TUESDAY, March 31
Health authorities in NSW say there has been a coronavirus outbreak among backpackers in Bondi, in Sydney’s east, after hundreds were reported to have ignored social distancing measures.
NSW Chief health officer, Dr Kerry Chant said: “We know there is a potential risk that other members of the community may have come in contact with infected backpackers.
“We have had a small number of cases in that community where there aren’t obvious links, but a plausible explanation is they have come into contact with an infected backpacker before that backpacker was aware they had COVID-19.”
Dr Chant’s revelation came as police began fining people in NSW and Victoria caught breaching new rules limiting public gatherings to two people, as well as leaving their homes ‘without reasonable excuse’
NSW police commissioner Mick Fuller confirmed police have issued 13 fines since the public health directives came in.
He also gave some further clarification on the new restriction of movement being enforced in NSW from today.
“If you need to exercise, we get it – go for a walk, sensibly, on your own.
“You can still meet a personal trainer if you have to. The reality is, if you need to go to the shops to get some food, absolutely acceptable. If you need to go to the chemist or see your GP, all of these things are absolutely acceptable.”
Australia’s death toll rose to 18, after the death of two women in their 80s in Tasmania and the ACT.
As of 8am today, 4364 people across Australia have tested positive for COVID-19 with 2032 cases in NSW, 821 in Victoria, 689 in Queensland, 305 in South Australia, 355 in Western Australia, 15 in the Northern Territory, 66 in Tasmania and 78 in the ACT.
Globally, as of 6am there are more than 745,000 known cases of infection and 35,000 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins University tally. More than 156,000 people have recovered
In other COVID-19 news:
- A painting by Dutch master Vincent van Gogh has been stolen in an overnight smash-and-grab raid on an Amsterdam museum that was closed to prevent the spread of coronavirus.The value of the stolen painting was not immediately known.
- More than 100 million surgical masks will be pumped out by a South Australian company in the coming months under an agreement with the federal and SA governments that also includes the manufacture of respirators. Adelaide’s Detmold Group will employ up to an extra 160 workers and invest more than $1 million in buying local supplies that will support other businesses.
- Over 113,000 businesses have registered for the federal government’s $130 billion wage subsidy program of $1500 per fortnight for each employee, Prime Minister Scott Morrison tweeted this morning.
- A crackdown on people who cough or spit at police officers or medical staff in Western Australia could see offenders jailed for up to 10 years, under legislation to go before State Parliament this week. The measure is part of several coronavirus-related provisions the Government wants debated urgently in State Parliament this week, including a proposal to use tracking bracelets on people who do not self-isolate.
- Three crew members have been evacuated from the Ruby Princess cruise ship, off the NSW coast, and taken to hospital, with 189 COVID-19 infections in NSW now linked to the ship. The ship with more than 1100 crew quarantined on board has become a major source of the coronavirus across Australia after infected passengers were allowed off the ship.
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