Refresh this page for updates – scroll down for links to official health information.
- Victorian cases climb to 288
- International arrivals halved
- SA to roll out mobile testing units next week
- National cabinet to review hotel quarantine measures
- US records second day of 60,000 cases
- Indonesia cases spike
288 new COVID-19 cases in Victoria
Victoria has recorded 288 new coronavirus cases, the nation’s biggest daily increase since the pandemic began.
Premier Daniel Andrews confirmed the new cases on Friday, with just 26 linked to known infections, while 262 remain under investigation.
The new cases push the state’s active case tally past 1000 for the first time.
Previously, the highest daily state total in Australia was 212 cases recorded in NSW on 27 March.
South Australian Premier Steven Marshall described the rapid rise in Victorian cases as “a blunt reminder to every South Australian about how dangerous this disease is”.
“We must not be complacent in South Australia,” he said.
It comes after Deputy Chief Medical Officer Nick Coatsworth encouraged five million Victorians in metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire, north of the city, to wear masks, and even make their own, to help curb the spread of the coronavirus in the state.
“This means if you have to leave your home for any of those reasons for which it is permissible and you are likely to find yourself in a situation where you cannot maintain 1.5-metre distance, it is advisable to be covering your face with a mask,” Dr Coatsworth said in Canberra on Thursday.
Victoria’s Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton told residents to be crafty and make their own face masks instead of buying them.
“I think people will need to make their own masks,” Professor Sutton said after the state recorded 165 new cases.
“I don’t think there should be a rush on buying single-use masks, for example, and some masks that are able to be purchased … aren’t necessarily good for rewashing and reuse over days and days.”
Marshall today said it was not necessary for people in South Australia to wear face masks.
International arrivals to be halved
International flights arriving in Australia will be halved to ease the pressure on hotel quarantine systems around the country.
Australians returning home will also be made to pay for mandatory two-week stays in hotel quarantine.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced the changes after a national cabinet meeting with state and territory leaders on Friday.
The reduction of flight arrivals from Monday will mean more than 4000 fewer people every week will return home.
All states will soon charge people for their two weeks in hotel quarantine.
“Where possible, we will seek to have some sort of national uniformity across those pricings,” Morrison told reporters in Canberra on Friday.
SA mobile testing station blitz
Mobile testing stations will be deployed across Adelaide next week as South Australia ramps up efforts to keep COVID-19 in check.
It comes as South Australia recorded no new coronavirus cases on Friday.
SA Pathology boss Tom Dodd says the testing vans will add to the broad range of options for South Australians.
“It will make it really straightforward for people to get a test,” he said.
“It will also give us an option to do blitz-testing around a location where there was a case.”
The move follows the hard closure of the border between Victoria and SA and comes amid growing concern over the spike in coronavirus cases in Melbourne.
Anyone who has been in Victoria over the past two weeks is also being asked to get tested, regardless of whether they have symptoms or not.
And anyone returning to SA in the coming days will be asked to take a coronavirus test within 24 hours and again on day 12.
They will be handed a mask when they cross the border, which they will be asked to wear when in contact with other people, and they will also be required to self-quarantine for two weeks.
Chief Public Health Officer Nicola Spurrier says SA will only be able to weed out any potential COVID-19 cases if people continue to get tested.
“I want to see the testing numbers go up in South Australia,” she said.
“Because of the threat from Victoria, the only way I can pick up if the disease is here (in SA) is if everybody with respiratory symptoms gets tested.”
South Australia is also ramping up its contract tracing tests for Victoria, with SA Pathology processing over 500 tests from that state per day.
Hotel quarantine review
Premier Steven Marshall said state cabinet would meet on Monday to consider putting an immediate charge on all international arrivals.
South Australia has set a 500 person per week cap on the number of international arrivals, with Marshall estimating the state has so far spent $2 million on hotel accommodation and security to ensure people arriving from overseas appropriately quarantine.
“This pales in insignificance compared to other states,” he said.
“I think most jurisdictions will now move to put a cap onto their number of international arrivals and a charge onto their international arrivals.”
SA Police Commissioner Grant Stevens said about 45 officers needed to be deployed on a 24-hour rotation to ensure people quarantining in hotels were complying.
Health officials were tasked earlier in the week with examining quarantine arrangements in different states after the outbreak in Melbourne was linked to infection control breaches among hotel security.
Lockdown continues for Melbourne tower residents
Residents in a public housing tower in North Melbourne will be stuck inside for another nine days amid fears a quarter of them could have coronavirus.
People living at 33 Alfred Street will have to quarantine for 14 days after at least 53 people in their building tested positive.
The tower has about a third of the 158 positive cases across the nine towers put into hard lockdown on Saturday.
There are about 3000 residents in the towers, with 2515 tests done, as children were tested only if a parent returned a positive test.
Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton expects there will be more cases linked to the towers, given some people are yet to develop symptoms.
“We need to recognise that there might be 20 to 25 per cent of individuals in that particular tower who end up developing coronavirus and potentially more,” Professor Sutton said on Thursday.
US records second day of 60,000 cases
The US has reported at least 60,565 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday, a new record increase and the second day in a row infections have risen by at least 60,000, a Reuters tally shows.
For a third day in a row, US deaths climbed by more than 800, the highest levels seen since early June, according to the tally.
Florida reported a record increase of 120 deaths and California had 136 new fatalities, not far from a record of 149 set the previous day, according to the tally.
With California, Florida and Texas recently breaking records, hopes are fading for an economic revival and US stocks closed down about one per cent as investors worry another lockdown will cripple businesses.
Even outside the nation’s three most populous states, cases are rising. Alabama, Montana and Wisconsin recorded their biggest one-day rise in cases ever on Thursday. Infections are increasing in 41 out of 50 states, according to a Reuters analysis of cases for the past two weeks compared with the prior two weeks.
Indonesia cases spike
Indonesia has reported 2657 new coronavirus cases, the second consecutive day with a record total, the country’s COVID-19 task force says.
The new infections brought the total number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the country to 70,736, task force spokesman Achmad Yurianto said on Thursday.
Fifty-eight additional deaths overnight brought the number of fatalities to 3417, Yurianto said.
About 200 students at the Army Officer Candidate School in Bandung, the capital of West Java province, tested positive this week, local health authorities said.
Indonesia began to gradually reopen its economy last month and, since then, there has been an upswing in daily caseloads.
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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