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Coronavirus: What we know today, July 20

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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

SA Police back jail for breaches

Possible jail terms for people breaching COVID-19 border restrictions in South Australia has the support of the state’s police commissioner.

Grant Stevens says while fines, including on-the-spot penalties and those imposed by the courts, can act as a significant deterrent, he would back making a prison term an option.

“I’d certainly support it,” Stevens told ABC radio on Monday.

“It’s an opportunity to add some weight….but I’m not convinced these sort of things are front-of-mind for the types of people who are trying to sneak across borders.

“There are people who, regardless of the consequences, are still going to seek to do this.

“That’s why we’ve got so many police, supported by the defence force, on our borders trying to keep an eye on everybody coming across.”

Under current rules, anyone breaching COVID-19 regulations in SA is liable to a $1000 on-the-spot fine, but could also be taken to court where the maximum penalty is a $20,000 fine.

Border breach trio face Adelaide court

Two men and a woman have been charged with breaching COVID-19 directions after they crossed the South Australian border from Victoria at the Yamba checkpoint.

Police say the trio crossed just after 5pm on Saturday, with one of them claiming to need urgent medical attention, although they later failed to attend the nominated medical centre.

Their ute was found at a hotel in Mawson Lakes just after midday on Sunday.

The two men, aged 34 and 35, were found a short distance away in a taxi and the 32-year-old woman was located in Merchant Lane.

The men were taken to the Royal Adelaide Hospital for treatment – one for a check-up and the other for a pre-existing ankle injury – while the woman was taken to the City Watch House.

The two men have been released from hospital and also taken to the City Watch House.

The trio have been charged with failing to comply with a direction in accordance with the Emergency Management Act 2004 during a declared identified major emergency.

They have all been refused bail and will appear in the Adelaide Magistrates Court on Monday and will also be tested for coronavirus.

Victoria records another 275 cases, one death

Another 275 coronavirus cases have been recorded in Victoria and a woman in her 80s has died.

There are 147 Victorians in hospital, 31 of those are in intensive care, Premier Daniel Andrews said on Monday.

Victoria now has a total of 5942 cases since the pandemic began, 2913 of those active.

People aged 12 and up, living in metropolitan Melbourne and the Mitchell Shire will have to wear masks or face coverings from Thursday.

The government announced on Monday students required to be in the classroom from this week would be among the first to receive free masks.

“We already have 1.2 million single use masks and we will be distributing those to all government schools in Melbourne metro and Mitchell shire over the coming couple of days and we will also be providing these single use masks for our Catholic and independent schools,” Education Minister James Merlino told reporters.

An order of 1.37 million reusable masks has been made and the Department of Education will be one of the first to receive a batch of them.

NSW has recorded 20 new COVID-19 cases with the premier urging residents to heed the health advice and limit non-essential travel as the state is in “high alert”.

Three of the cases reported in the 24 hours to 8pm on Sunday are linked to the Crossroads Hotel in Casula, bringing the total number of cases linked to the cluster to 48.

NWS pub cluster grows

NSW has recorded 20 new COVID-19 cases with the premier urging residents to heed the health advice and limit non-essential travel as the state is in “high alert”.

Three of the cases reported in the 24 hours to 8pm on Sunday are linked to the Crossroads Hotel in Casula, bringing the total number of cases linked to the cluster to 48.

NSW tightens Victorian border control

NSW will further tighten its border with Victoria, with those from the southern state only allowed in for “extremely limited” purposes.

From midnight on Tuesday, a border zone will be set up along the Murray River and all current permits for crossing back and forth will be cancelled.

Residents in the border zone who wish to travel between the states will be forced to reapply for permits under tougher criteria.

People will only be permitted to travel for work, for education if they can’t work or learn from home, or for medical care, supplies or health services.

Victorian quarantine inquiry begins

An inquiry into Victoria’s bungled hotel quarantine program will start on Monday, as the state gets tough on coronavirus rules.

The probe will be led by retired judge Jennifer Coate, assisted by Tony Neal QC.

The inquiry was instigated by Premier Daniel Andrews after it was revealed protocol breaches by security guards at two Melbourne hotels led to outbreaks.

Management of the hotel quarantine program is now being done by Corrections Victoria and police will also provide additional support, the premier confirmed on Sunday.

“It just makes sense to take those extra steps … to try and make sure that you protect what is a particularly volatile environment from a virus point of view,” Andrews told reporters.

More ADF members for Victoria

Hundreds of extra Australian Defence Force personnel will hit the ground in Victoria this week to help the state’s fight against coronavirus.

Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt has backed the Victorian government’s decision to enforce the wearing of masks in Melbourne and Mitchell Shire from 11.59pm on Wednesday.

He has announced further support for the state, including an extra 272 ADF personnel who will join 1200 already there and help with border control and contact tracing.

The federal government is also providing one million more masks for Victorian workers in aged care and disability centres, plus five mobile virus testing teams.

Virus killing 5000 a week in US

US deaths from the coronavirus have topped 140,000 as cases continue to rise in 42 out of 50 states over the past two weeks, according to a Reuters tally.

Since late June, the United States has recorded a resurgence in new cases and now, six weeks later, deaths have also begun rising, according to a weekly Reuters analysis of state and county data.

The country is losing about 5000 people to the virus every week.

By contrast, neighbouring Canada has reported total deaths of 8800 since the pandemic started.

Record tally of daily cases

The coronavirus pandemic remains a threat around the world as confirmed deaths pass 600,000 and countries from the US to South Africa to India struggle to contain a surge of new infections.

Hong Kong issued tougher new rules on wearing face masks while Spain closed overcrowded beaches and Germany reported another outbreak at a slaughterhouse on Sunday.

The World Health Organisation said that 259,848 new infections were reported on Saturday, its highest one-day tally yet.

While the US leads global infections, South Africa now ranks as the fifth worst-hit country in the pandemic with more than 350,000 cases.

Its struggles are a sign of trouble to come for countries with even fewer health care resources.

India, which has now confirmed more than 1 million infections, on Sunday reported a 24-hour record of 38,902 new cases.

By contrast, neighbouring Canada has reported total deaths of 8800 since the pandemic started.

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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