Coronavirus live news: US infections outnumber China as global cases pass 500,000 – The Guardian, Theguardian.com
US president Donald Trump has given glowing praise of China and its response to coronavirus – which he did not refer to as the “Chinese virus” – in a tweet following his call earlier with Chinese president Xi Jinping:
Donald J. Trump (@ realDonaldTrump)
Just finished a very good conversation with President Xi of China. Discussed in great detail the CoronaVirus that is ravaging large parts of our Planet. China has been through much & has developed a strong understanding of the Virus. We are working closely together. Much respect!
In Singapore, getting within a meter of another person at a restaurant or a shopping queue can now land you in prison under some of the toughest punishments seen worldwide to implement social distancing during the coronavirus pandemic, Reuters reports .
The city-state’s no-nonsense approach and extensive surveillance during a two-month long virus battle has won international praise, and had allowed it to largely avoid curtailing daily life until a surge of cases in the last week.
The updates to Singapore’s powerful infectious diseases law, which came into effect on Friday, have been accompanied by other measures such as shutting bars and limiting gatherings to up to 21 people outside work and school.
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It’s been a long and difficult week and Guardian Australia’s cartoonist First Dog on the Moon has what you need to cheer you up on this Friday afternoon (yes, it’s Friday, not that that means much to people who are self-isolating or under lockdown).
He has these true stories of pets in isolation . Enjoy!
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Just to wrap up if you are just joining us. The Australian prime minister
Scott Morrison just delivered a press conference and the key points are:
(Returning travelers to Australia will be quarantined for days, instead of self-isolating at home. The cost of their accommodation in places such as hotels will be borne by the states.
The Australian Defense Force will be used to enforce measures to ensure people already self-isolating are complying with instructions.
The government and states are working on a “hibernation package” that will aim to help businesses that have to close to try to ensure they can reopen when this is over.
So, how clear was his messaging in this press conference? Not very. Morrison was again asked for clarity – repeatedly – on what counts as an essential service, and who counts as essential workers.
His response, this time to his own rhetorical question, was: “What’s an essential job? A job that someone has. ”
Asked about the business hibernation plan, which he described as a “simple” and “innovative” idea he responded:
We will make announcements on the details. I today wanted to set out what the objective was. There will be a burden for everyone to share. And that will include the business as well. There will be landlords who will suffer. There will be – the banks will be having to make arrangements with them … The intent is, as far as possible, to … ensure that a business through no fault of its own – just like if there’s any Australian who has lost a job through no fault of their own – we are simply trying to preserve and support them in the best way we possibly can for the simple reason that, A: they are Australian, and that is what we should do, and, B: on the other side we want them to surge. We want Australia to rise again on the other side of this and to go forward strongly.
On that comment from New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern that she does not want to “see the scenes of Bondi beach in Australia”:
Bondi, in Sydney’s eastern suburbs, is part of the Waverly council area. This week the council which was forced to shut down Bondi Beach after thousands of people went to the beach despite social distancing recommendations.
Waverley is now the council area with the highest number of coronavirus cases, at 237. Of these, at least eight people acquired the infection without any known contact with a confirmed case or travel overseas, Guardian analysis shows.
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In New Zealand , Charles Anderson reports for the Guardian that finance minister Grant Robertson says employers are required to pay employees a government wage subsidy, even if they cannot continue to employ them. This would take the support scheme to an estimated NZ $ 8 – 21 bn (US $ 4.8-7.2bn).
ICU beds would reach capacity within two months and the number of patients needing intensive care would exceed times that capacity by the time the virus peaked.
However, with the strictest suppression measures, which New Zealand had adopted, the fatalities would drop to just 0. (% – about people . Hospital capacity would not be exceeded for over a year. These measures included social distancing, case isolation, household quarantine, and closing schools and universities.
That scenario would require the restrictions to remain in place until a vaccine or other treatment was developed.
“When controls are lifted after days, an outbreak occurs with a similar peak size as for an uncontrolled epidemic, ”the researchers wrote. “In other words, these strategies can delay but not prevent the epidemic.”
Over in New Zealand , which is under total lockdown and a state of emergency, the prime minister, Jacinda Ardern is imploring people to “stay local” during a four-week countrywide lockdown and does not want to see
“the scenes of Bondi Beach in New Zealand” , referring to last weekend in Australia when a sunny Friday saw the country most famous beach packed locals and tourists.
Charles Anderson reports for the Guardian that Ardern again told reporters in Wellington this afternoon that, despite the lockdown, numbers of those infected with Covid – will continue to rise for some time.
New Zealand is in day two of a four-week lockdown where non-essential businesses have been forced to close and families to stay home.
“Don’t take road trips. Don’t go outside of your area. Don’t congregate, ”Ardern said. “There is an expectation that people will stay in their homes.”
Ardern said that those who were infected would not know for several days. If they broke their local ’bubble’ of who they were isolating with then they put many others, including the elderly, at risk.
She sought to reassure New Zealanders that medical professionals had access to enough protective gear to manage demand across the country.
Ardern said the border, which is closed to visitors, presented the greatest risk in managing Covid – 35 and would be managed accordingly.
Updated at 4. am GMT
3. (am GMT)
Australia will be putting the economy into “hibernation”, Prime Minister Scott Morrison says. He did not explain how it works, but as we understand it, this means that business overheads, including rent and mortgage costs, will be suspended for a while. Australia’s finance minister Matthias Cormann said this could be for six months. Banks, lenders and landlords will wear at least some of this cost.
We’re of course hoping for more clarity on the specifics of what Morrison has called an “innovative” solution soon.
Updated (at 3.) am GMT
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison is talking about the plan to put the country’s economy into hibernation now. He says the idea is simple, but does not go on to explain the idea.
Part of that plan that we will be announcing will be to seek to hibernate Australian businesses … The idea is simple: there are businesses which will have to close their doors. They will have to keep them closed either because we have made it necessary for them to do so, or simply because there is just not the business to keep their doors open. We want those businesses to start again. And we do not want over the course of the next six months or as long as it takes, for those businesses to be so saddled by debt, so saddled by rental payments, so saddled by other liabilities that they will not be able to start again on the other side. We want these businesses to effectively go into a hibernation, which means on the other side, the employees come back, the opportunities come back, the economy comes back.
Updated (at 4.) am GMT
3. am GMT :
Australia’s quarantine measures will be enforced by state government with the help of the Australian Defense Force, prime minister Scott Morrison says. The ADF will also be helping to check up on those already in self isolation.
Updated (at 3.) am GMT
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Scott Morrison says of the new quarantine measures:
By no later than midnight tomorrow – that is : pmSaturday – states and territories will be quarantining all arrivals through our airports in hotels and other accommodation facilities for the two weeks of their mandatory self-isolation before they are able to return to their home.
If their home is in South Australia or in Perth or in Tasmania and they have arrived in Melbourne, they will be quarantining in Melbourne. If it’s in Sydney, it will be if Sydney. If it’s Brisbane, and so on.