Australian shares plunge 6.4% and AFL season to start as planned amid coronavirus – as it happened

Australian shares plunge 6.4% and AFL season to start as planned amid coronavirus – as it happened

To finish up on 18 March

There will be another big day ahead of us. Here is a brief outlay of today:

  • Australia recorded its sixth death from Covid-19, when an 86-year-old man died in a Sydney hospital from the virus.
  • NSW saw its biggest spike in daily cases, with 57 new cases recorded.
  • Victoria recorded 27 new cases.
  • Tasmania recorded three new cases.
  • The AFL season will start as scheduled tomorrow, but with shorter quarters (and season).
  • Production on the TV series Neighbours has been temporarily halted.
  • A NSW man has been charged with the assault of two elderly shoppers in a Lismore supermarket.
  • The Australian share market has had another absolute shocker of a day, shedding more than $105bn and closing 6.43% down.
  • The Aussie dollar has dropped to a 17-year low, of about US60 cents.
  • Faith services have been cancelled all over the nation.
  • Queensland suspended its parliament sitting.
  • The Northern Territory announced a $65m stimulus.
  • The Reserve Bank of Australia will make an announcement tomorrow, with both a rate cut and potential quantitative easing measures on the cards.
  • The next stage of the Morrison government stimulus is expected over the next three days.

Thank you for joining us for today’s Covid-19 blog. We will continue to keep you updated as this rolls on. In the meantime, as always – please take care of you.

Updated

The Council of Australian Governments (Coag) Disability Reform Council has met.

The council agreed on the following priorities:

  • Ensure appropriate consideration is given to people with disability and the disability services sector in the health response, including access to telehealth, infection control training and personal protective equipment.
  • Ensure the ongoing delivery of core NDIA service delivery as part of the NDIA’s Pandemic Plan, including the shift from face-to-face planning to telephone planning, and the redirecting of NDIA staff and partners to priority service delivery roles that support participants in response to Covid-19.
  • Ensure the continuation of services to NDIS participants through the extension and increased flexibility of NDIS plans where necessary so that the NDIA can focus on reviewing plans that may require amendment in response to the impact of Covid-19.
  • Ensure appropriate plans are in place to respond to any workforce shortages that may arise as a result of Covid-19.
  • Ensure providers are supported to remain viable during the period of impact of Covid-19 and beyond.

Updated

Gil McLachlan says the AFL has taken the advice of the medical authorities and the government – and those involved in the AFL itself – in making the decision to go ahead.

“It will be day by day,” he says, on how the league will move forward.

The season has already been cut to just 17 games, and quarters have been cut to 16 minutes.

Updated

AFL season to start as planned

The AFL boss, Gil McLachlan, says the league has weighed up the options and decided it is able to move forward with the season as planned.

He says that if a player tests positive to Covid-19, the league will temporarily pause if needed.

Updated

At this stage, Queensland is pushing ahead with its local government elections, scheduled for 28 March.

Its electoral body is recommending people vote early to avoid polling day crowds.

ECQ
(@ECQInfo)

The ECQ has extended opening hours at almost 130 early voting centres! Centres will be open until 9pm tonight, from 9am to 9pm tomorrow as well as next Wednesday and Thursday. You can also vote from 9am to 5pm on Saturday 21 March here: https://t.co/lmp9yP3DvP

March 18, 2020

Updated

The AFL season will be starting on time, with Richmond taking on Carlton, this Thursday, as scheduled.

(Thanks to AAP for that update)

Tasmania has confirmed another three cases of Covid-19.

That brings the total there to 10.

The three people, in their 40s, had all recently travelled overseas.

Updated

I wouldn’t expect the next stage of the government’s stimulus package – now being called a ‘safety net’ or, if you are Dan Andrews, a “survival package” to come tomorrow. The government is waiting to see what the RBA does, so it will be Friday at the earliest, but more likely than not, the weekend.

It has to come by Monday though. Parliament will sit next week for the last time in at least six weeks, which means it is the last chance to pass the stimulus measures.

Updated

This is where the conversation will be heading tomorrow, once the RBA announces its next step:

Michael Rowland
(@mjrowland68)

So, @AlanKohler reckons if the Morrison government was to match the Coronavirus stimulus packages announced by other countries (on a per capita basis) it would have to spend $185 Billion (14% of GDP). Current total is $17.6 Billion. #COVID19Aus #auspol @abcnews

March 18, 2020

Updated

BaptistCare closes aged care centres to visitors

BaptistCare has announced it is closing all of its aged care centres to visitors.

BaptistCare runs the Dorothy Henderson centre, where three of Australia’s elderly Covid-19 patients who died were living.

From its release:

In these unprecedented and challenging times, BaptistCare have taken precautions to prioritise the safety and health of our residents, families and staff.

Older Australians are especially vulnerable to this virus, and it is vital we take additional measures to protect our residents and staff as the transmission of COVID-19 continues to escalate in the community.

This is a preventative measure only and there is currently no other case of COVID-19 at any other BaptistCare home.

The preventative closure to all visitors means:

    • BaptistCare residential aged care homes will not be allowing casual and non-essential access (including families, friends, school groups).
    • Visits from essential services such as GPs and allied health providers will continue as per normal.
    • Residents will be requested to remain in our homes, with any residents who need to leave being required to isolate in their rooms on return for 7 days.
    • All recreational and lifestyle programs as well as chapel services at each Home will continue as long as the Home remains free of COVID-19, with social distancing measures in place as further prevention.

We are assessing this developing situation in an ongoing way, and we will advise residents and families as soon as anything changes.

We understand how difficult this will be for many of our families, and even for our residents who look forward to visits from their loved ones, however we appreciate all cooperation at this time as we do all we can to protect our residents and staff.

While we do not know exactly what is to come with this pandemic situation, we do know that the safety and health of our residents, staff and the wider community, are our ongoing priority.

Updated

From AAP:

An aged care service provider has moved to bar all visitors from its homes to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

It’s a step up from new measures introduced by the federal government, which would limit visits to aged care facilities to short, two-person visits once a day.

Anyone who has been overseas in the past two weeks, been in contact with someone who has coronavirus or respiratory infection symptoms will be barred completely.

The changes are part of a range of measures announced by the prime minister and chief medical officer on Wednesday.

These include warning Australians against all overseas travel and banning non-essential indoor gatherings of more than 100 people.

An email from Estia chief executive Ian Thornley to family and friends of residents said its facilities would close to visitors from 5pm on Wednesday.

“We understand that this decision will have significant impact on our residents and their close contacts and sincerely apologise for this,” he said in the email seen by AAP.

Visitors would still be allowed in “exceptional circumstances on compassionate grounds” with volunteers also to be barred from Estia homes and non-essential resident outings banned.

Estia is a commercial aged care provider running nearly 70 residences in NSW, Queensland, Victoria and South Australia.

Evening recap

It’s been another big day.

To recap just some of it:

  • Australia recorded it’s sixth death from Covid-19, when an 86-year-old man died in a Sydney hospital from the virus.
  • NSW saw its biggest spike in daily cases, with 57 new cases recorded.
  • Victoria recorded 27 new cases.
  • Production on Neighbours has been temporarily halted.
  • A NSW man has been charged with the assault of two elderly shoppers in a Lismore supermarket.
  • The Australian market has had another absolute shocker of a day, shedding more than $105bn and closing 6.43% down.
  • The Aussie dollar has dropped to a 17-year low, of about US60 cents.
  • Queensland suspended its parliament sitting.
  • The Northern Territory announced a $65m stimulus.
  • The Reserve Bank of Australia will make an announcement tomorrow, with both a rate cut and potential quantitative easing measures on the cards.
  • The next stage of the Morrison government stimulus is expected over the next three days.

Updated

Updated


The government will be loosening some of the restrictions placed on international workers to help the aged care sector.

From Alan Tudge:


Aged care providers will temporarily be able to offer more hours to international students to ensure the care of senior and vulnerable Australians, as part of the campaign to combat the impact of coronavirus.

Acting Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs Alan Tudge said international students would help fill critical staff shortages emerging in the sector.

The measures will be administered by the Department of Home Affairs and are available to approved providers of Commonwealth-funded aged care services, only for existing employees.

Providers can register with the Department if they believe the changes will assist them.

Employers are still required to abide by all relevant Australian workplace laws. Students have the same rights under Australian workplace law as all other employees.

NSW police have arrested someone over the alleged assault at a Lismore supermarket yesterday.


Matthew Doran
(@MattDoran91)

NSW Police have arrested someone now. pic.twitter.com/DYxWmMuAAL

March 18, 2020

Updated

The Australian reports Woolworths has established an “emergency management team and crisis management team” to try to cope with the added pressure on the supermarket group’s supply chain.


Woolworths has set up an emergency management team and crisis management team within its supermarkets business to ensure rapid daily decisions are made in the face of the panic buying triggered by the coronavirus pandemic that has seen its supermarkets stripped of products from toilet paper to meat.

Such has been the pressure on its stores that its chief executive has characterised it as Woolworths being pushed to feed 50 million Australians a week.

Updated

Given all the need for accurate and fast news at the moment (I would argue always), and particularly given newsroom resources are taken up with Covid-19, the media union is calling for AAP shareholders to keep the newswire service open until the end of the year, at least.

Anna Harrington
(@AnnaHarrington)

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the @MEAA have appealed to @AAPNewswire shareholders to keep the newswire open through the 2020 calendar year.

Please share and thanks for your support. ✊🏼 #SaveAAP https://t.co/ZWqB8BYbLn pic.twitter.com/DzB2P810uu

March 18, 2020

Read More

About No Specific Author

Check Also

Coronavirus: Latest on COVID-19 from around the world

Coronavirus: Latest on COVID-19 from around the world

Almost 18 million people have been reported to be infected by the novel coronavirus globally, and 685,000 have now died. Nearly 300,000 people were reported infected in the past 24 hours and 6400 dead. Here are the latest developments from around the world. Europe Ireland Ireland's chief medical officer on Saturday described a recent spike…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.