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What we know today, Wednesday August 11

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Melbourne’s seven-day lockdown has been extended by another week as Victoria records another 20 locally acquired COVID-19 infections, including five mystery cases.

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Melbourne lockdown extended by a week

Melbourne’s seven-day lockdown has been extended by another week as Victoria records another 20 locally acquired COVID-19 infections, including five mystery cases.

Fifteen of the new cases are linked to known outbreaks and 14 were in quarantine during their infectious periods.

But with the origins of the initial outbreak from last week still a mystery and the five new mystery cases on Wednesday, there was no option but to extend the sixth lockdown, Premier Daniel Andrews said.

“Sadly, today the cabinet of the government have met and we have determined to accept the advice of the chief health officer to extend for a further period of seven days, until 11.59pm next Thursday,” Premier Daniel Andrews told reporters.

“This is very challenging, I know, for every single Victorian who would like to be going about their business, they would like to be open and have a degree of freedom that is simply not possible because of this Delta variant.”

While regional Victoria remains lockdown-free, rules for the cross-border communities are changing again due to the expanding situation in NSW.

Residents of the cross-border community local government areas will have to get a permit to cross between Victoria and NSW from 6pm on Friday.

The State Government says the move is to better track who is entering Victoria from NSW and make it easier to rapidly get information to contact tracers and to monitor for compliance.

Spread of the virus in Caroline Springs remains the main concern for authorities. A healthcare worker who worked at the eye clinic at the Royal Children’s Hospital is among those infected in this outbreak.

There are now 100 cases linked to the new outbreak and 13,800 close contacts are isolating.

NSW records 344 new cases, 101 in the community

NSW has reported 344 new locally acquired cases of COVID-19, with at least 101 of those people in the community for all or part of their infectious period.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the Dubbo local government area in the state’s central west will go into a seven-day lockdown from 1pm on Wednesday after two positives cases were recorded in the region.

Two people have died a man in his 30s from northern Sydney who had other health conditions and a man in his 90s.

Berejiklian encouraged everyone to come forward and get vaccinated.

“I’m looking forward to that double dose of 70 per cent vaccination because that is when according to the best advice we have in the Doherty report, we can start to live life freely and not have the strong restrictions we have in place today,” she said on Wednesday.

There are 374 coronavirus patients in hospital, 62 of them in intensive care and 29 are ventilated.

The Department of Education was advised by NSW Health late on Tuesday of a case at Dubbo West Public School.

The school has been closed, while staff and students are being asked to isolate and get tested if they have symptoms. The positive case has also been linked to Macquarie Anglican Grammar School and nine close contacts have been identified and are in isolation.

More than six million people in Sydney and surrounds are now in lockdown until at least August 28, with the Hunter, Byron Bay, Armidale and Tamworth areas also enduring snap lockdowns.

The premier said it “does not look like” the Hunter region will come out of lockdown after 14 new cases were recorded overnight.

Fennel Bay Public School at Lake Macquarie, near Newcastle, is also closed on Wednesday after a student tested positive to COVID.

Crows ruckman likely out for season

Adelaide ruckman Reilly O’Brien’s AFL season is likely over because of a knee injury.

O’Brien will miss this weekend’s clash against Melbourne and is in doubt to return for Adelaide’s last game of the season the following week against North Melbourne.

The Crows’ reigning club champion suffered a low-grade ligament tear in his right knee in Adelaide’s four-point loss to Port Adelaide last Saturday night.

“The most appropriate course of management for Reilly is to miss this weekend’s game against Melbourne,” Adelaide’s head of football Adam Kelly said in a statement.

“He will not require surgery and is expected to recover fully but that may not be in time for the round 23 clash with North Melbourne.”

The Crows will also be without defenders Brodie Smith and Will Hamill for their clash against the ladder-leading Demons – both were concussed against Port.

And experienced duo Matt Crouch (groin) and Daniel Talia (foot) have been ruled out for the remainder of the season.

Both Crouch and Talia did not play a premiership game this season because of their respective injuries.

SA COVID ‘seeding’ warning as interstate cases rise

South Australia is on guard for a “highly likely” COVID-19 outbreak due to the growing case numbers in NSW and Greater Melbourne, but will continue plans for a “modest” easing of density restrictions on Thursday.

The state’s transition committee on Tuesday opted to allow restaurants, cafes, bars, cinemas and churches to return to 75 per cent capacity – provided people remain seated when eating or drinking.

Standing activities remain capped 50 per cent, while gyms and indoor sporting events also stay at 50 per cent.

Only 10 people are allowed to attend private home gatherings, while mask mandates still apply for indoor public venues, public transport, personal care services and high risk settings.

There were no changes to South Australia’s hard border arrangements with Victoria, New South Wales or Queensland.

The decision came as NSW marked its worse day of the pandemic on Tuesday, recording 356 new local cases and four deaths.

Victoria also reported 20 cases on Tuesday, only five of which were in quarantine for their entire infectious period.

Police Commissioner and state emergency coordinator Grant Stevens said that South Australians “do face a significant risk, from particularly New South Wales and Greater Melbourne”.

“We might not be aware of a seeding in South Australia until several days after that virus arrives,” he said.

“That’s why we’re maintaining some level of suppression and encouraging people to wear masks.”

Stevens said it was “highly likely” another outbreak would occur in South Australia.

“It’s about how quickly we get on top of it and how well the community responds to that,” he said.

South Australia recorded no new coronavirus cases on Tuesday, but three people are in hospital – including a man in his 20s in the Royal Adelaide Hospital’s intensive care unit.

Meanwhile, Scott Morrison has warned the nation is in a tough fight against the Delta strain of the virus while thanking locked-down residents across the country for their efforts.

“I want Australia to get to Christmas, but I want everybody around that table at Christmas time,” he said.

Health Minister Greg Hunt declined to say whether the nation could get to the 70 per cent fully vaccinated mark by mid-November, as has been estimated as achievable by some experts.

The current rate sits at 23 per cent of over-16s vaccinated, according to the latest Federal Government vaccine data.

“I won’t put a day on it … but I will say that what we are seeing is, at this point in time, more vaccinations occurring in July and August than we were anticipating and planning on,” Hunt said.

Emotional Betts speaks after Walker racism scandal

Former Crows star Eddie Betts has spoken out about the Taylor Walker racism scandal, saying it’s “draining” fighting against racism in society.

Walker, a former teammate of Betts, was last week suspended for six matches and given a $20,000 fine for a racist comment made against North Adelaide Indigenous player Robbie Young at a Crows SANFL game last month.

The comment was first reported by a Crows official who overheard it at a quarter-time huddle.

Speaking to Fox Footy’s AFL 360 program on Tuesday night, an emotional Betts said the scandal has been “really tough to deal with”.

“It actually really hurts to be honest, just talking about it here,” Betts said.

“Everything that’s happened over the last 48 hours to the last week, it’s been hard.

“I just need everyone to really go on a journey to start educating, to start those conversations.

“Taylor Walker is going on his journey at the moment, and I know what kind of person Taylor is and he’ll hold to his word – he’ll do this with 110 per cent.”

Betts said he was “hoping Australia would listen” to his plea.

“We as Aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islander people are sick of fighting because it just keeps happening,” he said.

Betts’s comments come after Crows CEO Tim Silvers on Tuesday could not guarantee Walker’s future at the club beyond this year.

“(Walker’s) contracted for next year but we need to understand how that looks and how he can reintegrate back into the group for next year,” Silvers told SEN SA.

“It’s too early to guarantee that (he will play for the Crows again) but he is contracted and we’ve got to work through it with a number of different people.”

One dead after ute crash in Walker Flat

A man has died after his ute rolled over in a crash in Walker Flat near the Murray River on Tuesday.

Police say they were called to the crash scene around 4:15pm on Tuesday following reports of a rollover on Mallee Road – around 80km east of Adelaide.

The driver, a 58-year-old man from Mannum, died at the scene.

He was the sole occupant of the ute at the time of the crash.

Major Crash officers attended the scene with Mallee Road closed for several hours on Tuesday evening.

The crash brings the state’s road toll for this year to 64, compared to 57 at the same point in 2020.

NY Governor Cuomo resigns

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has resigned following an inquiry that concluded he sexually harassed 11 women, mounting legal pressure and demands for his departure by US President Joe Biden and others.

Cuomo, a Democrat who had served since 2011 as governor of the fourth most-populous US state, made the announcement after New York Attorney General Letitia James on August 3 released the results of a five-month independent investigation that concluded he had engaged in conduct that violated US and state laws.

In a televised 20-minute address, Cuomo again denied any wrongdoing although he said he accepted “full responsibility” for offending the women through what he characterised as ill-conceived attempts to be affectionate or humorous.

He said he had concluded that fighting the accusations while remaining in office would paralyse state government and cost taxpayers millions of dollars at a time when the coronavirus pandemic still poses a major threat.

“I think, given the circumstances, the best way I can help now is if I step aside and let government get back to government – and therefore that’s what I’ll do,” he said, adding that his resignation would take effect in 14 days.

The investigation, detailed in a 168-page report, said that Cuomo groped, kissed or made suggestive comments to women including current and former government workers – one a state trooper – and retaliated against at least one woman who accused him of sexual misconduct.

Cuomo denied wrongdoing.

Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, a Democrat from western New York, will take over as governor of the state of more than 19 million people until the end of Cuomo’s term in December 2022 as outlined in the state’s constitution, becoming the first woman to hold the post.

Cuomo’s resignation spared him from possible removal from office through impeachment proceedings in the state legislature.

UK virus fatalities highest since March

The United Kingdom has reported 146 new deaths within 28 days of a positive COVID-19 test, the highest daily total since March 12, as the impact of last month’s surge in cases feeds through into fatalities, government data shows.

The number of new cases reported on Tuesday fell to 23,510 from 25,161 on Monday – less than half the peak of 54,674 recorded on July 17, shortly before most distancing measures were removed in England.

But coronavirus cases have begun to creep up again, with 196,047 people infected with COVID-19 in the past week, 7 per cent more than the week before and the highest rolling seven-day total this month.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government went ahead with easing COVID-19 restrictions in England due to the broad roll-out of vaccinations which he said had largely broken the link between infections and subsequent hospitalisation and death.

Three quarters of UK adults have now received two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine and 89 per cent have received at least one.

The UK has suffered 130,503 deaths within 28 days of a positive COVID-19 test, the second-highest total in Europe after Russia and one of the highest in the world.

-With AAP and Reuters

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