FRIDAY, MARCH 29
As the number of Australian coronavirus cases edged past 3000 today, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced the Government will target Australians returning from overseas in its latest moves to reduce the spread of the coronavirus.
The Australian Defence Force will help the states and territories ensure all arrivals from abroad self-isolate in hotels and other accommodation nominated by authorities for two weeks before they are able to return to their homes.
It is mandatory and any breaches will be penalised.
The majority of cases in Australia can be traced back to people returning home from overseas.
Around 3000 cases of COVID-19 have now been confirmed across Australia with 1405 in New South Wales, 520 in Victoria, 493 in Queensland, 231 in Western Australia, 235 in South Australia, 53 in the ACT, 47 in Tasmania and 12 in the Northern Territory.
Thirteen people have died – two in WA, seven in NSW, one in Queensland and three in Victoria.
Health authorities in NSW are concerned about the increasing number of COVID-19 cases where the source is unknown, and have flagged tougher social-distancing measures to combat them.
NSW Health confirmed 186 new coronavirus infections on Friday, bringing the state’s total number of cases to 1,405. Some 877 of those people were infected overseas and 278 were infected locally from contact with a confirmed case or a known cluster.
It’s the second consecutive day the number of new infections has decreased in NSW, but Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the virus was now spreading in a different way.
NSW’s Chief Medical Officer Kerry Chant said 145 cases of COVID-19 were acquired from an undeterminable source.
“That is the group that most concerns us because it represents community transmission without a known source,” she said.
The number of those unknown transmissions is rising.
- In other COVID-19 developments:
- Med-Con, Australia’s only medical mask manufacturing company in Shepparton, Victoria has upped production. “We were making about maybe 2 million masks a year and all of a sudden now we’re potentially looking at, with added machines, making as much as 50 million masks a year,” Med-Con CEO Steve Csiszar told 7.30.
- Hundreds of people stranded on a cruise ship off the coast of Western Australia will be evacuated to Germany within days. However, seven passengers with coronavirus will be treated locally. Most of the almost 832 passengers aboard the German-owned Artania vessel will be dispatched to Frankfurt on charter flights.
- Adventure clothing and equipment chain Kathmandu is the latest retailer to stand down thousands of workers because of the pandemic. The retailer says all its Australian stores including its surf wear chain, Rip Curl, will shut by the close of business today.
Overseas, according to a running count by Johns Hopkins University, the number of people infected in the US topped 82,000 on Thursday.
That’s just ahead of the 81,000 cases in China and 80,000 in Italy.
Italy has the most confirmed deaths of any country with more than 8,000. More than 1,000 people have died in the US.
The massive spread of the virus in America has resulted in mixed messages from President Donald Trump.
On the day the World Health Organisation warned America it could soon become the global epicentre of the pandemic, Mr Trump pushed for the US economy to be “opened up and raring to go” in just over two weeks.
“Our people are full of vim and vigour and energy,” he told Fox News viewers.
“They don’t want to be locked into a house or an apartment or somespace. It’s not for our country. We’re not built that way.”
Larry Brilliant, a veteran of the eradication of smallpox, told the New York Times ending the lockdown so early would be “an error of epic proportions”.
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