Refresh this page for updates – scroll down for links to official health information.
- SA scraps border openings date as Victorian cases surge
- No new cases today
- Victoria considers local lockdowns
- Queensland to decide on border openings today
- Arts industry to call for JobKeeper, donor tax relief
- English city in lockdown, US cases rise
SA scraps July 20 border openings after Victorian spike
South Australia has scrapped a plan to lift all its remaining border restrictions next month amid the spike in coronavirus cases in Victoria.
Premier Steven Marshall says the July 20 date to lift quarantine measures for Victoria, NSW and the ACT has been abandoned on the latest health advice.
He says SA may move separately on NSW and the ACT, but no date has yet been set with the state’s transition committee to consider that issue on Friday.
The premier says SA can’t take any decision to lift border restrictions with Victoria in the current circumstances.
“We are increasingly concerned about the outbreaks which are occurring in Victoria,” he told reporters on Tuesday.
“At this stage, we cannot possibly lift that border (with Victoria) on the 20th July as we were hoping to do.”
Marshall said the decision would also mean any AFL teams coming into South Australia from Victoria would be required to isolate for two weeks, as well as any returning SA teams that played in Melbourne.
“We apologise to the many people who will have to make changes but our number one priority is the health, safety and well-being of all South Australians,” he said.
SA previously lifted its border quarantine measures for Western Australia, Queensland, Tasmania and the Northern Territory and remained on track to do the same for other jurisdictions until the surge in COVID-19 cases in Melbourne.
No new cases today
South Australia recorded no new cases of COVID-19 today.
SA Health said there were three active cases – all returning travellers who remain in quarantine in the CBD.
The state on the weekend welcomed more than 300 returning Australians from overseas, including around 260 travellers from Mumbai and around 70 defence force personnel, all of whom have been mandatorily quarantined at the Pullman Hotel on Hindmarsh Square.
“We do test everybody that comes in internationally and that’s exactly what’s happened… there are three positive cases,” Chief public health officer Professor Nicola Spurrier said on Monday.
None of the defence force returnees have yet tested positive, but the three cases on the flight from Mumbai, which arrived via Singapore, included a three-year -old girl, a woman in her 30s and a woman in her 40s.
Spurrier said none of the positive cases was related to each other, and the child’s parents would be monitored despite currently testing negative to coronavirus
She said one of the women has “very mild symptoms” of the disease, while the other adult and the child are asymptomatic.
Victorian local lockdowns “absolutely an option”
Victoria’s growing coronavirus outbreak “will get worse before it gets better”, the chief health officer has warned after cases surged.
Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said he expects to see “at least” as many positive cases in the coming days as test results pour in.
A testing blitz is underway in the suburbs of Albanvale, Broadmeadows, Brunswick West, Hallam, Fawkner, Keilor Downs, Maidstone, Pakenham, Reservoir and Sunshine West, which have seen high levels of community transmission in recent weeks.
More than 50,000 COVID-19 tests have been done in the suburbs and Professor Sutton wants to see the results before deciding on any further measures to contain the virus.
Putting the suburbs into a second lockdown remains an option.
“It is absolutely an option and we flagged the possibility of using it and we will use it if it is required,” Professor Sutton said.
Monday’s increase is the fourth-highest daily total for the state since the beginning of the pandemic.
The last time more than 70 new cases were recorded in Victoria was on March 31, when the state was in its strictest lockdown stage.
Professor Hamish McCallum from Griffith University said the state is experiencing a second wave of the virus.
“The question is whether it is a ripple, or the start of a tsunami,” he said.
“In addition to the increased testing, I think there is a case to lockdown the hotspot suburbs.”
Queensland border decision today
A decision to open Queensland’s borders or keep them tightly shut will be revealed on Tuesday.
Pressure from businesses that rely on interstate tourism to stay afloat has failed to push the state government to open borders sooner as Queensand’s coronavirus case numbers dwindle.
It reviews the closure at the end of each month and Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk is set to make a long-awaited announcement on Tuesday.
The closure has been a point of frustration for border communities and industries desperate for customers and foot traffic after taking a hit during the global pandemic.
Palaszczuk and her government have argued keeping the borders closed has kept Queenslanders safe, while the Liberal National Party wants them opened to stop businesses going under.
Arts centre stage at virus inquiry
Creatives and arts executives will be the stars of the COVID-19 parliamentary inquiry on Tuesday.
JobKeeper, Australian content quotas and incentives for big donors to the arts are all expected to be raised at the hearing.
Australian Major Performing Arts Group head Bethwyn Serow said the government’s arts package announced last week was welcome news.
But there was also uncertainty for the sector, with Perth soon to open large venues but Melbourne copping a community outbreak, Serow said.
“I think we’re in the best and worst of times at the moment,” she told AAP.
Australia’s arts sector has been devastated by social distancing measures brought in during the coronavirus pandemic, with venues forced to shut doors.
Serow said the issue of arts industry workers not covered by JobKeeper was still a concern.
She wants the government to grant bigger tax deductions for people looking to donate to arts companies.
Second lockdown on English city
The British government has imposed a lockdown on the city of Leicester, which has a much higher COVID-19 infection rate than anywhere else in the country, in its first major attempt to curb an outbreak with local rather than national measures.
The UK is in the process of gradually easing its national lockdown, with non-essential shops now open and further relaxation of rules due on July 4 but Leicester and the surrounding area were told to go into reverse.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock says the seven-day infection rate in Leicester is 135 cases per 100,000 people, three times higher than the next highest city, and Leicester accounted for 10 per cent of all positive cases in the country in the past week.
“Given the growing outbreak in Leicester, we cannot recommend that the easing of the national lockdown due to take place on the 4th of July happens in Leicester,” Hancock said in a statement to parliament on Monday.
“From tomorrow, non-essential retail will have to close, and as children have been particularly impacted by this outbreak, schools will also need to close from Thursday.”
Hancock urged people to avoid all non-essential travel to and from Leicester and within the city, which is in central England.
Surrounding areas in the county of Leicestershire were also included in the lockdown measures.
The UK has been the European country worst-hit by the coronavirus pandemic in terms of fatalities, with the death toll from confirmed cases of COVID-19 now standing at 43,575.
A national lockdown was imposed on March 23 but has been gradually loosened over May and June.
More than 100,000 cases in Los Angeles
Los Angeles County has recorded an “alarming” one-day spike of nearly 3000 new COVID-19 infections, taking its total to more than 100,000 cases, public health officials say, warning that hospitals could soon be overwhelmed.
Los Angeles and neighbouring counties have become a new epicentre in the pandemic as cases and hospitalisations have surged there despite California Governor Gavin Newsom’s strict order last week requiring masks in nearly all public spaces.
“The alarming increases in cases, positivity rates and hospitalisations signals that we, as a community, need to take immediate action to slow the spread of COVID-19,” Barbara Ferrer, director of public health for Los Angeles County, said on Monday.
“Otherwise, we are quickly moving toward overwhelming our healthcare system and seeing even more devastating illness and death.”
The county reported a single-day record of 2903 new cases.
California, which on Sunday ordered bars in Los Angeles and six other counties to close, is among several US states including Florida, Texas and Arizona battling a new wave of infections as the nation emerges from weeks of clamp-downs on residents and businesses
Texas and Florida ordered the closure of all their recently reopened bars on Friday.
OFFICIAL SOURCES OF ADVICE AND INFORMATION
Local updates and resources
State Government central information
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
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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