Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk remains unapologetic regarding the hard border closures with the state’s southern neighbours, crediting the shutdown with allowing Queensland’s economy to reopen.
“Until there is a vaccine, life will not return to normal,” she told reporters on Sunday.
“[But] We are able to have life in a semi-normal fashion, families are out enjoying this long weekend. We’ve got people able to go to work and children able to go to school.”
Queensland’s hospitality and tourism businesses have enjoyed a much needed revenue boost over the long-weekend in the state’s south-east following another day of no coronavirus infections.
The state recorded no new infections on Sunday and just nine active cases, including two crew members on a cargo ship off the Queensland coast who remain in hospital after testing positive to the virus on Friday.
If community transmissions remain low Ms Palaszczuk said some restrictions impacting the tourism sector could be relaxed by September.
One dead in New South Wales
A man has died of Covid-19 in New South Wales.
The death of the man, who was in his 80s, takes the state’s death toll to 54 and the national toll to 396.
The health department has also provided some more details on the five new cases reported in the state.
- Three are linked to the Tangara School for Girls cluster. They are all close contacts of previous cases.
- One, a man in his 40s from western Sydney, is locally acquired and still under investigation.
- The other is a close contact of this person.
Previous cases have attended the below venues. Anyone who attended these venues at the following dates and times are considered to be casual contacts, and should monitor for symptoms and immediately get tested and isolate if symptoms occur, however mild:
- Crust Pizza, Concord on Thursday 6 August between 4pm and 8pm or Friday 7 August between 5pm and 9pm.
- Den Sushi Rose Bay on Saturday 8 August between 7:15pm and 8:45pm.
- Café Perons Double Bay on Saturday 8 August between 1pm and 2pm.
- Horderns Restaurant at Milton Park Country House Hotel and Spa, Bowral on Sunday 2 August between 7:45pm and 9:15pm.
A quick summary at the end of the Andrews press conference giving an update of the last 24-hour reporting period.
- The state of emergency has been extended until 13 September.
- 16 people have died including one female and two males in their 70s, two females and four males in their 80s, and four females and three males in their 90s.
- There are 279 new cases.
- 7,671 total active cases, including 158 in Geelong, 49 in Bendigo, 27 in Ballarat, 82 in disability accommodation.
- Amid fears of looming virus crisis in disability care, Andrews wants federal involvement in the rapid response.
- The virus reproduction rate has dropped to about 0.86.
- Police have given out an additional 243 fines for breaching restrictions.
“This is a tough year and we’re going to get through this, all of us,” says Andrews. “We’re tough people … and we’re all this together.”
New Zealand: 13 new cases
New Zealand on Sunday reported 13 new confirmed cases of the coronavirus for the last 24 hours, as the country’s first outbreak in months continues to grow.
All but one of the new cases were community transmissions and appeared to be linked to a cluster in Auckland where the most recent outbreak started, the director general of health, Ashley Bloomfield, told a media briefing in Wellington.
The 13th infected person was a traveller returning from abroad and in a managed quarantine.
The new cases bring the number of active cases in New Zealand to 69. Since the start of the year, the country has recorded 1,271 cases, Bloomfield said.
On improving communication with families of people in aged care, Andrews says he and the prime minister have talked about it, and how staff can balance the work of caring and the extra stuff like helping a resident with an iPad to contact their family on Zoom.
“Anything more we can do we will, I know it’s a deeply distressing [time] for families.”
“Getting information to people quickly, I can appreciate that’s something families need and we’re all committed to getting that done.”
“We are going to see further chains of transmission, but the trend is good,” says Sutton.
He says the reproduction rate is about 0.86 and the last time he looked at it, it was 0.97.
Two key quotes here on managing expectations for the short to mid term:
Sutton: “Spain had kids not able to leave home for six weeks, they had people exercising only within 150 metres of their home..they still had months of ongoing transmission. It doesn’t turn off overnight.”
Andrews: “Even when this second wave is over, we will still see cases…The notion of completely extinguishing it and never seeing it again, I think that would be an unlikely outcome.”
Victoria police have given out 243 fines in the past 24 hours, including 84 for breaching curfew. About 30 apiece were for not wearing masks or being caught at a vehicle checkpoint, including a Torquay man driving 140km away from his home, allegedly looking for better surf.
Brett Sutton is asked about the effect of Victoria police releasing details every day, and if this is “shaming”.
“I don’t think the police intend to shame anyone,” says Sutton, , but people do need to be “called out” for some breaches.
“I think it’s overwhelmingly the case that people are doing the right thing.”
Andrews says the Victorian government wants federal involvement in rapid response within disability accommodation. He said the state has set up its own response team, despite the fact many facilities are federally funded and regulated. “No [they are not involved], but I want them to be.”
Andrews pleads with people in regional Victoria to get tested, as numbers are stabilising.
He said there were 158 active cases in Geelong, 49 in Bendigo, and 27 in Ballarat.
“If there is one ask which is a takeaway from today’s briefing, it’s if people in those regional cities … can come forward and get tested. That is the really important part of us keeping the numbers in regional Victoria low.”
Andrews is noting there are still outbreaks today but far fewer than a few weeks ago when the state was “at a tipping point”. He’s cautiously optimistic that the measures are working and that the state is on track to wind back from stage four restrictions in six weeks.
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