MONDAY, APRIL 6
Social-distancing and the need for ongoing compliance continues to dominate the battle against COVID-19 in Australia.
Chief Medical Officer Brendan Murphy says because of measures in place, he is “increasingly confident” Australia will avoid the kind of devastation the coronavirus has caused in countries like Italy and the United States.
Declaring Australia was in a “good place”, Professor Murphy said the number of COVID-19 cases continued to rise but the rate of growth was slowing.
He said, however, his biggest concern remained community transmission which accounted for 10 per cent of cases in Australia.
It was a statistic starkly highlighted at the weekend by the blatant flouting of Queensland’s coronavirus rules in Brisbane on Saturday night.
Around 10pm police were alerted to a large car rally at Brickworks Place in Rochedale, south of Brisbane where about 150 vehicles had pulled up in a warehouse carpark.
Deputy Police Commissioner Steve Gollschewski told ABC News it was inexcusable.
“This is more than disappointing. It’s appalling behaviour,” he said.
“Everyone breaching the social distancing rules we have in this state under our chief health officer’s directions.”
- In other COVID 19m news:
- In a televised address to the UK and the Commonwealth, The Queen said she hopes the coronavirus crisis will prove “this generation is as strong as any” in a rare special address to the Commonwealth.
- British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been admitted to hospital for tests after showing persistent symptoms of COVID-19 10 days after testing positive for the virus.
- Police have launched a criminal investigation into whether the operator of the cruise ship Ruby Princess downplayed potential coronavirus cases before thousands of passengers disembarked in Sydney last month. Eleven coronavirus deaths, and more than 600 cases, have been linked to the Ruby Princess cruise ship, which docked at Port Kembla this morning.
- Of the 5,687 people who have tested positive to the virus in Australia since January, more than 2,000 have already recovered. Ninety-one Australians are being treated in intensive care units, 33 of them on ventilators to help them breath.
- There is hope in Spain and Italy that the spread of coronavirus may finally be starting to slow, weeks after both nations imposed tough lockdown measures in an effort to contain the virus.
Meanwhile, UK health officials have slammed arsonists who targeted 5G towers in response to conspiracy theories the technology is spreading coronavirus.
Britain says it is unlikely to lift its stringent coronavirus lockdown rules until the end of May, in the wake of its death toll rising by 20 per cent overnight.
Worldwide there are more than 1.2 million confirmed cases of the virus and there have been 64,750 deaths.
The Queen says she hopes the coronavirus crisis will prove “this generation is as strong as any” in a rare special address to the Commonwealth.
She urged Britons and all Commonwealth members to value self-discipline and resolve during the crisis.
The monarch also used the address — only the fifth of its type — to personally thank frontline health workers and others carrying out essential works during the crisis.
“I am speaking to you at what I know is an increasingly challenging time,” she said from partial isolation in Windsor Castle.
“A time of disruption in the life of our country; a disruption that has brought grief to some, financial difficulties to many, and enormous changes to the daily lives of us all.”
Separate from her televised address, the Queen had a message for Australia delivered through Governor-General David Hurley.
“At a time when people across the Commonwealth are experiencing a profound and rapid change to their lives, the pain of lost loved ones, and an understandable concern about the future, my thoughts are with all Australians,” she said in a statement.
“Whilst it can be difficult to remain hopeful in such challenging times, especially following the summer’s devastating bushfires and recent flooding, I am confident that the stoic and resilient nature of the Australian people will rise to the challenge.
“I extend my sincere admiration to the many Australians who work tirelessly to help those affected, provide essential services for their fellow citizens, and continue to care for the most vulnerable.
“You will remain in my prayers in the coming months, with the resolute knowledge that with hard work, faith and unity, we will rise to the challenges ahead and ensure the health and vitality of all Australia’s communities.
“I send my thanks and warmest good wishes to you all.”
In her message broadcast in the UK, the Queen gave special thanks to those workers tackling the crisis at its forefront.
“I want to thank everyone on the NHS [National Health Service] front line, as well as care workers and those carrying out essential roles, who selflessly continue their day-to-day duties outside the home in support of us all,” she said.
“I am sure the nation will join me in assuring you that what you do is appreciated and every hour of your hard work brings us closer to a return to more normal times.
“I also want to thank those of you who are staying at home, thereby helping to protect the vulnerable and sparing many families the pain already felt by those who have lost loved ones.
“Together we are tackling this disease, and I want to reassure you that if we remain united and resolute, then we will overcome it.”
The highly anticipated message was only the fifth time the head of state had made a televised address outside of her usual schedule.
Usually, the Queen only addresses the public during her annual Christmas Day message and at the State Opening of Parliament each year.
Her addresses outside of this schedule have mostly been in response to troubled times.
She spoke following the death of the Queen Mother in 2002, Princess Diana’s death in 1997 and the first Gulf War in 1991.
The Queen also gave a speech to mark her Diamond Jubilee in 2012.
Today’s message was pre-recorded at Windsor Castle, where the Queen and Prince Philip moved on March 19 — a week earlier than the pair usually do for the Easter break.
The recording happened under special circumstances in the castle’s White Drawing Room where social distancing could be observed and the only other person in the room, a BBC camera operator, was wearing personal protective equipment.
The Queen’s son, Prince Charles, spent a week self-isolating in Scotland after testing positive for coronavirus on March 25.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has also tested positive to the virus.
The Queen said she hoped people would deal with the crisis with “self-discipline” and “quiet, good-humoured resolve”.
“I hope in the years to come, everyone will be able to take pride in how they responded to this challenge, and those who come after us will say the Britons of this generation were as strong as any,” she said.
“Across the Commonwealth and around the world, we have seen heart-warming stories of people coming together to help others, be it through delivering food parcels and medicines, checking on neighbours, or converting businesses to help the relief effort.
“And though self-isolating may at times be hard, many people of all faiths, and of none, are discovering that it presents an opportunity to slow down, pause and reflect, in prayer or meditation.
“It reminds me of the very first broadcast I made, in 1940, helped by my sister. We, as children, spoke from here at Windsor to children who had been evacuated from their homes and sent away for their own safety.
“Today, once again, many will feel a painful sense of separation from their loved ones. But now, as then, we know, deep down, that it is the right thing to do.
“While we have faced challenges before, this one is different.
“This time we join with all nations across the globe in a common endeavour, using the great advances of science and our instinctive compassion to heal. We will succeed — and that success will belong to every one of us.
“We should take comfort that while we may have more still to endure, better days will return: we will be with our friends again; we will be with our families again; we will meet again.”
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