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Coronavirus: What we know today, June 28

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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

Surge in Victorian cases of unknown origin

South Australian Premier Steven Marshall has expressed concern about the continued spread of COVID-19 in Victoria, as the state reports another recorded 49 new cases of COVID-19 in the past 24 hours.

Marshall said there was a real concern about the hotspots in metropolitan Melbourne.

“I don’t think we’re going to be really back to normal until a vaccine is found,” he told reporters in Adelaide. “We are going to have to to live with this disease right across the world.”

South Australia is due to open its borders to Victoria on July 20, with the South Australian government signalling it may only impose restrictions on visitors from certain areas of the state.

Victoria on Sunday announced mandatory testing for returned travellers before they are allowed out of quarantine in hotels.

The Victorian government says people in quarantine will be tested twice – firstly on day three and then again on day 11 of the 14-day quarantine period.

“Those who refuse to comply with testing will be required to remain in quarantine for a further 10 days to ensure they pose no risk of introducing coronavirus to the Victorian community,” Premier Daniel Andrews announced on Sunday.

The decision follows a sharp spike in cases in Victoria, which is the only state to have reported cases in the double digits.

Of the 49 new cases reported, only four from known outbreaks, 26 detected through routine testing, and with the other 19 were under investigation.

The premier confirmed the state’s overall total cases increased by 41, with eight cases from Saturday reclassified after further testing.

Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said if high case numbers continued, further revision could be made about restrictions.

“If it continues to increase, I think those are the circumstances where you think about an additional intervention and especially if it is localised in a particular postcode or a particular suburb,” Dr Sutton said.

Health workers are going door-to-door in Keilor Downs and Broadmeadows, with mobile testing vans and expanded community engagement teams on the ground.

Residents in the two areas were also sent emergency text messages on Saturday, urging testing.

Federal Deputy Chief Medical Officer Michael Kidd said 53 new cases have been reported across the country in the 24 hours to Sunday afternoon, with the majority in Victoria and six in NSW.

No new cases in SA as travellers return

SA Health reported no new cases of COVID-19 in South Australia on Sunday.

More than 148,000 tests have been undertaken across the state.

The month-long virus-free streak is expected to end after a total of 329 people landed in Adelaide from overseas on Saturday, with the new arrivals quarantined under police guard overnight in the Pullman Hotel.

A Singapore Airlines flight with 260 Australians arrived in Adelaide Airport on Saturday from India via Singapore, and another 69 Army soldiers from the 1st Brigade touched down in Edinburgh’s RAAF base from Malaysia.

Authorities wore face masks and provided hand sanitiser to each of the passengers before they were transferred to the Pullman Hotel in the CBD by bus.

All arrivals were subject to mandatory testing when they landed, and will be tested again during their two-week quarantine.

None of the travellers are understood to have refused testing.

Health Minister Stephen Wade said interstate evidence suggested about five to 10 per of people returning from the subcontinent were testing positive for the virus.

“So if we were to see similar figures here in South Australia we could expect up to 25 cases,” Wade said.

Flights are also expected from South America and Indonesia in coming days.

Police Commissioner Grant Stevens said authorities were working to ensure security guards and others working in the quarantine facilities were complying with the proper use of personal protective equipment.

The failure of security guards to abide by social distancing regulations at quarantine hotels in Victoria was linked to that state’s recent outbreaks.

Labor accuses Morrison government of playing games with JobSeeker

Federal Labor has accused the Morrison government of playing “cruel games” over the JobSeeker payment after the social services minister dismissed reports that the dole benefit would be permanently increased.

News Corp newspapers, citing senior ministers, on Sunday reported the JobSeeker payment would rise to $75 per day from $40 when the present enhanced version of the unemployment payment ends in September.

“What I can say about the story that was written today is there is no submission to the effect that has been reported in the paper,” minister Anne Ruston told reporters in Adelaide on Sunday.

“We are very focused on the temporary measures we need to put in place to make sure that we can get Australians through this pandemic to the other side.”

The JobSeeker payment, formerly known as Newstart, was doubled to around $1100 a fortnight as a support measure during the pandemic.

“The Morrison government needs to stop playing cruel games with over two million people in Australia, who rely on JobSeeker to put food on the table,” opposition social services spokeswoman Linda Burney told reporters in Sydney.

Treasury has reviewed both JobSeeker and the JobKeeper wage subsidy, but the findings won’t be released until July 23 when Treasurer Josh Frydenberg delivers a much-anticipated economic statement.

“At the time, we said they were targeted, they were temporary, they were measured and they still are and we are working in that environment of transition at the moment. We’re not looking at the long-term,” the minister said.

Nationals MP Pat Conaghan said the pre-COVID rate of Newstart was “inadequate”.

“In Nambucca and Kempsey in my electorate, 41 per cent of kids under the age of 15 live below the poverty line,” he said. “It’s disgraceful.”

Restrictions to ease further at midnight

South Australia will move to stage three of lifting COVID-19 measures from midnight on Sunday, with South Australian Police announcing a state Emergency Management Direction has been revoked and replaced.

Under the new regulations businesses will allow one person per two metres in pubs, bars and restaurants.

The space requirement applies to the area in which members of the public use, and does not count the business’s employees.

“People present or occupying a place in which a defined public activity is conducted or occurring must take reasonable steps to comply with the physical distancing principles,” South Australia Police said in a statement.

Most businesses allowed to re-open will be required to complete a COVID Safe Plan.

Those that have already completed a plan under previous steps will receive a new document outlining revised venue capacity and obligations.

However, businesses undertaking public activities involving more than 1,000 people, and places “with both dancing and consumption of alcohol” will instead require a COVID Management Plan, approved by SA Health.

From Monday, casinos and gaming areas will be permitted to operate, provided contract tracing records are kept.

Contract tracing records are also still required for businesses including personal care services; auctions and inspections; recreational transport; driver instruction; indoor sport comprised of a fitness class indoor public meetings; weddings; funerals; and religious or faith based ceremonies.

Communal food or beverage service areas are still not permitted at a place where food and beverages is served, and nor is reusable equipment associated with shishas pipes, smoking or vaping.

Large venues such as Adelaide Oval will be free to cater for up to 50 per cent of their normal capacity, provided health officials have approved their COVID-19 safety plans.

It comes as the ABC reports that thousands of people attended Adelaide Oval for the reopening of the SANFL season.

South Australian health authorities had approved up to 5,000 spectators to attend.

SA Sports Minister Corey Wingard urged spectators to maintain social distancing practices.

“As we go back to playing sport and having people back at sporting clubs, it’s an opportune time to remind people not to be complacent,” he said.

Sturt overcame Central District in the opening match 51-36, before South Adelaide defeated Woodville-West Torrens 74-68.

Global cases exceed 10 million

Global coronavirus cases exceeded 10 million on Sunday afternoon, marking a grim milestone in the spread of the respiratory disease that has so far killed almost half a million people in seven months.

The figure reached is roughly double the number of severe influenza illnesses recorded annually, according to the World Health Organisation.

In the United Kingdom, Liverpool police have condemned the behaviour of fans who gathered in the city centre for a second night to celebrate their team’s Premier League title win.

Thousands of fans turned up at Anfield stadium on Thursday to celebrate Liverpool winning the English top flight for the first time in 30 years.

Merseyside Police issued a dispersal order on Friday in response to crowds gathering for a second night at the city centre near the Mersey Ferry terminal.

“Our city is still in a public health crisis and this behaviour is wholly unacceptable,” Liverpool, Merseyside police and the Liverpool City Council said in a joint statement.

Under lockdown restrictions in England, groups are limited to six people.

Huge gatherings were also reported in London for the third night in a row, with Met Police commander Bas Javid telling the BBC that the police have been trying to persuade people to go home rather than to arrest them.

UK beaches have also been crowded with people during a spell of warm weather across the country.

The country has announced plans to scrap a 14-day quarantine period for people arriving from countries it deems to be lower risk for COVID-19.

The UK Department of Health and Social Care recorded 890 new cases on Saturday, and 100 deaths of people who have tested positive for coronavirus.

The total death toll across the country stands at 43,500, and there have been 310,837 cases, according to the latest data from Johns Hopkins University.

Ethiopian ‘114-year-old’ monk beats virus

An Ethiopian Orthodox monk whose family says he is 114 years old has been discharged from hospital after a successful three week battle against COVID-19.

Tilahun Woldemichael received oxygen and dexamethasone, a cheap and widely available steroid that researchers in England have said reduced deaths by up to one third in severely ill hospitalised patients.

Ethiopia’s health minister has said the ministry recommends the emergency use of the drug for COVID-19 patients who require ventilation or oxygen.

Tilahun’s grandson Biniam Leulseged said he has no birth certificate to prove the monk’s age, but he showed a photo of him celebrating his 100th birthday.

“He was looking young back then, too,” Biniam told the Associated Press on Saturday.

Ethiopia has more than 5200 confirmed cases of the virus.

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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