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Coronavirus: What we know today, July 26

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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 records 10 deaths in one day

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews on Sunday confirmed the state recorded 10 deaths in one day, along with another 459 new cases.

The toll included a man aged in his 40s, one of the youngest people to die from COVID-19 in Australia to date.

The deaths take the state toll to 71 and the national figure to 155, while 228 Victorians remain in hospital with the virus, including 42 in intensive care.

Seven of the deaths registered overnight were linked to aged care centres, where there are currently 560 active cases.

Andrews expressed his concern about the spread of the virus among care facilities as well as healthcare workers, where there are 381 active cases.

He announced Victoria’s “last line of defence” would be further supported by calling up students, retired doctors and the army to help.

Around 20 Australian Defence Force members will begin a training program with paramedics, including driver training and proper PPE protocol.

“I hope that is seen as a particularly innovative way of putting the best skills to the best use,” he said.

Andrews encouraged Victorians to keep getting tested as the state had almost 43,000 tests conducted on Saturday and sent stern advice to anti-maskers.

“Ten families are going to be burying someone in the next few days. Wear a mask, it’s not too much to ask,” he told reporters.

“And what’s more, the nurse who will be treating you or a loved one, they’ll be wearing a mask.”

An aged care response centre has been set up in Victoria to help tackle the growing COVID-19 crisis in the sector.

The response centre will assist with workforce provisions, the prevention of outbreaks and supporting providers.

Staff shortages are a problem in Victoria where workers must self-isolate while awaiting test results and can only work at one site.

Police have been fining people for not wearing masks and for failing to abide by stay-at-home restrictions.

In the 24 hours to Saturday evening, police handed out almost 100 infringement notices, including to a man who was on a two-hour drive out of Melbourne to visit a friend.

Court bans Black Lives Matter rally

A Sydney Black Lives Matters rally is now a prohibited public assembly, opening up demonstrators to arrest and fines for breaching coronavirus restrictions on mass gatherings.

The NSW Supreme Court on Sunday sided with police that the risk of community transmission in Sydney made Tuesday’s planned event for about 1000 too risky.

Justice Mark Ierace acknowledged there was no evidence a far-larger rally on June 6 – attended by at least 10,000 – had resulted in any transmission of the virus.

But the expert health evidence had since been elevated to “medium” due to multiple clusters in Sydney and the resurgence of the virus in Victoria, he said.

“That current assessment of the level of risk, in spite of relatively low numbers of community transmission, is consistent with NSW presently being on the knife-edge of a further escalation in community transmission,” Justice Ierace said, in written reasons.

He found the protest’s lunchtime CBD location “particularly concerning” as large numbers of pedestrians not associated with the protest would move through the area and would not be leaving contact details.

“They may not have taken the same precautionary steps as the protesters, such as wearing masks,” he said.

Organisers have nevertheless promised to risk arrest and rally as planned on Tuesday before delivering to parliament a petition signed by 90,000 people calling for justice for Indigenous man David Dungay Jr.

Mr Dungay, a diabetic, died after prison officers stormed his Sydney jail cell in 2015 to stop him eating biscuits.

Seconds after the judge announced his orders, a lawyer for rally organiser Paddy Gibson asked they be temporarily suspended to allow for an appeal to be lodged with the Court of Appeal.

Gibson produced a COVID safety plan like those businesses require to operate, in which he said people should wear masks, practice hand hygiene and leave contact details with organisers so they could be notified in the event a demonstrator tests positive to coronavirus.

Sydney’s Thai restaurant coronavirus cluster has risen to 67 while a funeral and church cluster has also expanded as NSW recorded 14 new cases on Sunday.

South Australians in scramble to return from Victoria

South Australians in Victoria are in a race to return home, ahead of a further strengthening of the state’s hard border closure from midnight on Tuesday.

The increasingly strict restrictions, which will be extended to prevent most South Australian residents returning home even if they quarantine, have prompted a surge of families to cross the border.

Over 15,000 people have crossed the border from Victoria over 15 days between July 9 and midnight Friday, reports The Sunday Mail.

In the week before the hard border was introduced, an average of 122 people crossed into SA each day, compared to 496 after restrictions ramped up.

Almost 73,000 border permit applications have been lodged in the space of a fortnight, with 9270 still being processed.

Exemptions will remain for essential travellers and for people living near the border.

Locals must now reside within 40km of the border, down from 50km, to be considered for crossborder community travel.

Families have been left confused by the changing border rules.

Luke Voortman and his family are frantically packing up their Melbourne house of 10 years to begin their drive to the South Australian border.

He has been granted an essential traveller exemption for work, but his wife and two young children need to cross by midnight on Tuesday or they won’t be able to join him.

“I disagree with the fact you cannot come into the border and then quarantine for two weeks, that I fundamentally disagree with because that’s a restriction on movement,” he told the ABC.

It comes as another person sneaking across the border has been caught and put into custody.

A 39-year-old Victorian man was found asleep in a car near Renmark on Friday afternoon, 14 hours after being refused border entry at 2.30am.

South Australia recorded no new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday, according to SA Health.

There are two active cases in SA, and 441 people have been cleared of the virus.

More than 207,500 tests have been undertaken.

Concerns NSW border divide restricting emergency care

Restrictions are causing concern at the Victoria-NSW border with doctors warning in an open letter to NSW Health that long border queues could have tragic consequences for Victorians in need of emergency care.

Emergency surgery, ICU and paediatric services are all based in Albury with no practical alternatives nearby in Victoria.

Queenslanders in the NSW hotspot of Fairfield have until 1am on Monday to return home or face a fortnight of hotel quarantine at their own expense.

Queensland Deputy Premier and Health Minister Steven Miles says his team remains on high alert as coronavirus continues to spread in the southern states.

Bolsonaro claims negative test

Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro says he has tested negative for COVID-19, based on a fourth test since he said on July 7 that he had the virus.

On Wednesday, he had tested positive for the third time.

Bolsonaro posted a photo of himself with a box of the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine, although it has not been proven effective against the virus.

Bolsonaro’s administration last week completed two months without a health minister.

The interim minister, Gen. Eduardo Pazuello, who had no experience in the field before April, is facing pressure to leave the job.

He took over after his predecessor, a doctor and health care consultant, quit in protest over Bolsonaro’s support for the use of hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine, a related drug, as a treatment for COVID-19.

Now that Bolsonaro is clear of the virus, he is expected to return to mingling in crowds as he used to do before his diagnosis.

On Thursday, he was photographed without a mask while talking to some sweepers in the garden of the presidential residence.

According to the Brazilian government, on Friday there were 85,238 confirmed deaths due to COVID-19.

The country has 2,343,366 confirmed cases but the real number is believed to be higher.

On Monday, two more ministers in the Cabinet of Brazilian President said they have tested positive for the new COVID-19: the 65-year-old minister of citizenship, Onyx Lorenzoni, and Milton Ribeiro, the 62-year-old minister of education.

Second wave rises in Europe

The German government’s infectious diseases institute has expressed concern at the country’s significant rise in daily new infections from about 500 to more than 800 at one point last week.

“The second coronavirus wave is already here. It is already taking place every day. We have new clusters of infection every day which could become very high numbers,” Michael Kretschmer, premier of the eastern state of Saxony, told Saturday’s edition of the Rheinische Post newspaper.

The Robert Koch Institute said Germany’s latest reproduction rate was 1.24, up from 1.08 the previous day.

A rate above 1.0 means each infected person is spreading it to more than one other person.

French health authorities said on Saturday their reproduction rate gauge is now up to 1.3, suggesting that infected people are contaminating 1.3 other people on average.

That means the virus still has enough victims to keep on going instead of petering out.

France’s daily new infections are also rising – up to 1130 on Friday.

Spain has reported more than 900 new daily infections for the last two days as authorities warn that the country that lost at least 28,000 lives before getting its outbreak under control could be facing the start of a second major outbreak.

Worldwide, more than 15.7 million infections and more than 640,000 deaths have been reported, according to data compiled from government announcements by Johns Hopkins University.

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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