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Coronavirus: What we know today, June 14

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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

Plan to reduce quarantine for students and business travellers

Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt has flagged shorter quarantine periods for international students and business travellers.

In an interview with ABC’s Insiders, Hunt said that modifications to the existing mandatory two-week hotel quarantine could apply for certain travellers.

“There are two pathways on international [arrivals] – one is to use our quarantine system with international students and appropriately with people who are delivering national benefit whether it is in business or other areas,” Hunt said.

“Secondly, is where we can have a safe relationship with another country … and New Zealand’s at the top of the list, having a non-quarantine approach which will open up borders.”

The Sunday Telegraph reported the Coalition was considering halving quarantine times to one week for countries with low rates of Covid-19 infection

Labor’s health spokesman, Chris Bowen, warned that Australians would not accept “a separate set of rules for business people, for some other others”.

The trade and tourism minister, Simon Birmingham, praised the South Australian government for nominating 20 July as the date it will reopen its borders.

He told Sky News the government “hopes to see progress on [the trans-Tasman travel bubble] as our states and territories now hopefully move to dismantle their state borders and give New Zealand confidence to open up to Australia”.

Birmingham said the Australian Border Force was considering “green lanes” that would allow passengers from New Zealand to enter while maintaining distance from passengers from “destinations that have not been as successful in maintaining Covid”.

On Friday the national cabinet agreed to a pilot scheme for international students to study at approved institutions from July.

No new cases in 19 days

South Australia recorded 19 days straight of no new COVID-19 cases on Sunday, according to SA Health.

More than 125,500 tests have now been undertaken across the state.

Australia recorded twelve new cases in the 24 hours to Saturday evening.

Victoria and NSW ease restrictions

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has confirmed the state will ease COVID-19 restrictions on June 22, allowing cinemas, theatres, indoor sports centres and gyms to reopen and boosting customer capacity for hospitality venues, libraries and community centres from 20 to 50 people.

Venues will be subject to a density requirement of one customer per four square metres.

The announcement of eased restrictions came as the state recorded another nine new COVID-19 cases on Sunday, five of which were linked to known outbreaks.

Professor Sutton said two of the cases were linked to an outbreak involving an infected doctor identified yesterday.

The GP had worked at three Melbourne clinics while asymptomatic and was tested after being informed they were a close contact of someone with the virus.

The cases come as the NSW government today announces it will scrap the limit of 50 people at indoor venues such as cafes, restaurants and churches from July 1, with the number of people allowed in a venue to be limited to one person per four square metres.

The state is still dealing with outbreaks, with students at a Sydney primary school told to self-isolate after a staff member tested positive for COVID-19.

Laguna Street Public School in southern Sydney will stop on-site learning until June 24 following the diagnosis, according to the NSW education department.

All school students have been deemed close contacts of the employee and should start self-isolating, a statement from the department said on Saturday night.

“The staff member has had contact with most students at the school during the period they may have been infectious,” the statement said.

It comes after a staff member at Rose Bay Public School in Sydney’s eastern suburbs was confirmed on Friday to have tested positive for the coronavirus.

In Western Australia, Animal welfare groups are outraged a live export ship is being allowed to sail  to the Middle East despite the northern summer ban, after the federal Department of Agriculture granted an exemption.

The Al Kuwait has been stranded at Fremantle Port for the past three weeks due to a COVID-19 outbreak among crew.

WA agriculture minister Alannah MacTiernan said a 25 per cent reduction in stocking density and stopping at only one port should go some way toward addressing animal welfare concerns.

But Animals Australia says the decision is “inconceivable” and has collected more than 15,000 signatures against it in an online campaign.

The RSPCA was also against the decision, saying the welfare of the sheep had taken a back seat to the livelihood of the exporter.

However, the Australian Livestock Exporters’ Council said the Al Kuwait was the world’s biggest purpose-built livestock vessel and had a record of excellent animal welfare outcomes.

“With reduced stocking density and appropriate risk management practices and plans in place, the shipment will provide the Middle East with much needed protein and supply chain security,” it said.

Six of the Al Kuwait’s 48 crew are active COVID-19 cases and remain in hotel quarantine, down from 13 on Saturday.

Spectators return to Adelaide Oval

Up to 2240 people were allowed into the Adelaide Oval on Saturday night to watch Port Adelaide defeat Adelaide 17.8 (110) to 5.5 (35), the first time a live crowd has been allowed at an AFL match this season.

The South and North gates opened at 5.30pm and fans were encouraged to come early to space out arrivals.

PA announcements continually reminded patrons to maintain social distancing, as spectators took their seats in alternate rows four seats apart along the middle tiers of the stadium. The hill area under the old scoreboard was roped off.

The fans were largely backing Port Adelaide, which as the home team was allocated 1475 tickets, with Adelaide allowed 475 tickets and a further 290 tickets allocated to corporates and Adelaide Oval members.

As the Crows came onto the field, Twitter user Nat Martin tweeted: “genuinely heartwarming to hear real, actual boos as a team runs onto the ground.”

South Australia’s chief public health officer, Professor Nicola Spurrier, was among the fans, taking notes on crowd management and the handling of public transport.

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

The event will serve as a case study for whether Adelaide Oval can host larger crowds, after it failed to qualify for a National Cabinet decision on Friday that stadiums below 40,000 could host crowds at up to 25% capacity from next month.

Other measures included mandatory mobile phone ticketing to ensure the venue had the contact details of attendees, and restrictions on how many could enter the toilets at one time.

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

Fans on Saturday also congregated in pubs and clubs across the state.

Up to 300 Crows members came together to watch the match from their cars on the big screen at the Mainline Drive-In at Gepps Cross, honking their horns in unison to celebrate goals.

Port Adelaide and the Crows could play fly-in, fly-out football from Round 8, once South Australia’s border opens, with Adelaide Oval games potentially from July 23.

Missing from last night’s Showdown was Port Adelaide vice captain Ollie Wines, suspended for one week for breaching COVID-19 restrictions.

Fans at the Adelaide Oval on June 13. Photo: AAP/David Mariuz.

Smaller protests after bans

Around 30 South Australians attended a Black Lives Matter rally at Victoria Square despite the protest being cancelled after an public health 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.

The protest was controversially banned despite crowds being allowed into the Adelaide Oval for the football on the same day.

Protesters also turned out to rallies in support of refugees and the Black Lives Matter movement in Sydney, Perth, Darwin, and Melbourne across Friday and Saturday, with most practising social distancing.

The scale of the demonstrations were generally much smaller than the previous weekend, with protesters in Sydney and Melbourne breaking into multiple small groups of 20 to avoid fines.

Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack warned the protests could spark a second wave of COVID-19.

“These people who want to go into protest, they ought to think long and hard about their actions,” Mr McCormack said.

Gina, 20, said she had been expecting a larger turnout at the Adelaide rally.

“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.”

India cases surge as China reports new outbreak

India has reported more than 11,000 new coronavirus infections in a single day, a new high for the country.

The health ministry reported 11,458 new cases, driving the toll to 308,993, the fourth-highest in the world.

It also reported 386 deaths, raising the total number of fatalities to 8884.

India’s caseload has jumped by about 100,000 in a week, coinciding with the reopening of shopping malls, houses of worship and restaurants.

The government had imposed a country-wide lockdown in late March.

In the Indian capital of New Delhi, most public hospitals are full and crematoriums and graveyards are struggling to manage a rash of bodies.

New Delhi’s government has projected that cases in the capital area alone could expand to more than half a million by late July, and is considering taking over luxury hotels and stadiums to convert into field hospitals.

Meanwhile, the Chinese capital Beijing has locked down residential communities near a wholesale food market following the first locally transmitted infections in the city for more than 50 days.

Beijing officials said on Saturday that 45 workers at the Xinfadi market tested positive for the coronavirus, though they showed no symptoms.

That was in addition to seven earlier cases of people with symptoms, including six who had visited or worked at the market.

Forty environmental samples taken at the market also tested positive, city officials said.

Meanwhile, British drug-maker AstraZeneca said on Saturday it signed a contract with Italy, Germany, France and the Netherlands to supply a potential vaccine developed by the University of Oxford, with the first orders due by the end of the year.

The contract is for up to 400 million doses of the vaccine, which is still undergoing trials and is yet to be approved.

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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