Daily News Roundup

August 19, 2021

THURSDAY, August 19

NSW recorded 681 new locally acquired COVID-19 cases in the 24 hours to 8:00pm yesterday.

It is the highest number of new cases the state has ever recorded in a day.

There was also one COVID-19 death, bringing the state’s total fatalities in this Delta outbreak to 61. The man was in his 80s and had underlying health conditions.

The COVID-19 lockdown affecting NSW’s regional areas has been extended until August 28.

It had been due to finish this weekend.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has again called out essential workers in the 12 hotspot areas to get vaccinated as the additional 500,000 doses are released.

“I know these are challenging times, but I can see the light at the end of the tunnel,” she said.

“They are difficult times for all of us, the next few weeks will be hard, but no doubt that once we get those high vaccination rates life will feel much better, it will look

As infections show no sign of slowing, the state’s police minister has signalled that officers will be ready to impose a curfew.

Speaking to Sky News this morning he said he would be “happy” for his officers to impose a curfew in Sydney if he was asked to bring one in by the state’s Police Commissioner.

So far, authorities have resisted calls from some parts of the community for a curfew – like the one that has been imposed in Melbourne now.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews this week introduced a curfew for metropolitan Melbourne from 9pm to 5am each day and ordered the closure of playgrounds, basketball courts and skateparks.

*Several University of Wollongong (UOW) students have been expelled from their accommodation after hosting parties in their dorm rooms during lockdown.

Five students have been removed from Campus East while 11 infringement notices have been handed out by police.

The university says they are putting the community at risk.

“We take the breach of a public health order very, very seriously,” said UOW director of student and accommodation services Theresa Hoynes.

“There are consequences for the decisions that they take and they are adults, so these are their decisions that they are taking.

“They are making deliberate decisions to breach public health orders and we can’t tolerate that.”

*NSW health authorities want all children between 12 and 15 vaccinated immediately given the deteriorating situation in the state but approval is still yet to come from the national immunisation body, which says it could take months.

COVID-19 cases are surging among those 19 years and under in NSW and account for more than a third of all cases.

There are currently 11 people between 12 and 17 who are being treated for COVID-19 in hospital.

However, only a small number of 12- to 15-year-olds are eligible to receive Pfizer and chief health officer Kerry Chant wants the roll-out expanded urgently.

“I firmly believe that we need to get in and vaccinate our 12- to 15-year-olds at the moment. We vaccinated the 16-year-olds [but] I’m keen to get into the 12- to 15-year-olds personally,” she said.

“I believe in targeting school-aged children, in particular high school children, very quickly because we know they contribute to transmission.”

*There were zero new community-acquired COVID-19 cases recorded in Queensland overnight, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced at a press conference at the Logan vaccination clinic this morning.

There were also no cases recorded in hotel or home quarantine.

“A double donut day, so well done everyone, that’s absolutely great news,” Ms Palaszczuk said.

There are still 1,800 people in home quarantine as a result of Brisbane’s Indooroopilly schools cluster.

Authorities carried out 14,336 COVID-19 tests in the past 24 hours.

Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young stressed the importance of people remaining in home quarantine if there’s any chance they might be infected.

“We know that it could just take one case of Delta [variant], as we’re seeing in New South Wales to end up with thousands of cases,” Dr Young said.

“So, every single person who might be infected, we need to ensure that they remain in quarantine so thank you very much for that.”

*Victoria has recorded 57 new locally acquired Covid-19 cases on Thursday as Melbourne reached a grim milestone of 200 days in lockdown since the start of the pandemic.

The alarming daily case figure – a jump of 33 from Wednesday’s 24 infections – is the highest number of new cases since 70 cases were recorded on September 8 last year during the state’s deadly second wave.

Victoria’s health department confirmed the new local cases just after 8.30am, but in a positive sign they said only three were mystery infections.

The department revealed 54 of the 57 new local cases could be linked to existing outbreaks but only 44 positive people were in isolation during their infectious period.

The significant jump in cases was understood to be expected, as many of the new cases had just completed their day 13 tests in quarantine after being identified as a close contact.

It’s now 15 days since the first positive teacher at Al-Taqwa College in Truganina was detected with almost 2500 primary close contacts connected to the school starting 14 days of isolation a day later.


*New Zealand health authorities know the outbreak of COVID-19 spreading across the North Island is linked to New South Wales, they just don’t know how or when it crossed the ditch.

The first case reported in this outbreak was a 58-year-old man from Devonport in Auckland, but one working theory is that he was not the so-called “index case” and there was a chain of transmission before him.

“It’s almost certain they were given COVID-19 by someone else and what we’re trying to do is identify how many steps in that chain of transmission there were before we got to our Devonport case,” COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said. 

The total number of cases in the outbreak has reached 10, but more cases are likely to be reported this morning.

All current cases are linked to the original cluster bar one and that person has a connection to the border. 

That case is a woman in her 60s, but New Zealand health director Ashley Bloomfield told local media there were no known links between her and the growing cluster

“Of course we’ll be doing the whole genome sequencing, just as we do on all cases just to see if that fits with, or is part of the current outbreak, but it seems likely that that’s a separate coincidental infection,” he said. 

“It’s clearly linked to the border, this is an international crew member, but it’s not yet linked and I don’t think it will be linked to the outbreak.”

An Air New Zealand crew member tested positive as part of routine testing after arriving in Auckland from Japan. 

Mr Hipkins said authorities were starting to get an idea of the outbreak’s timeline because the first case detected in New Zealand was linked by genomic sequencing to cases that were in Australia “within the last few weeks”. 

Amanda Kvalsvig, an epidemiologist at the University of Otago Wellington, says “tracing an outbreak back to the border is very helpful because it gives modellers a timeline”.

“Putting that information together with data about transmission characteristics of the Delta variant, modellers can estimate how many unidentified cases there might be,” she said. 


Sean Lock, the English comedian whose dry, deadpan quips were highlights of comedy show 8 Out of 10 Cats, is being remembered as a “giantly funny” man after dying of cancer. He was 58.

Lock frequently appeared on British television panel shows including Big Fat Quiz, QI and Have I Got News For You, in addition to regularly performing stand-up comedy.

But he was best known for captaining a team on 8 Out of 10 Cats.

Asked in one episode what he would like his obituary to say, Lock quipped: “I don’t care, I’ll be dead.”

“Ideally, I’d like it just to say ‘NO! WHY? NO! AHHHH!

“You can’t write tears.”

Lock’s agent reflected on his creativity and humour after his death.

“Sean was one of Britain’s finest comedians, his boundless creativity, lightning wit and the absurdist brilliance of his work, marked him out as a unique voice in British comedy,” the statement said.

“Sean was also a cherished husband and father to three children.”

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