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Coronavirus: What we know today, June 23

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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

SA venues to be able to double capacity next week

Venues across South Australia will be able to double their capacity from Monday with the State Government winding back a controversial limit of one person per four square metres – while Adelaide Oval could soon be hosting up to 25,000 spectators for major events.

Premier Steven Marshall said today that his Transition Committee overseeing SA’s easing of coronavirus restrictions had opted to allow one person per two square metres in bars, pubs, cafes and restaurants from Monday as the state moves into Phase Three of the COVID-19 transition.

 The move effectively doubles the capacity for many operators, who were hamstrung by the requirement to accommodate one person for every four square metres despite caps on customers increasing to 75 per area and 300 per venue.

Marshall said 5000 spectators will be allowed to attend the SANFL at Adelaide Oval on both Saturday and Sunday this weekend, with the league to determine whether that number is spread across the two double-headers to kick off the stalled season.

But from Monday, the Stadium Management Authority and other major events organisers will be able to submit ‘COVID management plans’ to convince authorities they can operate at 50 per cent capacity – which could see up to 25,000 spectators attend games and events at the Oval from as early as the following weekend.

“We’re continuing to open up our economy and get people back to work,” Marshall said.

“My number one priority is the health, safety and welfare of all South Australians – we’ve got that balance right.”

No new cases in South Australia

There were no new infections in South Australia on Tuesday, according to SA Health.

More than 138,000 tests have been undertaken in South Australia, with 440 cases reported in total, and none currently active.

“Island sanctuary” Australia to remain sealed off

Health Minister Greg Hunt says Australia’s borders will remain closed for “a very significant” amount of time.

Hunt says coronavirus infection rates are accelerating around the world.

“For the time being we are an island sanctuary,” he told ABC radio on Tuesday.

The number of global coronavirus infections has exceeded nine million.

Hunt appeared to suggest international borders would be shut until a vaccine was found.

Victorian cases rise again

Victoria has recorded double-digit growth in new coronavirus cases for the seventh day in a row.

Premier Daniel Andrews confirmed 17 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, bringing the state’s tally to 1864. More than 100 cases remain active.

One of the new cases is a returned traveller in hotel quarantine, two are linked to a known outbreak while three are the subject of routine testing.

Eleven cases are under investigation.

“A lot of luck” in interstate virus caseloads

Australia’s top medical adviser on the coronavirus pandemic says there’s a “lot of luck” involved in the caseload when comparing Victoria and NSW.

Victoria’s active cases have more than doubled in a week, with 16 new infections on Monday taking the total to 125.

By contrast, active cases in NSW have jumped by 22 in the past week, but fallen or remained at zero in every other state.

Victoria’s case numbers are now the highest they’ve been in more than two months after six days of double-digit growth.

The spike caused the West Australian government to shelve a plan to open its borders in August and sparked a warning by NSW against visiting Melbourne.

Asked about the figures, Chief Medical Officer Brendan Murphy told reporters on Monday: “I think there is a lot of luck in this.”

He said NSW had been better at bringing community transmission under control by using measures such as pop-up clinics in hotspots.

But he said he did not see any reason why Victoria’s cases should force other states to change their plans.

South Australia will send a team of experts to Victoria on Tuesday to help with contact tracing, spending three weeks helping health officials.

WA Premier Mark McGowan has declined to put a date on when the state’s borders will reopen, but internal coronavirus restrictions will be removed by July 18.

India reports record number of cases

A record number of new coronavirus cases has been reported in India, along with a death toll of more than 400 people in the past 24 hours.

Foreign embassies are warning their citizens in the country that hospitals may not have beds for them.

The 15,000 new cases brought India’s total to more than 425,000, behind only the US, Brazil and Russia, according to data from the federal health ministry.

Nearly 14,000 people have now died from the disease caused by the virus since the first case in India in January.

The death toll in India remains low when compared to countries with similar numbers of cases but public health experts fear its hospitals will be unable to cope with a rise in patients.

The German embassy sent messages to its citizens in New Delhi warning them there was “little to no chance” of admission to hospital for treatment for coronavirus as well as other intensive care needs.

One million global cases in eight days

World leaders must not politicise the coronavirus pandemic but unite to fight it, the head of the World Health Organisation warns, reminding all that the pandemic is still accelerating and producing record daily increases in infections.

The comments by Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, who has faced criticism from US President Donald Trump, came as the number of reported infections soared in Brazil, Iraq, India and southern and western US states, straining local hospitals.

In New York City, once the epicentre of the US outbreak, Monday was a key day for lifting many coronavirus lockdown restrictions.

It took over three months for the world to see one million virus infections but the last one million cases have come in just eight days, Tedros said during a videoconference for the Dubai-based World Government Summit.

Tedros never mentioned Trump’s name or the fact he was determined to pull the United States out of the UN health agency but warned against “politicising” the pandemic.

“The greatest threat we face now is not the virus itself, it’s the lack of global solidarity and global leadership,” he said. “We cannot defeat this pandemic with a divided world.”

More Trump staffers test positive after rally

Two more staff members of President Donald Trump’s campaign who were in Tulsa, Oklahoma, for his rally on Saturday have tested positive for the coronavirus.

The campaign said on Saturday hours before the rally, Trump’s first since March, that six members of the campaign’s advance staff had tested positive.

“After another round of testing for campaign staff in Tulsa, two additional members of the advance team tested positive for the coronavirus,” Trump campaign spokesman Tim Murtaugh said.

“These staff members attended the rally but were wearing masks during the entire event.”

The White House and Trump campaign largely brushed away concerns ahead of the event about holding a rally with thousands of people despite warnings from health officials against gathering in large groups.

Most people at the rally did not wear masks.

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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