WEDNESDAY AUG 12
Victoria has recorded 410 new cases and 21 new deaths – marking the state’s deadliest day and another increase in cases.
The death toll is an increase from 19 deaths recorded on both Monday and Tuesday. The new figures mean 267 Victorians have died since the beginning of the pandemic and 249 have died since May.
Case numbers have also risen again. Victoria recorded 331 new cases on Tuesday. There were 322 new cases recorded on Monday.
The state is marked down for at least five more weeks of tough lockdown rules, and Daniel Andrews says that there’s no guarantee even that will work.
He has not ruled out extending the current rules and said on Monday that there was no “magic number” of daily new cases that would result in restrictions being lifted.
However, epidemiologists have said that if daily new cases start to drop below 20, the state can start peeling back restrictions. The last time case numbers were that low in Victoria was seven weeks ago, before they rose to a peak of 725 cases last week.
Meanwhile, NSW residents have been warned a rapidly growing school cluster is likely just the “tip of the iceberg”, with many more cases going undetected.
Director of the National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance (NCIRS), Professor Kristine Macartney, told the ABC the Tangara school outbreak shows there is likely a lot more community transmission than previously thought.
“Schools are probably acting as the tip of the iceberg. We are expecting that the virus is in the community more broadly to some level, which we do need to uncover now and understand so we can continue to see children safely attending school,” she said.
NSW recorded 22 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, marking the state’s biggest spike in cases since April.
Four of those are from people in hotel quarantine, two are from Victoria and eight are linked to the Tangara school cluster in Cherrybrook.
In Queensland, here were no new cases of coronavirus detected overnight.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk told parliament this morning there had been record tests in the last 24 hours, with nearly 10,000 conducted.
Ms Palaszczuk said the Government was also commencing a trial where pharmacies would be able to test people for COVID-19.
“Often pharmacies are the first place people with symptoms will seek treatment, and it makes sense to offer these people tests, as a place to get tested,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
New Zealand’s biggest city is back in lockdown after the country recorded its first coronavirus cases in more than 100 days.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said Auckland would move to stage 3 restrictions for three days as a “precautionary approach”, while level 2 restrictions are being imposed in the rest of the country.
All four cases are members of one family from South Auckland.
The first case was a person aged in their 50s who had no history of overseas travel.
That person was tested twice on Monday after visiting their GP, with both results coming back positive.
This person was then interviewed by health officials and all six of their family members were tested. Three were negative, but three were positive, including one woman in her 20s.
Close contacts have been tested and all remain in isolation for 14 days, regardless of
New Zealand’s Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield has revealed the woman in her 20s travelled to Rotorua while symptomatic.
She is one of four family members who travelled to Rotorua together.
“We are working with urgency to find out what places the family may have visited while in Rotorua over the weekend,” Dr Bloomfield said.
“But the important thing here [is] people in Rotorua and around the country should be vigilant about their health, and seek advice if they have symptoms.”
Anyone who was in Rotorua — a popular tourist destination — over the weekend has been urged to get tested.
Back in Auckland, three colleagues of one of the cases are symptomatic and are being tested.
Those people and their families are now in isolation, and the workplace, which spans four sites across Auckland, has been shut down, with around 160 staff tested.
Health officials are working to trace the origin of the infection, and contact tracing is underway.
Democratic Presidential candidate Joe Biden has picked Californian Senator Kamala Harris to be his running mate in the 2020 US election.
The former vice-president announced his pick via a text message to his supporters after a lengthy vetting process and intense speculation.
“Big news: I’ve chosen Kamala Harris as my running mate. Together, with you, we’re going to beat Trump,” the message said.
The 55-year-old is the first black woman to be nominated as a vice-presidential candidate, and only the third woman to ever get the nod from a major party.
Both Harris’s parents emigrated to the United States — her mother as a breast cancer scientist from India, and her father as an academic from Jamaica.
Harris, who has been married to lawyer Douglas Emhoff since 2014 (they have no children) is no stranger to making history in her political career — she’s already the first person with black or Asian-American background to serve as California’s attorney-general and the second black woman ever elected to the US Senate.
If Biden and Harris win, she’ll be the first woman ever elected as US vice-president.
The announcement comes less than a week before the Democratic Nominating Convention.
The pair will take on US President Donald Trump and Vice-President Mike Pence at the ballot box on November 3.
Harris was first elected to national office at the same 2016 election that catapulted Trump into the White House.
Before that, Harris, served as a district attorney for San Francisco and as California’s attorney-general.
Harris wasted no time in grabbing the national spotlight in her first term in the Senate, and made a name for herself with viral moments questioning Trump’s cabinet appointees during confirmation hearings.
Harris used that spotlight to join the race to become the Democratic presidential nominee, but was one of the first high-profile dropouts, in December 2019, when her campaign ran out of funds.
“These aren’t normal times,” Biden said in an email to supporters Tuesday afternoon, referencing the coronavirus pandemic and calls for racial justice. “I need someone working alongside me who is smart, tough, and ready to lead. Kamala is that person.”
Harris tweeted that she’s “honored” to join the ticket, saying Biden can “unify the American people because he’s spent his life fighting for us. And as president, he’ll build an America that lives up to our ideals.”
Meanwhile, President Trump, in a press briefing Tuesday, said he was “a little surprised” by the pick, given Harris’ attack on Biden in the Democratic debate.
Trump also slammed what he called Harris’ “horrible” questioning of his Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, and her legislative record, saying she is “known as being about the most liberal person in the Senate.”
If he wins, Biden will be 81 years old by the time he will be running for a potential second term.
He’s not said if he’ll try for a potential second term in 2024, but it has been widely assumed that Biden’s VP will take on the unofficial mantle of 2024 Democratic nominee if he doesn’t.
Of course, four years is an eternity in US politics, and there are two elections between now and an eventual president Kamala Harris, but with her selection, Harris just got the equivalent of a 20m head start in a 100m race.
If she can help Biden to victory, the speculation about her potential elevation to the top job in 2024 will begin on Inauguration Day in 2021.
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