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LIVE Coronavirus updates: What you can and can’t do in Victoria

The Australian government has seen a strong uptake following the release of its COVID-19 app and What’s App channel today.

As of 5.40pm EDT, the app had 460,000 downloads (410,000 iOS and 50,000 Android) and for WhatsApp, they had more than 220k users and sent over 1.25 million messages.

You can find the App or the What’s App details on the Australia.gov.au website or download the “Coronavirus Australia” government app in the Apple App Store or Google Play, or join the WhatsApp channel on iOS or Android.

A third Queenslander has died from COVID-19, as the state announces preparations for a worst-case scenario using a 100-year old plan of action.

The latest death was a 75-year-old woman who had been one of the passengers aboard the Ruby Princess cruise ship, where it’s believed she contracted the virus before guests were allowed to disembark in Sydney.

The Queensland Premier is considering transforming the Brisbane Convention Centre into a makeshift hospital for coronavirus patients.

She was being treated in Caboolture Hospital and was understood to have also had underlying health issues that exacerbated her condition.

Family members of the woman were understood to have fallen unwell and were in isolation.

Click here to read the full story.

Wellington: New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has admitted she was “devastated” to see new mothers go without support helpers during childbirth, but said the restrictions were a necessary part of her country’s coronavirus lockdown.

New Zealand endured day four of a four-week lockdown on Sunday, a nationwide clampdown on business and movement of people designed to eliminate the spread of COVID-19 among Kiwis.

The country reported its first death on Sunday. Health authorities said the victim was a woman in her 70s. They said she was admitted to a West Coast hospital last week with what they initially thought was influenza, and hospital staff did not wear full protective equipment.

As a result, 21 staffers have been put in self-isolation for two weeks.

The country has reported 514 cases of COVID-19.

As part of the lockdown, hospitals are maintaining strict access rules on their wards, with mothers denied some support during childbirth, and afterwards.

Ms Ardern, who gave birth to her first daughter in June 2018, said hearing of the experiences of mothers was pulling at her heartstrings.

“I have such empathy. I have read the stories,” she said.

“It wasn’t so long ago that I was in that same position.

“But I’ve also read the stories of people who have loved ones who are very ill in hospital and are unable to visit as well.

“I recognise the need to keep mum and baby safe. It’s what hospitals are needing to juggle at this incredibly difficult time.”

Click here to read the full story.

UPDATED STORY

A spokesman for the public Albert Park Golf Course denied reports from onlookers that there was over-crowding and said staff were strictly supervising social distancing.

A woman walking down Lakeside Drive at about 11.30am on Sunday said she saw groups of to eight people together on the Albert Park course.

She said the driving range was busy and ‘‘every tee was full’’ with two people in all carts.

She questioned why golf courses are open and said she was shocked and no wonder people were confused about coronavirus restrictions “when you see a full golf course like normal life”!

The spokesman said staff were wearing masks and gloves and customers were having no contact with staff: ‘‘they just tap their card and off they go’’.

Golf carts were limited to one person each.

‘‘We sterilise everything, Every time a cart comes in it gets washed and sanitised and it’s sent out again.’’

Coffee or alcohol was not being sold.

‘‘For the most part we’ve got people doing the right thing, otherwise they’ll have to be removed.’’

They had reduced player numbers by 35% on a normal Sunday.

Where normally four players per group would tee off at seven minute intervals, they had removed many of the tee times so there were more gaps between players and made them three players per group.

On Friday, Golf Australia recommended that, based on Health Department Stage 2 restrictions regarding COVID-19, ‘‘all Victorian golf clubs and facilities should close as soon as practicable until April 13, 2020’’.

But the Albert Park course spokesman said closing was ‘‘not my call’’.

Eleven returned travellers failed to answer their doors when police came knocking on Saturday.

Over a 24-hour period from 8am Saturday, officers conducted almost 1500 checks, including 139 on returned travellers to ensure they were in self-isolation.

Victoria Police declined to comment on whether those who were not home should expect to be fined or if they had failed to provide police with the correct information.

As part of ramped up efforts to stop people flouting social distancing measures, police also checked 614 businesses, 210 popular places and 467 non-essential services and businesses.

Police are yet to charge anyone with refusing or failing to comply with the direction, but a number of warnings were given to people found at gatherings.

US health authorities have urged millions of residents of the New York City region to avoid non-essential travel due to surging coronavirus infections there as deaths in the United States and Europe rose dramatically and countries including Russia and Vietnam tightened travel and business restrictions.

The advisory late on Saturday came after the number of confirmed American deaths passed 2000, more than double the level two days earlier. It applies to New York City, the hardest-hit US municipality, and the states of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. The advisory cited “extensive community transmission” in the area and urged residents to avoid travel for 14 days.

Worldwide infections surpassed the 660,000 mark, with more than 30,000 deaths as new cases, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.

The United States leads the world with more than 120,000 reported cases. Five other countries have higher death tolls: Italy, Spain, China, Iran and France. Italy has more than 10,000 deaths, the most of any country.

The disease has spread to other major US cities including Detroit, New Orleans and Chicago and into rural America, where hotspots erupted in Midwestern towns and Rocky Mountain ski havens.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said defeating the virus will take “weeks and weeks and weeks”. The United Nations, which has its headquarters in New York, donated 250,000 face masks to the city. Cuomo delayed the state’s presidential primary from April 28 to June 23.

The travel advisory from the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention said employees of trucking, food supply, financial services and some other industries were exempt from the measure, It said governors of the three states had “full discretion” over how to carry out the advisory.

Earlier, Cuomo and governors of the other states rejected a suggestion by President Donald Trump that he might impose a quarantine on the region. Cuomo said that would be illegal, economically catastrophic and unproductive since other areas are already seeing a surge.

Click here to read the full story.

The Australian Medical Association’s WA president Andrew Miller says Perth’s medical profession is “dumbfounded” at the decision to send cruise ship patients to private hospitals in Perth.

“To dump these patients who need our care … into our back-up hospitals …is a completely inexplicable decision to us,” he said today.

“My members have lost confidence completely in the decision-making process.”

Dr Miller said the plan was a “dog’s breakfast”, and while his members would do their best, “we will not forget the stupidity of this decision”.

“[The] dented confidence of our members has done nothing to allow me to reassure the community that we have the situation in hand.”

Yesterday Premier Mark McGowan confirmed 46 passengers on the Artania cruise ship, which is currently docked at Fremantle port, were displaying COVID-19 symptoms.

He said after crisis talks with the Commonwealth on Friday night they had agreed to set up wings in Hollywood and Bethesda hospitals at the Commonwealth’s cost that would receive any sick patients.

But Bethesda Hospital has this afternoon said they would not accept any COVID-19 patients from cruise ships and, acording to Dr Miller, The Mount Hospital will now be expected to.

WA recorded 33 new positive patients overnight, with three of those from the Artania cruise ship.

Health Minister Roger Cook said today 16 of the new cases were travellers from overseas, seven of which were cruise ship passengers, including the three from Artania.

Medical professionals among the 33 NSW Police said ignored quarantine orders say they followed all instructions from law enforcement.

Two specialists, who arrived as part of the larger group of 77 Australian doctors returning to Sydney on a chartered flight from Chile and remain in quarantine, said they “followed lawful direction at every point”.

A NSW Police spokesperson said on Saturday officers assisted with health screening and NSW Health told a number of passengers to go into quarantine at designated hotels in Sydney. When police returned a short time later to serve public health orders, they found 33 of the quarantined passengers had left.

People arriving from overseas were met by police officers at Sydney Airport on Sunday morning.

People arriving from overseas were met by police officers at Sydney Airport on Sunday morning. Credit:Edwina Pickles

Dr Glen Lo said they spent five or so hours at Sydney airport after their arrival, and he felt there was some “confusion and misunderstanding” between Border Force, NSW Police, and NSW Health.

“I don’t see how 30 middle-aged doctors could manage to abscond at 3am in the eyes of 20 armed police,” he said.

Read the full story here.

Major hospitals in Melbourne’s west have closed their intensive care units to visitors.

Western Health, which runs the Sunshine, Footscray and Williamstown hospitals announced the changes on Sunday.

“It is with regret that Western Health wishes to advise that we are no longer able to allow visitors to our Intensive Care Units. This measure will be in place while we respond to the COVID-19 outbreak,” a statement said.

“This decision has been made in the best interests of our patients and staff as well as visitors.”

Western Health said families of patients will be advised of the new measures by the ICU care teams.

A spokesman for the public Albert Park Golf Course denied reports from onlookers that there was over-crowding and said staff were strictly supervising social distancing.

On Friday, Golf Australia recommended that, based on Health Department Stage 2 restrictions regarding COVID-19, ‘‘all Victorian golf clubs and facilities should close as soon as practicable until April 13, 2020’’.

But the Albert Park course spokesman said closing was ‘‘not my call’’.

He said staff were wearing masks and gloves and customers were having no contact with staff: ‘‘they just tap their card and off they go’’.

Golf carts were limited to one person each.

‘‘We sterilise everything, Every time a cart comes in it gets washed and sanitised and it’s sent out again.’’

Coffee or alcohol was not being sold.

‘‘For the most part we’ve got people doing the right thing, otherwise they’ll have to be removed.’’ They had reduced player numbers by 35% on a normal Sunday.

Where normally four players per group would tee off at seven minute intervals, they had removed many of the tee times so there were more gaps between players and made them three players per group.

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