Daily News Roundup

April 21, 2020


TUESDAY, April 21

In what could be a blueprint for other states, NSW is planning for school students to return to classrooms full-time from term three, under a staged rollout that will see students spending some time in class from the third week of term two.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian says children will return to school campuses one day a week from week three of term two.

The managed return to school will start from Monday, May 11.

“And then progressively two days, and then we hope by the end of term two we’ll be in a position to have students going back to school in a full-time capacity by term three,” she said.

The school plan came as NSW Health authorities confirmed six new coronavirus infections, bringing the state’s total number of cases to 2,969.

It comes as six more Queenslanders have tested positive for the coronavirus, a day after the state reported zero new cases.

“It means that we still do have cases in our community, so it’s too early to consider lifting restrictions at this time,” Queensland Chief Medical Officer Dr Jeannette Young said.

It brings the total number of cases in QLD to 1,024, with more than 83,000 people tested across the state. 

In other COVID-19 news: 

  • Virgin Australia has officially entered voluntary administration. In a statement to the ASX, the airline said the move would help “recapitalise the business and help ensure it emerges in a stronger financial position on the other side of the COVID-19 crisis”. Virgin Australia has frozen the accounts of its 10 million Velocity frequent flyer members after they were blocked from redeeming their frequent flyer points for at least four weeks.
  • Qld Health authorities have begun widespread testing at the Cairns Hospital, after five cases of COVID-19 were linked to a lab within the hospital precinct. A technician from South East Queensland is believed to have been infected with the virus when he flew to Cairns to conduct maintenance work at the laboratory about a month ago. Four other workers within the facility have now tested positive for the virus after serology testing which detects antibodies.
  • More than 6600 Australians now have caught the virus, with around 4200 recovered.  Australian deaths stand at 71 (30 in NSW, 15 in Vic, four in Qld, seven in WA, eight in Tas, three in ACT, four in SA). 21 were passengers on the Ruby Princess. Queensland toll excludes two Queenslanders who died in other states.
  • State and federal leaders will discuss lifting restrictions on elective surgeries at a national cabinet meeting on Tuesday.
  • The global body for player unions in sport has cast doubt on whether the NRL can restart its season on May 28, saying the planned return date is “very ambitious”. The NRL announced almost a fortnight ago it hoped to resume playing premiership matches next month, after it was forced to suspend the season in March because of the coronavirus outbreak. But World Players Association executive director Brendan Schwab said the NRL must show caution with its proposal to recommence the season.
  • A second plane load of Australians flown home from India has arrived in Adelaide to enter a two-week quarantine at city hotels as  part of coronavirus restrictions. About 325 passengers flew from Mumbai via Indonesia and arrived early on Tuesday. On Monday, 374 people arrived on a similar flight from Chennai with all passengers showing no signs of the virus during initial health checks, SA Health said.
  • A new survey suggests more than three in five Australians believe working from home will become the norm, even when the coronavirus pandemic has passed. Research by professional networking platform Linkedin found two-thirds of respondents are being supported by their employer to work remotely during the COVID-19 crisis. A similar amount (63 per cent) are confident this will continue into the future.

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