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Coronavirus updates LIVE: Scott Morrison says social distancing won’t apply to schools, global COVID-19 cases surpass 2.7 million, Australian death toll stands at 80

An 83-year-old man who tested positive for coronavirus has died at Newmarch House, the Anglicare aged care facility in Sydney’s west.

He is the sixth resident to die since coronavirus hit the facility earlier this month.

A statement from Anglicare Sydney said the man had multiple health issues.

“His family were contacted where they were able to visit and pay their respects,” the statement said.

“All the relevant authorities have been informed. His cause of death will be officially confirmed over the coming days.

“We continue to think of, pray for, and remember all our residents who have died and for their families as they mourn the loss of their loved ones.”

A statement from NSW Health earlier today said there were an additional two residents and two staff who have tested positive for coronavirus, bringing the total to 48 cases, including 17 staff and 31 residents.

Here is the latest episode of The Age/Sydney Morning Herald’s Please Explain daily podcast on the COVID-19 pandemic. Health reporter Rachel Clun appears in this episode talking about testing and more.

Countries that succeed in tackling their infection rates, such as Australia, have many different challenges but one common enemy – the coronavirus. We look at five nations that acted early and tested widely in the fight against the pandemic.

Taiwan

Despite their proximity to the source, Taiwan’s 24 million residents have managed to avoid the kind of lockdowns Australians have faced.

By Friday morning, the island nation known for staring down Beijing had only recorded six coronavirus deaths and 427 confirmed cases.

Germany

Almost three months after its first recorded case of COVID-19, Germany has emerged as a model of success in a continent largely devastated by the global pandemic.

By Friday afternoon AEST, the country had recorded 5575 deaths, compared to 21,856 in France, 25,549 in Italy and 22,157 in Spain.

So how exactly did a country of 83 million people do so well when the virus overwhelmed its neighbours?

Read the full story here. 

Australian Rugby League Commission chairman Peter V’landys is confident the Warriors will soon benefit from a proposal to allow travel between Australia and New Zealand, and remains hopeful the season-ending grand final and State of Origin series can be played before crowds.

The NRL emerged from meetings with broadcast partners Fox Sports and Nine on Friday with an agreement to aim to restart the competition on May 28, although a finishing date is still to be finalised.

Fox wants as many as 22 rounds, while Nine – the publisher of this masthead – wants the teams to play just once so there is no clash with its coverage of the Twenty20 World Cup from October 18. The parties are likely to land somewhere in the middle.

Read the full story here. 

The World Health Organisation says issuing people with “immunity passports” or “risk-free certificates” is premature and shouldn’t happen.

In a scientific brief issued on Saturday AEST, the WHO said there is not enough evidence to show people who have recovered from COVID-19 cannot be infected a second time.

The WHO also expressed concerns testing for antibodies to COVID-19 can give false results due to the similarities of those antibodies and those of the six versions of coronavirus known to infect humans.

It added such tests provided important data on tracking and infection rates, but any positive tests required further testing to prove if the person has or had COVID-19.

“There is currently no evidence that people who have recovered from COVID-19 and have antibodies are protected from a second infection,” the briefing stated.

The WHO is also concerned people may not heed advice from health authorities and could still spread the virus if they mistakenly think they are immune.

“At this point in the pandemic, there is not enough evidence about the effectiveness of antibody-mediated immunity to guarantee the accuracy of an ‘immunity passport’ or ‘risk-free certificate’,” the briefing stated.

“People who assume that they are immune to a second infection because they have received a positive test result may ignore public health advice.

“The use of such certificates may therefore increase the risks of continued transmission. As new evidence becomes available, WHO will update this scientific brief.”

The WHO said it would continue to review studies on the antibody response.

“Most of these studies show that people who have recovered from infection have antibodies to the virus. However, some of these people have very low levels of neutralising antibodies in their blood, suggesting that cellular immunity may also be critical for recovery,” it stated.

“As of 24 April 2020, no study has evaluated whether the presence of antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 confers immunity to subsequent infection by this virus in humans.”

There are Royal Hotels all around the country. In crowded suburbs, buzzing rural cities and dusty small towns.

And on an Anzac Day like no other, Sarah Brown, 23, stood on the iron-fringed balcony of one of those Royal Hotels with her trumpet. Having worked behind the bar while studying, she had been called up to play The Last Post at an improvised dawn service.

Sarah Brown, 23, plays The Last Post from the balcony of The Royal Hotel in Leichhardt.

Sarah Brown, 23, plays The Last Post from the balcony of The Royal Hotel in Leichhardt.Credit:Kate Geraghty

In the streets below stood more than 80 locals, socially-distanced in ones, twos and family groups. Some held candles, one wore a face mask.

All were respectfully silent – apart but together – standing in civilian versions of “attention” and “at ease” in the warm air.

Read the full story here. 

Bordy Weeku won’t be marching on Anzac Day this year. No one else will, either, courtesy of the coronavirus lockdown.

But Mr Weeku’s participation would have been momentous. He celebrated his 100th birthday on March 23.

Bordy Weeku, seen with his son Eh Htoo Saw, served in the British Army in the Second World War. He's now 100 and lives in Werribee.

Bordy Weeku, seen with his son Eh Htoo Saw, served in the British Army in the Second World War. He’s now 100 and lives in Werribee.Credit:Chris Hopkins

Mr Weeku is always so keen to march that his son Eh Htoo Saw leaves it to the last minute each year to remind him.

“I tell him at 9pm that he should be ready for the Anzac march the next morning. He is always so excited he cannot sleep,” Eh Htoo Saw says.

This year, the son hasn’t yet had the heart to tell the old man – who is deaf and speaks almost no English – that the Anzac march has been cancelled.

Bordy Weeku, however, knows more than most of the vicissitudes of life. And about marching.

Read the full story here. 

Looking for things to chase away the boredom while you’re at home? Why not check out some of these events. 

SUNDAY, APRIL 26

MUSIC Sydney Chamber Opera has this weekend put on the free world premiere online of Breaking Glass, four new operatic works all created by Australian female composers. Peggy Polias, Josephine Macken, Georgia Scott and Bree van Reyk’s works draw inspiration from eclectic sources such as literary works by Margaret Atwood, Sylvia Plath and Homer and even the struggle of a rare Australian parrot. facebook.com/carriageworks

MONDAY, APRIL 27

TALK Catch a free live stream of former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull in conversation with Annabel Crabb as he discusses his new memoir, A Bigger Picture, and looks back over his political career. 7pm, swf.org.au

THURSDAY, APRIL 30

MUSIC Immersive movie outfit Beyond Cinema have created a program of virtual events for pop culture lovers. Tonight Disney fans young and old can grab a ticket to the Magical Singalong where seasoned vocalists perform tracks from beloved children’s films with fans encouraged to dress up for the fun. 7-9pm, $10, facebook.com/beyondcinemaau

It was a tale of two cities on a sunny Saturday morning: just as sirens signalled for swimmers to leave Coogee Beach at 9am, joggers and walkers were mobbing the inner west’s popular Bay Run several kilometres away.

Despite two mayors begging people to stop using the route and mounted police patrolling the area, crowds continued to cluster along the track, which hugs Iron Cove on the Parramatta River.

Inner West mayor Darcy Byrne had issued a warning for people to stay away from the Bay Run pedestrian and cycling route this weekend, but crowds were still prevalent as the temperature hit 24 degrees on a cloudless Saturday.

Angelo Tsirekas, the mayor of Canada Bay, which also manages the Bay Run, warned that people ignoring the rules could lead to new restrictions.

Read the full story here. 

The loud cry of sirens signalled the call for swimmers to leave Coogee Beach at 9am on Saturday as part of new social distancing restrictions.

Minutes earlier lifeguards warned beachgoers they would have to close the area as the number of people entering the sand was reaching maximum capacity. Almost everyone left the area quickly and compliantly.

A man prepares to take to the water at Coogee Beach on Saturday morning.

A man prepares to take to the water at Coogee Beach on Saturday morning.Credit:Cole Bennetts

Clovelly local Shelly Bennett said the public appeared to be behaving themselves after Coogee, Maroubra and Clovelly beaches, all controlled by Randwick City Council, were closed the day before because of crowds disobeying social distancing guidelines and not using the area to exercise.

“Everyone’s been so couped up,” she said, adding the situation was “challenging”.

Read the full story here. 

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