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Home / National News / Coronavirus Australia LIVE updates: Victoria records 16th straight day of no new cases; NSW aims for ‘gold standard’; Australia’s death toll sits at 907

Coronavirus Australia LIVE updates: Victoria records 16th straight day of no new cases; NSW aims for ‘gold standard’; Australia’s death toll sits at 907

South Australia has recorded its first locally acquired coronavirus case in almost three months, and one of those who tested positive works in the state’s hotel quarantine system.

The discovery has prompted authorities to require mandatory COVID-19 testing of all staff working in the state’s quarantine hotels. South Australia’s Chief Health Officer Nicola Spurrier said the mandatory measure was likely an Australian first.

In NSW no locally acquired cases were diagnosed in the 24 hours to 8pm on Saturday, with nine cases reported in overseas travellers in hotel quarantine.

In what she described as “troubling news for the people of South Australia”, Professor Spurrier confirmed there were four new cases on Sunday, three of them locally acquired.

“This is an example of community transmission. And it’s a sort of thing I have been talking about for some time that although we can get rid of the virus for a period of time, in South Australia, there was still the risk of reintroduction,” Professor Spurrier said.

International travellers continue to be the biggest risk to Western Australia as the state records another four cases overnight, all returning from overseas, Premier Mark McGowan says.

The new cases come as WA switched from a ‘hard’ to a ‘controlled border’ this weekend, with more than 2000 people having already returned to the state after eight months of being separated from family.

WA Premier Mark McGowan.

WA Premier Mark McGowan.Credit:Getty

The three West Australians and one Queenslander who returned positive test results are all in hotel quarantine.

Mr McGowan said those results proved international travellers returning home continued to be WA’s biggest risk.

“Western Australia takes back around 1025 Australians from overseas per week … we quarantine those people, we test those people, but it’s obviously the biggest risk to the state,” he said.

“The quarantine arrangements is the right way to go, making sure anyone returning from overseas has to quarantine is the right way to go.”

A South Australian woman in her 80s who has tested positive for coronavirus visited a shopping centre for 20 minutes while infectious, the state’s Chief Health Officer has said.

The woman was at Parafield Plaza supermarket between 10.30am and 11.30am on Thursday, November 12, SA Health’s Nicola Spurrier said.

Anyone who visited the shopping centre around this time is being urged to monitor for symptoms of the virus and get tested if they start to feel unwell.

Professor Spurrier said she was sure there were additional venues visited by the woman, which SA Health will issue updates on once more information comes to hand.

There are 19 active cases in South Australia, and a total of 526 cases have been confirmed in the state since the start of the pandemic.

The number for the state’s COVID hotline is 1800 253 787.

Three people in South Australia who have become the states’s first locally acquired coronavirus cases in almost three months are part of a large family whose members work in sectors that are high-risk for coronavirus transmission, the state’s Chief Health Officer has said.

The state’s Chief Health Officer Nicola Spurrier said many family contacts of a woman in her 80s who tested positive for coronavirus on Saturday evening worked in high-risk workplaces, including aged-care, healthcare and correctional services and the mining sector.

South Australia recorded three locally acquired coronavirus cases for the first time in almost three months on Sunday – a woman in her 80s who presented at the emergency department of Lyell McEwin Hospital in northern Adelaide on Friday and later tested positive for the virus, and two of her close contacts, one of whom works in the state’s hotel quarantine system.

“Even though we are still in the process of getting information from this family and still getting results back, we have identified and contacted those organisations,” she said.

“All of those particular venues and businesses – and I can’t give their exact names at the moment – are on preparation mode in the event that any of the close contacts who have been working at those sites come back with a positive test result, and we should know that later this afternoon/evening.”

SA Health is urging anyone who was at the Lyell McEwin Hospital in Adelaide’s north at certain times on Friday and Saturday to get tested for COVID-19 after a woman in her 80s who presented at the hospital’s emergency department on Friday later tested positive for the virus.

The state’s Chief Health Officer Nicola Spurrier said a woman in her 80s was tested for the virus in the early hours of Saturday morning, and that the test result came back positive on Saturday evening.

She said the health department was treating the woman’s date of showing symptoms as November 12, and that the woman would have been infectious for two days before that.

She said contact tracing was underway and the health department was following up with people who might have been in contact with the woman while she was at the Lyell McEwin Hospital, at 5.30 on Friday, November 13, and 4am on Saturday, November 14, when she was discharged. (It was not specified whether she was at the hospital at 5.30am or 5.30pm but I will check this fact with SA Health).

“If you were in the Lyell McEwin during those times, you are more than welcome to get a COVID-19 test. In fact, today I am urging anyone in SA with any respiratory symptoms to get a COVID-19 test. There has been a drop-off in testing numbers… but this is exactly when we do need to get tested.”

As more information comes to hand it would be posted on the SA Health website, she said.

Professor Spurrier said two of the woman’s close contacts has since tested positive for the virus, a man in his 60s and a woman in her 50s, and that one of them worked in the state’s hotel quarantine system.

“The important thing here to note is that one of those people works in one of our medi-hotels… we still we be doing genomic testing, but this is where we are considering the source (of infection) to be,” she said.

South Australia has recorded its first locally acquired coronavirus cases in almost three months, and one of those who tested positive works in the state’s hotel quarantine system.

The state’s Chief Health Officer Nicola Spurrier confirmed there were four new coronavirus cases in SA on Sunday, three of them locally acquired.

It is the first time in almost three months that SA has recorded any locally acquired COVID-19 cases, and one of the locally acquired cases works in the state’s hotel quarantine system.

Professor Spurrier said a woman in her 80s presented at Lyell McEwin Hospital in northern Adelaide yesterday, where she tested positive for the virus.

She said that just minutes before today’s coronavirus update, she learned two of the women’s close contacts, one of whom who works in the state’s hotel quarantine system, also tested positive for COVID-19. The woman’s contacts are a man in his 60s and a woman in her 50s.

Professor Spurrier said the woman in her 80s was part of a large family and four of her close contacts were showing symptoms of the virus.

When the woman presented at the Lyell McEwin Hospital she was wearing a face mask, she said, but 90 people in the emergency department have been placed into quarantine and will be tested for the virus.

“This is a wake-up call,” Professor Spurrier said. “If you have respiratory symptoms, you must get tested.”

The state’s fourth new case today is a returned traveller in hotel quarantine.

That’s all I have for today but we are so fortunate to have the ever-present Craig Butt to take the blog to its finish.

I’ve loved every one of the 73 live blogs I’ve had the pleasure of presenting and I’ve been in awe of the mastery Craig has over numbers and statistics. His posts and graphs have been one of the foundations of these blogs

I’ll be heading back home to The Age Sport from tomorrow onwards and will miss the chance to interact with such a variety of people.

Thanks once more for all the great comments, emails and tweets. I also need to give a special thanks to all the people behind the scenes who helped in so many ways to make this blog the best product it could be.

Take care everyone and bye for now.

South Australian Health officials are due to give a COVID-19 update at 3.45pm AEDT with Health Minister Stephen Wade and chief public health officer Professor Nicola Spurrier listed to speak.

Please note: One of the most successful parts of these live blogs has been our ability to bring you press conferences, via live stream, from our major political leaders.

This won’t stop despite the live blogs ending after today.

We will still aim to live stream major press conferences like Victoria’s daily COVID-19 updates and they will be available in a website story that you can click on, watch the streamed video and comment on it.

More details will be available in the days to come.

Mexico City: Mexico on Saturday topped 1 million registered coronavirus cases and nearly 100,000 test-confirmed deaths, though officials agree the number is probably much higher.

How did Mexico get here? By marching resolutely, even defiantly, against many internationally accepted practices in pandemic management, from face mask wearing, to lockdowns, testing and contact tracing.

President of Mexico Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.

President of Mexico Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador. Credit:Getty Images South America

What is more, officials in Mexico claim science is on their side. Assistant Health Secretary Hugo López-Gatell says any wider testing would be “a waste of time, effort and money.”

Face masks, López-Gatell says, “are an auxiliary measure to prevent spreading the virus. They do not protect us, but they are useful for protecting other people.”

President Andres Manuel López Obrador almost never wears a mask, and López-Gatell only occasionally does.

Except science does not appear to be on their side. International experts have recommended mass testing, and say face masks protect both the wearer and other people.

“They say there is no evidence. No, excuse me, there is evidence,” said former health secretary Dr. José Narro.

“In May, we already began to have empirical evidence and well-documented scientific studies began to appear stressing the importance of face masks and the need for testing.”

“What I can say is the (government) strategy did not have the necessary flexibility to adjust to the increasing amount of knowledge” about the disease, Narro said.

In part that has been a hallmark of López Obrador’s administration: never back down, never change course, and if challenged, double down.

His main promise to Mexicans is that there would be enough hospital beds for everyone who needs one, and his government has largely fulfilled that basic promise — even if Mexicans are so afraid of those hospitals they often wait until the last moment to go for treatment, at which point, doctors say, it’s often too late. That fear was not unfounded; early in the pandemic, three-quarters of patients intubated and put on ventilators in Mexico’s largest hospital network died.

That resistance was what Mexico City human resources manager Lorena Salas felt when her 76-year-old father, Jaime Salas Osuna, began to show signs of what could be COVID-19.

“The idea was mainly to stay at home, no? Thinking of going to the hospital was not an option, we were terrified that there he would surely be infected,” Salas said.

Instead, she sped down to the resort city of Acapulco, where her father lived, and when she arrived, she found him thin, sweating and confused.

“At that moment the delivery service arrived with the oxygen meter, and his oxygen saturation was 77,” she recalled. (A normal reading is 93 to 98). “

At that moment I felt like a bucket of cold water had fallen on me. We just looked at each other. I said ‘Dad, do you have COVID?”

Salas drove him to Mexico City; he didn’t want to be intubated, but doctors explained they had to.

He underwent two operations, two intubations and struggled for 13 days before he died on Oct. 20.

To its credit, that is one of the few areas where the government’s public message has changed: where officials once urged people with the disease to stay home as long as possible, they now advise those over 60 or with risk factors like diabetes or obesity to seek treatment immediately.

But on most other points, the insistence that the rest of the world is wrong and Mexico’s approach is right appears to have taken a toll in lives.

On Sunday AEDT, Mexican Director General of Health Promotion Ricardo Cortés Alcalá announced that the number of confirmed coronavirus cases had reached 1,003,253, with at least 98,259 deaths from COVID-19.

AP

The extreme popularity of an inner-city golf course as a park while golfing was banned in Melbourne’s lockdown has prompted the local Labor MP to call for a third of its fairways to be turned permanently into public open space.

Kat Theophanous has proposed taking three of the nine holes from the 24-hectare Northcote Golf Course, leaving six for golf and using the remaining land for a new park.

Labor MP Kat Theophanous has proposed turning the Northcote Golf Course into a six-hole design.

Labor MP Kat Theophanous has proposed turning the Northcote Golf Course into a six-hole design.Credit:Justin McManus

The government MP said the move would give golfers certainty, create a significant new park and stop any chance of some of the land being developed for housing if the course was abandoned for golfing.

The Northcote course was one of many that swiftly became popular parks during the lockdown that banned golf. Others included Albert Park, Malvern Valley and Cheltenham.

The phenomenon was repeated across the globe where lockdowns occurred as the pandemic triggered debate over whether the public was best served by keeping the many hectares set aside for golf courses just for golfers.

Click here to read the story.

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