Daily News Roundup

April 14, 2020

Prime Minister Scott Morrison says the Government can’t think about lifting coronavirus restrictions yet.

Mr Morrison said Australia would move into a new phase of recovering from the outbreak “at some point”, but warned that “we’re still many weeks away”.

The warning came as the Health Minister Greg Hunt, said on ABC News Breakfast that infection rates have fallen to less than two per cent daily growth.

He says the “curve is really flattening”, but now is not the time to get complacent.

Appearing on Channel 7’s Sunrise later in the morning, the Prime Minister, asked if National Cabinet would consider discussing easing the coronavirus restrictions, replied that patience “has to be our virtue here”.

“We can’t be complacent. We have seen what happened in Singapore most recently and Sweden and other countries.

“If you take your eyes off this thing, [it] gets away from you so we do need to understand what the prerequisites are and the things we need to achieve before we can start to ease some of those restrictions. 

“We will be having the discussion on Thursday and a lot of scientific work is being put into that and we have looked into the experience of other countries and we are hopeful that at some point, we are hopeful that at some point, we can move from the phase we are currently into a new phase.  

“But I do want to caution Australians that we’re not in that phase yet and we’re not in that phase yet and we’re many weeks away from being in a phase like that.”

In other COVID-19 news: 

  • A waiter or someone who handles food on the Ruby Princess was the likely source of a deadly outbreak of coronavirus in Australia, NSW Police has revealed. Detectives have begun interviewing thousands of witnesses about what they knew about potential COVID-19 cases on board the cruise ship before it docked in Sydney more than three weeks ago. Since disembarking, 18 passengers from the ship have died and hundreds of more confirmed cases have been linked to the vessel.
  • The World Health Organisation has backed the reopening of China’s notorious wet markets.  Despite strong evidence the coronavirus originated in a Wuhan wet market, the WHO said it doesn’t support their closure “because they are a source of livelihood and food security to many people”.  Prime Minister Scott Morrison has told Channel 9 he’s not yet satisfied that wet markets can be made safe.
  • Australia’s unemployment rate is expected to reach double digits, the first time in 26 years that it has occurred. The partial economic shutdown, designed to slow the spread of COVID-19, has put an estimated 700,000 Australians out of work. As a result, new Treasury figures suggest the unemployment rate will rise from 5.1 to 10 per cent in the June quarter.
  • A US Navy sailor has died after contracting coronavirus aboard the US aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt, whose captain was fired after warning his crew would die unnecessarily unless strong action was taken. The sailor was admitted to intensive care on April 9 after being found unresponsive in his quarters. He’d tested positive exactly two weeks ago on March 30, the Navy said
  • Australian medical assistance teams and defence force personnel will arrive in Tasmania’s north-west today to assist in re-opening a hospital at the centre of a coronavirus outbreak. Members from AusMAT and the Australian Defence Force will arrive in Burnie to assist in restarting services at the North West Regional Hospital after a request from the Tasmanian Government.It comes after the hospital closed yesterday to undergo a deep clean, with more than 1,000 staff forced to quarantine for 14 days to control the coronavirus outbreak. To date, 46 healthcare workers at the hospital have tested positive for COVID-19.

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