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Coronavirus: What we know today, June 25

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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

$250m support package for arts but critics say too little, too late

Artists and entertainers will be able to apply for a slice of a $250 million support package to help the sector recover from coronavirus restrictions.

The package is made up of grants and loans, with a focus on helping touring artists, actors and producers on the stage and screen.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has acknowledged the sector was one of the earliest hit by coronavirus restrictions and will be among the last to return to normal.

He says the package will help a range of jobs throughout the sector while helping tourism and hospitality more broadly.

“This package is as much about supporting the tradies who build stage sets or computer specialists who create the latest special effects, as it is about supporting actors and performers in major productions,” he said.

Critics say it’s far too little, too late.

Read the full story here.

No new cases in South Australia

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

More than 143,000 tests have been undertaken in South Australia, with 440 cases reported in total, and none currently active.

Victoria cases surge again as Morrison urges restrictions lift

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has urged states to forge ahead with lifting restrictions despite Melbourne’s surge in coronavirus infections.

Victoria recorded 33 new cases on Thursday, sparking a testing blitz across 10 hotspot suburbs.

More than 1000 military personnel have been called in to help deal with the outbreak, which Premier Daniel Andrews described as a public health bushfire.

Morrison said Australia was well equipped to deal with infection spikes.

“There are a few challenges in Melbourne at the moment but as we said, there will be outbreaks,” he told reporters on Thursday.

“We cant go stop, go. Stop, go. We can’t flick the light on and off.”

Qantas axes 6000 jobs to ride out pandemic

Qantas will cut at least 6,000 jobs across all parts of the business including pilots and cabin crew and continue to stand down 15,000 workers as part of its plan to recover from the impact of the COVID pandemic.

Australia’s flag carrier, including Jetstar, has been hit hard by domestic and international flight shutdowns and said it will ground at least 100 aircraft for up to 12 months and cut $15 billion in costs over the next three years.

“We have to position ourselves for several years where revenue will be much lower. And that means becoming a smaller airline in the short term,” Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce said.

“Most airlines will have to restructure in order to survive, which also means they’ll come through this leaner and more competitive. For all these reasons, we have to take action now.”

Qantas has been operating around domestic capacity at just five per cent of pre-coronavirus levels and is set to scale this up to 15 per cent following an easing in coronavirus-related social and travel restrictions.

It has cancelled all international flights, except for services to New Zealand, until late October, after standing down two-thirds of staff in March.

The airline said around 8,000 of 29,000 staff are expected to return to work by the end of July.

This will likely increase to around 15,000 by the end of 2020 in line with the opening up of domestic flying, and increase further during calendar 2021 and 2022 as the international network returns to reach 21,000 active employees by June 2022.

No name, no beer

Drinkers in England’s pubs will have to give their name before they order a pint and there will be no live acts or standing at the bar, the government says in advice for reopening the sector next month.

Pubs, restaurants and hairdressers will have to keep a record of customers for 21 days to assist the state health service’s test and trace operation, which aims to identify and contain any local flare-ups of COVID-19 and stop a second wave of infections.

Live performances including drama, comedy and music will also not be allowed, the government said.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Tuesday said that pubs, restaurants and hotels could reopen in England on July 4, easing the coronavirus lockdown that has all but shut the economy.

He also reduced social distancing from 2 metres to 1 metre in a change that will allow many more pubs and restaurants to reopen.

10 million cases next week

World Health Organisation Director General Tedros Adhanom says he expects the number of coronavirus cases around the world, now at about 9.3 million, to reach 10 million next week.

Tedros also told a news briefing he backed Saudi Arabia’s decision to ban pilgrims from abroad from attending the annual Haj pilgrimage to help limit the spread of the virus.

He said the WHO was now supporting many countries in dealing with difficulties obtaining oxygen concentrators, devices that boost the flow of oxygen to support the breathing of COVID-19 sufferers.

“Demand is outstripping supply,” he said.

Dr Mike Ryan, head of the WHO emergencies program, said the pandemic for many countries in the Americas had not yet peaked and that it was “still intense,” especially in Central and South America.

Ultraviolet light research

Ceiling fixtures emitting a safe form of ultraviolet light called far-UVC would be very efficient at killing airborne coronaviruses, according to a study by researchers at Columbia University.

“A very low exposure to far-UVC light killed well over 99.9% of the exposed virus,” lead researcher Dr. David Brenner told Reuters.

The researchers put coronavirus particles into little droplets and floated them in the air in front of far-UVC lights, then collected the viruses and tested them to see how many were still active.

The study, published on Wednesday in Scientific Reports, used coronaviruses that cause common colds.

“But in our subsequent ongoing studies we have found that the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 is killed in just the same way by far-UVC light,” Brenner said.

The idea would be to install overhead far-UVC lights in public locations, where they would be “continuously killing microbes, including the COVID-19 virus – and so limiting the spread of the virus,” Brenner said, adding that far-UVC manufacturers are already ramping up production.

“We don’t see far-UVC light as an alternative to masks and social distancing,” Brenner said.

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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