What a lot changes in a few hours, let alone a week, when it comes to Covid-19. Melissa Davey here, and when I was with you on the liveblog last Saturday, Australia had just crossed 1,000 cases by the end of the day. This morning, the national total is approaching more than 3,200 cases, and almost half of those are in New South Wales. Thousands more have lost their jobs and we are in more stringent lockdown.
A significant amount of spread has come from the Ruby Princess cruise ship – more than 200 cases are linked to that cruise. Yesterday we learned 32 Queenslanders from the ship tested positive to the disease. Meanwhile 162 people in NSW and at least 49 interstate have been diagnosed with Covid-19 after they left the cruise ship, which was allowed to dock twice in Sydney’s Circular Quay this month.
NSW and Victoria are preparing to announce a stricter lockdown than the rest of Australia. In Victoria, 22 people are in hospital with the virus, and 574 people have been infected. NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian is expected to announce the state will keep only essential service services such as grocery stores, pharmacies, petrol stations and health facilities to remain open. Those two states, with significantly more cases than elsewhere, keep flagging ‘stage 3’ of a lockdown, but neither the federal government or states have revealed to the public how many stages there are or what each stage means.
The imminent state measures come as Berejiklian revealed that there were at least 145 Covid-19 cases that appeared to be due to community transmission, that could not be explained by overseas travel or contact with a person that had travelled.
Queensland, too has a significant number of cases, at more than 550. There are concerns about the upcoming local government elections which many are saying should be postponed.
Finally, late last night Myer announced it would be standing down 10,000 staff as it closes all of its stores from tomorrow.
Internationally, UK prime minister Boris Johnson tested positive for Covid-19 – he originally insisted he would keep shaking hands with people, including Covid-19 patients.
Don’t heed advice from Johnson. Keep that distance and flatten the curve.
Thanks for joining me here. If I miss anything as this story moves rapidly, feel free to email me [email protected] or say hi over at Twitter. This is a difficult time. People with sick loved ones interstate and overseas are wondering when they will next get to visit. Thousands have lost their jobs and are facing financial uncertainty. People have already lost their businesses and livelihoods. Lives have been lost. So let’s try to keep the interaction and comments kind. We are all bound to get aspects of this rapidly moving situation wrong.