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Coronavirus: What we know today, July 17

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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

Record leap in Victorian cases

South Australian Premier Steven Marshall said a hard border with Victoria would be sealed for “an extended period of time”, after the eastern state today recorded a new peak of 428 coronavirus infections and three deaths in 24 hours.

A man and woman in their 80s and a man in his 70s have died, bringing the total coronavirus deaths in the state to 32 and upping the national toll to 116.

There are 5165 cases across the state, with 122 people in hospital. Of those, 31 are in intensive care.

57 of the new cases are linked to outbreaks, one is in hotel quarantine and 370 are under investigation.

Marshall on Friday said the hard border closure with Victoria would not lift “any time soon”, with the State Government also not ruling out bringing back some restrictions to stop the spread of COVID-19 from the virus-ravaged eastern state.

Under current measures, only South Australian residents are allowed to cross the border into SA.

“I think the entire nation now is on high alert with what is happening in Victoria,” Marshall said. 

“We’ve worked far too hard in South Australia to go backwards by lifting our border restrictions too early.”

Premier Daniel Andrews on Friday announced coronavirus testing would further ramp up across the state with new sites to be set up in regional Victoria.

He also issued a directive for regional Victoria, that if people in those areas are unable to socially distance from others they should wear a mask.

The mask advice is the same issued for residents in locked down metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire.

From midnight tomorrow, anyone who returns from Victoria into South Australia must get tested for COVID-19 within 24 hours upon arriving and again on day 12 of mandatory quarantine.

Failure to do so could lead to a $1000 fine.

NSW on high alert as pub cluster grows

NSW has recorded eight new COVID-19 cases as the premier reiterated the state is on “high alert” and extended restrictions on pubs and hotels to all indoor hospitality venues.

Of the new cases in the 24 hours to 8pm on Thursday, six were a result of community transmission, including a man in his 80s who dined at the Crossroads Hotel in Casula.

That cluster now numbers 42 people, the majority of which were not hotel patrons.

One new SA case is not infectious

A woman who recently returned from Afghanistan is South Australia’s first new coronavirus case in more than two weeks.

But health officials say the woman, aged in her 40s, is no longer infectious and is not considered a risk to the wider community.

She arrived in Adelaide on Sunday after spending two weeks in quarantine in Melbourne, where she returned two negative tests to COVID-19.

But when she was tested after flying into SA, the result was a “low positive”, an indication she was in the “recovery phase” of the disease.

It comes as South Australia prepares to tighten testing arrangements for people entering the state from Victoria.

From midnight on Saturday night, anyone allowed across the border must have a coronavirus test within 24 hours or face a $1000 fine.

NSW case infectious within 24 hours

A person infected with coronavirus in NSW became contagious within 24 hours of contracting the disease, less than the usual incubation period.

Deputy Chief Medical Officer Michael Kidd said as case numbers rose, health authorities were beginning to see people becoming infectious earlier.

“The advice from infectious disease experts and the (Australian Health Protection Principal Committee) is that while this is unusual, it is not implausible,” he told reporters in Canberra.

Professor Kidd said people usually started to show symptoms within five to seven days of catching the virus and were contagious up to two days earlier.

But he said the AHPCC believed it was unlikely the strain had changed, based on the NSW case.

“We think it is how it is expressed in individual people,” Professor Kidd said.

NT reopens to some

The NT’s borders will open to some parts of Australia on Friday for the first time since the coronavirus forced their closure nearly four months ago.

Chief Health Officer Hugh Heggie says he is “calm and confident” but concerned Territorians were no longer taking physical distancing seriously.

From Friday, many domestic travellers will be able to visit the NT without having to spend 14 days in quarantine.

When the lifting of border restrictions was first announced last month it was to apply to the whole country, but Chief Minister Michael Gunner has since declared the whole of Victoria, Sydney and the Blue Mountains coronavirus hotspots due to new outbreaks.

Any arrivals from those places, which represent more than 10 million people, will be sent to supervised quarantine for 14 days at their own expense of $2500.

Australia in “uncharted waters”: PM

Scott Morrison says Australia is in uncharted waters as unemployment continues to climb and the coronavirus death toll reaches 113.

The national jobless rate has hit its worst level in 22 years, with nearly one million people out of work, as two more Australians succumbed to the virus overnight.

The prime minister has described a worsening Victorian outbreak as a big setback to economic recovery, but is pleased by the rapid NSW response to a growing pub infection cluster.

“Hopefully we will see that situation improve as well, but as we know there are no guarantees, we are always in uncharted waters,” he told reporters in Canberra on Thursday.

Morrison is encouraging people to stay positive as he injects $500 million into upskilling school leavers and sacked workers.

“Let’s keep our heads up and let’s keep going forward,” he said.

Virus may hit aerial firefighting

Coronavirus restrictions are expected to make it challenging to bring in the international firefighting aircraft and crews that Australia needs in the coming bushfire season.

Emergency Management Victoria deputy commissioner Chris Stephenson says the possible impact on international assistance, particularly in terms of aircraft, is an issue across Australia.

“One of the real issues or constraints for the country at the moment is international assistance and what that might look like if required this bushfire season,” Mr Stephenson told the natural disasters royal commission.

The NSW and Tasmanian fire services also say the pandemic will likely affect the provision of aerial firefighting services this fire season, as travel restrictions and quarantine requirements may affect the availability of international pilots and maintenance crews.

Fear of Tokyo second wave

Tokyo has recorded the highest daily number of new coronavirus infections since the start of the pandemic, the city administration says.

In the last 24 hours, 286 new infections were registered in the Japanese capital, according to TV broadcaster NHK on Thursday, stoking fears of a second wave.

The number of cases has been rising since the government lifted the state of emergency on May 25. The virus seemed contained at the time.

Tokyo’s night clubs are reportedly one of the main sources of the renewed spread, as well as clusters in theatres, offices and care facilities.

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

 

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