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Coronavirus updates LIVE: Victoria, Queensland and NSW record no new COVID-19 cases; global infections exceed 50 million; Australian death toll stands at 907

On Saturday, the 14-day case average for Victoria fell below New South Wales for locally acquired infections for the first time in more than six months, and that gap has widened since then.

There have been six cases confirmed in Victoria over the past two weeks (leading to a 14-day average of 0.4) and 19 locally acquired cases in NSW (an average of 1.3), data from the state’s respective health departments shows.

There were no new COVID-19 cases confirmed in Victoria on Monday (the 10th day in a row of no new cases) and no new locally acquired cases in NSW (for the second day in a row).

Of Victoria’s six cases over the past fortnight, five have been traced to existing clusters and one has been classed as a mystery case.

In NSW, 16 cases over the past fortnight that have been traced to an existing cluster, there has been one mystery case and one case for which the infection source is currently being investigated.

NSW has also recorded 65 cases among returned travellers in hotel quarantine in this time, which have not been included in the 14-day average because they do not reflect infections within the local community.

Before Saturday, the last time Victoria had a 14-day average below New South Wales for locally acquired cases was on May 3. This was around the time there was an outbreak at a meat processing plant in Melbourne’s west that ended up resulting in more than 100 infections.

There have been two mystery cases confirmed in Victoria over the previous fortnight, the state’s health department data shows. That number has remained at two since November 3, but tomorrow it will fall to one.

That’s because a mystery case from October 24 will be moving out of the 14-day reference window that is used for this figure, causing the number to drop to one.

The sole remaining mystery case will then disappear from the 14-day window on Sunday.

There are no coronavirus cases currently being investigated, so the only way the mystery cases tally will start to climb from tomorrow onwards is if new cases are confirmed in the state.

Victoria’a 14-day average is currently 0.4 and will remain at 0.4 tomorrow provided no new cases are confirmed.

Britain’s poppy appeal, when tens of millions buy a red paper or metal poppy to remember the war dead and help armed forces families, is facing a battle of its own – collecting money amid the strictest lockdown in peacetime history.

The COVID-19 pandemic has impeded what is the Royal British Legion’s biggest fundraising campaign. It is millions of pounds behind its usual total collection of 50 million pounds (AUD$90 million).

“This will be the first time in the history of the poppy appeal that our volunteers will be unable to carry out face to face collections anywhere across the UK,” the Royal British Legion’s director general, Charles Byrne, said.

2020 marks the first time in the history of the poppy appeal in Britain that face-to-face collections have not taken place.

2020 marks the first time in the history of the poppy appeal in Britain that face-to-face collections have not taken place.Credit:Alex Ellinghausen

“The loss of that activity could run into millions of pounds in fundraising which means online donations are crucial,” Byrne said.

The sale of more than 40 million poppies usually takes place at stations, churches, offices, schools and factories across Britain, with services on Remembrance Sunday and two minutes of silence on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month to mark the moment the guns fell silent in 1918.

In a sign of the COVID-19 times, the fundraising campaign has been forced largely online. The Royal British Legion is offering downloads of poppies and asking people to display one in their window.

The annual Remembrance Sunday march past the Cenotaph in London will not take place.

Reuters

Australia has recorded its second consecutive day of zero local cases of COVID-19 after NSW and Victoria both reported no community transmission.

There were no new locally transmitted cases in NSW for the second day in a row, although seven cases were detected in returned overseas travellers in hotel quarantine.

Victoria recorded its 10th consecutive day of zero cases as the state lifted internal borders preventing Melburnians from travelling regionally.

Western Australia, South Australia, Tasmania, Queensland and the Northern Territory also recorded no new local zero cases on Monday.

South Australia recorded two new COVID-19 cases detected from travellers in hotel quarantine.

A Perth dentist who admitted working when she was meant to be self-isolating will spend two months behind bars.

Nataliia Nairn, 31, was sentenced to seven months jail in Joondalup Magistrates Court on Monday, with five months of the term to be suspended after she breached WA’s COVID-19 quarantine directions eight times.

Nataliia Nairn.

Nataliia Nairn.Credit:Instagram

Nairn, who returned to Perth from Canberra via Sydney on two occasions in May and June, failed to self-isolate at her Tapping home for 14 days, as required under the state’s Emergency Management Act.

Instead, she continued to work and saw 41 patients at a Joondalup dental practice where she works part-time.

Nairn’s lawyer, Katherine Dowling, told the court her client was remorseful for her actions, and was under financial stress at the time, trying to pay off her debts.

Leading Senior Constable Paul Gosling has spent 24 years of his policing career on Victoria’s roads, but the past 123 days were some of the most “bizarre and strange” he has had on the job.

Almost every day for the past four months, the state highway patrol officer helped man checkpoints at the so-called “ring of steel” which divided Melbourne from the rest of the state.

Leading Senior Constable Paul Gosling at the Upper Ferntree Gully vehicle checkpoint on Sunday, its last day of operation.

Leading Senior Constable Paul Gosling at the Upper Ferntree Gully vehicle checkpoint on Sunday, its last day of operation. Credit:Paul Jeffers

The checkpoints were put in place in early July as restrictions stopping Melburnians from leaving the city were introduced in order to minimise movement and stem the spread of coronavirus as cases surged. The travel restrictions were removed at 11.59pm on Sunday.

Leading Senior Constable Gosling said it was an unusual experience to be manning checkpoints and preventing people from travelling to regional Victoria.

“It was completely different to what we normally do. Here we are essentially checking people for moving around the state. Completely bizarre, it really is,” he said on Monday.

The first permanent checkpoints were set up on July 9 at Little River, Bacchus Marsh, Gisborne South, Kalkallo, Coldstream, Longwarry and Lang Lang, before an additional permanent checkpoint became operational in Frankston on Peninsula Link on October 19.

There were also mobile checkpoints in Wandin East, Upper Ferntree Gully, Mount Eliza, Mornington and Lara.

About 10 to 12 police officers and ADF personnel manned the checkpoints 24 hours a day, on 10-hour shifts.

After months of lockdown, I’m sure there are many Melburnians who are re-discovering what they like most about the city now that the movement limits and most restrictions have been lifted.

We’re putting together a story asking Melburnians to share what they love most about their town and why. If you’re keen to tell us what you think, please fill out the feedback box below.

It will be interesting seeing the responses. I wonder if it won’t be the big drawcards of the city that get mentioned but little everyday things like the sound of a myki card on a scanner:

As the number of Australians in financial distress escalates as a result of the pandemic, consumer advocates are sounding the alarm on unlicensed “debt vultures” – firms that charge upfront fees and promise to help people manage and restructure their debts, repair their credit rating, negotiate with banks or arrange repayment plans.

The Consumer Action Law Centre’s policy director Katherine Temple said she’d received a steady stream of complaints from people who had signed up to services from these companies and fallen into further debt. Their credit ratings hadn’t been wiped.

“They use high pressure sales tactics and promise the world,” she said. “They convince people that their service is the way to get on top of their debt problems.”

Ms Temple expects more people will fall victim to these services as the long-lasting economic impacts of the coronavirus pandemic become apparent.

Karen Cox, chief executive of the Financial Rights Legal Centre.

Karen Cox, chief executive of the Financial Rights Legal Centre.Credit:Royal Commission

Karen Cox, the chief executive of the Financial Rights Legal Centre, said complaints about debt vultures were “incredibly active” at the moment.

One of the centre’s clients recently agreed to pay a provider $4000 for credit repair services and then phoned the next morning to say he no longer wanted to proceed.

“They initially refused to give the money back and had not done any work,” Ms Cox said.

As of Monday, there are just four active coronavirus cases remaining in Victoria, none of which are in Melbourne’s north and west, the area’s worst-hit by the state’s second wave.

This map shows the postcode of residence of the state’s four remaining active COVID-19 cases:

There are two active cases in 3171 (Sandown Village, Springvale), there is one active case in 3166 (Hughesdale, Huntingdale, Oakleigh, Oakleigh East) and there is one active case in 3802 (Endeavour Hills).

There are no active cases remaining in 3029 (Hoppers Crossing, Tarneit, Truganina), which at the peak of the second wave was home to 463 active cases.

At the height of the second wave there were 6767 active cases in Victoria.

There is a slight caveat in this data, however – this is a measure of people who have tested positive for the virus. It is possible there are some people out there with COVID-19 who have not got tested.

On Saturday, the 14-day case average for Victoria fell below New South Wales for locally acquired infections for the first time in more than six months, and that gap has widened since then.

There have been six cases confirmed in Victoria over the past two weeks (leading to a 14-day average of 0.4) and 19 locally acquired cases in NSW (an average of 1.3), data from the state’s respective health departments shows.

There were no new COVID-19 cases confirmed in Victoria on Monday (the 10th day in a row of no new cases) and no new locally acquired cases in NSW (for the second day in a row).

Of Victoria’s six cases over the past fortnight, five have been traced to existing clusters and one has been classed as a mystery case.

In NSW, 16 cases over the past fortnight that have been traced to an existing cluster, there has been one mystery case and one case for which the infection source is currently being investigated.

NSW has also recorded 65 cases among returned travellers in hotel quarantine in this time, which have not been included in the 14-day average because they do not reflect infections within the local community.

Before Saturday, the last time Victoria had a 14-day average below New South Wales for locally acquired cases was on May 3. This was around the time there was an outbreak at a meat processing plant in Melbourne’s west that ended up resulting in more than 100 infections.

It’s the afternoon blog handover time, so Ashleigh McMillan has handed over the reins of the blog to me, Craig Butt .

I’ll be keeping track of all the Australian coronavirus news and updates for the next few hours. As always, shoot me an email if you’ve got something to share or leave a post in the comments section of the blog.

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