every day is costing businesses, who are in a race against time to re-establish themselves,” he said.

Marshall said an earlier opening of borders to some states is under consideration, but that the state government is getting “some final legal advice” on that.

Haese also criticised a proposed limit of four square metres per person within venues, as the state moves to increase the number of patrons allowed in pubs, restaurants and other venues to a maximum of 300 from next Friday, with a limit of 75 people in any particular area.

The changes, which have been dubbed “Stage 2.5” in the easing of restrictions, will increase the number of people able to attend weddings, funerals, private gatherings, and fixed-equipment gyms.

SA will then move to stage three of lifting virus restrictions on June 29, including reopening of Adelaide’s casino and gaming venues, indoor playgrounds and amusement arcades.

Nightclubs will remain shut indefinitely, with health experts rating the risk of reopening too high.

The Australian Hotels Association called for bigger crowds at pubs, with state chief Ian Horne claiming “tens of thousands” of staff can’t get work under the current restrictions.

Of the states with border restrictions in place, Queensland has set a July 10 target to reopen borders, and Tasmania will likely reopen its border to mainland Australia in late July.

However Western Australia has indicated it will keep borders closed for as long as there is sustained community spread interstate.

WA Treasurer Ben Wyatt told ABC Radio Perth that COVID-19 cases in Victoria were a particular concern at the moment and part of the reason the state had not yet followed the lead of South Australia.

“Perhaps South Australia have a more confident view of Victorians than we do in the West,” he said.

There are also plans for a pilot program to look at ways to get international students back into the country.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said interstate borders needed to be open for states wanting to bring students back.

“If you can’t come to your state from Sydney, then no one’s coming to your state from Singapore,” he told reporters in Canberra on Friday.

Italian PM questioned by prosecutors

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has been questioned by prosecutors for three hours over the country’s COVID-19 response.

The prosecutors from Bergamo, one of the epicentres of the pandemic, are looking into why badly affected small towns around the city were not locked down earlier.

Conte, who was questioned in his office in Rome and is not under criminal investigation, later told reporters via his spokesman: “I wanted to explain every stage to the smallest detail.”

Prosecutors also questioned Interior Minister Luciana Lamorgese and Health Minister Roberto Speranza.

Prosecutor Maria Cristina Rota said the meeting had taken place “in an atmosphere of great calm and institutional collaboration”.

Deaths from the COVID-19 epidemic in Italy climbed by 56 on Friday against 53 the day before, the Civil Protection Agency said, taking the total toll to 34,223.

Mums with virus can still breastfeed: WHO

The World Health Organisation has recommended women should breastfeed newborn babies regardless of COVID-19 concerns.

“Based on the available evidence, WHO’s advice is that the benefits of breastfeeding outweigh any potential risks of transmission of COVID-19,” WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at a press briefing on Friday.

“Mothers with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 should be encouraged to initiate and continue breastfeeding and not be separated from their infants, unless the mother is too unwell,” he said.

Tedros noted that evidence suggests children are at lower risk for catching the coronavirus than adults but are at high risk of coming down with diseases and other conditions that breastfeeding helps prevent.

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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