Coronavirus updates LIVE: Victoria lockdown considered, global COVID-19 infections surpass 500,000

Coronavirus updates LIVE: Victoria lockdown considered, global COVID-19 infections surpass 500,000

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  • The number of locally transmitted cases in Victoria jumped from nine to 16 overnight. There were a total of 54 new cases as of 11am this morning, taking the state’s total to 574.
  • On Thursday, it was announced that the first three people had died from the virus in Victoria. Australia’s death toll now stands at 13.
  • A total of 2810 Australians have tested positive. In Victoria there are 520 cases, with 1219 in NSW.
  • More than 510,000 have been infected worldwide, according to a running tally by the Johns Hopkins University.
  • The death toll in the US has reached 1000 as cases top 80,000. Most are in New York City, where there are 37,258 cases and the governor has approved the sharing of ventilators. The Australian Consulate-General in Los Angeles has told Australians to go home

WATCH LIVE: Prime Minister Scott Morrison holds a press conference after the national cabinet meeting

We appear to have trouble with our live streaming so here is the Facebook live stream

Emergency calls surge to record high in New York

In New York, 911 calls to emergency surged to a record high yesterday, according to the Washington Post’s National Political Correspondent James Hohmann.

Premier Daniel Andrews not expected to announce further restrictions today

While Daniel Andrews is widely expected to introduce ‘stage three’ restrictions, his office has made clear that his 3pm press conference will be an update only, with no major announcements, and he will not announce further restrictions today.

AFL and players close to deal on pay cuts

By Jake Niall

The AFL and the league’s players are close to completing a deal on player payments to help the competition endure the 2020 shutdown.

Sources with a knowledge of the discussions said the AFL and the players’ union, the AFL Players’ Association, were hoping to finalise the deal shortly and it could be finalised later on Friday.

Despite the conflict between the AFL and the players during the negotiations, both parties are keen to have the deal resolved soon, allowing the AFL to show the banks their cost savings before the banks grant them a line of credit of more than $500 million.

Read more here 

Spike in alcohol-related hospitalisations follows panic-buying surge at nation’s liquor barns

By Dana McCauley

Trauma surgeons have reported a spike in alcohol-related hospitalisations due to the coronavirus, as police suspend roadside breath testing and Australians drink at home in isolation.

Royal Australasian College of Surgeons Trauma Committee chairman John Crozier said emergency departments were already noticing a rise in presentations after last week’s panic-buying scenes in liquor stores.

“Over the weekend many of my colleagues reported a noticeable spike in the number of trauma related presentations,” Dr Crozier said. “Some surgeons informed me that they experienced record numbers of trauma at their hospitals. A concerning number of the cases managed were preventable and related to alcohol related risk-taking behaviours. This includes drink driving.”

Dr Crozier said he had found it “very concerning” to see people panic buying alcohol last week when it was announced that pubs and clubs were closing, and called on state and territory governments to follow Western Australia’s lead and limit the sale of takeaway alcohol.

Panic buying at Dan Murphy's last weekend.

Panic buying at Dan Murphy’s last weekend.Credit:Rachael Dexter

He said data from the World Health Organization showed alcohol was a factor in “almost a third of trauma related presentations”.

“I understand that there is uncertainty and fear amongst our community at the moment, but I plead with everyone to look out for one another, behave responsibly, and avoid risk taking behaviours,” Dr Crozier said.

“We must reduce the number of patients coming to hospital, not only COVID-19 related presentations, but also those with preventable injury or trauma. This is crucial if we are to achieve the best outcome for the greatest number of patients, in the clinically challenging weeks ahead.”

DrinkWise Ambassador Andrew Rochford said the challenges presented by COVID-19 and self-isolation increased the risk of drinking to excess, warning this could lead to longer term problems.

“In uncertain times like these, there’s a temptation to turn to alcohol as a coping mechanism,” Dr Rochford said. “People need to keep track of what they are drinking and if they think they might be drinking too much alcohol, they should seek help.”

He said with schools closing and kids at home for extended periods, parents should be careful to set a good example if choosing to drink in front of their children. “Kids are always watching and learning … It does influence children’s’ attitudes to alcohol when they grow up,” he said.

New official guidelines state that adults should only consume 10 standard drinks per week and no more than four standard drinks during any one day.

Victoria Police will have something to say about going to the beach

It’ll be a busy afternoon for newsdevelopments. Victoria Police will have something to say at 3pm today down at St Kilda Beach pier about cracking down on weekend mass gatherings.

 St Kilda beach on the first day of March as the temperature hits 30 degrees.

St Kilda beach on the first day of March as the temperature hits 30 degrees.
Credit:Scott McNaughton

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Today’s key events

This morning has been a relatively quiet one on the home front as our Prime Minister and state premiers have been bunkered down in a national cabinet meeting.

We are expecting Scott Morrison to speak after 2pm. State premiers are also likely to speak mid-afternoon. Our blog will show live streamed footage of those press conferences.

Premier Daniel Andrews will provide an update around 3pm, as Victoria Police also briefs on plans to crackdown on mass weekend gatherings.

These are the key developments from this morning:

I’m signing off for the day. Michelle Griffin will take you through the afternoon and into the evening.

Football Federation Australia stand down staff

By Vince Rugari

Football Federation Australia has stood down 70 per cent of its staff in a desperate attempt to stay afloat amid the coronavirus crisis.

Following the lead of most other sporting organisations, FFA announced the measures on Friday morning, three days after the A-League season was officially put on hold.

FFA chief executive James Johnson has announced 70 per cent of the organisation's workforce has been stood down.

FFA chief executive James Johnson has announced 70 per cent of the organisation’s workforce has been stood down.Credit:AAP

FFA will continue to operate with a “small team”, chief executive James Johnson said, with a focus on engaging with fans through digital platforms and supporting state federations, clubs and participants.

Johnson said it was an “extremely difficult decision” to make but one that was necessary to ensure the governing body has a hope of surviving the next few months.

“We are in a situation where grassroots football and the Hyundai A-League are currently suspended, we’ve had the postponement of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and the deferral of the international football calendar, so virtually all football activity has now ceased for the foreseeable future because of COVID-19,” Johnson said in a statement.

Read more here.

Potential jail time for Singaporeans who intentionally stand too close to others

Anyone caught breaking Singapore’s social distancing rules can land themselves in prison from Friday after the city-state made it an offence for a person to intentionally stand close to another person as part of its coronavirus defence.

Singapore has won international praise for its fastidious approach in tackling the virus, which has included using police investigators and security cameras to help track suspected carriers.

A body temperature scan at Singapore Airport.

A body temperature scan at Singapore Airport.Credit:Getty Images

With some of the world’s highest population densities, the city-state this week announced more stringent social distancing measures such as shutting bars, limiting gatherings to up to 10 people outside work and school as well as a ban on large events.

Under updates to its powerful infectious diseases law, anyone who intentionally sits less than 1 metre away from another person in a public place or on a fixed seat demarcated as not to be occupied, or who stands in a queue less than a metre away from another, will be guilty of an offence.

Offenders can be fined up to $S10,000 ($11,577), jailed for up to six months, or both.

The rules, in place until April 30, can be applied to individuals and businesses.

Singapore is well known for its strict rules: fines can be doled out for everything from feeding birds to forgetting to flush a public toilet.

Singapore has so far avoided going into full lockdown. Authorities have said more drastic measures may be needed if locals do not take social distancing seriously.

Singapore’s number of coronavirus cases rose by 52 to 683 infections on Thursday, and two people have died.


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