Daily News Roundup

August 21, 2020

FRIDAY, August 21
The Prime Minister has commended the NSW government for keeping the state open during the pandemic.

With the key weapons of testing, tracing and outright containment, the state has been a success.

“They haven’t been intimidated when things haven’t gone the way they’ve liked,” Scott Morrison said.

“They keep going.”

Until there is a successful vaccine, we will have to live with the pandemic, Mr Morrison said.

“I want to keep Australia as open as we possiblycan,” he said.

“I can tell you this. We’re doing better than most of the developed world in this situation.”

The Prime Minister said he is not considering lifting the number of Australians allowed back into the country from overseas.

Just 4000 Australians each week are allowed to come into the country for hotel quarantine.

“It has been the NSW government particularly at Sydney Airport that bears the biggest load when it comes to inbound arrivals,” he said.

“Right now as they’ve been seeking to get on top of that outbreak, it is our view that is it not the right decision to lift those caps.

“On the balance of risk we need to keep those caps where they are.”

The cap number will be reviewed each fortnight.

The Prime Minister’s comments came as NSW Health put another six areas under “increased surveillance”, calling on thousands of people to get tested for coronavirus.

“With a growing number of cases, if you live in or have visited the following local government areas (LGAs) or suburbs in the past two weeks, get tested even if you have mild COVID-19 symptoms such as a runny nose or scratchy throat,” NSW Health warned.

All of Newcastle, the Woollahra area – including Point Piper and Double Bay, The Hills LGA in northwest Sydney and the Hornsby LGA were all declared hot spots.

The suburbs of Guildford and Merrylands in Sydney’s southwest were also added to the list.

The following areas are now on NSW Health’s watchlist.

NSW Health formerly labelled them as “hotspots” however a number of suburbs and councils – including City of Sydney – have disputed the term.

Campbelltown LGA, Canterbury Bankstown LGA, Cumberland LGA, Eastern part of City of Sydney LGA (includes the suburbs Sydney, Surry Hills, Darlinghurst, Woolloomooloo, Potts Point, Rushcutters Bay, Elizabeth Bay, Centennial Park), Fairfield LGA, Guildford (suburb), Hornsby Shire LGA, The Hills LGA, Liverpool LGA, Merrylands (suburb), Newcastle LGA, Parramatta LGA and Woollahra LGA.

The testing callout comes after NSW recorded one new case of coronavirus – a close contact of a previously reported case at Hornsby Hospital. The case went into isolation before the commencement of their infectious period, following notification of the previous Hornsby case.

Victoria has recorded 179 new coronavirus cases and nine further deaths, the state’s health department has announced.

It is the first time in more than five weeks that the state has recorded fewer than 200 new cases, and is the lowest daily total since July 13.

The latest deaths take Victoria’s coronavirus death toll to 385.

There is still significant concern about the impact of the outbreak on the state’s hospitals and healthcare workers.

As of yesterday, there were 753 active cases in healthcare workers, and many more staff were unable to work after being identified as close contacts.

One of the latest outbreaks involves Peninsula Health, which has seen 51 staff at Frankston Hospital diagnosed with COVID-19

Meanwhile, no new cases of coronavirus have been recorded in Queensland overnight, with authorities breathing a sigh of relief after a scare at a Brisbane juvenile detention centre.

The Wacol detention centre went into lockdown after a worker, aged in her 70s, tested positive to the disease on Wednesday night.

Seventy-five people, mostly youth, were tested at the centre yesterday.

So far, 56 tests have come back negative, and the remainder are yet to be finished.

Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young says health authorities are waiting on the genomic sequencing to be returned to determine how the 77-year-old detention centre contracted the virus.

“I expect it in the next week,” she said.

She said there was no known link at this stage between the woman and a group of women who travelled to Melbourne in late July.


US President Donald Trump’s former chief strategist Steve Bannon has been charged with fraud over allegations he ripped off donors to a fundraising campaign to support the building of the US-Mexico border wall.

Using a non-profit organization that he controlled, Bannon “received over $1m from the ‘We Build the Wall’ online campaign, at least some of which he used to cover hundreds of thousands of dollars in [his] personal expenses”, federal prosecutors in New York allege.

Wearing a white face mask, and looking sunburnt, Bannon appeared briefly in a federal court in downtown Manhattan just after 4pm ET, and his lawyer entered a not guilty plea.

Bannon was arrested at about 7.15am ET on a yacht off the coast of Connecticut, it was said in court, and he was brought to New York city several hours later.

Bannon will now be released on a $5m bond, backed by $1.75m in cash or real estate. He has until 3 September to get this collateral together, and is expected to leave the courthouse later Thursday, with photographers and reporters waiting to greet him.


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