Markets fall again as global Covid-19 cases near 130,000 – as it happened
Australia can “flatten the curve”.
In Australia there are now 197 confirmed cases of coronavirus , including three deaths. From Monday, gatherings of more than 500 people will be banned. The chief medical officer Professor Brendan Murphy has just said this has put Australia in a good position.
We are starting these measures perhaps a little bit before some have said they are needed. We in Australia want to flatten that curve and keep this under really tight control. We do not want to see rapid increases like we have seen in some parts of the world. That is why we are moving early.
We have modelling that says an infection could take some months to go right through the community with a flattened curve. But it depends on how it develops. It might develop in focal parts of the country where we might be able to control it, if it develops in a number of parts it could last for quite a number of weeks. At the moment we are just focusing on containing and flattening it, and we will be reviewing our public health measures every day.
Earlier in the day Australia’s shadow health minister Chris Bowen slammed the prime minister Scott Morrison’s handling of the virus. Bowen questioned why the prime minister and other minister’s were not tested after the home affairs minister Peter Dutton was diagnosed with Covid-19 on Friday. Dutton has now been admitted to hospital. Bowen accused the cabinet of failing to take the same measures the community is being told to undertake in terms of self-isolation and testing.
But in a press conference immediately after Bowen’s, Australia’s chief medical officer Professor Brendan Murphy backed Morrison’s decision not to get tested. Murphy said;
No member of cabinet was in contact with Minister Dutton within 24 hours of him becoming symptomatic, nor was I in fact in contact with him. So the prime minister was very, very clear to me that the cabinet and all the public officials follow the exact same public health rules as everybody else in the Australian community. If there had been a requirement for quarantine, he was insistent that government and cabinet follow those rules, so we just follow the normal public health advice, no-one had been in contact with the minister in that period.
New Zealand cancels Christchurch shootings remembrance service
A national remembrance service to mark the one year anniversary of the Christchurch mosques attack in New Zealand has been cancelled due to the coronavirus.
As recently as Friday, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the event could take place as New Zealand is yet to record a community transmission of Covid-19.
“This is a pragmatic decision. We’re very saddened to cancel, but in remembering such a terrible tragedy, we shouldn’t create the risk of further harm being done,” she said.
Health officials announced the country’s sixth confirmed case of the disease.