Daily News Roundup

April 20, 2020


For the first time in more than 80 days Queensland has recorded no new cases of coronavirus overnight, the state’s Premier saying she was “overjoyed”. 

“This is tremendous news but we want to see this over a period of weeks,” said Annastacia Palaszczuk.

“From our large population in Queensland, nearly 5 million people, to have zero cases, it’s been I think around 81 days since we’ve had that record.

“If we can keep this up over the coming weeks I’m sure that that’s going to mean that we’ll be able to make some changes and ease some of those restrictions on the population,” she said.

Queensland Health minister Steven Miles said it was a “fantastic result”.

“This is the reward for the effort that we all put in over the Easter long weekend,” he said.

“If we can sustain this then the end is in sight.”

Twenty people are in hospital, with seven patients on ventilators in intensive care.

Queensland’s Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young said Queenslanders would still need to follow restrictions for a while.

“There are some things we can do, of course, and those are the things we will be looking at carefully. Where we can remove some of those restrictions that we feel won’t lead to a bounce back in those numbers of cases,” she said.

“Our Prime Minister has said that over the next four weeks if we can manage surveillance, we can manage contact tracing and we can manage to put in place rapid response teams … then we can look at what restrictions can be further eased.”

In other COVID-19 news:

  • More than 400 Australians who were stuck overseas by the COVID-19 pandemic arrived in Adelaide on a charter plane this morning where they will be quarantined for two weeks.The new arrivals came as no new cases of coronavirus were recorded in South Australia for the second straight day. The state’s total remains at 435 and only 89 cases are active.The Lion Air repatriation flight came from India via Denpasar.
  • As the global death toll from COVID-19 passes 164,000, the World Health Organisations says it is deeply concerned the virus is “gathering pace” outside G20 countries and has warned that lifting lockdown restrictions does not mark the end of the pandemic. The Director-General of the WHO, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said: “One of the biggest challenges we face in Africa and other countries is the critical shortage of supplies, and the ability to deliver them because of weak supply chain”. He said “lifting so-called lockdown restrictions is not the end of the epidemic in any country; it’s just the beginning of the next phase”.
  • Tony Award-nominated actor Nick Cordero has had his right leg amputated after suffering complications from coronavirus. Amanda Kloots, his wife, wrote on Instagram late Saturday (local time) that Cordero “made it out of surgery alive and is headed to his room to rest and recover”. Cordero had been treated with blood thinners to help with clotting in his leg, but his doctors had to stop the treatment because it was causing internal bleeding. Cordero entered intensive care in Los Angeles on March 31 and had been on a ventilator and unconscious after contracting COVID-19. Cordero played a mob soldier with a flair for the dramatic in 2014 in Broadway’s Woody Allen 1994 film adaptation of Bullets Over Broadway, for which he received a Tony nomination for best featured actor in a musical.
  • A man in his 80s died in a Victorian hospital overnight after contracting COVID-19, taking the state’s death toll to 15. Victoria’s Premier Daniel Andrews said nine new cases were confirmed overnight, bringing the total number of cases to 1,328.
  • Health authorities in NSW have confirmed just six new coronavirus infections, taking the state’s total to 2,963. It’s the lowest number of new infections since four were recorded in the 24 hours to 8:00pm on March 10.
  • Europe has recorded more than 100,000 deaths and more than 1 million cases of coronavirus, but the number of deaths in New York has begun to decline. The European Centre for Disease Control (ECDC) said the continent now had more than 1 million confirmed cases. According to the ECDC tally, Europe accounts for almost half the number of global cases and more than half the total deaths.
  • Britain’s cabinet secretary Michael Gove has labelled a Sunday Times investigation into the Government’s handling of the coronavirus crisis as “grotesque” and defended Boris Johnson’s response to the pandemic. Mr Gove confirmed the Prime Minister missed five of the Government’s top-level emergency planning meetings as the coronavirus pandemic was taking hold. But he insisted that Mr Johnson’s attendance was not expected, and that he had been fully briefed. The Sunday Times newspaper reported Mr Johnson had skipped the five crisis meetings and suggested the Prime Minister did not take the outbreak seriously in the early stages of the outbreak.
  • New York Governor Andrew Cuomo says his state is on “the other side of the plateau” and that ongoing social-distancing practices are working to stem the spread of COVID-19.
  • New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said US President Donald Trump had betrayed his fellow New Yorkers by failing to push for billions of dollars in additional federal aid needed to help the city deal with the economic crisis.

More than 10 people, including a police woman, have been killed in the Canadian province of Nova Scotia after a gunman dressed as a policeman went on a 12-hour rampage. 

The accused gunman, 51-year-old Gabriel Wortman, died after being arrested.

Police said he was at one point dressed as a member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and was driving a fake police car.

Constable Heidi Stevenson, a mother of two and 23-year RCMP veteran, was killed in the incident and a male officer was in hospital with non-lethal injuries, RCMP Chief Superintendent Chris Leather told reporters.

The incident began in the small coastal town of Portapique in Canada’s east on Saturday night (local time), police said, where frightened residents took cover in their basements as officers responded to what was initially called a firearms complaint.

There were also numerous buildings burned and Chief Superintendent Leather said there may be more bodies in burnt buildings across the province.

He said the victims seemed “very random in nature” and that the suspect was not known to police and had no known history of violence.

“We believe it to be one person who is responsible for all the killings and that he alone moved across the northern part of the province and committed what appears to be several homicides,” Chief Superintendent Leather said.

Mr Wortman was arrested at the Irving Big Stop petrol station in Enfield, Nova Scotia, about 32 kilometres west of downtown Halifax and 129 kilometres south of Portapique.

Witnesses saw a body lying at the petrol station but police did not immediately comment on the identity.

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