Sunday , September 20 2020
Home / Latest News / Coronavirus updates LIVE: Active Victorian cases drop for first time in two months; NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian warns of harsher restrictions

Coronavirus updates LIVE: Active Victorian cases drop for first time in two months; NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian warns of harsher restrictions

Victoria has 278 new cases of coronavirus, and sadly there have been another eight deaths overnight.

We will bring you today’s press conference via a live stream when it’s on – we’ll get confirmation on a time later.

Melbourne’s public transport is currently at about 8 per cent of pre-pandemic capacity, the Victorian Public Accounts and Estimates Committee has heard.

Minister for Transport Jacinta Allan said February passenger numbers were around 2.35 million daily trips across our public transport network.

Ms Allan said metropolitan trains were at 8 per cent capacity, trams at 7 per cent and regional trains at 6 per cent.

“There’s a few more people catching the metropolitan bus network [and] that sits at 14 per cent at the moment which is I guess not surprising given that the spread of those buses,” she said.

Ms Allan has been questioned by Greens MP Sam Hibbins about what the government is doing to incentivise Melburnians to cycle as a result of the pandemic.

The Minister said the government was in talks with Melbourne City Council about fast-tracking the constructions of protected bike lanes on key routes.

Britain’s economy shrank by a record 20.4 per cent in the second quarter when the coronavirus lockdown was tightest, the most severe contraction reported by any major economy so far, with a wave of job losses set to hit later in 2020.

The scale of the economic hit may also revive questions about Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s handling of the pandemic, with Britain suffering the highest death toll in Europe. More than 50,000 UK deaths have been linked to the disease.

The second-quarter GDP slump exceeded the 12.1 per cent drop in the euro zone and the 9.5 per cent fall in the United States.

The second-quarter GDP slump exceeded the 12.1 per cent drop in the euro zone and the 9.5 per cent fall in the United States.Credit:AP

“Today’s figures confirm that hard times are here,” finance minister Rishi Sunak said. “Hundreds of thousands of people have already lost their jobs, and sadly in the coming months many more will.”

The data confirmed that the world’s sixth-biggest economy had entered a recession, with the low point coming in April when output was more than 25 per cent below its pre-pandemic level.

Growth restarted in May and quickened in June, when the economy expanded by a monthly 8.7 per cent – a record single-month increase and slightly stronger than forecasts by economists in a Reuters poll.

However, some analysts said the bounce-back was unlikely to be sustained.

Read more: UK sinks into worst recession on record

Penfolds maker Treasury Wine Estates has seen its profits slump by a quarter as the coronavirus pandemic prompted restaurant and hotel closures around the world and the company faced a wine glut in the US, one of its key markets.

Net income fell 25 per cent to $315.8 million in the year to June 30, the Melbourne-based company said in a statement to the ASX on Thursday morning. Sales revenue for Australia’s biggest wine company fell 6 per cent to $2.65 billion, with COVID-19 affecting its trading performance across the world.

Treasury Wine, which recently appointed long-term executive Tim Ford as its new chief executive, reported total EBITS (earnings before interest, tax, the agricultural accounting standard SGARA and material items) of $533.5 million, which was down 22 per cent on the previous year and in-line with a downgraded forecast of between $530 million and $540 million the company gave earlier in the year.

Despite the profit slump, Treasury declared a final dividend of 8 cents per share, fully franked, taking its payout for the year to 28 cents per share, or 64 per cent of net profit.

The Public Accounts and Estimates Committee is hearing evidence from key members of the Department of Transport first up this morning, and as with a great deal of the PAEC hearings in recent days – questions have involved the state’s hotel quarantine program.

Deputy Chair and Liberal MP Richard Riordan has grilled the department’s secretary, Paul Younis, on whether he was involved in a meeting on March 28th where key agencies met to discuss the set-up of the program.

Mr Younis said he wasn’t present at the meeting, but that there was “a range of representatives” from the department at the meeting.

“It’s irrelevant who the individual was,” he said.

The Department’s main role in the program was organising the transfer for passengers from Melbourne airport to designated quarantine hotels.

In a fiery exchange, Mr Riordan pushed Mr Younis to explicitly name which agency – ADF, police or private security companies – were in charge of overseeing passengers on the Skybus. Mr Younis repeatedly said there was “a process” to oversee security and safety.

Minister Jacinta Allan then stepped in.

“Because we were dealing with international arrivals there was a role for border force in terms of the disembarkation of passengers off the various aircraft and also Victoria Police have a role to play,” she said.

“So let’s be really clear, the responsibility the Department of Transport in this instance was to have a contractual arrangement in place with Skybus where the staff were appropriately trained, they were provided with PPE and that was the role that the Department of Transport has performed … through that part of the operation.”

Appliance manufacturer and retailer Breville has said its range of products is well-suited to the ‘new normal’ brought on by COVID-19, with the company reporting strong full-year with sales growing 25 per cent to nearly $1 billion.

However, the company’s statutory net profit after tax fell 1.8 per cent to $66.2 million thanks to a number of abnormal expenses and cost savings associated with the virus.

These included a $13.6 million increase in doubtful debts and a $9.6 million write-down of the company’s Internet of Things platform on the expenses side, and $7.7 million in reduced executive base salaries and compensations, and a $3.3 cut to marketing spend on the savings side.

With these one-offs stripped away, Breville’s normalised NPAT grew 11.2 per cent to $75 million. Total sales across the company rose 25.3 per cent to $952.2 million thanks to more customers working and cooking from home during the pandemic.

“In FY2020 we faced a cluster of headwinds in the form of Brexit uncertainty, exchange rates, US tariffs and COVID-19 and equally we had our share of good fortune in terms of our inventory levels and the relevance of our products to the ‘new normal’,” chief executive Jim Clayton said.

“We emerge from FY20 with momentum and a hardened foundation to build upon over the next five years.”

The company raised its dividend by 10.8 per cent to 41 cents per share, based on its normalised NPAT. Breville did not provide any guidance or outlook for the first few months of the 2021 financial year.

The third day of the Victorian Government’s Public Accounts and Estimates Committee hearings have just kicked off and we’re waiting to hear from Minister for Transport Infrastructure Jacinta Allan – but there’s been a bit of drama already.

As committee chair and Labor MP Lizzie Blandthorn opened procedures for the day, deputy chair Liberal MP Richard Riordan mentioned what he said could have been an undeclared conflict of interest in Ms Blandthorn’s chairmanship.

Ms Blandthorn is married to Minister Martin Pakula’s chief of staff.

“You have an involvement or close relationship with Minister Pakula’s chief of staff and that this was a situation that should have been made known to all members of the committee before we started particularly considering what turned out to be a most interventionist approach to our questioning of the Minister [Pakula] yesterday as noticed by the opposition,” he said.

Labor MP Tim Richardson immediately called the suggestion “pathetic”.

“This isn’t the 1950s mate, women can think for themselves,” he said.

“I don’t believe that I have any conflict of interest to declare,” said Ms Blandthorn.

The hearing has moved along.

Eight months into the coronavirus pandemic, staying home is still the best way to stay safe from COVID-19. But what if the virus has already come to call?

While the big outbreaks hitting headlines usually emerge in places such as abattoirs, pubs and cruise ships, most clusters actually start in households.

Infectious disease expert Professor Raina MacIntyre says many of the same measures that keep us safe in public, from masks to the golden 1.5-metre rule of physical distancing, work in private too. Australia’s leading coronavirus adviser at the World Health Organisation, Professor Mary-Louise McLaws, offers this rule of thumb: “Everyone needs to think like a healthcare worker; if it works in a hospital, it will work in the home … you have to be a bit obsessional.”

So what are the best precautions to take when COVID-19 is already under your roof? What must you do under your states’ new quarantine powers? And, if you’re recovering at home, what are the warning signs to watch out for that mean the illness might have taken a nasty turn?

How do you keep the rest of your household safe?

MacIntyre has studied the “secondary attack rate” of the new pathogen in households – on average between 10 and 25 per cent of people living with a case will catch it too.

That’s because the virus is highly contagious – it can build up in the air indoors or land on surfaces as tiny droplets sprayed from the nose and mouth. It can spread before symptoms appear or even if they never do, MacIntyre warns, which is why wearing masks around others when you are deemed to be at risk is crucial, whether you have symptoms or not.

Read more: How to take care of yourself (and others) in COVID-19 isolation

New Zealand’s Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters says Kiwis “from the Prime Minister down” are angry about the re-emergence of COVID-19 in the community.

A fifth new case of coronavirus was recorded in New Zealand yesterday, after the nation recorded no coronavirus cases for more than 100 days, and authorities have not been able to confirm a source yet.

Speaking on Nine’s Today Program this morning, Mr Peters said the government was stunned by the development.

“At this point in time we don’t know how wide the spread is. Whether it has dispersed outside of Auckland and whether we have a fix on all the cases,” he said.

The Deputy PM said New Zealand had been planning to start rolling back wage subsidies in September, signalling how the government wasn’t expecting a re-emergence of cases.

“This is a case we were thinking we were out of there and people are pretty brassed off that we are back in it again,” he said.

“From the Prime Minister down we are all annoyed about this. We have to grit our teeth, it is not about the politicians or anyone else. It is about five million New Zealanders.

“We have to get our team together and that has to be our number one focus.”

Victoria has 278 new cases of coronavirus, and sadly there have been another eight deaths overnight.

We will bring you today’s press conference via a live stream when it’s on – we’ll get confirmation on a time later.

Federal Deputy Chief Medical Officer Michael Kidd has offered a blunt warning to NSW residents as pictures and reports emerge of people continuing to not social distance when out and about.

“People only have to look across the border into Victoria to see what happens when people don’t adhere to the physical distancing restrictions and just don’t follow what they’re supposed to be doing,” Professor Kidd told ABC News Breakfast this morning.

“Everyone in NSW, look at the figures which are happening.

“At the moment we are still seeing this [stable] level of community transmission occurring in NSW, [but] at any time that could dramatically increase and we could have, in NSW, the same sort of consequences that we’re seeing in Victoria. We have to all be doing everything we can to prevent that from taking place.”

Yesterday it was announced that the Garry Owen Hotel in Sydney’s Rozelle was fined $10,000 for what NSW Liquor and Gaming said was a “litany of COVID safety breaches”, slamming the venue as “the worst pub seen so far”.

Over the weekend, the Riverview Hotel and the Dry Dock Hotel, both in Balmain, Padstow Park Hotel, Padstow Bowling Club, Marrickville Ritz, the Royal Hotel in Randwick and Yai Thai Kitchen in Gosford were also fined for breaches.

Professor Kidd said the fresh cases in New Zealand after 100 days without community transmission were a reminder that international borders can never be truly closed.

“We still do have people coming into Australia, both people returning to the country and people who are bringing in essential goods and taking our exports to other parts of the world,” he said.

“We are still at risk of having COVID-19 appearing in places where we think we have no community transmission.”

About admin

Check Also

Coronavirus LIVE updates: Victoria records 14 new cases, five deaths on Sunday, Andrews request denied, Australia’s death toll reaches 844

University of Melbourne Vice-Chancellor Duncan Maskell says Victoria needs to address a question that has …