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The Northern Territory is closing its borders after the UK has closed its restaurants and gyms. New York has joined California by telling millions of residents to stay home. Bondi beach and other Australian beaches are also closed.
Starting at 16:00 on Tuesday March 24, anyone arriving in the Northern Territory will be forced to quarantine for two weeks.
Prime Minister Michael Gunner said that strict border controls apply to all NT access points: roads, airports, railway stations, ports and airports.
“Whether you are local or not, this applies to you,” said Gunner.
The quarantine will be enforceable by law.
People arriving in the NT will have to engage in quarantine and tell officials where they will stay.
The quarantine will not be applied to essential personnel, such as medical officers, flight crews, freight workers and Defense workers.
Travelers may also request exemptions for compassionate reasons.
PRESSURE ON AUSTRALIA TO SAVE WORK
It comes when the treasurer Josh Frydenberg will be under pressure to further activate the economic holds after the United Kingdom has guaranteed 80% of the workers’ wages to save millions of jobs.
British Chancellor Rishi Sunak made the unprecedented announcement this morning that the government would cover the payroll of millions of workers while they were out because of the coronavirus.
It arrived when Prime Minister Boris Johnson called the latest drinks across the UK, with pubs, bars, restaurants, gyms and leisure centers to close tonight.
The dramatic interventions, which have been mirrored in other European countries, will provide a model for Australia as the virus will inevitably skyrocket.
Johnson pleaded with people to stay home tonight, saying that contact with people must decrease by 75% for the measures to work.
“You may think you are invincible, but there is no guarantee that you will have mild symptoms and you can still be the carrier of the disease and pass it on to others,” he said.
The pub ban will be in effect for at least a month, but could extend longer, with Johnson looking to offer some hope that the UK would be able to turn the tide in 12 weeks.
Mr. Sunak, who has the equivalent role in the United Kingdom of Mr. Frydenberg in Australia made history by making the wages insurance policy this morning.
Sunak, who took office only in February, said that “our planned economic response will be one of the most comprehensive in the world”.
“To all those at home, right now looking forward to the days ahead, I say you won’t face it alone,” he said.
Workers will be paid up to $ A5000 a month while being shut down due to coronavirus.
There were nearly 1 million hospitality job losses this week after Mr. Johnson asked people to stop going to pubs and cafes.
British unions said that this measure would save another two million in the sector, with guaranteed liquidity for three months.
The UK is actually putting its money on black on the economic roulette wheel that was caused by the virus, which killed 177 people in the UK.
They believe that paying an “unlimited” wage guarantee would be cheaper than devastating millions of job losses.
The world has witnessed an increase in the death toll in Italy, with another 627 deaths in a day, bringing its total to over 4000.
The European country now has almost 25% more deaths than China where the virus started.
The world has tried to test as a way to resolve the crisis, but the World Health Organization has said that over 100 million would be needed.
To date, WHO has distributed 1.5 million test kits.
NSW GOVERNMENT CLOSES THE BONDI BEACH
The government of New South Wales closed Bondi Beach after the filming of people packing up its famous sand has led to worldwide convictions.
NSW police David Elliott announced the drastic measure in Bondi Beach.
Waverley’s board confirmed that the board is also immediately closing the beaches of Bronte and Tamarama.
Thousands of people poured into Bondi Beach on Friday amid temperatures in the 1930s, ignoring measures of social estrangement.
Bathers’ photos have been severely criticized by foreign media and social media as the world tries to slow the spread of the deadly virus. On Saturday, the mayor of Waverley Paula Masselos launched a public appeal for people to stay away from Bondi amid the coronavirus pandemic and away from the beaches.
“The public should always maintain a minimum safety distance from each other in public places and if it is not necessary to be out in public, please consider staying at home,” said Masselos.
“We all have a role to play in preventing the spread of COVID-19 and I am frustrated that people continue to ignore health advice regarding social distancing as observed yesterday in Bondi Beach.” Masselos asked people to follow the health advice of New South Wales, including the practice of social distancing and compliance with hygiene rules.
“Nobody is immune to COVID-19 and irresponsible behavior puts the whole community at risk,” said Masselos.
Health Minister Greg Hunt told Melbourne reporters that local councils were to ensure that people observed health and safety measures.
“What happened in Bondi was unacceptable and the local council must take steps to prevent this from happening,” said Hunt.
“Each of us as individuals, as families, as groups, as councils, as state governments, as a national government has responsibility.
“Where something like this is happening, the local council must take action and that message is absolutely clear.”
The Gold Coast beaches will remain open despite the decision to close Sydney’s famous Bondi beach due to the COVID-19 threat.
JAPAN’S INFECTIONS ABOVE 1000
Japan has 1,016 coronavirus cases reported nationwide as of Saturday, according to public broadcaster NHK.
Although the number of cases is still on the rise, Japan has started to scale back some measures to combat the spread of the virus.
On Friday, Japan said it will not close schools because it faces increasing pressure on whether to host the Tokyo Olympics.
THE QUARANTINE OF COLOMBIA, THE FIRST DEATH OF SINGAPORE
Colombia will enter a national quarantine from Tuesday night, said President Ivan Duque. The quarantine in the country, which has 158 confirmed cases of viruses, will last for 19 days, Reuters reports.
“In the coming weeks, we have the opportunity to collectively take the virus out of speed,” said Duque.
Singapore reported today of two coronavirus-related deaths on Saturday.
A 75-year-old Singaporean woman and a 64-year-old Indonesian died.
NEW YORK ORDERS NON-ESSENTIAL WORKERS FOR STAY AT HOME
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is ordering workers from non-essential companies to stay home and by banning meetings across the state.
“Only essential companies can have workers traveling to work or the workplace,” said Governor Cuomo of an executive order he will sign on Friday.
Non-essential meetings of people of any size or for any reason are canceled or postponed.
“We need everyone to be safe, otherwise nobody can be safe,” said Governor Cuomo. “So we’re going to issue an executive order today: New York State on hiatus: policies that ensure uniform security for everyone.”
Civil fines and mandatory closings will be applied for companies that fail to comply with the new mandate, Governor Cuomo announced.
“These provisions will be applied,” he said. “These are not useful suggestions. This is not if you really want to be a great citizen. These are legal provisions. They will be applied. There will be a civil penalty and mandatory closure for any non-compliant business. Again, your actions may affect my health. That’s where we are. “
It comes when New York has seen a spike in coronavirus cases. New York State now has 7102 confirmed cases, 4408 of those in New York City.
ITALY BECOMES ZERO LAND AS AUXILIARY DEATH
Italy has become zero for coronavirus as it exceeds China’s death toll.
COVID-19 has killed more than 4000 people in Italy compared to China’s death toll of 3248.
The army was called to move the coffins from the Lombardy region to northern Italy because the burial services were submerged.
Italy has announced 627 coronavirus deaths in the past 24 hours, the largest daily increase during the outbreak.
The global death toll has exceeded 10,000.
Lombardy in Italy sent the army to impose the blockade of the coronavirus today, while other 380 people died only in that region and doctors in Italian hospitals in crisis have described an “infinite flow” of sick patients.
The Northern Italy region hired 114 soldiers to keep people in after some Italians challenged the country’s quarantine rules – hindering its efforts to stop the world’s deadliest epidemic.
Meanwhile, a passenger of the Costa Victoria cruise ship that was sailing to Venice told News Corp that Australia had landed on the ship after it had been diverted from the Italian port.
Previously terrified passengers feared that they would be left to die if they were unloaded there.
“At first there was some panic from some to go home before Australia closed the borders, but Costa assured us that everything will be fine,” he said.
“To be honest, many think that this cruise should never have gone on to begin, we had to leave from the Maldives, but the day before we left we received the call to say that the Maldives are blocking us and now we had to change our flights to Dubai.
“It started before we left, but we weren’t given any chance of a refund or reprogramming, we just had to go where we were told or we would all get lost and lose our money.”
The ship crossed the Suez Canal and was between Egypt and Cyprus when Ms. Mapelsden spoke to News Corp Australia.
Previously, Sydney woman Lauren Petrovic had claimed that her mother-in-law Susan Morgan – who is also on the cruise ship – was terrified of being left in Venice.
“This is obviously a death sentence if they are to be released here without assistance or any Ave to return home safely to Australia. They will potentially be left to die, “he said.
Gold Coast woman Joanne Martin-Blakey is on the ship with her husband Iain to celebrate her 50th birthday. He said on Facebook: “H.E.L.P. Now we are stuck on this ship (Costa Victoria) until we reach Italy. Which country will accept us after being in Italy? Emirates canceled our return flight from Venice and offered no alternatives.
“We are forced to enter the epicenter of COVID-19 and we are all in good health on this ship but now we are put at risk.”
The cruise, which reported no coronavirus cases, continues for at least eight more days.
Passengers were told to avoid social contacts and all activities were canceled.
The Italians will remain en bloc indefinitely as it now becomes the deadliest place on the planet to contract the disease.
The ban on opening stores, which will expire on April 3, has now been extended.
“Use your common sense and act with the utmost caution,” Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said to the Italians.
“We don’t underestimate anything and we always act on the worst case scenario.”
The Republic the newspaper, the main outlet in Italy, reported that 94% of Italians remained in favor of bans, despite the imposition on their lives.
Residents who wander the streets who don’t go to grocery stores or pharmacies or who travel for work have been threatened with fines of $ A385.
Iran has become the next major critical point for the virus with a person dying there every 10 minutes bringing the nation’s already fragile health care system to its knees.
French President Emmanuel Macron has lashed out citizens for violating his country’s blockade, with the beaches now closed, despite the warning that his tough measures will be in place for a month.
Prince Albert II of Monaco became the first head of state to come up with the disease, amid concerns that Prince Charles had recently encountered.
FRANTIC SCENES AS AUXILIARIES TENSE AT HOME
A group of Australian teenagers captured one of the last planes outside London after the coronavirus robbed them of their sabbatical, while a cruise ship carrying up to 240 Australians is now heading to Greece instead of Italy.
There were frenzied scenes at Gatwick airport in London early Saturday in Australia as people ran back to their home countries.
However, some couples have been separated as those without a passport to their destination country have been rejected by flights since Europe has strict travel bans.
Staff from the budget airline Easyjet said they had dealt with frustrated and tearful passengers, as many travelers wore masks and some even wore protective goggles when passing security checks.
Daisy Meehan, 18, from Armidale, Sydneysiders Eliza Ewington, 18, Olivia Edwards, 19, Cate von Behr, 18 and Sascha Wilson, 18, from the central coast of New South Wales, have just scraped the UK .
They were working in a private school in Oxford, but were forced to make plans to return to Australia quickly, as their parents urged them to leave quickly.
“My mom wrote a frantic text message and said you have to put on your big girl’s pants and go home,” said Miss Meehan. “It is so uncertain that it is so disturbing.”
Miss Wilson said she wanted a “Hamish and Andy” style sabbatical, but now she is returning to uncertainty.
Miss Ewington said she was troubled by having to leave her students, who had become part of her family.
The hasty departure meant that he wore three pairs of pants and three jackets to avoid violating the weight limit of his bag on the Emirates flight.
“It’s not like we can go home and find work,” he said.
Miss Edwards said she lost her travel bucket list. There have been trips across the continent, including Portugal, Spain and Amsterdam during the itinerary.
“This week she has been on a roller coaster. I could have held on for about three weeks, but it hit us when nothing would have been open if we had stayed in Oxford, “he said.
“This is the first time we have been independent and were looking forward to it.”
The teenagers were also planning to attend a music festival in Budapest.
RECORD NUMBER OF DEATH IN SPAIN
Spanish authorities are planning to transform a Madrid convention center into a giant military hospital for coronavirus patients, as the second worst outbreak in Europe has caused 235 more victims.
Spain’s worst one-day death toll brought the country’s total casualties to over 1000 on Friday.
Spain quickly followed Italy to become the second European country where hundreds of people are killed daily by the coronavirus. The death toll shows few signs of slowing down.
About 5,500 hospital beds, including intensive care units, will be set up inside the 240,000-square-foot IFEMA conference center on the outskirts of the capital to meet growing demand expected in the coming days, the Madrid region said in a tweet.
“The most difficult days are coming now,” said emergency chief Fernando Simon at a press conference.
The capital has become the epicenter of the disease in Spain. With nearly 20,000 cases reported on Friday, Spain overtook Iran to become the third hardest hit country in the world after China and Italy.
The Madrid region has 628 deaths and 7165 cases.
Health Minister Salvador Illa said that Spanish hospitals are conducting numerous clinical trials to treat severe and mild cases of coronavirus, while the ministry of science said researchers were working on potential vaccines and detection tests.
On Thursday the government promised measures to protect the elderly and nursing home staff after a large number of deaths.
About 30 firefighters were involved in an extensive disinfection operation in one nursing home in Madrid, and one military team was working in another. The government said on Friday that providing more face masks would be a priority and could even do more to help vulnerable groups.
The ministry of justice said that 1000 doctors and forensic technicians would be reassigned to deal with the epidemic.
The country stepped up efforts to curb the spread of the disease over the past week, ordering a nationwide 15-day state of emergency on Saturday that excludes people from all but essential exits.
Bars, restaurants and most stores have been closed and limited transportation.
CALL FOR BOOKS VULNERABLE PRISONERS
Criminal law experts recommend Australian governments to free senior, young and minor offenders from prisons and detention centers to avoid a COVID-19 outbreak.
More than 370 legal experts have signed a letter coordinated by the Australian National University and the University of Technology in Sydney calling for urgent reforms to protect the prison population from the global health pandemic.
“Australian prisons and detention centers will become epicenters for COVID-19 transmission if governments do not act now,” said ANU criminology program leader Professor Lorana Bartels.
Experts are urging the early release of vulnerable prisoners and detainees who are at high risk of damage from COVID-19, such as those with pre-existing conditions, elderly and young people.
They also believe that detainees for crimes such as illegal driving, property crimes and those who could be released in the next six months should also be released.
Ulia Professor Thalia Anthony said urgent measures, including the release of prisoners, have been taken in the United States, the United Kingdom, Southeast Asia and the Middle East in response to the virus.
He said that Australian governments must provide a coherent approach to protect prison populations.
“It is only a matter of time before COVID-19 explodes in prisons and detention centers for young people. This will therefore have a significant flow effect for the community, “he said.
Professor Bartels said that most people entering prison are not sentenced and that almost a third should serve less than 12 months.
“Tens of thousands of people are likely to be released into the community later this year, making them potential carriers of coronavirus in communities,” he said.
Judicial action coordinator Brett Collins said earlier this week the unrest observed in Italian prisons would have been replicated in Australia if the authorities were unable to prevent COVID-19 outbreaks.
He also argued that older prisoners are at high risk of death and should be released and that no one should share cells to ensure adequate social removal.
“COULD KILL YOU”: WHO IS NOTICE TO YOUNG PEOPLE
Geneva UN health chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus says young people around the world face the reality that the new coronavirus attacks them in large numbers, not just the older generations.
“You are not invincible. This virus could put you in hospital for weeks or even kill you, “the director of the World Health Organization (WHO) said in Geneva.
The pandemic, which resulted in over 210,000 confirmed infections and 9,000 reported deaths, requires not only cooperation between countries, but also between generations, stressed Tedros.
“I am grateful that so many young people are spreading the word and not the virus,” said the head of the WHO, praising the young people who protect the elderly by protecting themselves.
Tedros also sent a message to the millions of people who are forced to stay at home as their authorities have imposed various forms of blockades.
Confined people should pay particular attention to eating healthy foods, avoiding tobacco and alcohol and taking care of their body and mind.
“If you can’t leave the house, find an exercise video online, dance to the music, do some yoga or walk up and down the stairs,” said the head of the Ethiopian United Nations health.
Staying in touch with family and friends and reaching out to neighbors is another way to protect your well-being, according to Tedros.
Last Friday, United Nations agencies warned that the pandemic creates risks for billions of people who are unable to wash their hands properly and for hundreds of millions of children who have to cope without school lunches because the educational facilities are closed.
Three billion people around the world do not have adequate access to water or soap to wash their hands, the United Nations said in Geneva, citing data from the WHO and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF ).
POOL TRIPS UBER AXIS
Coronavirus hit the ride-sharing market in Australia today when Uber announced that it would close all Uber Pool races in the country and start telling all users to “travel only when needed.”
Technology giant suspended its group tour mid-morning on Saturday, with Uber Global riding senior vice president Andrew Macdonald on Twitter who will remove the Uber Pool driving option in Australia, Latin America and India after suspending the service in London and Paris on Wednesday.
Uber Pool had allowed up to four cyclists to share a ride in one place and share costs.
Nonostante la chiusura, altri servizi di condivisione dei giri, tra cui UberX e Uber Eats, rimarranno aperti in Australia, ha detto un portavoce, ei ciclisti inizieranno a ricevere messaggi nell’app Uber che li avvertono di prendere solo i viaggi necessari.
“Il nostro obiettivo è quello di aiutare ad appiattire la curva di diffusione della comunità nelle città che serviamo”, ha detto.
“Con questo in mente, stiamo sospendendo l’Uber Pool in tutte le città in cui è disponibile: Sydney, Melbourne e Perth.
“Lavoriamo sempre per aiutare a proteggere tutti coloro che utilizzano la piattaforma Uber e continueremo a condividere i consigli delle autorità sanitarie con coloro che utilizzano l’app Uber.”
La chiusura arriva alcuni giorni dopo che Uber ha rivelato i piani per pagare i conducenti che sono costretti a mettere in quarantena o isolarsi per 14 giorni.
Didi ha anche istituito un fondo da 10 milioni di dollari per pagare i conducenti con diagnosi di COVID-19.
TEST DI IVANKA NEGATIVI DOPO L’INCONTRO DEL DUTTON
Ivanka Trump è tornato alla Casa Bianca dopo essere risultato negativo per il coronavirus e aver ottenuto “risultati chiari”, ha detto una persona che ha familiarità con i risultati.
Il consigliere senior e la figlia del presidente degli Stati Uniti Donald Trump lavoravano da casa da quando erano venuti in prossimità del ministro degli affari interni australiano Peter Dutton, che era risultato positivo per COVID-19.
Si è incontrato con Ivanka Trump pochi giorni prima di essere risultato positivo per il coronavirus, in un incontro tra il procuratore generale William Barr, Kellyanne Conway e un altro assistente senior.
Ivanka Trump e Jared Kushner erano anche a Mar-a-Lago con la delegazione brasiliana, dove almeno un membro si è rivelato positivo per il virus, nel fine settimana.
L’avvocato della prigione Debbie Kilroy e l’attivista Boneta-Marie Mabo, nipote di Eddie Mabo, si sono dimostrati entrambi positivi per il COVID-19 dopo essere stati sullo stesso volo del signor Dutton diversi giorni fa.
GLI INSEGNANTI DICONO DI NON INDOSSARE LE MASCHERE A SCUOLA
In tutta l’Australia gli insegnanti delle scuole pubbliche stanno lottando per insegnare le loro lezioni normali, gli viene detto di prepararsi per l’insegnamento online e anche di fornire compiti scolastici agli studenti che si isolano da soli.
In un promemoria visto da News Corp in Australia, agli insegnanti viene detto che verranno immediatamente rimandati a casa se indossano le maschere a scuola e per ricordare agli studenti di chiamare immediatamente l’importanza del distanziamento sociale, poiché pochissimi studenti aderiscono alle regole.
Le scuole del NSW stanno chiudendo i blocchi di servizi igienici per preservare il sapone e nel Queensland agli studenti viene chiesto di portare il proprio disinfettante per le mani, a causa delle scarse forniture.
A Victoria gli insegnanti sono frustrati perché lavoreranno mentre il Victorian Institute of Teaching ha chiuso i battenti e la linea diretta non è più attiva.
Arriva come una hotline del Dipartimento della Pubblica Istruzione del NSW viene sopraffatta dalle chiamate degli insegnanti che chiamano per segnalare le preoccupazioni del coronavirus in materia di salute e sicurezza, pulizia, igiene e questioni relative al distanziamento sociale.
Fonte: Organizzazione mondiale della sanità, Johns Hopkins, altri media
Gli insegnanti sono invitati a segnalare le loro preoccupazioni alla hotline del Dipartimento dell’Istruzione per la salute e la sicurezza, ma News Corp Australia comprende che la linea dovrebbe essere utilizzata solo per presidi e non ha le risorse per gestire il carico delle chiamate in arrivo.
Gli studenti HSC sono particolarmente preoccupati su come gestire i loro studi e News Corp Australia è stato informato che ci sarà una riunione dell’Autorità per gli standard di istruzione del NSW questo martedì dopo la quale verranno forniti ulteriori consigli su come gestire gli studenti senior che si autoisolano.
Martedì, il Ministro della Pubblica Istruzione Dan Tehan incontrerà anche la direzione dell’Australian Education Union (AEU) per discutere della crisi.
“I membri dell’AEU sono in prima linea nella crisi COVID-19. Non solo hanno i loro bisogni e quelli delle loro famiglie, ma continuano a fornire un’istruzione di alta qualità ai loro studenti in periodi molto difficili “, ha dichiarato la presidente federale dell’AEU Correna Haythorpe.
The AEU expects that Chief Medical Officer Professor Brendan Murphy or his representative will also attend the meeting and Ms Haythorpe described the meeting as a welcome step forward in responding to the National Cabinet’s decisions in relation to preschools, schools and TAFE.
NEW INDOOR GATHERING LIMITS AS FEDERAL BUDGET DELAYED
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced a new indoor gathering limit for Australians.
There is now a four square metre rule for gatherings of less than 100 people.
“What we are now moving to is an arrangement for gatherings of less than 100, is that they would be four square metres provided per person in an enclosed space, in a room. So that’s 2m by 2m,” he said.
“So for example, if you’ve got a room, if you’ve got a premises, if you’ve got a meeting room or something like that, that’s 100 square metres, then you can have 25 people in that room.”
“I know these rules will take some time for people to get used to, but I would ask people to move as quickly as they can.
“I know it means a lot of change for a lot of venues, whether they be cafe‘s or restaurants or clubs or any of these other places of public gathering, including at this building here, we will be working to ensure that people know how many people can be in the various meeting rooms at this place.”
He said Australians should continue to practise wherever possible the 1m or 1.5m of healthy distance to limit contact.
The Federal Budget will also now be delayed until October. It is traditionally handed down on the first Tuesday in May. States would be postponing as well.
“Putting budgets together at this time, with the great uncertainty that exists, is not something that any Commonwealth or state government should be doing,” Mr Morrison said on Friday.
“As a result, we have already decided that we will not be … handing down a Budget until the first Tuesday in October, on the 6th of October.
“All other states and territories will be working to similar timetables.
“The idea that you can actually put together any sort of forecast around the economy at this time is simply not sensible.”
The federal debt limit will also be raised by a whopping $250 billion to combat the COVID-19 crisis.
In a joint statement, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg and Finance Minister Mathias Cormann said the ceiling would be lifted from $600 billion to $850 billion to ensure the government “has the capacity to deal with the ongoing economic impact of the coronavirus.”
And because of the decision announced earlier today to postpone the Budget until October 6, supply bills would be moved in parliament next week “to ensure the continuity of government in 2020-21.”
Mr Morrison said schools will remain open and anyone considering school holiday travel should reconsider the need for unnecessary travel.
He said the biosecurity act was being used to ban all non-essential travel into indigenous communities.
Mr Morrison said that next week, “advanced measures” would be considered to deal with future localised outbreaks and “what needs to be done wherever possible to shut that down”. He did not provide specifics.
“What we’ve asked for advice on is the density of those cases, how many cases in a particular area, that triggers actions over and above what these general rules that apply to those areas, and that would be staged up according to the level of that outbreak and what needs to be done wherever possible to shut that down,” he said.
“Now, the reason I say that is we need a consistent approach to how this would scale-up in the event of outbreaks in particular parts of particular areas.
“Because that means just because you might see, under those rules, something being done in Tuggeranong or somewhere else, that rules don’t necessarily apply … somewhere else.
“There will be advanced measures that would need to be put in place and we need a clear set of rules across states and territories to make those rules and that advice will be coming forward on Tuesday evening.”
He also flagged moves to protect renters from being turfed out of their homes during the coronavirus crisis.
Mr Morrison said the NSW and Western Australian government would lead work to “identify how relief can be provided for tenants in both commercial tenancies and residential tenancies, to ensure that in hardship conditions, there will be relief that will be available, and ensuring that tenancy legislation is protecting those tenants over the next six months at least.”
And he announced additional funding $445 million of extra funding for aged care facilities. About half will be spent on a “retention bonus”.
Professor Brendan Murphy then told people to stop gathering in their homes, without practising social distancing.
“You should be distancing yourself from every fellow Australian where possible,” he said.
“That’s why we have guidelines for people in gatherings of less than 100. There’s no point having a gathering of 20 people if it’s in tiny room and you’re altogether.
“You’ve got to practise social distancing. Keep that metre-and-a-half away from each other, practise good hand hygiene all the time, and stay away from work or the community if you are unwell.”
CALIFORNIA RESIDENTS TOLD TO STAY HOME
California’s 40 million residents should stay home indefinitely and venture outside only for essential jobs, errands and some exercise, Governor Gavin Newsom said, warning that the coronavirus threatens to overwhelm the state’s medical system.
The move, the most sweeping by any state so far, was an exclamation point at the end of a week of increasingly aggressive moves meant to keep the virus in check by forcing people to stay away from each other as often as possible.
“I can assure you home isolation is not my preferred choice, I know it’s not yours, but it’s a necessary one,” Gov. Newsom said at an evening news conference streamed on social media.
He assured residents that they “can still take your kids outside, practising common sense and social distancing. You can still walk your dog.”
Restaurant meals can still be delivered to homes.
The announcement came after the release of a letter to US President Donald Trump where Gov. Newsom warned the virus was spreading quickly and eventually could infect more than half the state’s population. A spokesman later clarified that the figure did not take into account the aggressive mitigation efforts that have been made.
The governor said he doesn’t expect police will be needed to enforce his stay-at-home order, saying “social pressure” already has led to social distancing throughout the state.
“I don’t believe the people of California need to be told through law enforcement that it’s appropriate just to home isolate,” he said.
The Democrat who is barely a year into his first term also called up 500 National Guard troops to help distribute food.
There are at least 1030 confirmed cases in California and 18 people have died, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.
Meanwhile, New York’s total number of coronavirus cases reached 3954 — a significant jump (9.4 per cent) from the 3615 cases that were reported earlier on Thursday.
A total of 26 city residents have now died from the illness.
Brooklyn continues to be the borough with the most infected, at 1195 cases, according to the new tally. In Queens there are 1042 cases; 1038 in Manhattan; 496 in the Bronx; and 179 on Staten Island.
TRUMP CLOSES US-MEXICO BORDER
US President Donald Trump also announced an effective closure of the US border with Mexico, prohibiting most travel except for trade. This aligns it with the restriction on the Canadian border earlier this week.
It came as the president invoked the Defence Production Act to get needed medical supplies on the front lines of the coronavirus outbreak, mobilising the federal government to marshal the private sector to combat the pandemic.
Mr Trump had said earlier in the week he would tap the act as needed.
He said he has put that “in gear.”
Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer said he implored Mr Trump during a phone call to invoke the Korean War-era act immediately to order the manufacture of ventilators and other critically needed medical gear.
The president told Sen. Schumer he would, then could be heard on the telephone making the order.
Mr Trump also sparred with NBC News reporter Peter Alexander who asked whether Americans should feel scared.
Trump has an epic meltdown and goes on a screed about the media when he is asked what he would tell people who are scared. Trump called NBC’s Peter Alexander a terrible reporter and started yelling and ranting. pic.twitter.com/dko6pIHrUt
— Sarah Reese Jones (@PoliticusSarah) March 20, 2020
“I would say that you’re a terrible reporter, that’s what I’d say,” MR Trump erupted. “I think it’s a very nasty question.”
“The American people are looking for answers and they’re looking for hope. And you’re doing sensationalism,” Mr Trump said.
He wagged his finger for emphasis and said: “That’s really bad reporting.”
“Let’s see if it works. I happen to be fine. Who knows? I was very right. Let’s see what happens,” Mr Trump said.
YOUTUBE JOINS NETFLIX IN LIMITING VIDEO STREAM QUALITY
YouTube has joined Netflix in agreeing to limit video stream quality in an effort to ease pressure on internet providers during the coronavirus outbreak. Internet service providers are braced for increases in internet traffic as people in the UK resort to working from home and self-isolation, while other parts of Europe are subject to lockdowns.
The scheme to ease the strain on providers has come from the European commissioner for internal market and services, Thierry Breton, who urged platforms to help infrastructure handle any potential usage increase.
On Thursday, Netflix said it expects its limit – which will last for 30 days – to cut network traffic by around 25 per cent. Y
ouTube said its scheme will see video quality limited to standard definition, also for a period of 30 days.
The company said it had so far seen little change in the peaks for usage, instead mostly seeing changes in usage patterns with more people at home, with usage expanding across longer hours.
“People are coming to YouTube to find authoritative news, learning content and make connections during these uncertain times,” a spokeswoman for the video platform said. “While we have seen only a few usage peaks, we have measures in place to automatically adjust our system to use less network capacity.
“We are in ongoing conversations with the regulators (including Ofcom), governments and network operators all over Europe, and are making a commitment to temporarily default all traffic in the UK and the EU to standard definition.
Google said its chief executive Sundar Pichai and YouTube boss Susan Wojcicki discussed how the technology giant could help further during the coronavirus pandemic with Mr Breton.
YouTube also confirmed it was introducing a new area on its homepage dedicated to news about COVID-19 from trustworthy sources.
TAIWAN SAYS WHO FAILED TO ACT ON CORONAVIRUS WARNING
Taiwan has accused the World Health Organisation of failing to communicate an early warning about transmission of the coronavirus between humans, the Financial Times relationships.
Health officials in Taipei said they alerted the WHO at the end of December about the risk of human-to-human transmission of the new virus but said its concerns were not passed on to other countries.
“While the IHR’s internal website provides a platform for all countries to share information on the epidemic and their response, none of the information shared by our country’s (Centres for Disease Control) is being put up there,” said Chen Chien-jen, Taiwan’s vice-president. “The WHO could not obtain first-hand information to study and judge whether there was human-to-human transmission of COVID-19. This led it to announce human-to-human transmission with a delay, and an opportunity to raise the alert level both in China and the wider world was lost,” said Mr Chen, an epidemiologist by training who was health minister at the time of the SARS outbreak.
China’s health ministry only confirmed human-to-human transmission on January 20, after the WHO said in mid-January there might be “limited” human-to-human transmission but stepped back from this view on the same day.
Taiwan is excluded from the WHO because China, which claims it as part of its territory, demands that third countries and international bodies do not treat it in any way that resembles how independent states are treated.
ANOTHER DOG HAS CORONAVIRUS
A second dog in Hong Kong has contracted the coronavirus in a likely case of human-to-animal transmission, according to a report on Thursday.
The two-year-old German Shepherd — owned by an COVID-19-infected 30-year-old woman in the Pok Fu Lam area — was quarantined at a government facility, according to the South China Morning Post.
Another pooch from the same home, a four-year-old mixed breed, was also placed on lockdown but tested negative, Hong Kong’s animal welfare authority said.
The sick puppy’s diagnosis came just three days after the first known dog to test positive for the coronavirus — a 17-year-old Pomeranian — died in Hong Kong after returning home from quarantine.
“It is very likely that the two positive cases (in Hong Kong) are examples of human-to-dog transmission,” Professor Malik Peiris, a public health virologist at the University of Hong Kong told the outlet.
But there’s no evidence that pets can transmit the virus to humans, a spokesman for the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department said.
In the case of the German Shepherd, the pooch was given oral and nasal swabs and placed in a different kennel than its mixed-breed housemate. Neither dog showed any symptoms.
“The department will continue to closely monitor both dogs and conduct repeated tests on the animals,” the spokesman said.
Along with the canines, four cats are also under quarantine. Their health status wasn’t immediately known.
PORNHUB OFFERS PREMIUM SERVICE TO SELF-ISOLATORS
Second The sun, Pornhub saw a spike in viewers after it offered its premium service for free to people stuck at home due to the coronavirus.
The porn site has offered free premium membership to viewers in Italy and has now extended this to adult users in France and Spain.
The company said on its Twitter feed: “In light of expanding quarantines, we are extending Free Pornhub Premium for the month to our friends in France! Pornhub will also donate this month’s sales from Modelhub … Courage France!”
It had a similar message for its Twitter followers in Spain.
The premium package offers no ads, faster streaming, high-speed downloads and better video quality as well as “discreet billing” and anytime cancellation.