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As it happened: Melbourne Black Lives Matter protest attendee contracts COVID-19 as NSW rolls back restrictions, Australian death toll stands at 102

UPDATED: It may be impossible to trace all the close contacts of a protester who tested positive for coronavirus after attending Melbourne’s Black Lives Matter protest, Victoria’s top health official says.

The man, in his 30s, wore a mask to the protest last Saturday but developed symptoms in the 24 hours after the rally, Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said on Thursday.

He is the first protester confirmed to have COVID-19 after the demonstration, which was attended by thousands of people.

Professor Sutton said he was unlikely the man contracted the virus at the protest but may have been infectious. It was not known if he had the COVIDSafe app downloaded or whether it was activated.

If he didn’t, and the man spent an extended time near strangers, Professor Sutton said the department may not be able track down all his close contacts.

“If there are people around you, but you can’t identify them, then they are impossible to identify,” he said.

Click here to read the full story.

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The NSW Supreme Court has ruled a refugee rally planned for Sydney on Saturday afternoon is prohibited, which could open up attendees to prosecution.

The rally, organised by the Refugee Action Coalition, was taken to court by NSW Police over concerns relating to COVID-19 and public gatherings. Justice Michael Walton ruled on Thursday night that the rally at Town Hall in the CBD was a prohibited public assembly.

Approximately 200 people were expected to attend.

NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller brought action in the NSW Supreme Court.

NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller brought action in the NSW Supreme Court. Credit:Rhett Wyman

Justice Walton said public health issues and the right to free speech are “competing public interests” which are “of great importance” and ultimately the health risks outweigh speech “in the present context”.

Speaking outside court, the rally’s organiser James Supple said there are no plans to appeal the decision and the event will go forward as planned.

“We’ll still be holding an event this Saturday. We’re urging people to come and participate,” he said.

“As the court said, it doesn’t actually make it illegal to come to a protest, it simply gives the police more powers. So we’ll be doing everything in our power to make sure it’s a safe gathering.”

Click here to read the full story.

Surgeons in Chicago have given a new set of lungs to a young woman with severe lung damage from the coronavirus.

Only a few other COVID-19 survivors, in China and Europe, have received lung transplants.

The patient, who is her 20s, was on a ventilator and heart-lung machine for almost two months before her operation last Friday at Northwestern Memorial Hospital.

The 10-hour procedure was challenging because the virus had left her lungs full of holes and almost fused to the chest wall, Dr. Ankit Bharat, who performed the operation, said Wednesday.

Doctors have kept her on both machines while her body heals but say her chances for a normal life are good.

“We are anticipating that she will have a full recovery,” said Dr. Rade Tomic, medical director of the hospital’s lung transplant program.

The patient was not identified but Bharat said she had recently moved to Chicago from North Carolina to be with her boyfriend.

She was otherwise pretty healthy but her condition rapidly deteriorated after she was hospitalized in late April. Doctors waited six weeks for her body to clear the virus before considering a transplant.

Lungs accounted for just seven per cent of the nearly 40,000 U.S. organ transplants last year. They are typically hard to find and patients often wait weeks on the transplant list.

The Chicago patient was in bad shape, with signs that her heart, kidneys and liver were beginning to fail, so she quickly moved up in line, Bharat said.

Nathan Cleary’s two-match ban for his infamous Anzac Day social-distancing antics has helped him mature and appreciate how important he is to Penrith and rugby league fans in western Sydney, according to a Dally M winner working in his corner.

Cleary’s return is a massive boost for the Panthers ahead of the match of the round against bitter rivals Parramatta and their own superstar No.7 Mitchell Moses on Friday night.

Nathan Cleary returns from suspension for Penrith against Parramatta on Friday night.

Nathan Cleary returns from suspension for Penrith against Parramatta on Friday night.Credit:Penrith Panthers

While Moses has worked all summer with Immortal Andrew Johns, Cleary has relished one-on-one time tuition with Dally M winner, former representative playmaker and Panthers assistant Trent Barrett.

Barrett has watched first-hand how hard the the fallout from the TikTok video and COVID hit Cleary – but also how he has taken the positives from the scandal.

“With the situation Nathan found himself in and having those two games off, it’s made him mature again,” Barrett told the Herald.

“He’s realised how important he is to this team and how much his profile has grown the past 12 months.

“That in itself will make him a better player.”

Click here to read the full story.

MOSCOW: Russia on Thursday rolled out a drug approved to treat patients suffering from the novel coronavirus, its state financial backer said, as the number of infections there surpassed half a million.

The first deliveries of the new antiviral drug, registered under the name Avifavir, were made to some hospitals and clinics across the country, Russia’s RDIF sovereign wealth fund said in a press release. RDIF has a 50 per cent share in a joint venture with the drug’s manufacturer ChemRar that runs the trials.

The full moon sets in the clouds over the St. Isaac's Cathedral in St. Petersburg last week.

The full moon sets in the clouds over the St. Isaac’s Cathedral in St. Petersburg last week.
Credit:AP

The health ministry gave its approval for the drug’s use under a special accelerated process while clinical trials, held over a shorter period and with fewer people than many other countries, were still underway.

There is currently no vaccine for COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, and human trials of several existing antiviral drugs have yet to show efficacy.

RDIF chief Kirill Dmitriev last week told Reuters the plan was for ChemRar to manufacture enough of the drug to treat around 60,000 people a month.

Dmitriev on Thursday said more than 10 countries had made requests for Avifavir supplies.

Negotiations were underway to supply the drug to almost all of Russia’s regions, with seven of its more than 80 regions receiving Thursday’s initial deliveries, Dmitriev added.

With 502,436 cases, Russia has the third highest number of infections in the world after Brazil and the United States, but has a relatively low official death toll of 6,532 – something that has been the focus of debate.

The Moscow health department on Wednesday raised its death toll for the month of May, citing changes in the way it determines the cause of death for patients suffering from other health problems.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov on Thursday denied there was anything untoward with Russia’s official coronavirus death data after the World Health Organisation said this week that Russia’s low death rate was “difficult to understand”.

Reuters

Thousands of snow lovers have been left frustrated after a record number of people flooded Thredbo’s website to purchase lift tickets from the ski resort on Thursday.

At one stage Thredbo said 25,000 people were trying to purchase lift passes after ticket sales for the delayed 2020 ski season launched at midday.

Social distancing measures mean skiers and snowboarders may encounter longer than usual queues for ski lifts.

Social distancing measures mean skiers and snowboarders may encounter longer than usual queues for ski lifts.Credit:Getty Images

Thredbo is the first Australian ski resort to sell lift passes with the resort limiting capacity to 50 per cent when it opens on June 22. All tickets must be booked in advance.

The resort engaged Danish company Queue-it to help manage demand on the website. The system creates a virtual waiting room which places users in a queue to avoid crashing the target’s website.

But many people were left frustrated after waiting hours in the queue with little progress. Some who did beat the queue then encountered technical difficulties and were unable to purchase tickets.

Click here to read the full story.

UPDATED: It may be impossible to trace all the close contacts of a protester who tested positive for coronavirus after attending Melbourne’s Black Lives Matter protest, Victoria’s top health official says.

The man, in his 30s, wore a mask to the protest last Saturday but developed symptoms in the 24 hours after the rally, Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said on Thursday.

He is the first protester confirmed to have COVID-19 after the demonstration, which was attended by thousands of people.

Professor Sutton said he was unlikely the man contracted the virus at the protest but may have been infectious. It was not known if he had the COVIDSafe app downloaded or whether it was activated.

If he didn’t, and the man spent an extended time near strangers, Professor Sutton said the department may not be able track down all his close contacts.

“If there are people around you, but you can’t identify them, then they are impossible to identify,” he said.

Click here to read the full story.

Thousands of Victorian learner driver tests postponed in March amid the spread of coronavirus will be allowed to go ahead within days.

Victorian Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton has given the green light to progressively resume the tests from Monday, with strict hygiene measures in place.

Since the tests were suspended on March 25, more than 100,000 licence appointments, including 55,000 driving tests, have been postponed.

VicRoads will focus on clearing that backlog before taking on fresh bookings, with 200 extra staff set to join its ranks to help it do so.

Tests will resume at all VicRoads testing locations and six temporary sites to be established in the coming months to help get more done.

Safety measures will include cleaning vehicles used in tests and comprehensive hygiene for applicants, instructors and testing officers.

Disposable seat covers will also be used, particularly when applicants are using their own vehicle.

“It will take a little bit of time to get through the list of those waiting to take a test,” Victorian Roads Minister Jaala Pulford said on Thursday.

“We’ve got a plan for doing this safely and as quickly as possible and are grateful for everyone’s continued patience.”

VicRoads has approved more than 2700 licence tests during the pandemic for people who would have faced undue hardship from not having a learner’s permit or licence.

AAP

The AFL has secured a revised broadcast rights deal with partners Seven West Media and Foxtel in the moments before the return of this year’s season.

Free-to-air broadcaster Seven and pay TV operator Foxtel were finalising the deal in the hours leading up to Thursday evening’s Collingwood v Richmond kick-off and have agreed to a reduction on this year’s payments based on a reduced 153-game season and finals.

AFL boss Gillon McLachlan has secured a new deal with broadcasters Seven West Media and Foxtel.

AFL boss Gillon McLachlan has secured a new deal with broadcasters Seven West Media and Foxtel.Credit:AAP

The parties have been renegotiating the terms of the existing $2.5 billion six-year contract, which was secured by Foxtel, Seven and mobile rights partner Telstra and expires in 2022, after the coronavirus pandemic shut down the season and caused losses in advertising and subscription revenue for the broadcasters.

The Age reported that the AFL was on the verge of securing a two-year extension of its television rights deal with Seven last week in exchange for a cost reduction on its existing deal, but that Foxtel was holding out on an extension for a larger discount.

Click here to read the full story.

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