Daily News Roundup

September 17, 2020

THURSDAY, SEPT 17

Victoria has recorded its lowest increase in coronavirus cases in about three months, as the state’s 14-day averages continues to fall.

The state reported 28 new infections overnight and eight further deaths with COVID-19.

Metropolitan Melbourne’s 14-day daily case average has fallen from 49.6 yesterday to 44.4 today.

Regional Victoria, which entered step three of its recovery roadmap today, now has a rolling 14-day average of 2.9.

The total number of infections with an unknown source detected in Melbourne in the latest fortnight has climbed by two overnight to 83.

In order for Melbourne to progress to step three of the roadmap on October 26, Victoria needs to record fewer than five “mystery” cases over 14 days.

Progressing to step three of Melbourne’s roadmap also requires a statewide 14-day daily case average below five.

Regional Victoria will progress to the fourth step of its roadmap, scheduled for November 23, when there are no new cases for 14 days across Victoria.

Queensland recorded one new coronavirus case, a male healthcare worker in his 60s who was a close contact of a known case, Health Minister Steven Miles says.

Mr Miles said the man was in quarantine and his positive result was recorded on his tenth day.

It comes after there were no new cases of coronavirus in Queensland yesterday.

Meanwhile, US President Donald Trump says the official in charge of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) was confused when he said a coronavirus vaccine could take until the middle of 2021 to be rolled out.

CDC director Robert Redfield, a Trump appointee, testified on Wednesday (local time) in front of a US Senate committee that a COVID-19 vaccine could be broadly rolled out by the middle of next year or a little later.

“No, I think he made a mistake when he said that,” Mr Trump said, telling reporters he called Mr Redfield after the testimony.

“That’s incorrect information. I believe he was confused. I think he just misunderstood the question, probably.”

Mr Redfield, head of the federal agency responsible for managing the COVID-19 pandemic, had said that a general availability of a vaccine could come by “late second quarter, third quarter 2021.”

A vaccine could be ready as soon as this November or December, Mr Redfield said, adding that limited first doses could go to those who were most vulnerable.

But “in order to have enough of us immunised to have immunity, I think it’s going to take six to nine months,” he said.

Mr Trump also contradicted Mr Redfield on the use of masks.

The CDC director told the committee that masks are a more effective means of protection against the coronavirus than a potential vaccine.

But Mr Trump said he spoke to Mr Redfield afterward about his comments and that “if you ask him, he’d probably say that he didn’t understand the question.”

“There are a lot of problems with masks,” Mr Trump said.

There is broad scientific consensus that wearing a mask helps stop the spread of COVID-19, and Mr Trump’s own CDC recommends wearing masks “in public settings around people who don’t live in your household and when you can’t stay six feet away from others.”

“Masks help stop the spread of COVID-19 to others,” the guidance says.

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   Sunshine Coast lifeguards hope two drones being officially launched for the first time this weekend will help prevent drownings and shark attacks on local beaches.

Lifeguards have been in training and trialling the technology for two years to begin using them in regular patrols for the first time these school holidays, beginning on Saturday.

The M600 drone, worth $20,000, can travel up to 400 metres, deliver rescue pods for struggling swimmers, and even has a PA system to help lifeguards communicate with beachgoers.

A second, smaller drone worth $6,000 will also be used for surveillance to help scan beaches and identify rips, changing conditions, and marine life like sharks.

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Netflix will increase its prices in Australia from today, reports news.com.

The streaming platform is jacking up its basic plan from $9.99 to $10.99 while its standard plan will go up from $13.99 to $15.99.

The price for the premium plan remains unchanged at $19.99.

The price rises on the basic and standard plans are the first for Netflix since June 2017, when costs went up partly to cover the cost of the Australian Government’s tax changes which included charging GST on digital products.

New Netflix members will see the changes from today while existing members will see it roll out in the next few weeks, depending on where they are in their billing cycle.

A basic plan entitles a customer to one simultaneous stream and standard definition picture quality while a standard plan includes two simultaneous streams, high definition picture quality and two devices on to which content can be downloaded.

A premium plan includes four simultaneous streams, four download devices and ultra-high definition (4K) quality.