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Coronavirus: What we know today, July 8


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.


SA beefs up Victorian border security

Non-South Australian residents will be banned from crossing into the state from Victoria as of midnight, as the Marshall Government branded soaring COVID-19 cases “a clear threat to public health in SA”.

SA currently has about 260 police officers working on rotation to monitor border crossings, but SA Police Commissioner Grant Stevens said that number would likely increase today and tomorrow as police seek to replace mobile patrols with a permanent police presence at some of the 65 crossing points into Victoria.

Police are currently in talks with the Australian Defence Force as “one option” to assist with staffing check points, with drones also in consideration.  

Locals in Victorian towns near the South Australian border can apply for exemptions to cross between the states to undertake their normal daily activities such as schooling, farming or work within a 50-kilometre radius of the border.  

SA Pathology clinical services director Dr Tom Dodd said the Government was considering whether it should implement mandatory COVID-19 testing for all arrivals from Victoria into South Australia.

It comes as authorities retreat from last week’s move to allow nightclubs to reopen, with Stevens declaring CBD nightspots would be forced to close their doors again until they had an authorised COVID-19 management plan.

SA plans to open its borders to New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory from July 20, but Stevens warned after Tuesday’s meeting of the state’s Transition Committee that the situation would be monitored to ensure there was no spike in those jurisdictions as a result of people travelling from Victoria.

Victoria recorded another 191 coronavirus cases on Tuesday, forcing Melbourne’s return to Stage 3 lockdown tonight for six weeks, while the Victoria-NSW border was sealed from Tuesday night.

No new cases in SA

No new cases were recorded in South Australia on Tuesday, according to SA Health.

There have been a total of 443 cases reported in SA, with the three currently active all from returned travellers in quarantine.

There have been more than 163,000 tests undertaken across the state.

Nation warned as Melbourne prepares to go into lockdown

Australians have been warned Melbourne’s coronavirus outbreak could be replicated across the country as the city goes back into lockdown.

Melburnians will be forced back into stay-at-home restrictions from midnight on Wednesday after COVID-19 cases continued to surge.

Victoria recorded a confirmed 134 new cases on Wednesday, after recording 191 cases on Tuesday.

Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt said no one should give “false guarantees” that Victoria’s outbreak would not cross borders.

“It’s Victoria now, it could be anyone,” the Victorian MP told Sky News on Tuesday.

“We’re all going to have to live with this virus for a long while.”

Melburnians and residents in Mitchell Shire, north of the capital city, will only be allowed to leave home for work, study, essential shopping, exercise or to receive or give care from 11.59pm on Wednesday.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said people had become complacent.

“We have to take this as seriously as we take bushfire. This is binary. It is life and death,” he said.

Melbourne lockdown’s hit to economy

The economic impact of the coronavirus-led shutdown in Melbourne will be substantial, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has warned, as the federal government considers extending income support.

Victoria accounts for a quarter of Australia’s economic output and the six weeks of restrictions taking effect in its capital at midnight on Wednesday will cost the state economy $1 billion a week.

“We will see a substantial economic impact as a result of these restrictions coming back in,” Frydenberg told Sydney radio 2GB on Wednesday.

“Both the prime minister and I have talked about extending income support to those who need it and we’ll announce the detail of that on July 23.”

The federal government is preparing to release an economic and budget update on July 23.

It’s expected to detail plans for the JobKeeper payments that help businesses retain workers and topped up JobSeeker payments for people who have lost their jobs.

There have been calls for the coalition to extend those support packages, due to end in September, because Australia is already in recession.

NT closes Victorian border

The Northern Territory has declared all of Victoria a coronavirus hotspot and closed its border with the southern state.

“I am declaring all of Victoria a hotspot for the purposes of travel to the Northern Territory,” Chief Minister Michael Gunner said on Wednesday.

“The territory’s borders will stay closed to all of Victoria until further notice. They are shut indefinitely.”

US passes three million cases

The US coronavirus outbreak has crossed a grim milestone of over three million confirmed cases as more states report record numbers of new infections, and Florida faces an impending shortage of intensive care unit hospital beds.

Authorities have reported alarming upswings of daily caseloads in roughly two dozen states over the past two weeks, a sign that efforts to control transmission of the coronavirus have failed in large swathes of the country.

California, Hawaii, Missouri, Montana, Oklahoma and Texas on Tuesday shattered their previous daily record highs for new cases. About 24 states have also reported disturbingly high infection rates as a percentage of diagnostic tests conducted over the past week.

In Texas alone, the number of hospitalised patients more than doubled in just two weeks.

In Florida, more than four dozen hospitals across 25 of 67 counties reported their ICUs had reached full capacity, data published by the state’s Agency for Health Care Administration showed.

More than 130,000 Americans have died from the illness – about a quarter of the global total.

A widely cited model from the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation projected on Tuesday that US deaths would reach 208,000 by November 1.

Brazil’s president tests positive

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro says he has tested positive for the novel coronavirus after months of playing down the severity of the virus.

The right-wing populist told a group of television reporters he developed symptoms at the weekend.

“It started on Sunday with a certain malaise and became worse throughout the day on Monday, feeling poorly, exhaustion, a bit of muscle ache, fever hit 38 (degrees Celsius),” he said on Tuesday.

Bolsonaro said he has been taking hydroxychloroquine, an anti-malarial drug with unproven effectiveness against COVID-19.

Bolsonaro has emulated his political role model Donald Trump in voicing skepticism about the virulence of the virus, even as the pandemic killed more than 65,000 people in his country.

WHO warns of airborne transmission

The World Health Organization has acknowledged there is “evidence emerging” of the airborne spread of the coronavirus, after a group of scientists urged the global body to update its guidance.

“We have been talking about the possibility of airborne transmission and aerosol transmission as one of the modes of transmission of COVID-19,” the WHO’s technical lead on the COVID-19 pandemic Maria Van Kerkhove told a news briefing.

The WHO has previously said the virus that causes the COVID-19 respiratory disease spreads primarily through small droplets expelled from the nose and mouth of an infected person that quickly sink to the ground.

But in an open letter to the Geneva-based agency, published on Monday in the Clinical Infectious Diseases journal, 239 scientists in 32 countries outlined evidence they say shows floating virus particles can infect people who breathe them in.

Because those smaller exhaled particles can linger in the air, the scientists are urging the WHO to update its guidance.

The WHO’s technical lead for infection prevention and control Benedetta Allegranzi said there was evidence emerging of airborne transmission of the coronavirus, but that it was not definitive.

“…The possibility of airborne transmission in public settings – especially in very specific conditions, crowded, closed, poorly ventilated settings that have been described, cannot be ruled out,” she said.


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


Australian Government travel advice:

Check your symptoms

Free, government-funded, health advice:

– Reporting by InDaily staff, AAP and Reuters

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