Tuesday , September 22 2020
Breaking News
Home / Latest News / Coronavirus updates LIVE: 21 more deaths, 410 new cases in Victoria; AMA president says NSW has become complacent; Auckland back in lockdown

Coronavirus updates LIVE: 21 more deaths, 410 new cases in Victoria; AMA president says NSW has become complacent; Auckland back in lockdown

Victoria’s coronavirus death toll is sadly climbing, with the state recording 21 more deaths overnight. This marks Victoria’s deadliest day in the pandemic so far, after 19 deaths were recorded on both Monday and Tuesday.

The state has reported 410 new cases of COVID-19, according to the latest figures released by the Department of Health and Human Services via Twitter.

We will bring you more information about these figures as soon as they come to hand.

Tolling giant Transurban has swung to a $111 million full-year net loss after the COVID-19 pandemic took traffic from its network of roads.

The ASX-listed company, which made a $171 million profit last year, said on Wednesday that average daily traffic on its roads in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and North America fell 8.6 per cent in the 12 months to June 30.

Fewer cars have been using Transurban's roads due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Fewer cars have been using Transurban’s roads due to the COVID-19 pandemic.Credit:Ben Rushton

Traffic across the group was down 25 per cent in July compared to the same month last year, with Melbourne’s CityLink down 48 per cent due to the stage four lockdown in place.

“Transurban, like most businesses, has seen significant impact to our revenue as a result of COVID-19 and the associated government actions,” its chief executive Scott Charlton said in a statement to investors.

You can read more on our Markets Live blog, here.

All New Zealand aged care facilities will close their doors to everyone except staff and essential deliveries as the country races to avert a widespread, deadly COVID-19 outbreak.

Auckland is back under a stage three lockdown, with people working from home and gatherings of more than 10 people banned. The restrictions will be in effect for at least three days, until Friday.

The rest of New Zealand has returned to a stage two lockdown, meaning social distancing measures apply and mass gatherings are limited to 100 people.

Jacinda Ardern at her Labour Party election campaign launch on August 8, before the country's latest COVID-19 outbreak.

Jacinda Ardern at her Labour Party election campaign launch on August 8, before the country’s latest COVID-19 outbreak.Credit:Getty Images

New Zealand’s Parliament was due to be dissolved this morning – the first step towards holding the general election scheduled for September 19.

But Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern the dissolution of Parliament had been deferred until Monday as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Ardern said no decision has been made yet on postponing the election.

Reuters, Marissa Calligeros

And the first question Treasurer Tim Pallas faced was about … Victoria’s hotel quarantine program.

Liberal MP Richard Riordan, deputy chair of the parliamentary committee, asked Mr Pallas whether he was aware, as a member of Victoria’s crisis cabinet, of problems in hotel quarantine early on.

Mr Pallas referred Mr Riordan to the upcoming inquiry into the quarantine program by retired judge Jennifer Coate.

Victorian Treasurer Tim Pallas at the parliamentary inquiry today.

Victorian Treasurer Tim Pallas at the parliamentary inquiry today.

“As a member of the cabinet committee and the way the Westminster system of governance operates, it is not appropriate for ministers to disclose what is the content of matters that come before a cabinet committee,” Mr Pallas said.

Things are already testy between the politicians, with Mr Riordan quickly cutting the Treasurer off.

“It was a yes or no, I don’t need to hear the whole ‘there’s a judicial inquiry’. Victorians have heard that for three weeks,” Mr Riordan said.

Lizzie Blandthorn, the Labor MP chairing the parliamentary inquiry, called for order.

“Mr Riordan, you are being rude,” Ms Blandthorn said. “Could you allow the Treasurer to answer the question please?”

Mr Pallas explained that more than 100,000 pages of documents have been sent to the hotel quarantine inquiry, before Mr Riordan cut him off again.

“OK Treasurer, I don’t need a lesson on … inquiries,” he said.

It appears Mr Pallas will be toeing the party line on quarantine hotels, and refusing to elaborate on what he knew about issues in the hotels and when.

You can watch the hearing live, in the post below.

Victoria’s public accounts and estimates committee is chaired by Labor MP Lizzie Blandthorn.

The committee includes five Labor MPs, three Coalition MPs, Greens MP Sam Hibbins and Liberal Democrat David Limbrick.

All 10 members of the committee are participating via Zoom, which threw up some technical issues yesterday – starting with complaints that Premier Daniel Andrews’ microphone wasn’t loud enough. Welcome to 2020, folks.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews before the public accounts and estimates committee on Tuesday.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews before the public accounts and estimates committee on Tuesday.

The MPs take turns asking questions, meaning Labor MPs ask predetermined, unintrusive Dorothy Dixer questions followed by harder questioning from the opposition and crossbenchers.

Today’s proceedings started with Ms Blandthorn warning MPs to mind their language, after Liberal MP Richard Riordan was accidentally caught swearing in the afternoon.

Liberal MP Richard Riordan during Tuesday's hearing.

Liberal MP Richard Riordan during Tuesday’s hearing.

“Before we begin today’s proceedings I would like to acknowledge that yesterday there was some colourful and indeed unacceptable language from an unmuted microphone of a committee member,” Ms Blandthron said.

“Hundreds of thousands of people including children, could be seeing this footage in the days proceeding. Yesterday’s language was unacceptable.”

Ms Reynolds said Victorian authorities had refused or ignored multiple offers of support from the ADF to help with hotel quarantine.

Mr Riordan said Mr Andrews should be forced to return to the public accounts and estimates committee to correct the record.

“[Mr Andrews] made it quite clear that he was basically unaware of any ADF involvement, and I think it’s most important that we get that clarified for both the committee and Victorians,” Mr Riordan said.

“So I would like to move on immediately inviting or recalling – in fact, insisting, that the Premier come back to clarify that evidence for our committee. We do have time later this afternoon.”

Lizzie Blandthorn, the Labor MP chairing the inquiry, said Mr Riordan’s proposal would have to be debated later today because the committee cannot cut into the two hours allotted for Treasurer Tim Pallas.

Mr Pallas is making his opening presentation, stating Victoria’s gross state product is forecast to drop by 9 per cent in 2021, while the state is expected to experience a $10 billion fall in revenue in the September quarter compared to the government’s July forecast.

The Commonwealth Bank has posted a 11 per cent drop in full-year profit and will pay a final dividend of 98c a share, as the banking giant’s bottom line was hit by charges for bad debts as a result of the coronavirus crisis.

In one of the most keenly-anticipated results of this earnings season, CBA on Wednesday reported cash profits from continuing operations of $7.3 billion for the year, mainly because of previously announced provisions for soured loans.

CBA’s final dividend was 31 per cent lower than last year, but still higher than many expected, and at the maximum level allowed under recent guidance from the banking regulator.

The profit result is below market analysts’ expectations of cash profits of $7.56 billon, but higher than the expected dividend of 71c a share, according to consensus estimates from FactSet. However, there was more uncertainty than usual about the lender’s results, making consensus numbers difficult to interpret.

CBA shares were worth $74.70 before trade on Wednesday, and have slipped 6.5 per cent in 2020 against an 8.2 per cent decline for the ASX 200.

The blame game over Victoria’s bungled hotel quarantine program continues, with Victorian Emergency Management Commissioner Andrew Crisp saying the ADF never offered to support the scheme.

A statement just released by Mr Crisp says:

“I can confirm that the Australian Defence Force (ADF) were involved in the initial planning of the hotel quarantine program. Representatives of the ADF participated in the Operation Soteria planning and coordination meetings on 27 and 28 March 2020. During these discussions I did not seek nor did representatives of the ADF offer assistance as part of the hotel quarantine program.

“Subsequent communications with the ADF on the 12th and 15th of April did not relate to ADF assistance as part of the program.”

It comes after Federal Defence Minister Linda Reynolds last night directly contradicted evidence Premier Daniel Andrews gave to a parliamentary inquiry, saying Victorian authorities had refused or ignored multiple offers of support from the Australian Defence Force to help with hotel quarantine.

At yesterday’s public accounts and estimates committee hearings, Kym Peake, secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, said Mr Crisp signed off on the state’s hotel quarantine plans.

Victorian Treasurer Tim Pallas is the first person to face day two of the state’s parliamentary inquiry into the government’s COVID-19 response.

Mr Pallas is joined by the secretary of the Department of Treasury and Finance, David Martine, and the deputy secretary of the Department of Premier and Cabinet, Matt O’Connor, who oversees industrial relations. Our state political reporter Michael Fowler is there and will bring us the latest.

The hearing should make for very good viewing again today. You can watch it live, below:

The president of the NSW branch of the Australian Medical Association has said she is more worried now than she has been “at any other stage during this pandemic”, as cases with no known source in the state continue to climb.

Speaking on Today this morning, Dr Danielle McMullen said she believed NSW residents had become too complacent in their adherence to social distancing.

“The fact we have any community transmission, particularly cases where we don’t know where they’ve come from, means we all really need to be taking action to reduce the spread,” she said.

Health authorities are still searching for the source of an initial infection in a student at Tangara School for Girls at Cherrybrook in Sydney’s Hills District.

The school is now linked to 17 cases, many of whom attended an Opus Dei-run study camp outside of school hours.

Low numbers of cases – one or two – with no known source have been reported in the NSW Health daily case numbers for the past week.

Victoria’s coronavirus death toll is sadly climbing, with the state recording 21 more deaths overnight. This marks Victoria’s deadliest day in the pandemic so far, after 19 deaths were recorded on both Monday and Tuesday.

The state has reported 410 new cases of COVID-19, according to the latest figures released by the Department of Health and Human Services via Twitter.

We will bring you more information about these figures as soon as they come to hand.

About admin

Check Also

Emmys 2020: Who wore trackies, and who went all out?

2/40 Jameela Jamil wearing JJwinks and Markarian. The Good Place actor wrote on Instagram, “I …