WEDNESDAY, April 1, 2020
Support is building across the country for Australians take part in live-streamed dawn services in their driveways and on their balconies on Anzac Day.
With traditional services and marches cancelled because of the COVID-19 pandemic, RSL leaders, with growing media backing, are encouraging everyone to honour servicemen and women at dawn on April 25 by standing beside their letterboxes or on balconies for the service.
Radio stations across the country are signing on to live-stream services, while a Queensland school teacher is calling on musicians everywhere to play the Last Post and Reveille for their neighbours.
The call for people to honour our soldiers at home comes as health authorities in NSW confirmed a ninth coronavirus death in the state taking the national death toll to 20.
The 95-year-old woman is the fifth resident at the Dorothy Henderson Lodge aged-care facility in Macquarie Park to die after contracting the virus.
There are also 150 new coronavirus infections in NSW, taking the state’s total to 2,182.
NSW Police confirmed they would continue to quarantine returning Australians in hotels for 14 days, with another 700 arrivals expected at Sydney Airport today.
Police Commissioner Mick Fuller said while there had been complaints from some of those forced into hotel quarantine, most people understood why it was necessary.
“We shouldn’t frame everyone in these hotels as people who are ungrateful because that’s certainly not the case,” he said.
“Every day we get through, they are a day closer in terms of going home.”
Commissioner Fuller said police had yet to issue any fines for breaches of the state’s tough new lockdown laws and said officers would use their discretion when enforcing the measures.
In other COVID-19 news:
- The Australian Government will re-launch hundreds of flights to deliver fresh produce to key international markets as part of a $170 million boost to an export sector grounded by the coronavirus emergency. The support package includes $110 million to coordinate flights from Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Perth to deliver fresh produce to China, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore and the United Arab Emirates. Return flights, under the program, will provide an opportunity for Australia to import medical equipment and medicines.
- Western Australia introduces new intrastate border closures which will effectively divide the state into nine separate territories. People who cross into another region without good reason could face fines of up to $50,000.
- Australians are being urged to get the flu shot this month so they don’t contract the disease and coronavirus at the same time. More than 13.5 million doses of seasonal influenza vaccine have been secured for the national program. “Vaccinating against the flu will reduce the risk of a very dangerous double-up of flu and coronavirus – both diseases affecting the respiratory system,” Health Minister Greg Hunt said.
- Australian authorities are working to bring home hundreds of passengers aboard cruise ships overseas, but it could be months before some guests return home. Australian passengers on the Ocean Atlantic are expected to be flown home from Uruguay on Thursday. But guests of a nearby boat, the Greg Mortimer, have been told they will need to wait until 14 days after the last person aboard has experienced fever.
- Several new cases of coronavirus have been confirmed in South Australia, linked to Qantas baggage handlers from Adelaide Airport. South Australia’s chief public health officer Nicola Spurrier told ABC Radio Adelaide the new cases were confirmed overnight, but could not yet say how many there had been.They are linked to six baggage handlers from the airport who were yesterday confirmed to have tested positive to COVID-19.
While Tasmania has barred non-essential intrastate travel to Flinders Island, and the Northern Territory has limited access to its remote Indigenous communities to emergency personnel and health workers, Western Australia is the first member of the Commonwealth to clamp down on interregional travel for its entire 2.5 million residents.
Overseas, Spain is on a horrifying upward trajectory, having now surpassed China in the number of cases and fast approaching Italy when it comes to the number of deaths.
On Tuesday (local time), a record 849 people died, bringing the total death toll to 8,189, while some 85,000 people have tested positive for COVID-19.
In response, the country’s capital, Madrid, held a minute’s silence for those lost.
Under tough new lockdown rules in the country, all non-essential workers are banned from travelling to work.
People are only allowed outside to get food, visit a chemist or walk a pet. Everyone must also carry documentation explaining the outing.
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