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Coronavirus: What we know today, July 12

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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

Victoria brings back online learning

Most Victorian students are set to return to online learning as part of efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19 in the state, which recorded 273 new cases on Sunday and another death.

Premier Daniel Andrews confirmed prep to year 10 students in locked-down metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire will learn from home from July 20 until at least August 19.

“We can’t have the best part of 700,000 students as well as parents moving to and from school, moving around the community, as if there wasn’t a lockdown,” Mr Andrews told reporters on Sunday.

Catholic and independent schools are also expected to return to online learning.

On-site learning will be available for students whose parents cannot work from home and for students with special needs.

Senior secondary students, year 10 students who study VCE subjects and those who attend specialist schools, meanwhile, will head back to the classroom for face-to-face learning from Monday.

They will be subject to temperature checks on their arrival.

School holidays have been extended for a week for other year levels while teachers prepare.

The state has recorded a week of triple-digit daily increases in new cases, with a man in his 70s dying from the virus overnight in the second death in as many days.

There are now 1484 active cases of COVID-19 in Victoria, with 57 people currently in hospital.

SA Health reported no new cases on Sunday, as South Australia closely monitors its border with Victoria.

More than 173,000 tests have now been undertaken in South Australia, with no active cases across the state.

Emergency childcare support ends

Families will recommence paying childcare fees in most parts of the country from Monday as the Morrison government’s support measures come to an end.

The government is ending its emergency free childcare package on July 13, and instead there will be a $708 million transition package worth a quarter of the sector’s pre-crisis revenue.

Labor’s early childhood education spokeswoman Amanda Rishworth believes the decision to return to a pre-pandemic system has left many families wondering how they will get by.

She says the cost of child care was crippling before the pandemic with out-of-pocket costs soaring by 7.2 per cent in one year alone.

“Many parents are doing it tough and will need to decide if they pay the childcare fees or pull their kids out of care altogether,” Ms Rishworth told reporters on Sunday.

“It’s at the worst time when families need support.”

However, there is some relief for families in Victoria’s lockdown areas in metropolitan Melbourne.

Free sessional kindergarten for eligible children living in locked-down areas will be offered for term three.

The funding guarantees $460 for each eligible child enrolled in a funded kindergarten program.

Eligible kindergarten services outside of these areas will get half that subsidy.

It comes as the NSW government announces it will no longer cover the cost for returning Australians in hotel quarantine, with arrivals from next Saturday to be charged up to $3000 each.

The South Australian government will hold a cabinet meeting on Monday to decide whether to begin charging returning travellers for hotel quarantine.

Military deployed on border as quarantine breaches escalate

Efforts are escalating to protect South Australia from Victoria’s COVID-19 outbreaks, with the military deployed to the border and police enforcing a crackdown on quarantine breaches.

Members of the 16th Regiment of the Royal Australian Artillery, from the Woodside barracks in the Adelaide Hills, will be stationed at Berri and Mt Gambier, working on border checkpoints from today.

They will help police monitor people coming across the border, ensuring they have essential traveller status or other exemptions.

Meanwhile, an Adelaide backpackers hostel has been fined $5060 for failing to safely house four people who had recently travelled from Victoria.

The travellers, three men and a woman, were self-quarantining at the Waymouth Street hostel, but SA police officers expressed concern about their ability to physically distance or eat away from others.

SA Health moved the four travellers to a hotel on North Terrace to complete their quarantine.

The group have been tested for the virus but the results are not yet known.

It comes after a 35-year-old from Keysborough appeared in the Adelaide Magistrates Court on Friday, after allegedly failing to abide by quarantine rules after returning from Victoria.

Anyone who has been in Victoria over the past two weeks is also being asked to get tested, regardless of whether they have symptoms.

Locals returning to SA from Victoria in the coming days will be asked to take a 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 will also be required to self-quarantine for two weeks.

Bordertown pub closes after link with NSW cases

A South Australian truck driver went into quarantine on Saturday after learning of potential contact with two interstate COVID-19 cases.

SA Police say they were notified of the potential case on Friday night when they were called to the Bordertown Hotel, a pub the truck driver had attended and which has now been closed.

The man, who is a Bordertown resident, had recently returned from NSW.

“There were other people at the hotel during that time and we ask those people to monitor their own personal health and if they do develop flu-like symptoms, to self-quarantine and seek a COVID-19 test as soon as possible,” SA Police said.

The state government is still planning to drop quarantine restrictions for people coming from NSW and the ACT on July 20, depending on any increases in infections in those two areas and the ongoing situation in Victoria.

Five new cases were officially added to the NSW tally on Sunday: three household contacts of a patron of a pub in Sydney, which is now linked to six cases, and two returned travellers.

Inequality concerns as Bollywood star tests positive

Amitabh Bachchan, one of India’s best known movie stars, says he has tested positive for COVID-19 and has been moved to hospital.

The 77-year-old Bollywood icon has been leading the way in the country’s fight against COVID-19, appearing in public service advertisements.

Bachchan has been admitted to Nanavati Hospital in India’s financial and entertainment hub Mumbai, where he is undergoing extensive tests.

The news comes as India’s outbreaks worsen, with infected people cramming into India’s public hospitals as many are unable to afford private facilities that generally uphold higher standards of care.

India reported a new daily high of 27,114 cases on Saturday, with nearly a dozen states imposing a partial lockdown in high-risk areas.

A surge in infections resulted in cases jumping from 600,000 to more than 800,000 in nine days.

India’s total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases is at 820,916.

There are also concerns about unequal access to treatment in South Africa, where cases have doubled in two weeks to 750,000.

In Johannesburg at South Africa’s epicentre, badly-needed oxygen concentrators, which help people with COVID-19 breathe, are hard to find as private businesses and individuals are buying them up, a public health specialist volunteering at a field hospital said.

Meanwhile, South Africa’s struggling public hospitals are short on medical oxygen – and they are now seeing a higher proportion of deaths than in private ones, the National Institute for Communicable Diseases says.

South Africa has more than 250,000 confirmed cases, including more than 3800 deaths.

To complicate matters, the country’s struggling power utility has announced new electricity cuts in the dead of winter as a cold front brings freezing weather.

Many of the urban poor live in shacks of scrap metal and wood.

In Kenya, some have been outraged by a local newspaper report citing sources as saying several governors have installed intensive care unit equipment in their homes.

Globally more than 12 million people have been infected by the virus, according to data compiled by the Johns Hopkins University of Medicine.

More than 500,000 have died, although shortages of testing materials and poor data collection in some countries mean the true numbers are unknown.

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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