Daily News Roundup

August 18, 2020

ABC News: Scott Jewell



Victoria’s COVID-19 count continues to go down, recording 222 new cases and 17 deaths overnight.

It is the third consecutive day of numbers below 300.

Today’s new case numbers are the lowest in a month, since Victoria recorded 217 new cases on July 18.

The state’s death toll now stands at 351, which accounts for about 80 per cent of Australia’s coronavirus deaths.

More information on today’s new cases is expected to be provided at a press conference later today.

Yesterday Victoria recorded 282 new cases of coronavirus and 25 further deaths, making it the state’s deadliest day since the pandemic began.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk admitting she’s still “very concerned” about NSW, saying that with the city of Sydney now being marked as a hotspot and a worker at Flemington Markets being diagnosed with coronavirus, borders would stay shut.

“We are still very concerned about NSW and we are watching very closely if there is any movement of cases in northern NSW,” Ms Palaszczuk said.

“It’s critical that we keep on top of that…we can’t give that certainty when the situation is constantly evolving and changing.

“I will make the best decisions to keep Queenslanders safe.”

Anyone who lives in the City of Sydney or has visited there in the past two weeks has been urged to get tested, even if they only have mild symptoms such as a runny nose or scratchy throat.

Health authorities in NSW have confirmed three new coronavirus infections in the 24 hours to 8:00pm on Monday.

One of the cases is a returned traveller in hotel quarantine, one is linked to the funerals cluster in Sydney’s south west and the source of the third case is under investigation.

Ms Palaszczuk said the Queensland Government was preparing a “shield against coronavirus,” by stockpiling more than 120 million pieces of personal protective equipment (PPE), despite recording another day of no new COVID-19 cases.

The state has reached 29 days without community transmission of coronavirus leaving just seven active cases.

“We are doing absolutely everything we need to do in case we do have a COVID outbreak,” Ms Palaszczuk said.

She said there were plans to double a 900,000 square metre warehouse space dedicated to storing PPE.

“We have 900 days’ worth of surgical masks, 200 days’ worth of medical gowns, 300 days’ worth of gloves permanently on hand and that’s stage one,” she said.

In the last 24 hours 7,728 coronavirus tests have been conducted.


Portugal’s President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, 71, is being praised after helping rescue two young women who had been caught in a rip at a popular beach.

Mr de Sousa was at a beach in Portugal’s Algarve region when the two women in the water were swept by currents after their kayak capsized.

The President was filmed helping the life guards save the women.

“They were dragged away from another beach to this beach, the boat turned over and they swallowed a lot of water and they couldn’t turn the boat up, nor swim, nor get back onto the boat, the current was very strong,” he told reporters on the beach.

“So, it was possible to push them and help them get away from the current.”

Mr de Sousa is on a work holiday tour, visiting all Portuguese regions during summertime to show his support for the tourism sector, during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Following the rescue, the President said he hoped the pair would be more careful the next time they entered the water.

“It was a big scare for them, they swallowed a lot of water,” he said.

“Fortunately, me and another patriot helped them.

“To get out the kayak and then come to shore holding onto the kayak, at their age — they are girls — is something hard to do.


Three men are behind bars after up to $250 million worth of cocaine was seized from a small fishing boat off the NSW coast.

Australian Border Force (ABF) started tracking a Chinese trawler when it entered Australian waters last Tuesday and took an “unusual route” towards Lord Howe Island.

The suspicious vessel didn’t have a fishing permit and was “zig-zagging” as it moved east off Newcastle.

Up to a tonne of drugs was allegedly transferred from the mystery ship to a fishing boat called “Coralynne’ before a dramatic police operation on Saturday morning.

Heavily armed officers battled 3.5-metre seas before storming the small boat and arrested three people — including two Sydney men, Chris Preca and Jackson Giles-Adam — and Man Chan from Hong Kong.

When authorities boarded the ship, it’s believed a fire broke out in one of the compartments but was quickly extinguished.

After being screened and tested for COVID-19 by NSW Health, the three men were charged with importing a commercial quantity of a controlled drug.

If found guilty, each face a maximum penalty of life in prison.

NSW Assistant Police Commissioner Stuart Smith said rough seas and the need to comply with government health orders further complicated the operation.

“A lot of this product comes from countries that are at risk or dealing with COVID-19.

“PPE was worn throughout the operation, the prisoners are tested and then we go through a complex process of decontamination,” he said.

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