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Coronavirus: What we know today, July 23


South Australia has recorded another positive COVID-19 case, taking the state’s total to 447. 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.


An essential worker is the latest SA case

A man in his 40s is the latest positive COVID-19 case in South Australia, taking the state’s total to 447.

Chief public health professor Nicola Spurrier said the man was an essential worker who had returned to SA from Victoria on a July 9 flight.

She said SA Health would not be contacting the other flight passengers as the man was non-infectious while travelling.

She said the man had been self-isolating but lived with his wife, daughter and her boyfriend who had been sharing one bathroom.

“We are at the moment organising a medi-hotel arrangement. The reason for that is we are very keen to not have the disease transferred onto other family members,” Spurrier said.

“That being said, any close contact with that gentleman needs to be in quarantine and that is going to include those two family members.

“But also the daughter has a boyfriend who has been in that household for a period of time and would therefore be considered a close contact.

“So, all of those three people will be required to quarantine.”

Spurrier said while none of the “close contacts” were displaying symptoms all three would be tested for coronavirus.

403 more Victorian cases, more deaths

Five more Victorians have died from coronavirus, including a man in his 50s, as the state records 403 new cases of the disease.

Premier Daniel Andrews confirmed the deaths on Thursday, taking the state toll to 49 and the national toll to 133.

The latest victims include two men – one in his 50s and the other in his 70s.

The remaining three are all connected to aged care – a woman in her 70s and two men in their 80s and 90s.

There are now 3630 active cases across the state.

The death of the man in his 50s has prompted the government to urge younger people to take the threat of coronavirus more seriously.

“This is not just something that affects people that are frail and aged,” Andrews said.

Melbourne police to enforce mask rule

Police have warned they will be handing out fines where necessary as mandatory masks for Melburnians came into effect.

As of today, residents of metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire who leave the house for one of the four allowed reasons without a mask could face a $200 fine as the state battles a second wave of coronavirus.

Children under 12 do not have to wear masks.

In a statement police said they will exercise discretion over the next week with regard to the rule, but there will not be a lot of room for leniency.

“We understand that for many people this is a significant adjustment,” the statement read.

But officers will fine those who flout the new rule without good reason.

“That said, we do expect people to follow the Chief Health Officer’s directions and will not hesitate to issue fines to people who are obviously and blatantly showing a disregard for community safety by failing to wear a mask.”

However, Victorian Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton has called for caution if people see others in public not wearing face masks.

“A number … are legitimately not able to wear masks so please don’t vilify individuals or don’t make the assumption they are simply stubborn,” Prof Sutton said.

“There will be people with medical, behavioural, psychological reasons … certainly don’t make an assumption that they should be the subject of your ire.”

Supermarkets have made it clear they will take a hard line with customers on the new rule.

SA records two new cases of coronavirus

South Australia has recorded two new cases of COVID-19, bringing the state’s total to 446.

Chief public health officer professor Nicola Spurrier said on Wednesday afternoon that both cases were women who had recently travelled overseas or interstate – but only one of the cases was considered active.

A woman in her 50s had recently returned to South Australia from Melbourne where she had tested negative to the virus twice.

“People coming in from Victoria are required to have additional tests done, and this person was very compliant with this,” Spurrier said.

While in quarantine in South Australia the woman tested positive.

She said the woman would remain in isolation but she had no symptoms and posed no risk.

The second case was a woman in her 30s who had returned to the state from Mumbai on a repatriation flight on June 27.

Spurrier said the case was considered an old infection but would count towards the state’s total.

Australia’s budget deficit revealed

Australia’s federal budget deficit for 2020/21 is forecast to be $184.5 billion due to a downturn in revenue and the cost of dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has revealed the budget was in deficit $85.8 billion in 2019/20 with the figure to blow out further in 2020/21 as a result of record spending.

Australia’s net debt will soar to a record $677.1 billion at the end of this financial year.

Net debt was estimated to be $488.2 billion or 24.6 per cent of GDP at the end of 2019/20, with the figure to rise to 35.7 of GDP in 2020/21.

“Despite our increased debt levels, they remain lower than what many comparable nations went into this crisis with,” Treasurer Josh Frydenberg told reporters in Canberra on Thursday.

GST cuts to hit SA budget

South Australia is bracing for further write-downs in GST revenues to the states today when the federal government delivers its economic and fiscal update.

State Treasurer Rob Lucas said Australia’s economic outlook is likely to have deteriorated as a result of the surge in coronavirus cases in Victoria in recent weeks.

“I suspect when the previous estimates were being done it was on the basis that restrictions were being eased,” Lucas said.

“Given the significant reversal in Victoria and given the size and importance of Victoria to the national economy, sadly, I suspect when we see the GST estimates, we’ll see a further downgrade.”

Lucas said lower returns would impact on the state budget which is due to be delivered in November.

“Now, hopefully between now and November, Victoria gets a hold on COVID-19 and hopefully the rest of Australia doesn’t suffer a second wave,” he said.

“But there are a lot of hopefuls here.”

Aged care outbreaks on rise

An aged care facility in Sydney’s inner west has been closed to visitors after a staff member tested positive to COVID-19.

It follows 45 outbreaks in aged care facilities across Victoria with 383 staff and residents testing positive.

NSW Health began testing all staff and residents at Ashfield Baptist Homes yesterday and the aged care facility is expected to remain closed until July 31 pending test results.

NSW recorded 16 new cases in the 24 hours to 8pm on Tuesday including one in hotel quarantine, three linked to the Crossroads Hotel in Casula and 11 associated with the Thai Rock restaurant.

The total number of cases linked to the Crossroads Hotel cluster has now reached 53.

US signs vaccine contract

The US government will pay $US1.95 billion ($A2.74 billion) to buy 100 million doses of Pfizer and German biotech firm BioNTech SE’s COVID-19 vaccine candidate if they are able to successfully develop one, the companies say.

The contract is the most the US has agreed to spend on a vaccine yet, but the previous deals the government signed helped pay for drugmakers’ development costs.

Pfizer and BioNTech will not receive any money from the government unless their vaccine is deemed to be safe and effective and is successfully manufactured, according to a Pfizer spokeswoman.

The agreement allows the US government to acquire an additional 500 million doses, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Department of Defence 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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