Coronavirus Australia live coverage: COVID-19 death toll, confirmed cases rise, six months of chaos predicted

Coronavirus Australia live coverage: COVID-19 death toll, confirmed cases rise, six months of chaos predicted


Frank Chung

Up to 150,000 people could die from the new coronavirus, according to Australia’s Deputy Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly.

Speaking to reporters in Canberra yesterday, Professor Kelly said anywhere from 20 to 60 per cent of the population could ultimately contract COVID-19.

He declined to put a number on deaths but said the mortality rate was about 1 per cent, telling the reporter, “You can do the maths.”

That means in the best-case scenario where 20 per cent are infected, 50,000 people could die. In the worst-case scenario of 60 per cent, there could be 150,000 deaths.

On 2GB radio this morning, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said 6000 people in the state could die. She put the mortality rate of COVID-19 at 0.6 per cent, compared with about 0.1 per cent for the seasonal flu.

“Last year we had 500 people die of the flu, if you multiply that by six that’s 6000 people assuming the same amount of people get the virus and we’re worried many more people will get virus,” she said.


Frank Chung

Australia’s federal, state and territory leaders will consider banning gatherings of 100 or more people at today’s national cabinet meeting.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Sunday announced a ban on gatherings of 500 or more people, and has flagged that further restrictions around smaller indoor gatherings would be looked at today.

Australia’s Chief Medical Officer, Professor Brendan Murphy, first floated the proposal with federal, state and territory leaders on Sunday, according to The Guardian.

The Australian Health Protection Principal Committee, which is made up the Chief Medical Officers from the Commonwealth, states and territories, will again discuss the issue today.

They will then present their recommendation to the national cabinet. The Guardian reports that leaders were told at Sunday’s meeting there was a “strong possibility” a ban on smaller gatherings would be the next step required to control the outbreak.

It’s expected that the expanded ban would still not apply to schools – despite growing calls for a shutdown – but would affect large hospitality venues, restaurants and bars.


Frank Chung

Up to 150,000 people could die from the new coronavirus, according to Australia’s Deputy Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly.

Speaking to reporters in Canberra yesterday, Professor Kelly said anywhere from 20 to 60 per cent of the population could ultimately contract COVID-19.

He declined to put a number on deaths but said the mortality rate was about 1 per cent, telling the reporter, “You can do the maths.”

That means in the best-case scenario where 20 per cent are infected, 50,000 people could die. In the worst-case scenario of 60 per cent, there could be 150,000 deaths.

On 2GB radio this morning, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said 6000 people in the state could die. She put the mortality rate of COVID-19 at 0.6 per cent, compared with about 0.1 per cent for the seasonal flu.

“Last year we had 500 people die of the flu, if you multiply that by six that’s 6000 people assuming the same amount of people get the virus and we’re worried many more people will get virus,” she said.


Frank Chung

A dedicated shopping hour is underway for seniors and pension card holders who’ve been disadvantaged by panic buying by the general public in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.

The initiative set up the major supermarket groups starts on Tuesday at Woolworths supermarkets nationally from 7am to 8am on weekdays.

Woolworths will open its doors exclusively to people with a relevant government-issued concession card for the hour, before opening to everyone else after 8am.

“This temporary measure will give them, and those with a disability, the opportunity to shop before our stores officially open – helping them obtain the essential items they need most in a less-crowded environment,” Managing Director Claire Peters said.

Panic buying in recent weeks sparked by the spread of COVID-19 in Australia has seen supermarkets stripped of toilet paper, pasta and tinned and other dried goods.

The issue has caused stress and frustration amongst elderly shoppers, many of whom find it difficult to make frequent visits to supermarkets for essential goods.

In many cases, particularly for toilet paper, the shelves are often stripped bare.

The Coles shopping hour will start on Wednesday, when its stores also open at 7am for customers holding a government-issued Pensioner Concession Card, Commonwealth Seniors Health Card, Companion Card and Health Care Card.

Coles is also seeking more than 5000 casual workers to help restock its supermarkets faster under a fast-tracked induction process and will hire more Coles Online delivery van drivers.

It also plans to dedicate grocery deliveries to people who are isolated and vulnerable. This means deliveries for other customers will be temporarily suspended, as will the Click&Collect service.

“We believe all Australians deserve the right to access their share of grocery items, particularly the elderly and the vulnerable,” Coles CEO Steven Cain said.

Meanwhile, the smaller national supermarket chain IGA is considering whether to roll out a similar pensioners-and-seniors-only shopping hour across its 1300 Australian stores.

The idea is being trialled at an IGA in Melbourne’s Altona, with a shopping hour between 6am to 7am, which could be extended across its network if successful.

IGA Chief Executive Fred Harrison said on Monday a final decision would be made by Wednesday.

– AAP


Frank Chung

Confirmed coronavirus cases in Western Australia have surged to 28 after jumping by 10 overnight.

Premier Mark McGowan said all of the new cases were Perth residents.

“Travel information is still pending for most cases – one recently reported returning from Hawaii, there are two sets of linked husband-and-wife cases,” Mr McGowan told reporters on Monday.

One person is in a serious but stable condition in hospital.

The state government announced a $607 million economic stimulus package, including freezing household fees and charges, and doubling the emergency assistance payment to $600 for eligible concession card holders.

It also made available up to 20 days’ COVID-19 leave to all public sector workers who have exhausted their paid personal, carers or sick leave entitlements.

WA joined NSW, Tasmania and Victoria in cancelling ANZAC Day services to reduce the coronavirus spread.

Western Australia’s RSL announced the cancellation – the first since 1942 – after the federal government banned gatherings of more than 500 people.

It will also include smaller regional events.

Last year, about 30,000 people attended the ANZAC Day dawn service at Kings Park and an estimated 10,000 people later lined Perth CBD streets for the march.

“We need to defend ourselves and do the right thing, not only for our veterans, many of whom are older people, but also their families and the general public,” RSLWA chief executive John McCourt told 6PR radio.

He said plans were under way for some sort of live-streamed commemoration that the public could watch via social media.

WA schools have introduced precautionary measures including cancelling events and staggering recess and lunch breaks to slow the spread of the disease.

The McGowan government declared a state of emergency on Sunday, warning overseas arrivals who breach the 14-day self-isolation period will face the nation’s toughest penalties with fines up to $50,000.

Mr McGowan urged people to report anyone defying the ban to police.

“Public health officers, with the assistance of police, will be able to enforce it,” he said.

He said authorities had a list of names from airlines “so there is the opportunity to follow this up”.

Jury trials have also been postponed, with those listed to commence in March, April and May to be considered for a trial by judge alone.

The Supreme Court of WA remains open to the public, but it urged anyone other than legal practitioners, involved parties, witnesses and media not to attend.

– AAP


Frank Chung

More than $2 billion will be pumped into the NSW economy to counter the financial havoc caused by the global coronavirus pandemic.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian on Tuesday announced a $2.3 billion stimulus package, consisting of $700 million for healthcare and $1.6 billion for job creation and tax relief.

Major features include capital works investments, payroll tax relief and waiving charges and licence fees for small businesses.

There has been $700 million earmarked to ramp up COVID-19 testing, establish dedicated fever clinics and double intensive care capacity.

“Our first priority is always the health of the people of this state and looking after their families and jobs,” Ms Berejiklian said.

Treasurer Dominic Perrotet says the government will do “whatever it takes” to weather the crisis.

“In simple terms, this money will help save the lives of loved ones and protect jobs,” he said.

NSW authorities are meanwhile hoping a series of unprecedented measures will help contain the rapid spread of the potentially-lethal infection.

Residents flouting isolation rules can now be slapped with an $11,000 fine or jailed for as long as six months.

Police have also been given the discretion to avoid stationary drug and alcohol testing if they believe it is unhygienic.

Health Minister Brad Hazzard says the state is on track to experience a “substantial exponential increase” in coronavirus infections.

The number of confirmed cased of COVID-19 in NSW almost doubled over the weekend to reach 171 on Monday.

RSL NSW on Monday decided to cancel all public Anzac Day services across the state.

The Sydney Writers’ Festival has also been cancelled.

There are now more than 300 coronavirus cases across Australia.

– Steven Trask, AAP


Frank Chung

The World Health Organisation on Monday called for countries to test every suspected case of COVID-19, as the rest of the world registered more cases and deaths in the pandemic than China.

“You cannot fight a fire blindfolded,” WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told reporters in a virtual press conference from the UN agency’s headquarters in Geneva.

“In the past week, we have seen a rapid escalation of cases of COVID-19,” he said, as the global death toll in the pandemic soared past 7000.

More cases and deaths have now been reported in the rest of the world than in China, where the new coronavirus first surfaced in December, he added.

Tedros did not provide the latest numbers, but according to an AFP tally Monday based on official sources, more than 175,500 cases have been recorded worldwide.

The worst affected countries in terms of fatalities are mainland China, with more than 3200 deaths, Italy with more than 2000 deaths, more than 853 in Iran and more than 300 in Spain.

The WHO chief warned that as cases are soaring “we have not seen an urgent enough escalation in testing, isolation and contact tracing, which is the backbone of the response”.

TEST AND ISOLATE

He hailed dramatic measures put in place by a range of governments, including the closing of schools and shops, pointing out that “social distancing measures can help to reduce transmission and enable health systems to cope”.

Efforts to get people to wash their hands and sneeze into an elbow were also important tools to reduce transmission, he said.

“But on their own, they are not enough to extinguish this pandemic,” Mr Tedros warned, stressing the need to break the chains of transmission.

“To do that, you must test and isolate,” he said, stressing that “we cannot stop this pandemic if we don’t know who is infected”.

The WHO, he said, was urging countries to “test, test, test – test every suspected case”.

He hailed the surging production in tests to meet the global demand, and noted that the WHO itself had shipped nearly 1.5 million tests to 120 countries, to help those most in need.

“WHO advises that all confirmed cases, even mild cases, should be isolated in health facilities, to prevent transmission and provide adequate care,” Mr Tedros said.

He acknowledged though that many countries have already exceeded their capacity to care for mild cases, and urged those countries to prioritise older patients and those with underlying health conditions, while others could be isolated at home.

CHILDREN HAVE DIED

Tedros also noted that people infected with COVID-19 could still infect others after they stop feeling sick, stressing that isolation “measures should continue for at least two weeks after symptoms disappear”.

He urged people not to dismiss the pandemic as something that only affected the elderly.

“This is a serious disease,” he said, adding that “although the evidence we have suggests that those over 60 are at highest risk, young people, including children, have died”.

He called on “every country and every individual to do everything they can to stop transmission”.

“We are all in this together,” he said, asking people to show more solidarity and refrain “from hoarding essential items, including medicines”.

“Hoarding can create shortages of medicines and other essential products, which can exacerbate suffering,” he said.

Mr Tedros described the pandemic as “the defining global health crisis of our time”.

“The days, weeks and months ahead will be a test of our resolve, a test of our trust in science, and a test of solidarity,” he said. “Crises like this tend to bring out the best and worst in humanity.”

– AFP


Sarah McPhee

Dr Michael Bonning from the Australian Medical Association has urged people not to be “irresponsible” and get out and about in the community just because things might be cheaper.

He was asked about slowing the spread of the coronavirus when he appeared on Today this morning.

“The risk for any particular individual is still quite low here in Australia. We have hundreds of cases, not thousands,” he said.

“But the important thing for any individual is that you’re still going to come in contact if you live in a house with other people, if you have to go down to the shop and get things, if you need to see your doctor later on. The ability to lock people down and still allow them the things that they need to live is actually pretty difficult.”

Dr Bonning said “lockdown” indicates it is “a problem for only some people”. “It’s a problem for everyone,” he said.

“People saying, ‘I’m going to go and do things now because it’s cheaper’ is irresponsible for everyone. This is a shared, kind of, burden that we’re all going to have over the next number of months while this goes on.”

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.