Going Viral – Hatch’s daily blog and updates on the coronavirus

The coronavirus COVID-19 has created a global crisis. (Photo: Prachatai/Flickr)

Like many firms and institutions Macleay College’s student reporters will work remotely and in isolation to stay healthy and help stop the spread of the coronavirus. Here they blog about life under lockdown and the daily release of news on COVID-19 and it’s spread across Australia and around the world.

Latest: Australia 26,813 cases, 832 deaths

September 18, 2020: Daily brief… a spike in cases as Victoria records 45 new cases and five deaths overnight, with the state now hitting a new milestone of more than 20,000 cases; a growing COVID-19 cluster in Melbourne’s south-east is becoming a cause of concern for Victorian health officials who are trying to find any links; NSW records six new cases in the last 24 hours, with five of the cases coming from returned travellers in hotel quarantine and one case coming from local transmission; Queensland records zero new cases overnight after 5,751 tests, and will ease restrictions from next Friday by reopening its borders to Canberrans; Geelong celebrates ‘freedom day’ as businesses were allowed to reopen across Regional Victoria yesterday; the National Cabinet will discuss the Prime Minister’s decision to raise the cap on international arrivals while Australians stranded overseas wait to see if an agreement is reached; Tasmania’s tourism industry is booming due to Tasmanians travelling more within their state, with some hotels reporting a 300 per cent increase in bookings from the previous year; and, in world news, Johns Hopkins university reveals there are now over 30 million COVID-19 cases globally, with the US, Brazil and India recording the highest number of infections.

It felt like just yesterday… Australian journalists reflect on the quick and significant spread of the virus as we surpass 30 million COVID-19 cases worldwide.

Latest: Australia 26,779 cases, 824 deaths

September 17, 2020: Daily brief… Victoria records its lowest increase in cases in almost three months with 28 new cases and eight deaths overnight, and six of the deaths being linked to aged care; Victoria’s deputy chief health officer Annaliese van Diemen admits to an inquiry that some hotel guests were allowed to leave quarantine while waiting for their COVID-19 test results; NSW records five new cases, and restrictions ease as residents can now move freely within the NSW/Victorian border region and NSW stadiums can go to 50 per cent capacity; Queensland records one new case in the last 24 hours as a healthcare worker tests positive on his 10th day in quarantine, and is linked to the Ipswich Hospital cluster; a 43-year-old Gold Coast man has been charged with making death threats to Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young due to pandemic-related frustration; in national news, Australia’s unemployment rate has fallen from 7.5 per cent in July to 6.8 per cent in August as 110,000 jobs were added despite the Melbourne lockdown; and Prime Minister Scott Morrison says the number of people allowed into Australia each week will increase by 2,000 next Friday as the states decide if they will house them.

Premier in the firing line… QLD Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk under pressure as she deals with death threats, and resentment from the public.

Latest: Australia 26,738 cases, 816 deaths

September 16, 2020: Daily brief… Victoria records 42 new cases overnight as Melbourne’s 14-day daily COVID-19 case average drops below 50; Melburnians who illegally travel to regional Victoria will be fined $4957 from midnight tonight under a new penalty designed to protect rural and regional areas; restrictions in Victoria will ease as elective surgeries return after nearly two months since the Victorian Government suspended most elective surgeries; the waiting list for elective surgery in NSW reaches over 100,000 patients due to the pandemic as surgeons call for operations to continue through the Christmas break; NSW records 10 new cases as testing rates double in the last 24 hours, with six cases coming from returned travellers in hotel quarantine and the other four being locally acquired; Queensland records zero new cases overnight as gatherings of up to 30 people will now be allowed in some regions, and visitor bans at aged care homes will be lifted; the Federal Government is pushing states and territories to raise the cap on international arrivals from 4,000 people per week to 6,0000 people to allow more Australians stuck overseas to return; and the Australian National University (ANU) in Canberra is estimated to lose 465 jobs, including 250 voluntary redundancies, due to the financial impact of COVID-19.

A well-deserved advancement…restrictions continue to ease in Victoria as elective surgery is expected to resume

Latest: Australia 26,692 cases, 816 deaths

September 15, 2020: Daily brief… A good outcome today as Victoria records zero deaths overnight and 42 new cases, making it the first time in over two months there were no COVID-19 deaths; regional Victorians can sit in a restaurant, meet up to 10 people outdoors and travel within the region from Thursday, as part of step three of the coronavirus reopening plan; NSW records seven new cases, and NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian voices concern as testing rates fall to just over 8,800 people, down from 9,316 yesterday; Queensland records one new case overnight and the infected person is revealed to be an overseas arrival already in quarantine; from midnight tonight, travellers from the ACT will be able to enter South Australia without a 14-day quarantine but restrictions on New South Wales will remain for now; Sydney nursing home Newmarch are ‘relieved’ after yesterday’s announcement of a positive COVID-19 test is revealed to be a false-positive result; a Perth woman, who breached quarantine laws and was given a precedent-setting six-month jail term, has won her appeal against the sentence and will instead do community service; Western Australia Premier Mark McGowan says WA could welcome more Australia’s travelling home from overseas if they can be quarantined in Christmas Island and Yongah Hill.

Toward COVID normal... Victoria’s Chief Health Officer congratulates Victorians on zero COVID-19 deaths overnight

Latest: Australia 26,651 cases, 810 deaths

September 14, 2020: Daily brief… Victoria records 35 new cases and seven deaths overnight, taking the state’s death toll to 729 and making it the second time the state has had under 40 cases a day in three consecutive days; restrictions have slightly eased in Victoria as Victorians are now allowed a ‘bubble buddy’, two hours outside instead of one, and a small outdoor barbecue for regional Victorians; the Victorian government’s $3 billion support package introduced yesterday is being celebrated by business and hospitality leaders; more funds promised for Victorian businesses as the Victorian Government pledges $290 million to help businesses create summer outdoor dining culture; NSW records four new cases in the past 24 hours, with one resulting from local transmission and the other three found among returned travellers in hotel quarantine; QLD records zero cases for the second consecutive day, making 30 active COVID-19 cases in the Sunshine state; a Brisbane man in a tow truck is caught trying to illegally re-enter the QLD border in a bid to rekindle a relationship with a person in a COVID-19 hotspot; Tasmanian copper mine Mt Lyell is being offered for sale after revealing COVID-19 stalled plans to restart operations back in February.

Summer is coming… Victorians share joy at Victorian government’s plans for summer outdoor dining

Latest: Australia 26,513 cases, 788 deaths

September 11, 2020: Daily brief… a further decline in Victorian cases as the state records 43 new cases and nine deaths overnight, lifting the state’s death toll to 710; Queensland records two new cases overnight, with both cases testing positive in hotel quarantine and having been in close contact with previous confirmed clusters; an emotional QLD Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk defends her tough border policy as a “difficult and tough decision” as pressure to ease the state’s restrictions grows; NSW records 10 new COVID-19 cases in the past 24 hours as health authorities warn the virus is still circulating; a new COVID-19 health alert has been issued for Sydney’s Concord Hospital as health authorities say an infected patient was present in the hospital’s waiting room; a Sydney woman has tried to flee hotel quarantine and been issued with a $1,000 penalty infringement notice (PIN), while over 59,000 people have completed hotel quarantine in Sydney since 29 March; remote regions in Western Australia have been likened to ghost towns as businesses indicate a 70-90 per cent loss of income due to the restrictions; and Virgin Australia’s budget airline Tigerair officially shuts down after 13 years of operation under COVID-19 pressures, and confirms they had also been struggling before the pandemic.

No longer flying high... former passengers of Tigerair reminisce on their experience with the airline.

Latest: Australia 26,465 cases, 781 deaths

September 10, 2020: Daily brief… a decrease in Victorian cases as the state records 51 new cases and seven deaths overnight, raising the state’s death toll to 701; aged care staff from the largest COVID-19 outbreak in Victoria blame their workplace for failing to implement personal protective equipment (PPE) earlier; Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews rejects notions to relax restrictions in Victorian regions without cases, calling the proposal a ‘problematic exercise’; conversely, Queensland records zero new cases in the past 24 hours after testing 10,000 people in a day – a testing landmark; in NSW, Premier Gladys Berejiklian urges QLD and WA to open the borders and help ‘prop up the nation’ to save Australia’s economy; Western Sydney’s Thai Rock restaurant, which amassed 103 cases from one infected person having lunch there, has reopened but is now struggling to maintain customers; retail giant Myer has also taken a tremendous hit as they reveal they have lost $172 million after closing stores due to COVID-19; AstraZeneca, the company running stage three clinical trials of a vaccine which Australia intends to buy 83 million doses of, reveals it has halted the trial temporarily after a participant became seriously ill with an unknown condition; a new book by Watergate journalist Bob Woodward claims US president Donald Trump knew about the lethalness of COVID-19 but intentionally downplayed the risks so as not to cause panic.

Cross with the PM… As the search for a cure continues, unhappy Aussies take shots at ‘devilish’ ScoMo.

ROLLING GLOBAL VIRUS TOLL

Latest: Australia 26,374 cases; 770 deaths.

September 8, 2020: Daily brief… Victorian Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton has admitted that the state’s contact tracing isn’t up to scratch prompting the Premier to send members of their health team to NSW for some tips; the Unity Hall Hotel in Balmain has become the first venue in NSW to shut down for breaching the state’s Covid-safety plan; importantly Covid vaccine trials are now testing on older Aussies; SA and QLD have recorded one new case of coronavirus each today, both returned travellers in hotel quarantine; a 30-year-old Victorian man has been charged after he allegedly falsely claimed his grandfather was dying in a bid to leave hotel quarantine in Sydney; in the last 24 hours there have been nine new cases in NSW and 55 new cases and sadly 8 deaths reported in VIC; and world number one, Ash Barty has opted to not defend her French Open crown, stating that she’s been unable to prepare with her coach because of state border closures.

A new study has revealed the disturbing amount of germs on a hotel elevator button #ew.

And it appears iso is really stretching on for Melbournians.

September 7, 2020: Daily brief… In some uplifting news, year 12 students in NSW will now be allowed to attend their end of year formal in a bid to give students ‘something to look forward to’; some pharmaceutical unions have slammed QLD proposal to test Covid-19 in pharmacies saying it will put the elderly, employees and the general public at risk; Covid-19 bank-loan deferments are coming to an end, meaning hundreds of thousands of Aussies will have to come up with a way to pay or they may have to sell their homes; if promising trials prove successful the Australian Government has signed a deal to deliver a free coronavirus vaccine quickly to millions of Aussies in 2021, which some experts have deemed ‘optimistic’; QLD has recorded another two cases as an Ipswich Hospital health worker tests positive pushing the state’s total to 25; in the last 24 hours four new cases have been confirmed in NSW and 41 new cases of Covid-19 have been confirmed in VIC, the lowest daily total since late June; VIC Premier Daniel Andrews has copped huge backlash over a conservative roadmap to get the state out of lockdown; and in world news, India has reported 4.2 million coronavirus cases second only to the US with more then 6.2 million infected.

There’s been a call for Australians to pick fruit as the travel ban has thrown a spanner in the industry’s usual reliance on backpackers.

September 6, 2020: Daily brief… Premier Daniel Andrews has announced a coronavirus restrictions roadmap which may include several more weeks of lockdown unless daily case numbers drop dramatically, with at least two more weeks of stage four restrictions; it also includes ‘social bubbles’ for people living alone, single parents and households to reduce social isolation; the Federal Government labelled the roadmap announcement ‘hard and crushing news’ for Victorians; NSW police have charged six more people after the anti-lockdown protests held in Sydney and Byron Bay; NSW has recorded 10 new Covid-19 cases including two infected children and QLD has announced two new cases; while VIC has recorded 63 new cases overnight and unfortunately 5 more deaths.

It was a very different Father’s Day for many Australians this year with a lot of Aussies unable to celebrate in person due to lockdown restrictions and state border closures.

It’s a changed world, but Santa’s looking pretty good for his age at least?

September 5, 2020: Daily brief… QLD has recorded one new case of coronavirus, as alerts have been issued for three Brisbane sites and Moreton Bay islands; in the past 24 hours, VIC reported 76 new Covid-19 infections and 11 deaths while NSW reported five new cases; a public health alert has been issued for the Hyde Park Medical Centre in Sydney where two people with the virus attended the ground floor of the practice over 12 days from August 24; today hundreds of people attended protests in Olympic and Hyde Parks, labelled “Freedom Day Rallies” in response to the state’s lockdown measures; similarly in Melbourne many people took to the streets to protest the stage four lockdown and clashed with police; the Victorian Chief Health Officer has declared Covid-19 cases are falling too slowly, just a day before Victorians learn if any lockdown measures will be eased; unfortunately some positive coronavirus cases have been detected in SA wastewater and in hotel quarantine; and Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has been pulled over by the police on his way to a briefing as a part of a lockdown check to ensure motorists weren’t breaching the 5km travel limit.

September 4, 2020: Daily brief… The PM has said that most states and territories, except for WA are working to have borders open by Christmas; New Zealand has recorded its first coronavirus related death since the latest Auckland outbreak after a man in his 50s died this morning; NSW health has officially recommended no visits for Aged Care residents in metropolitan Sydney, the Blue Mountains and the Central Coast this Father’s day; the National Cabinet have still not agreed on the official definition of a hotspot, after the meeting the PM said National Cabinet needs to evolve and “there have been times when it has felt Australia could break apart” during the pandemic; NSW has recorded eight new cases of coronavirus over the past 24 hours, seven of which were locally acquired with known sources; unfortunately Victoria has recorded 81 new cases and 59 deaths, including 50 aged care residents who passed away in July-August; and in another blow to the film industry, the production of Robert Pattinson’s ‘The Batman’ has been put on hold after a positive Covid-19 test.

September 3, 2020: Daily brief… There have been 12 new cases of coronavirus recorded in NSW up to 8pm last night, five of which are linked to the growing CBD cluster; while VIC has recorded 115 new cases and sadly 15 more deaths; hotel guests about to check out had coronavirus, the Victorian hotel inquiry heard; the Federal Government is considering bringing forward $158 billion worth of personal tax cuts in an effort to get the nation spending its way out of a recession; and NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian says she is optimistic for the state’s future despite cases popping up across Sydney.

Around 400 AFL execs, staff and families have been given the royal treatment in QLD hotel quarantine, complete with pool and bar privileges.

September 2, 2020: Daily brief… Sydney’s NYE fireworks display is unlikely to go ahead according to the NSW deputy premier; meanwhile Australia has officially entered into an economic recession for the first time since WWII with the Treasurer saying coronavirus has “wreaked havoc” on the economy; the government has announced financial support for Aussies stranded overseas, allowing them to apply for one-off loans of $2,000-$5,000 to assist with their living expenses; a Sydney man has allegedly used a forklift to steal $7000 worth of hand sanitiser and face masks from a factory in Prospect; a woman has received two $1000 fines in the space of just a few hours after police allegedly caught her trying to sneak into NSW at different border crossings; VIC has recorded 90 new coronavirus cases and six deaths, NSW has recorded 17, and QLD has announced 2 new cases overnight; and QLD will officially host the 2020 AFL Grand Final at the Gabba on October 24, it will be the first time in history the match will be played outside of VIC due to current Covid-19 restrictions.

September 1, 2020: Daily brief… Two Melbourne men have been charged after planning an anti-lockdown protest to take place in the CBD this weekend; some restrictions are set to ease for communities on the NSW-VIC border by Friday (4 Sep); VIC Premier Daniel Andrews has raised the prospect of testing families for Covid-19 as a passport for interstate travel during the Christmas holidays; the Federal Government’s proposed $100 billion extension to the JobKeeper subsidy program has been signed off by parliament; however, JobKeeper will fall by $300/fortnight for full-time workers; Victoria has recorded its lowest increase of Covid-19 in over a month with 70 new cases and five deaths reported, however, Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton also reported the past 24 hours worryingly had the lowest testing rate since mid-June; Giraween Public School in Western Sydney has been closed due to a positive coronavirus case; and Victoria’s state of emergency has been extended by six months

August 31, 2020: Daily brief… The spread of Covid-19 on a Sydney bus from Australia Square to Randwick is prompting calls for the Premier to make masks mandatory on public transport; gardening company, Jim’s Mowing is preparing a multi-million-dollar lawsuit against the Victorian Government over the lockdown; the Perth man who used a ladder to escape his hotel quarantine has received a six month gaol sentence; VIC has recorded another 41 deaths, despite only 8 of those deaths occurring yesterday; the other 33 deaths happened in previous weeks, likely due to the change in the way aged care facilities report coronavirus deaths according to Sutton, the state’s Chief Health Officer.

On a lighter note, the MTV Video Music Awards were a hit today, the first major event of its kind to go ahead during the pandemic with many celebrities sporting fashionable masks.

August 28, 2020: Daily brief… Schoolies on the Gold Coast has been officially cancelled and labelled as “high risk” by the premier as QLD records three new cases today; and a new Covid-19 cluster has grown overnight on the Gold Coast with new restrictions on gatherings coming in to effect 8am tomorrow; VIC recorded 113 cases and 12 more deaths, all linked to aged care outbreaks, taking the state’s death toll to 497; meanwhile NSW has recorded 13 new cases; and security guards have been accused of inappropriate behaviour, reportedly “leering” at and “hitting-on” nurses and staff at the Rydges on Swanston hotel during Melbourne’s hotel quarantine program in May.

August 27, 2020: Daily brief… QLD has recorded two new cases of coronavirus in the last 24 hours with one person in hotel quarantine and a a trainer at the state’s corrective services; NSW has recorded nine new cases of Covid-19 today, all confirmed as locally acquired; two more gyms, a bar and a restaurant are on high alert as the coronavirus cluster in Sydney’s CBD continues to grow; panic buying at supermarkets in the beginning of the year hasn’t been enough to stop a profit slump at Woolies a recent report reads; thankfully, there has been no spike in suicides in Victoria during the lockdown, coroners court figures have shown; and in true 2020 form, the new ‘Australian Made’ logo is set to be scrapped after backlash that it looks like the coronavirus microbe, despite the $10 million cost for the new design.

August 25, 2020: Daily brief… A 51-year-old Victorian man has been accused of illegally entering NSW and leading officers on a high speed police pursuit; an Anglican Church leader has said he will boycott the Covid-19 vaccine if it uses cell line research from a foetus aborted nearly 50 years prior; SA will relax its border restrictions on VIC towns close to the border; Rivers and Millers owner, Mosaic Brands has announced it will close up to 500 stores in the next 2 years, stating they were “utterly derailed” by the pandemic; Olympian Usain Bolt has tested positive for coronavirus; Tassies have hit out at the state’s ban on dancing when people have been given the all clear to play sport or see a sex worker; there have been 3 new cases of coronavirus recorded in NSW in the past 24 hours; and VIC has recorded 148 new cases and 8 deaths while QLD has recorded no new cases overnight.

August 21, 2020: Daily brief… Optimistically NSW has recorded just one new coronavirus case overnight, the lowest number since the beginning of July; the new case is a close contact of a reported case at Hornsby Hospital and isolated before their infectious period according to the NSW chief medical officer, Kerry Chant; Victoria has recorded another day of declining coronavirus cases, with 179 new infections and nine fatalities in the last 24 hours, the lowest daily number of new cases in 5 weeks; the QLD Health Minister confirmed a second positive case at the youth detention centre of a 77-year-old worker; ScoMo announced the National Cabinet agreed to keep the current cap on international arrivals at 4,000; and politicians and staff in Federal Parliament have to wear masks during the next sitting in a fortnight.

Ever had to run up the stairs with your mask on because you were late? If your answer is YES, then you can appreciate how impressive this couple’s socially distanced dance is.

August 14, 2020: Daily brief… Victoria’s infection figures have fluctuated back up again, with 372 cases recorded in 24 hours and another 14 deaths; about a third of people on public transport in Sydney are wearing masks, according to data from the Department of Transport, with the transport minister warning masks may be made mandatory if more people don’t start wearing them; NSW had its first COVID-19 death in more than two weeks, yesterday with the passing of an 80-year-old woman in Sydney’s west; health authorities in the state today said the infection rate in the past 24 hours was down from 12 to nine.

Long haulers… There are growing concerns about the long-term effects of coronavirus and its impact on general health. Actress Alyssa Milano, describing herself as a long hauler (those who have symptoms for far longer than the standard two-week recovery period – often months), went on social media to describe her various symptoms, including hair loss.

There is no guidance on what to do once you recover. I don’t know if I should go get my heart checked, my lungs checked. There’s concerns about vascular system. Do I need to go get a panel for all of that? There’s no guidance because this is all so new.

Actress Alyssa Milano

August 13, 2020: Daily brief… Victoria has recorded its best day in weeks with 278 new infection and eight deaths, down substantially from yesterday’s record level of fatalities; NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has warned residents she will introduce harsher restrictions if she doesn’t see more people wearing masks; authorities in the state believe the source of Sydney’s Tangara School outbreak may be linked to a religious studies retreat; new data shows warehouses and abbatoirs, where staff often work in close proximity, are the workplaces with the most COVID-19 cases; Greece is introducing more restrictions after recording 262 cases yesterday, its highest total since the start of the outbreak.

August 12, 2020: Daily brief… Victoria’s infection numbers, while well below last week’s highs, spiked up again to 410 and with a record 21 deaths – the highest total for both the state and the country; New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has put Auckland back under strict stage three lockdown and the rest of the country under stage two lockdown after the country detected its first COVID-19 case in 102 days; Australians have been warned restrictions could be in place for years with the public having to get used to wearing masks as part of their daily lives; authorities in NSW fear the Tangara School outbreak in western Sydney could be the tip of widespread infections in the state; Russia has announced it is starting mass production of a vaccine, after two months of testing, with the Russian president Vladimir Putin saying one of his daughters has used it already.

Con air… Does air conditioning spread the virus? Claims an infected group were all sitting in its path, while others were spared.

August 11, 2020: Daily brief… Victoria has recorded another 19 deaths in the past 24 hours, equalling yesterday’s record fatality toll; another 331 people were identified as infected in the state, nine more than the day before; NSW has recorded its highest number of infections in nearly four months, with 22; more cases from an unknown source have been linked to Tangara School in Sydney, which has 17 infections, while two schools at Batemans Bay on the NSW south coast have been closed after three students tested positive; Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the state was on a ‘knife’s edge’; Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews will face the federal government inquiry today into the pandemic response.

Newmarch questions… The Aged Care Royal Commission has heard evidence that the NSW government was against transferring infected residents of Newmarch House to hospitals “given the precedent it would set”. NSW Chief Medical Officer Dr Kerry Chant denied that it was a policy, though, and said decisions were made on an “individual case assessment”. The Western Sydney aged care facility had one of the most significant and deadly clusters in the country with 70 people infected and 17 deaths. At the time NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian was highly critical of conditions at the home, holding a press conference where she laid the blame squarely at the feet of Anglicare. However no patients were transferred to hospital and it has been claimed they were denied access by NSW government policy, and instead residents were left in the home, with an increasing number succumbing to the virus.

Cheer up Victoria… and check out these ISO baking Victoria sponge cakes, judged by celebrity chef Maggie Beer.

Ardern admirers… The Onion tries to put in perspective New Zealand’s 100 days without a recorded infection.

August 10, 2020: Daily brief… There have been a record 19 deaths in Victoria, also a record for Australia, in the last 24 hours, despite the continued downward trend in the infection rate in the country’s worst-affected state, which had 322 new cases; two schools in Sydney’s west have been closed and students told to self isolate for 14 days after three cases of coronavirus were detected among pupils.

Dome alone… Meanwhile, is this taking the self-isolation factor too far, or a shape of things to come?

August 7, 2020: Daily brief…. Victoria has recorded 450 new coronavirus cases as of yesterday and 11 more deaths.

Student support: Good news for VCE students, Victorian Year 12 students will be individually assessed and the impacts of coronavirus will be reflected in the ATAR.

Detour: The NSW government has made last-minutes changes to it’s travel restrictions on Thursday night. All NSW residents travelling back from Victoria must travel through Sydney Airport and go immediately into hotel quarantine for 14 days at their own expense.

August 6, 2020: Daily brief... Victoria has confirmed 471 new cases over night and eight deaths.

Question time…Premier Daniel Andrews was grilled by journalists during his 90-minute coronavirus briefing today about the leaked cases from the hotel quarantine program in May. The hashtag #istandwithdan trends on Twitter in support of the premier for handling the hard questioning during the brief.

Maccas run?… Mcdonalds has just announced that it is closing all dine-in stores and drive-through, and will only operate as delivery only from tonight. This is so Melburnians comply with the curfew.

Facemasks & Uber… Rideshare app Uber now recommending everyone in NSW wear a face mask while a driver or passenger.

Mental Health Funding… New funding for mental health services have been announced including:

– $5 million going to Headspace to increase outreach serves- particularly for year 11 and 12 students, young people that have lost their jobs and tertiary students.

– $2.5 million will go to Beyond Blue to expand capacity and extend their online chat hours.

– $2.5 million will go to Lifeline to deal with increased calls from Victoria.

– $2 million will go to Kids Helpline to increase its call answer rate.

August 5, 2020: Daily brief… Victoria’s numbers have spiked up again with a record 725 new cases overnight and 15 deaths.

Border shutdown…Queensland closes its boarders to NSW and the ACT as they are declared hotspots by Queensland’s Chief Health Officer – from 1am Saturday August 8.

August 4, 2020: Daily brief… Numbers are slowly increasing again with Victoria recording 439 new cases with 11 deaths all linked to aged care.

Tougher Penalties…Daniel Andrews announces tough new penalties for people who fail to self isolate. Door-knocks conducted on 3,000 properties found 800 people not at home. Victorians who aren’t at home after being instructed to will face an on the spot fine of $4,957, and uptown $20,000 for repeated breaches.

Police officer attacked…Two police officers approached a 38-year-old women wearing no mask in Frankston on Monday night. After being questioned by the officers the women allegedly smashed the 26-year-old officers head into the concrete several times. The constable was taken to Frankston hospital- suffering from significant head injuries. Police have also charged the alleged attacker with nine offences.

Hotel chaos…There are reports hotel guests are going crazy, begging security guards, banging walls, screaming, crying even bribing to be let out, asking for valium and even making a run for the door. The security guards were said to be overwhelmed and ill-equipped giving guests the impression that they could be talked around. Guests were telling each other to “lose your sh*t, cry” in order to get out. Security breaches in six Melbourne hotels are under criticism after accusations of the hotel security being poorly organised.

August 3, 2020: Stage four Update… Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has announced new restrictions to workplaces/businesses under stage four lockdown. Retail stores, some manufacturers and administration will close from midnight Wednesday. Melbourne business restrictions include:

– Businesses to remain open include: Supermarkets, bottleshops, pharmacies, petrol station, banks, newsagents and post offices
– Some businesses, such as Bunnings, will operate via click and collect

Daily brief… Cases in Victoria have declined – the state has reported 429 new cases on the first day of going into stage four lockdown.

Out of jobs… 250,000 Victorians are likely to be out of work due to the new business restrictions. Large construction sites with more than three storeys must limit workers to 25 per cent of the normal number of employees allowed on site. There must be no crossover shifts and contact tracing measures are required under new rules. Businesses have until midnight Friday to introduce changes and enact COVID safe plans.

August 2, 2020: Victoria has entered a state of disaster… Premier Daniel Andrews has announced that Melbourne will move to stage four restrictions for six weeks starting from 6pm tonight. From 11:59pm Wednesday regional Victoria will enter stage three. Restrictions include:

– Melbourne being under curfew from 8pm – 5am
– Shopping limited to one person per household within a 5km radius
– Melbourne residents limited to one hour of outdoor exercise per day with a 5km radius
– All students across the state will return to home based learning
– Face masks continue to be compulsory
– Residents breaching restrictions will be fined $1,652

New strategy… Victoria reports 671 new cases and seven more deaths. Daniel Andrews stated that new restrictions are required to suppress the current cases, community transmission is too high under the restriction prior to stage four.

Police power… The state of disaster declarations allows police to be authorised officers. This means that when police spot check people’s homes, if the resident doesn’t give permission to enter, police will be authorised to enter homes without a warrant.

August 1, 2020: Daily brief…Victoria has registered a record of 636 cases and three deaths. The state had a decrease in figures over the past two days prior to slowly increasing its cases overnight.

Out of line… Victorian police have publicly shamed some of the behaviours/reasons Victorians have breached the Stage three lockdown restrictions. Fines were issued to a Victorian driving from Ballarat to Melbourne for “fresh air”. Another travelled from Werribee to Springvale for groceries and a man was fined for driving from Thornbury to Werribee to get a haircut from his favourite barber. In the last 24 hours more than 25,000 checks have been conducted, Victoria police have handed out 168 fines in total.

July 31, 2020: Daily brief… Cases in Victoria have declined – but not by much – with the state registering 627 new cases of infection and eight more deaths;

July 30, 2020: Daily Brief… Victoria has registered a record 723 cases and 13 deaths overnight, smashing the previous daily record of 532 recorded on Monday. The state had two days of declining figures prior to the shock spike. Queensland has confirmed three new cases overnight and NSW has 18. Scary numbers.

Border disorder… Two teenagers from Queensland have snuck into Victoria and contracted COVID-19, resulting in one of their sisters also contracting it. Queensland police seized two of the teenagers mobile phones after suspicions they hadn’t been honest about there whereabouts.

Back to Black… Eve Black, an infamous Victorian woman who filmed herself driving through a checkpoint after reading a script and refusing to give police her reasons to travel has been arrested. It has been reported her car was pulled over in Carlton and she refused to wind down her window or hand over any identification. Police broke her window by force to arrest her. The 28-year-old has been released pending summons for traffic-related offences, failing to produce a license, failing to provide name and address, and breaches of the Chief Health Officer’s directives.

Shop shock… Today a major shopping centre has been shaken with Northland in Melbourne’s north announcing confirmed cases of COVID-19 in staff members who last worked at Myer on Wednesday, July 22, and Nike on Friday, July 17. A drive-in testing station has been set up at the shopping centre and, if this is anything to go by, it’s not as gloomy as you would think.

July 28, 2020: Daily brief... Today’s daily numbers have had a drop across Australia with NSW confirming 14 cases of COVID-19. Victoria has confirmed 384 confirmed cases and six deaths; NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian told Channel 7 Sunrise she is “absolutely convinced” there are people in the state who are infected with COVID-19 but don’t know they have it.

Anti-masker debate… The woman who social media has circulated filming a Bunnings in Marbiynong, who refused entry to her for not wearing a mask has been named as Lizzy Rose, a professional psychic. Channel 9 had her on The Today show Tuesday morning, where she declared the coronavirus pandemic was “orchestrated” and “biochemically engineered”. But host Karl Stefanovic cut her off mid sentence after five minutes on air declaring: “Unfortunately there are people out there who are going to side with you, and that’s just irresponsible in the current climate. You know, I can’t even listen to you anymore. Nup. It’s wrong.” He then turned to viewers saying “apologies if you were offended – let us know what you think about that on our Facebook page,” before cutting to an ad break. Its questionable why they even had her on the show when her stance on wearing masks has been clear. Was it just a move by Nine to get in viewers?

Aged care hotspots… Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced he will cut short his trip to Queensland to return to Canberra to deal with the coronavirus outbreaks in Victorian aged care homes. “We have just over 80 facilities out of just over 430 in Victoria which have been affected,” Mr Morrison said.

Protest to go ahead… A Black Lives Matter rally in Sydney is set to get underway at 12pm, despite NSW premiere Gladys Berejiklian pleading with protesters to reconsider. As of 11.23 Twitter reported 14 police surrounding the area. The protest has been blocked by a court ruling.

July 27, 2020: Daily Brief…The weekend saw a continuation of numbers growing of confirmed cases and Monday brings the countries biggest spike with Victoria announcing 532 new cases overnight and NSW confirmed 17 cases.

Social media has been a light with ‘Karens’ filming themselves arguing with staff at various stores refusing entry as she strolls in without a mask on. It comes after Eve Black- often reffered to as a millenial Karen – drove through a border reading off a script saying it was her right to not be questoned.

Police have seen this and they are not happy, neither is majority of Australia…

With Victoria’s numbers continuing to remain in the high hundreds, politician Barnaby Joyce is calling for Prime Minister Scott Morrison to step in and take charge.

Sydney has a Black Lives Matter rally organsed for tomorrow 28 July and state leaders are urging people to not go. Labor leader Anthony Albanese, who said “it’s not the time” to stage a mass public gathering amid an uptick in cases of coronavirus in New South Wales.

New South Sales Premier Gladys Berejiklian has issued an impassioned plea to organisers of tomorrow’s Black Lives Matter protest in Sydney.

“Please don’t,” Ms Berejiklian urged. “Please, for your own safety and the safety of your loved ones.”

It is integral for NSW to continue social distancing, so they can stay ahead of the community transmissions. Below is a brief timeline of Victoria’s second wave:

Victoria started out with similar numbers, on June 17, the state confirmed 21 new COVID cases,  a testing blitz was announced on June 25. Concerns had begun to grow around Melbourne’s hotel quarantine program for returning international travellers – with 30 per cent of those quarantined refusing tests.

On June 29, hot spot suburbs in Melbourne’s north and north-west returned to lockdown and all international flights into the city were put on hold for two weeks. On July 4,  the full lockdown occurred at the public housing apartments. that was 23 days ago. The one thing people don’t seem to be understanding or retaining, is that COVID19 is not only deadly but highly contagious, it moves quicker than Usain Bolt.

Health authorities in New South Wales are urgently tracing the source of confirmed 67 cases at restaurant Thai Rock in Wetherill Park. They are now asking all persons who dined at Thai Rock restaurant in Potts Point between July 15 and July 25, wand staff who worked for two hours or more is urged to self-isolate and get tested immediately.

July 24, 2020: Daily brief… Daily press conferences across Australia have confirmed NSW has seven new cases and Victoria reports 300, with six dead. South Australia has reported one case from an essential worker returning from Melbourne. He is believed to have been isolating and received a negative result on Monday, he was re tested on Wednesday and had a ‘clear’ positive.

Queensland borders will close to another New South Wales hotspot. In response to further outbreaks and on the advice of the Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young, the city of Fairfield NSW has been added to Queensland’s list of COVID hotspots.

The Prime Minister Scott Morrison addresses the nation live.

Stating that Victoria will not be going into stage four restrictions,

“I’ve got no advice to move to a so-called stage four, or I don’t want to change those rules at the moment.””We believe with masks, which is a change with what we did last time with the stage three stay-at-home orders, and enhanced enforcement activities, and other small changes that may well be significant in terms of efficiency and the effectiveness of the public health response rates down to very small numbers of people.”

PM Scott Morrison states “I think the events both in Victoria and New South Wales are a reminder that the virus is still out there, it will still make its way and it will still throw everything at us and we must be prepared to respond.

The most interesting part of that, is the word ‘respond‘ rather then a better choice for all Australian’s, being ‘proactive‘. The virus is out there, it is not going anywhere and we need to be thinking of that as Australia’s numbers increase. This fight is not Victoria’s fight alone, would the wise move be to have any and all states be wearing masks for a period of time!?

Victoria’s Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton discussed the rules that have changed around labour and birthing rooms in Hospitals. The rules state that one support person or partner can stay as long as desired or needed for the labour. After the birth the visits are limited and only one person can attend for two hours at a time. Previously, it was two people for two hours.

IMO a lot of news mums probably wouldn’t protest that, its long been said that visitors aren’t always welcome when mums and bubs are trying to bond and the mums need some rest!

(Photo: Getty Images)

Premier Daniel Andrews has announced 28 teams will be deployed in the state to door knock confirmed COVID-19 cases who initially don’t answer the phone calls and are proving difficult to contact. People who are found breaking the lockdown rules will be issued fines.

(Photo: Twitter)

Tasmanian Premier Peter Gutwein has announced that Tasmania will open its borders from 7 August to South Australia, Western Australia and the Northern Territory.

“Tasmania is one of the safest places on the planet and in Public Health’s view, so are South Australia, the Northern Territory and Western Australia, which are equally as safe.” He said at the press conference today.

In other COVID news, here is a prime example of someone who thought she was smart, to only be outsmarted by the public, and the government when she went viral.

July 23, 2030: Daily brief… Today’s confirmed COVID-19 numbers swell to a staggering 12,896 confirmed cases with Victorian premiere Daniel Andrews announcing 403 overnight have tested positive and five deaths. One of the deaths was a man in his 50’s bringing the countries total to 128 deaths.

NSW premiere Gladys Berejiklian has confirmed 19 new cases of coronavirus in the past 24 hours of those, only three have been from hotel quarantine with the 16 confirmed from community transmission.

As of 11.59pm Wednesday night, Victorians must wear a mask when out in public or face a $200 fine. In the last week the government has broadcasted many service announcements on how to use a mask correctly.

(Photo: WHO)

In other news, the influenza has been known to affect people worse in winter months, last year was the second worst year of infections with a total of 310,011 laboratory-confirmed flu notifications by the beginning of December. In comparison to this years statistics , there have been a total of 20,877 laboratory confirmed notifications of Influenza in Australia for 2020, at the start of 20 July.

Whether it is because more people are taking the vaccine or being more cautious due to the pandemic of COVID-19 is still unsure.

The Government has announced today that a $300 payment will be eligible to all of those who are tested for COVID-19 to make sure Victorians don’t have to choose between the safety of their workmates & their community – & putting food on the table.

(Photo: Australian government)

The $300 will work as an incentive for Australians who have been putting off being tested even with the slightest symptoms so as a nation we can find those positive and keep eliminating the community transmission. I already got tested a few weeks back…but if i wasn’t a hermit already with good health I would be rushing to get tested. Australians… go get tested!

ABC Journalist Leigh Sales took to Twitter this morning with a sample of the messages she received after grilling the Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Tuesday. Sales was discussing the new legislation surrounding Job seeker and Job Keeper for Australians impacted by Coronavirus. In an age of ‘trolling’ and the impact these keyboard warriors have behind a computer, Sales has shown the shocking abuse that has been sent to her for simply doing her job.

Australia forecasts a 2020-21 budget deficit of $184.5 billion as COVID-19 takes its toll on economy. Treasurer Josh Frydenberg announced on Thursday that Australia’s estimated budget deficit for 2019-20 fiscal year stands at $85.8 billion and is expected to rise to $184.5 billion in 2020-21. The treasury also predicted that the country’s unemployment rate is expected to rise to 9.25% by the end of 2020.

Finance Minister Mathias Cormann reassures Australians “We are in a better, stronger, more resilient position than just about any other country around the world and that gives a very strong foundation from which to build the recovery on the other side”

The ministers statement doesn’t do much to reassure Australians and twitter is rife with opinions.

July 22, 2020: Daily brief… Australia reaches a record of 502 new cases, with 484 of those in Victoria; WHO expresses concern for South Africa with cases increasing by about 30% in the last week; India cancels it’s annual Amarnath pilgrimage; Trump admits that the pandemic will continue to worsen in the US before it gets better.

July 21, 2020: Daily brief… Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced an extension of JobSeeker and JobKeeper payments from September until March 28, however at reduced rates; UK scientists are having a breakthrough with an experimental coronavirus vaccine which has prompted a protective immune response in human trials; India reached a record high on Monday with over 40,000 new cases; after four days of talks EU leaders have reached agreement over a €750 billion ($1.2 trillion) pandemic recovery fund.

“Patriotic”… Donald Trump shows support for face masks… and himself.

July 19, 2020: Daily brief… Wearing a face mask will be made mandatory in Melbourne from Wednesday, 11:59pm; a house party in Sydney’s south west on Saturday night has left up to 60 people facing $1000 fines; a Queensland man has been charged after leaving a Sydney quarantine hotel for a cigarette; globally the number of new cases rose by almost 260,000 in 24 hours, making it the largest single day increase since the pandemic began, according to WHO; coronavirus has now reached a remote region of Brazil’s Amazon, killing three people from isolated Indigenous communities; 85 infants under the age of one have now tested positive in one Texas county.

July 18, 2020: Daily brief… The Australian government has announced that the next Federal Parliament sitting has been cancelled due to risk of coronavirus transmission; residents of Alfred St public housing tower in North Melbourne will be free to leave at midnight; New York City will enter stage four of reopening July 20; President Trump refuses to order Americans to wear face masks; the UK government is planning to distribute free antibody tests which are said to be able to detect exposure to coronavirus within 20 minutes.

Marketing blunder: Lorna Jane made to rebrand activewear line after advertising it to be protective against infectious diseases.

In good news… A New Hampshire arcade has found a way to welcome back a regular customer.

July 17, 2020: Daily brief… Gladys Berejiklian has announced further restrictions on cafes, restaurants, and bars, from July 24; the Australian unemployment rate has risen to 992,300 – it’s highest since 1998; 150 Victorian health workers have now been infected with coronavirus; dancing is banned at weddings in NSW; NT has reopened it’s borders to all states except NSW and VIC; the US has broken it’s largest single day-record with more than 75,000 new cases; India has reached 1 million confirmed cases; UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson will pledge an extra £3 billion ($5.4 billion) to the NHS in case of a second wave; the British government has claimed state sponsored Russian hackers tried to steal vaccine research.

Deterrent: Celebrities are speaking out about their coronavirus experiences to encourage the public to take it more seriously.

Banged Up Abroad: Brits are flocking to Spain as border restrictions ease, however not everybody is practising social distancing.

July 16, 2020: Daily brief… five health care workers at the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne test positive for COVID-19; today Gladys Berejiklian will consider rolling out further restrictions on “high risk” activities in NSW; US virus vaccine shows promising results after the first 45 participants all developed antibodies; Spain has recorded 390 new coronavirus cases over the past 24 hours, the highest figure since 22 May; President Rodrigo Duterte’s government has directed police to fan out home to home in search of infected people; Ireland has delayed the easing of lockdown measures and introduced a requirement that face coverings be worn in shops since a spike in infections.

Is Australia soon to follow…? The evidence is growing everyday on wearing masks to help stop the spread.

Want to try something different…? Artistic face masks are now a real thing.

Donald Trump is a ‘little’ hot…while he talks about China and COVID-19.

July 15, 2020: Daily brief…Victoria could be looking at stage-four lockdown if coronavirus numbers don’t improve; Sydney pub cluster rises to 30, but Gladys Berejiliklian says NSW not shutting down; face masks are now required by McDonald’s staff in Victoria; while in England masks will be mandatory inside shops and supermarkets as of July 24; cases in US state Florida continue to grow with a top Miami doctor warning the city is facing a similar struggle to that of Wuhan.

Art never dies…Banksy continues to wow the world with his ambitious artwork, even amidst a pandemic.

Number plate baffling Australia… rumours have it the number plate would’ve been purchased in September.

Why do celebrities get a better deal…? Danni Minogue is allowed to quarantine from home after arriving from a high-risk country.

Art in nursing homes to lift spirits...what a way to take your mind off a pandemic.

July 14, 2020: Daily brief…the NSW government look to tighten some social restrictions again with pub bookings reduced from 20 patrons to 10 and large venues will be limited to 300 people; the Crossroads Hotel cluster at Casula reached 21 last night with more infections expected to emerge; long queues in south-west Sydney yesterday, urging NSW Health to open new coronavirus testing clinics; leaked emails reveal top bureaucrats warned health officials that security guards were unprepared at hotel quarantines; while in Hong Kong, movie theatres and children’s summer activities will reclose this week following an increase in coronavirus infections.

Symptom-free sportsmen…Russell Westbrook is the fourth All-Star, along with Nikola Jokic, Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert, to have tested positive for coronavirus this season, all symptom-free.

Japan brings back baseball games…enthusiastic fans are masked, getting their temperatures checked and sanitising.

It’s the little things…one step out of line and Richard Holmes is back in quarantine after accidentally crossing the “NBA campus line to pick up a food delivery.”

July 13, 2020: Daily brief…Australian citizens returning from overseas to NSW will be charged for their mandatory 14-day hotel quarantine; human trials begin today on a coronavirus vaccine at the University of Queensland; back to school for years 11 and 12 students in Victoria while prep to year 10 will be back to remote learning; 14 new cases in NSW today but only four are returned travellers; the Crossroads Hotel cluster continues to grow in NSW with nine people infected; while in the US, Florida sets new state daily case record of 15,299

Bollywood in scrambles…three generations of Bollywood Bachchan family infected.

Troubling times for parents today…with free childcare ending today lets hope we don’t get a second wave.

Shocking images in Bondi…..Police shut down several parties in Bondi…again.

July 10, 2020: Daily brief…Alfred street tower in Melbourne remains shut with 53 new cases; today Queensland finally opens its borders at noon after over three months of closures to all states, except Victoria; next week South Australia will employ mobile testing stations around Adelaide to keep the virus in check; Gladys Berejiklian has warned it may be a few weeks before NSW knows whether the virus has made a resurgence in the state; WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus wiped away tears as he expressed his disbelief in a “lack of leadership and solidarity” during the crisis and has released new guidelines on transmissions; while in India cases of COVID-19 soar with public health experts stating the rise is linked to crowding in major cities.

Sad Times….when the head of the World Health Organisation Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus cries with disappointment on national television.

Screaming on the inside… It seems reopened theme parks in Japan have banned screaming on rollercoasters as fears of spreading the virus grow.

Are you ok…? Mental Health is still a big issue since lockdown, especially in Victoria.

July 9, 2020: Daily brief... Melbourne’s CBD lies virtually empty this morning as the overnight lockdown of five million people in the city impacts on shops, many of which have chosen not to open; while 3,000 residents remain under hard lockdown in nine housing towers in Melbourne; the Queensland premier has announced even harder border restrictions for Victorians – they will not even be allowed to quarantine in the state; truck drivers carrying freight between the two states will have to renew their border passes every seven days; in the US, where COVID-19 infections have now passed three million, President Donald Trump has threatened to withdraw state education funding if schools are not opened.

Now and then… It’s been over 100 years since the NSW-Victoria border was closed. There have been around 44,000 permit requests registered in a just a few days.

Failed leadership…Joe Biden debunking President Donald Trumps’s claim that the US rates have soared due to an increase in testing with a graph showing 28 states had more cases than testing.

Fingers crossed… This doesn’t happen. NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian could announce, as early as today, new restrictions for NSW.

July 8, 2020: Daily brief… The coronavirus may linger in the air and be breathed in long after a carrier has coughed or sneezed. A group of 239 scientists from 32 countries has challenged the World Health Organisation to update its guidance about the spread of the disease to airborne (as opposed to being spread by aerosolised droplets); Victoria has recorded 134 new cases overnight with the source of 123 infections unaccounted for; Melbourne will return to stage 3 restrictions from tonight; Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro, who has consistently played down the virus despite 65,000 deaths in his country, has tested positive for COVID-19; UK prime minister Boris Johnson has come under fire after blaming care home owners for the huge death toll (over 20,000), despite his government offering little guidance on minimising infections.

July 7, 2020: Daily Brief… Defence forces are to deploy up to 500 personnel to patrol from midnight in a bid to stem the spread of COVID-19; Northern Hospital, Epping, has closed it’s emergency department for deep cleaning, after seven of its staff tested positive over the past five days; Three Melbourne A-League teams were unable to get across the NSW border, where they were to play games overnight; New Zealand has begun rationing places for citizens returning home during COVID-19; residents living in the Melbourne public housing blocks placed in ‘hard lockdown’ say they pleaded months ago for more cleaning and resources to help keep the virus out of their homes but authorities failed to listen.

July 6, 2020: Daily Brief…. Victoria has now recorded its highest daily total yet with 127 cases overnight and the death of a man in his 90s; Victoria’s border with New South Wales will close from 11.59pm tomorrow night; 3,000 residents are under strict lockdown, confined to their homes, in public housing towers and the postcodes 3031 and 3051 after the flare-up in infections in parts of Melbourne over the weekend, with Premier Daniel Andrews saying 23 coronavirus cases had been identified in nine Flemington and North Melbourne public housing estates; the Australian Medical Association has called for a pause in the easing of all COVID-19 restrictions across the country; Texas, along with Florida and Arizona have become hotspots for the infection in America, recording six days straight of cases above 5,000; India has joined the race to develop a vaccine for COVID-19, commencing human trials.

July 3, 2020: Daily Brief…. Day Two of Victoria’s postcode lockdown and the numbers are still soaring with 66 news cases today; Premier Daniel Andrews says he cannot rule out further restrictions or localised lockdowns, saying ‘I have to try to be as upfront as I can’ adding he cannot rule out other suburbs being shut down’; the Andrews government is announcing another $2million for mental health, focused on the hotspot areas under lockdown; Queensland begins its road to recovery with stage 3 restrictions being eased as of midday today; Florida has recorded over 10,000 new cases in a day; 50 Sydney Woolworths staff are in isolation over virus fears after two workers tested positive after visiting hotspots in Melbourne then returning to work; the NSW government has warned of hotspot crackdowns to prevent a second wave in the state.

July 2, 2020: Daily Brief…. The lockdown blitz in Melbourne has now begun with police setting up booze bus-style checkpoints and patrolling entries to coronavirus hotspots; some residents from Melbourne’s 10 hotspots have attempted to change their address on their license in the hope of getting through police checkpoints, with VicRoads saying they have moved to stop a significant surge in license amendments; David Clarke has resigned as New Zealand’s health minister over his handling of the coronavirus outbreak, which included twice being caught breaking the strict stay-at-home rule during lockdown; a Darwin man has tested positive for coronavirus, he had been in hotel quarantine in Melbourne, but visited family in a hotspot area before returning to the NT; Prime Minister Scott Morrison will use Friday’s national cabinet meeting to call for an end to the virus border wars, that have turned Victoria into a pariah state and put at risk the nation’s economic recovery from the pandemic.

Victorias Suburb Blitz. Source: Twitter

July 1, 2020: Daily brief… Victoria will lock down 36 suburbs across 10 postcodes with a population of over 300,000 from midnight tonight in an effort to contain the latest coronavirus wave. Premier Daniel Andrews and the public health team say they are confident this strategy of lockdown will be successful; the NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian says travellers from coronavirus hotspots in Victoria are ‘not welcome’ and will be prosecuted if they come to the state; Big Brother contestants were in shock as the house in Manly, in Sydney’s Northern Beaches, went into lockdown after a crew member was exposed to COVID-19, prompting the decision to pause the game; Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has announced Queensland borders will reopen from July 10 to everyone except Victorians; the Australian War Memorial has reopened to the public with visitors being asked to pre-book and practice social distancing, as they were forced to close for more than three months due to coronavirus restrictions.

June 30, 2020: Daily brief… Authorities are closely monitoring Victoria as experts warn “now is the time to act” to prevent the spread of multiple cases mostly concentrated in 10 suburbs in the city’s north, west and south-east; NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has again encouraged Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk to open her state’s borders, with no local cases recorded in NSW overnight; There are fears for some of the world’s poorest regions as COVID-19 gains a foothold in third-world countries. Health workers are reportedly fleeing their posts or turning away patients who are struggling to breathe in southern Yemen; the Australian Border Force has revealed they have directed narcotic detection resources into international mail centres following a rise in drugs being imported through the post. Organised crime gangs are using the postal service following a reduction in international travel due to COVID-19.

The ABF is increasing searches of postal consignments following a rise in postal importations due to COVID-19. An ABF drug detector dog reacts to the consignment. Source: Australian Border Force
An x-ray of coffee bags where nearly 300kg of MDMA was discovered. Source: Australian Border Force

June 29, 2020: Daily brief… Global deaths from COVID-19 have reached 500,000 and the total number of people to test positive worldwide has reached an astronomical 10 million; Victoria is bracing for a potential second major wave as cases continue to climb once more; in a press conference this morning, Victoria’s Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said that it was too soon to say if suburbs will be put into lockdown, after 75 new cases were recorded overnight, the highest since April, although only 11 cases have required hospitalisation; the Norther Territory has now reached 57 days since the last reported case of COVID-19; Woolworths and Coles have reintroduced restrictions limiting toilet paper and other essentials as shoppers again strip shelves amid fears of shortages; the Federal Government continues to back the COVIDSafe app despite mounting concerns the app is ineffective. There has only been one case where the app uncovered a case of a contact that had not yet already been established by a human tracer according to Nine newspapers; Iconic Australian swimwear label Seafolly is the latest retail outlet to have been crippled by COVID-19, announcing they have entered voluntary administration this afternoon. Administrators KordaMenthato is administer its 120 staff and 44 stores across Australia. All gift cards and Beach Club Reward points are still able to be redeemed.

Empty shelves at Marrickville Woolworths last night as shops reimpose restrictions.
Sign at Woolworths advising shoppers of new restrictions on toilet paper.

June 26, 2020: Daily brief… Virgin Australia bidder Cyrus Capital has announced it has pulled out of the race to take over the embattled airline that was forced into administration by the coronavirus crisis. Cyrus claims administrators Deloitte failed to return calls, emails and did not ‘meaningfully engage’ for the last week. They have not ruled out re-entering their bid if negotiations resume, stating “[Cyrus is] willing to re-instate our offer if the administrators agree to re-engage in good faith”.

June 25,2020: Daily brief… Qantas has slashed 6000 jobs and announced that international travel is unlike to resume until this time next year. The ‘Flying Kangaroo’ has also announced that they will be grounding their A380 fleet for at least three year; The Federal Government has announced a $250 million support package to revive the arts and entertainment industry through a series of grants and loans; the Australian Electoral Commission has referred an apparent ‘disinformation campaign’ which falsely claimed Australian Labor Party candidate Kristie McBain had COVID-19 to the AFP.

June 24, 2020: Daily brief… Overnight an 80-year-old man became the first Australian COVID-19 death in over a month. It comes as Victoria experiences a spike in new cases, resulting in Woolworths and Coles hastily re-implementing product limits in Victoria to prevent panic buying; Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews knocks back an offer of support of the Army from the Prime Minister, stating ‘I don’t think we need to get to that point’.

June 23, 2020: Daily brief… South Australia’s border with Victoria will have a strong police presence from next week after a surge of cases in the state; NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has called NSW tourism vendors to ban any travellers from Melbourne and to ‘not interact’ with people from Melbourne; the Northern Territory is continuing with the decision to open borders to all interstate visitors from July 17; Russian authorities have confirmed more than 7,000 new cases of COVID-19 in the past 24 hours; South Africa has now surpassed 100,000 reported infections; eight staff members from Donald Trump’s campaign rally have tested positive to the virus.

The new normal… Aussies vacationing during the coronavirus crisis and travel bans.

June 22, 2020: Daily brief… Essendon are waiting for a decision on how many players and staff from their squad will have to follow Conor McKenna into quarantine, after the defender’s positive COVID-19 test. Their match against Carlton has been rescheduled to June 27; Victoria has confirmed 16 new cases of coronavirus which is their sixth consecutive day of double-digit increases; Premier Mark McGowan has announced Western Australia will move to phase four of eased restrictions this coming Saturday. The health minister has said Brazil now has a total of 1,085,038 confirmed cases and 50,617 deaths; two more cases in New Zealand have been reported, taking the country’s toll of active cases to nine; The AFL has banned full group contact training sessions for at least four weeks due to the Conor McKenna positive test.

June 19, 2020: Daily brief… South Australia will lift border restrictions to travellers from Queensland from midnight. People coming into the state will not be required to self-isolate for 14 days; Victoria has recorded 13 new COVID-19 cases ahead of a planned easing of restrictions this coming Monday. The Victoria Government are monitoring the coronavirus date on an hourly basis; South Australia has broken its previous record of 19 days with no new cases by not having any new cases in more than three weeks; Scott Morrison and Boris Johnson have spoken about a need to work together to push for an independent investigation into the origin of the coronavirus outbreak; New Zealand has three new cases of coronavirus, only days after it declared itself among the first countries in the world to be free of the virus; Chinese authorities have found trading areas for meat and seafood in Beijing’s food market to be contaminated with the coronavirus and suspect the low temperature and high humidity as contributing factors; Due to the nation’s jobless rate hitting an 18-year high, the Morrison government is looking to revamp its $70 billion JobKeeper program and maintain higher payments to the unemployed.

June 18, 2020: Daily brief… Australia’s unemployment rate climbed to 7.1 per cent in May from 6.4 per cent in April, with the Bureau of Statistics estimating a further 227,700 jobs were lost last month; a COVID-19 treatment trial has been approved for critically-ill patients unable to consent, where it is considered in their best interests and involves low risk; coronavirus cases in Victoria have risen by 18 with two childcare centres closed after positive tests were returned.

June 17, 2020: More than racing… Renault Formula 1 engineers have played a vital role in the development of a new COVID-19 treatment device. The aerosol shield, named the ‘Oxford Box’ has been designed to be a barrier between the frontline medical staff and the patient undergoing intubation. It allows access to the patient, while keeping medical staff safe from infection.

Daily brief… South Australia’s borders will be reopened to travellers from Western Australia, the Northern Territory and Tasmania from midnight. The change means travellers from those states will no longer need to self-isolate for 14 days when they arrive in South Australia; Australians hoping for an overseas holiday are out of luck, with the federal tourism minister saying the nation’s borders are likely to stay closed until next year.

June 16, 2020: Did you know… The army is out there and helping on the frontline and behind the scenes contact tracing and planning support teams for all state and territory governments and supporting law enforcement agencies with mandatory quarantine arrangements, as part of Operation COVID-19 Assist.

Photograph: Army First Aid training class. Source: news.defence.gov.au

Daily brief… Another person (the third) who attended the Black Lives Matter protest last weekend has tested positive for COVID-19, among 12 new daily cases; China has reported 49 new cases from an outbreak at a Beijing market; the UK Government is reviewing its two-metre social distancing rule despite the daily death toll still being around 100.

June 15, 2020: Bill of frights… The longest-hospitalised COVID-19 survivor, Michael Flor, 70, from Seattle who spent 64 days in Washington’s Swedish Medical Centre has been billed $1.6 million for his stay.

Daily brief… China has recorded a new outbreak, this time at a meat market in Xinfadi where six new domestic COVID-19 cases were confirmed. People were forbidden from leaving their homes in 11 residential estates in south Beijing’s Fengtai district near the market. .

June 12, 2020: Viral art… Street art has been springing up around Australia during the coronavirus crisis, with depictions of everything from the spiky virus itself to the bad advice of US president Donald Trump. Here’s a tip, don’t drink bleach and stay inside.

View this post on Instagram

COVIDffiti #streetart #coronavirus

A post shared by Martin Newman (@sukebind) on

Daily brief… People with disabilities would no longer have to pay a 10 per cent coronavirus loading fee for support services and the extra charges will be scrapped on July 1, including 10-day cancellation periods; NSW Rose Bay public school has been closed temporarily due to a confirmed case of coronavirus now being investigated by NSW Health.

Photograph: NSW Rose Bay public school. Source: rosebay-p.schools.nsw.gov.au

June 11, 2020: Balls up… AFL player Ollie Wines has been suspended from a match after breaching COVID-19 protocols. “The protocols are very clear that players and officials should only have essential visitors attend their homes.” AFL General Counsel Andrew Dillon said.

Photograph: AFL player Ollie Wines. Source: Flikr.

Daily brief… The Australian Health Protection Principal Committee states that a person who attended the large protest, Black Lives Matter in Victoria, have been tested positive and it will take some days to determine whether other people have been infected.

Photograph: Black Lives Matter protest. Source: Flikr.

June 10, 2020: You booze, you lose… There has been a substantial increase in both men and women’s drinking habits during the COVID-19 pandemic, with women taking on childcare duties having the highest rise. Professor Nicholas Biddle from Australian National University Centre for Social Research and Methods said: “For males, a strong predictor for increased drinking was because of a loss of job or decline in working hours. For females a strong predictor for increased drinking was having child-caring role.” The World Health Organisation says alcohol consumption increases the risk of getting the coronavirus infection also.

Photograph: Medical Research Source: Australian Government Department of Health

Game on… English comedian James Veitch reviews and gives a tutorial on a Lockdown board game.

Video: James Veitch, English Comedian Source: YouTube

Daily brief… The Medical Research Future Fund and the Australian Government is investing $66 million in further funding for a COVID-19 vaccine and treatment research; The number of medical and health care support staff deaths in the US has reached nearly 600, the majority of them people of color.

June 9, 2020: Daily brief… China has warned students to think twice about studying in Australia citing a rise in racist abuse and attacks on Chinese over the coronavirus; There were just two new cases of COVID-19 in the last 24 hours across Australia, with both being returned travellers; New Zealand today removed all virus restrictions after declaring it had been eradicated from the country; Limited numbers of football fans will be allowed to attend AFL games in NSW and South Australia this weekend, with around 2,000 allowed in general admission at Adelaide Oval; Moscow is easing lockdown restrictions after the first signs the coronavirus is abating there, one of the worst hit countries in Europe.

June 8, 2020: Daily brief…The Australian economy and its largest iron ore miners — BHP, Rio Tinto and Fortescue Metals — are set to benefit from Brazil’s misfortune during COVID19; The Federal Government has announced  that Australia’s free childcare scheme, that was brought in as a pandemic financial relief measure, will end on July 12; This morning New Zealand announced that they will move to “alert level one” from midnight tonight, after the country declared it had no active coronavirus cases; AMA Tony Bartone has urged anyone who attended a Black Lives Matter rally over the weekend to self-isolate for two weeks.

The royal treatment… Britain’s Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have revealed that they have been anonymously helping out on a crisis helpline during the coronavirus lockdown in the UK.

June 7, 2020: Protest goes ahead… A last minute reprieve in the NSW Court of Appeals today saw the Black Lives Matter protest in Sydney made legal despite public health concerns about the potential spread of coronavirus. Read James Yousif’s full report below.

June 5, 2020: Rally rejected… The NSW supreme court has tonight ruled tomorrow’s Black Lives Matter protest in Sydney is unlawful due to COVID-19 restrictions while Australia’s Chief Medical Officer Brendan Murphy has urged Australians not to attend Black Lives Matter rallies planned across Australian cities this weekend, saying “the virus is still in our community”.

Daily brief… NSW hospitals are free of coronavirus ICU patients for the first time in weeks; India’s Health Ministry has reported another record spike in new coronavirus cases – more than 9,800 in the past 24 hours; Australia is expected to be nearly $200 billion in debt next year with no budget surpluses in sight thanks to the coronavirus hit on the economy; Qantas boss Alan Joyce says the airline needs to offer cut-price airfares to encourage pandemic-weary Australians to travel again and slow the company’s $40 million weekly cash burn.

June 4, 2020: The grass is greener on the other side… PM Scott Morrison announced a $688m HomeBuilder package where Australian’s looking to build or renovate will able to get up to $25k from the federal government to keep the construction industry moving but one homeowner wasn’t too impressed, worried about more pressing issues… his grass, see below. 

Daily brief…Queensland opens for Queenslanders with premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announcing today that Qantas and Jetstar will put on 62 new intrastate flights every week by the end of June; Since 8pm last night there have been two more confirmed cases in NSW, both new cases are travellers who are currently in hotel quarantine; The latest estimates by market research company Roy Morgan found in May this year 14.8 per cent of the workforce (2.09 million Australians) were unemployed; New Zealand released a date for when it will achieve its grand plan of elimination of COVID-19: June 15; George Floyd, whose death has sparked protests across the United States was infected with COVID-19 at the time of his arrest, his autopsy has revealed.

June 3, 2020: Whats your ISO-persona?… Bloomberg reporter shares lockdown tips for introverts and extroverts from the The Myers-Briggs Company.

Daily brief… Australia is now in recession Treasurer Josh Frydenberg confirms, breaking a 29-year stint of economic growth; Australian councils reportedly cant ‘keep up’ with the increased volume of household waste brought on by more spending and online shopping during lockdown; Victoria Police will not fine those attending a #BlackLivesMatter protest this weekend, though warn of risks for those involved of catching coronavirus; The government is spending $66 million on developing a COVID-19 vaccine; Australian loungewear brand Papinelle continues to boom in never before seen sales at almost a 300 per cent increase compared to the last financial quarter due to online sales.

June 2, 2020: Care on the catwalk… British Vogue has paid tribute to frontline workers in their July issue by sharing three covers featuring supermarket assistant Anisa Omar, train driver Narguis Horsford and midwife Rachel Miller.

Daily brief… An autopsy on the 30-year-old Queensland man that reportedly died of coronavirus last week has confirmed the test was a false positive, and that he had other health ailments; a preschool in Melbourne’s north-east has closed and children have been sent home to quarantine after a teacher tested positive; today it was announced that from Saturday June 13 NSW residents will be able to return to gyms, tattoo and massage parlours, yoga and pilates classes, dance lessons, community centres, indoor pools, saunas, and low contact sport.

June 1, 2020: Daily brief… Restrictions are easing across QLD, NSW, VIC and SA today with each state implementing their own rules; many of our favourite watering holes can open subject to the 4sq m rule; and restrictions are also easing on beauty and nail salons, museums, libraries, and places of worship; the PM has revealed a coronavirus stimulus plan with cash grants for new home builds and possibly home renos.

See here for a comprehensive list of restrictions easing in your area today.

May 29, 2020: Sign of the times… Hatch is wondering if we should paint a green circle on our bums to ward off coronavirus.

A sticker indicating where to sit on NSW public transport (Photo: Brianna O’Rourke).

Daily brief… The National Cabinet met for the first time in two weeks today to assess how the country is emerging from lockdown; the outbreak on the live-export ship in Fremantle WA has now doubled in cases with a total of 12 crew members testing positive; a school student in Melbourne’s north-west has tested positive to COVID-19 in association with a recent family cluster, leading the school to shut down for a deep clean; South Korea has re-introduced social distancing restrictions after a spike in coronavirus cases, their highest rate of new infections in almost two months.

May 28, 2020: Stalkers… Times are tough at the moment, to the point that people are secretly trimming their broccoli stalks to shave off a few bucks at the checkout.

Daily brief… The United State’s has reached another grim milestone today as the death toll passes 100,000 while almost 1.7 million Americans have been infected with the virus; Australian department store David Jones will close dozens of stores after the pandemic has seen sales plummet; the NRL is finally back with tonight’s clash between the Parramatta Eels and Brisbane Broncos; Northern Territory will end the mandatory two-week hotel quarantine for interstate travellers from June 15, and instead travellers can self isolate at a place of their choice; and across the water New Zealand has now gone five days without a new case of COVID-19.

May 27, 2020: Daily brief… In the regional Queensland town of Blackwater which had previously reported zero cases, a 30-year-old man has become the youngest person in Australia to die of coronavirus; crew members that had tested positive to COVID-19 on the live export ship that docked in Fremantle, WA, were allowed to disembark and enter isolation while they recovered; Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews says there are eight new cases of coronavirus in the state since yesterday and has reiterated that if you’re working from home you should continue to do so until at least July.

Meanwhile, it looks like BBC News is a cheapskate like the rest of us after an interview was cut short when the 40 minutes ran out on their free version of Zoom.

May 26, 2020: Daily brief… The first human trials on a human vaccine in the southern hemisphere begin at Victoria’s Alfred Hospital today, conducted by US company Novavax; meanwhile the World Health Organisation has suspended trials of the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine, which US president Donald Trump was taking, as unsafe; of the nine news cases of coronavirus yesterday seven were travellers from overseas who were immediately isolated in hotels; Victorian schoolchildren begin returning to school today; shops in the UK have been given the go-ahead to reopen on June 15.

May 25, 2020: Daily brief… Students head back to school full-time today in NSW and Queensland; four states and the Northern Territory have now recorded no new coronavirus cases for over a week; The AFL will release its draw today, with the season plying ahead without spectators.

May 22, 2020: Daily brief… An 80-year-old woman has died in Concord Hospital, Sydney, over night, the 48th death in NSW; there were only three new infection cases recorded in the state over the past 24 hours from 8600 tests; Victoria has recorded 12 new cases, five linked to the Cedar Meats cluster; South Australia has recorded only one infection case in the past 28 days; Qantas will not operate social distancing on board flights when they reopen for domestic and international flights, but will increase sanitising of aircraft and dispensing masks to passengers.

May 21, 2020: Daily brief… While Australia’s rate of infections has plummeted, the spread of the virus worldwide is still yet to peak, with a record 106,000 infections recorded yesterday.

May 20, 2020: A student at elite boarding school St Ignatius College Riverview in Sydney has tested positive for coronavirus, and the school has been temporarily closed.

Daily brief… Qantas says it will give passengers masks on its flights, but there will be no physical distancing on flights, even though there will be in terminals; restrictions on regional travel to be eased in NSW from June 1; there were only four new infection cases recorded overnight in NSW from 7,000 tests; across the country there are 47 people still in hospital; the Northern Territory Museum and Art Gallery has become the first major arts institution in Australia to reopen; the UK’s virus death toll has passed 35,000 with a quarter of a million people infected; Sweden, which has had far laxer restrictions than other nations, is currently recording the highest number of coronavirus deaths per capita in Europe.

May 19, 2020: Grim milestone… A resident at Newmarch House has become the 100th person to die in Australia of coronavirus, and the 19th at the aged care facility. She was been named as 93-year-old Alice Bacon.

Daily brief… School children will go back to classes full-time from Monday in NSW; US president Donald Trump has revealed he has been taking malaria drug hydroxychloroquine and zinc supplements for the past week and-a-half to ward off coronavirus; government officials are said to believe new barley tariffs imposed by China on Australian farmers are in response to Scott Morrison leading calls for an inquiry into the origins of COVID-19.

May 18, 2020: Daily brief… A dozen McDonalds restaurants in Victoria have been closed for 14 days after a delivery driver, who tested positive to coronavirus, was linked to a cluster; a Dominos and a bedding manufacturer have also closed in the state after contact with a coronavirus carrier; meanwhile Cedar Meats, where Victoria has had its worst cluster, will begin a limited reopening; Qantas has won a federal court decision allowing them to stop paying sick pay during the pandemic shutdown; capacity on public transport in NSW has been cut by 75 per cent leading to long waits on some services as buses allow only 12 passengers at a time and train carriages 32, with authorities urging residents to cycle or walk to work; an emergency meeting of the World Health Organisation, backed by 116 countries, will be held today to discuss an Australia-led motion for an inquiry into the origins of the coronavirus.

May 15, 2020: Daily brief… Pubs and cafes will reopen with strict limitations today in NSW and the Northern Territory; eight news cases have been identified in NSW from 12,200 tests in the past 24 hours; unemployment in Australia went up by one per cent in the past month to 6.2 per cent with almost 600,000 losing their jobs, however the rate was largely protected by JobKeeper subsidies and people still classified as working, though their hours had been slashed (the real rate is thought to be 11.7 per cent); the global death toll from coronavirus has passed 300,000 with more than 4.4 million infected; from yesterday every single country in Africa had been touched by the virus, with 2,496 deaths, among them a former President of the Republic of the Congo and a former prime minister of Somalia.

When all else fails… South Park has the answer.

May 14, 2020: Daily brief… Australia’s unemployment rate has risen to 6.2 per cent (up 1 per cent on last month) due to job losses caused by the coronavirus lockdown, with nearly 600,000 people being put out of work in a month; more than 6 million workers are receiving JobKeeper subsidies and are not counted in unemployment figures; South Australia’s chief public health officer Dr Nicola Spurrier says the recovery rate in the state has been 99.8 per cent with only on infection case still outstanding.

May 13, 2020: New symptoms… An inflammatory disease in children being linked to coronavirus has killed three young people, from five to 18, in New York and infected over 100, New York’s governor Andrew Cuomo has said. The illness which inflames blood vessels has symptoms like toxic shock syndrome and Kawasaki disease. Meanwhile, doctors around the world have reported a notable increase of strokes in adults who contract coronavirus, caused by increased blood clotting.

Daily brief… Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has tested negative for coronavirus after having a coughing fit at the dispatch box in parliament; another passenger from the Ruby Princess has died, taking the toll of fatalities from the ship to 22; China has banned Australian meat imports from four abattoirs in a growing tariff war with Australia; Russia now has the second largest number of COVID-19 infections in the world with over 232,000, but has recorded significantly fewer deaths than other badly hit countries such as Spain, France, the UK and the US; the city of Wuhan in China, where the outbreak began, plans to test every one of its 11 million citizens; performers, including Billy Joel, have taken part in a huge fundraiser for the City of New York.

May 12, 2020: Stage plight… Everyone’s had to make adaptions to life in lockdown, but how do you rehearse if you’re in a play in limbo? Hatch reporter Eilish Beahan-Goff finds out.

Daily brief… Victorian premier Daniel Andrews announces a staggered return to secondary school from May 26 and primary school from June 9; NSW has recorded no new infection cases for the first time since the start of the outbreak in the state; the White House has initiated a policy of staff wearing masks after at least two staff members tested positive for coronavirus; Britain’s Stay Alert campaign, signalling an easing of restrictions, has been criticised by the public as being incomprehensible.

May 11, 2020: Crisis and compromise… The full impact of pandemic-led curbs on basic rights, freedom of speech and the reporting and reach of the press is still evolving. In this interview with Hatch’s Yohan Yun, Rappler co-founder Maria Ressa discusses how the pandemic is affecting journalism.

Daily brief… School students start going back today in some states, including NSW, for from one day in primary to up to four days for HSC students; NSW has announced wide-scale easing of restrictions from Friday, with Victoria announcing its response later today; the federal deficit this financial year may be as high as $143 billion according to the annual Budget Monitor from Deloitte Access Economics, which also predicts a cumulative deficit over the next three years of $359 billion; over 4 million people worldwide have now tested positive for coronavirus, and more than 280,000 have died.

May 8, 2020: Daily brief… A cluster of cases at Cedar Meats abattoir in Victoria has grown to 62 cases, with 13 new infections recorded yesterday; the National Cabinet has met today to discuss easing restrictions across the country with the prime minister announcing a three-stage easing of restrictions; Australian banks have deferred $160 billion in loans during the coronavirus crisis; in 9,400 tests yesterday in NSW only four new infections were detected state premier Gladys Berejiklian said; over 33 million Americans have applied for unemployment benefits since the March lockdown began, with over 75,000 deaths now – the worst affected country in the world.

May 7, 2020: This sporting life… Just sticking to your daily routine has been hard enough for average people, but athletes continuing to train for Olympics selection and other big sports meets are having it particularly hard. Hatch’s James Thompson looked at how some are keeping motivated.

Daily brief… It has been revealed that two healthcare workers who boarded the Ruby Princess cruise ship to treat sick passengers when it docked at Circular Quay, attended Newmarch House just two days later, but the link between Australia’s two worst clusters has been dismissed by NSW Health; the COVIDSafe app has been downloaded by over 5 million Australians.

May 6, 2020: Daily brief… Almost a million people have lost their jobs in Australia since social distancing laws were introduced; a 16th person has died at Newmarch House and the NSW state opposition has called for an inquiry into the cluster at the aged care home; in the US J. Crew has become the first big retailer to go bankrupt because of the virus, as the country braces for an estimated 3000 deaths a day; the UK has passed Italy as the worst affected country in Europe with over 29,000 deaths.

May 5, 2020: Daily brief… The inquiry into the Ruby Princess cruise line debacle, that has resulted in 21 deaths, has heard NSW Health based their decision not to quarantine passengers on the wrong information; new infection cases remain low in Australia as many parents prepare for their children to return to school part-time next week; Treasurer Josh Frydenberg warns the Australian economy is racking up $4 billion in debt every week of the lockdown; Sydney arts centre Carriageworks goes into administration claiming the shutdown or cancellation of live events for a six-month period has made the business unsustainable.

May 4, 2020: Daily brief… A week after schools went back with a limited number of pupils, schools in Victoria and NSW have been closed after a teacher and a student tested positive to COVID-19; the Auckland Warriors have arrived in NSW en route to Tamworth, where they are relocating for the start of the NRL season at the end of May; the number of people infected worldwide has passed 3.5 million with over 250,000 dying; supporters have rallied around Victorian premier Daniel Andrews after Federal education minister Dan Tehan accused him of poor leadership by delaying the staggered return to school in that state; the number of coronavirus cases at Victorian abattoir Cedar Meats has risen to 19.

May 3, 2020: Distrust of medical message… Interesting poll (inside a Twitter bubble albeit) of over 2,000 people who overwhelmingly feel the medical advice from Australia’s chief medical officer is politically slanted.

Daily brief… US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has alleged the deadly coronavirus escaped from a lab in Wuhan. It follows various reports over the past fortnight about virus testing on bats taking place at a facility in Wuhan, previously visited by US officials, over several years; a cluster of 15 cases of coronavirus has been identified at a meatworks in Victoria.

May 2, 2020: Daily brief… A 76-year-old woman has died from the virus at Anglicare’s Newmarch House, bringing the death toll from the cluster at the aged care home to 14.

May 1, 2020: Get into the groove… Here’s Hatch reporter Talya Jacobson TikTok doco’ing her sister’s isolation dance class she now does from her garage.

Come fly with me… British WWII veteran Captain Tom Moore, who has raised over £56 million ($109 million) for the National Health Service (NHS) celebrates his 100th birthday today and has been inundated with cards. Captain Moore began doing laps of his Bedford garden to raise £1000, but his appeal soon took off. He has since had a number one single in the UK with his cover version of You’ll Never Walk Alone. The RAF today did a flyover of his home.

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Can you spot the letter from the Queen?

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Morning brief… Another death at Sydney’s Newmarch House aged care facility brings the total to 13, while in Melbourne the Hawthorn Grange nursing home is the center of another new cluster; from today groups of two people can visit other people’s homes in a slight relaxation of social distancing rules in NSW; more than 30 million Americans have now been made unemployed by the coronavirus; the Russian prime minister Mikhail Mishustin is the latest high-profile politician to test positive to the virus; in Michigan armed protesters have stormed the State House complaining about lockdown restrictions.

April 30, 2020: Hatch’s student reporters have been operating from their bedrooms and balconies since the start of the nationwide lockdown. Check out there latest series of reports.

Morning brief… Experimental drug remdesivir is being hailed as possibly the first effective treatment for coronavirus, with the US’s director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Anthony Fauci saying it sped up recovery times and improved the fatality rate, albeit modestly; the US Food and Drug Administration is set to use emergency powers to approve remdesivir for use; a 12th person has died of COVID-19 at Newmarch House, making it the country’s worst cluster after the Ruby Princess. Question A? Why don’t they move seriously ill COVID-19 patients into an ICU for more expert care? Question B? Why is the prime minister threatening to prosecute aged care homes for not opening up to visitors? Mixed messages…

April 29, 2020: Morning brief… A total of five deaths from coronavirus recorded at Anglicare’s Newmarch House in the past 24 hours (now totalling 11), has made it the worst day for deaths in NSW and raised questions about why infected aged care residents are not being transferred to hospital ICUs; the federal government has offered private schools $3.3 billion to get students back to school within a month; most supermarkets today will lift restrictions on certain groceries you can buy, including toilet paper, pasta and rice; Tokyo Olympics officials have said the postponed games may have to be scrapped altogether if a vaccine for COVID-19 is not developed by next year to ensure safety.

April 28, 2020: Morning brief… New Zealand, which has had some of the strictest lockdown rules in the world, is easing some restrictions today and allowing people to go back to work, after eliminating community contact spread of the virus; a seventh resident at Anglicare Newmarch House aged care home in western Sydney has died; over 2 million Australians have downloaded the COVIDSafe app, but there are complaints that backpackers and foreign visitors are unable to access it on overseas phone plans; Bondi beach reopens for surfing and swimming; the last recovered patient has been released from a hospital in Wuhan, China, the source of the outbreak; global infection cases pass 3 million and deaths 211,000 (about a quarter of them in the USA).

April 27, 2020: Come together… One of the things the coronavirus lockdown has done is give people a greater sense of community, and whether you’re in Mudgee or Kolkata, communities are reacting in similar ways. Like the Canon Mooney Gardens Residents Association in Ireland.

Morning brief… New infection cases in Australia remain low and some states have started to ease restrictions, including Western Australia, where permissible gatherings will be extended from two people to 10; Health minister Greg Hunt says 1 million people downloaded its COVIDSafe app in the first five hours; British PM Boris Johnson has returned to work after recovering from the virus – in the time since he contracted the virus 19,000 people have died in the UK; more than 26 million Americans have registered for unemployment benefits after being made jobless by the virus.

April 26, 2020: Don’t worry, be appy… The Australian government tonight (6pm) has launched the COVIDSafe app to track the spread of the virus. The mobile phone app, similar to ones used in Singapore and South Korea, uses bluetooth to connect with other people who have the app on their phone. If you are within 1.5m of them for 15 minutes or more, the app logs the interaction. If in the following 21 days anyone (friends, family or strangers) you’ve been in contact with is positively tested for COVID-19, the app will warn you to get tested. Because of concerns about authorities using the data for other purposes, there are strict privacy measures in place, includng data being wiped after 21 days. Download it and save lives, maybe your own!

April 25, 2020: Morning brief… Anzac Day has been marked by Australians across the country by standing at the end of their driveway or garden path at 6am for a minute’s silence; while the rate of infections in Australia has slowed right down, the number of deaths jumped by five in 24 hours; former Democrat presidential contender Elizabeth Warren’s elder brother has died of coronavirus, three weeks after contracting it; there are now close to 3 million cases and 200,000 deaths worldwide.

April 24, 2020: Are you sure about that?… Prime Minister Scott Morrison says social distancing in schools is not important and has also threatened legal action against aged care homes which don’t open their doors to visitors. In the meantime experts in the UK say deaths in aged care homes are likely to more than double the UK’s fatality toll to 40,000.

Dance of life… It took a while for the message to get through, but it looks like social distancing has finally taken off in Manly (although we do hear it’s only among sculptures, and to stay away from the promenade).

Morning brief… NSW announces only seven new infections, despite ramping up tests to a record 7,000 a day, and extends testing beyond cluster areas and known-sufferer contact to anyone in the state who fears they may have symptoms; Victoria has recorded only six new cases among 3,500 tests in the past 24 hours; first human trial underway at Oxford University in Britain involving 800 people; the Ruby Princess cruise ship, which left Australia yesterday, has been linked to another COVID-19 cluster in Tasmania.

April 23, 2020: Special inquiry… Meanwhile the second day of the NSW Commission of inquiry into the Ruby Princess debacle has heard staff on board the ship were surprised when NSW Health did not come aboard when it docked at Circular Quay to disembark passengers, many of them infected (766 passengers and crew have been infected and 21 have died), on March 19. The liner’s hotel manager Charles Verwall said passengers were displaying symptoms of coronavirus even though tests carried out in New Zealand had come back negative. He said the actions of NSW Heath were in marked contrast to previous dockings where meticulous inspections were carried out.

Ship to shore… As the Ruby Princess prepares to leave port, Princess Cruises thanks the Illawarra for harbouring the ship, while many ports around the country and world have shunned COVID-19 affected liners. Jan Swartz, the firm’s president, also said the company was donating $50,000 to the Mission to Seafarers charity at Port Kembla, which had previously arranged a thousand care parcels for crew stranded on board. “The Illawarra community never lost sight of the fact that this was all about people caught up in difficult circumstances that were not of their making,” Ms Swartz said.

Morning brief… A doctor from the Ruby Princess has told investigating police that she would not have disembarked passengers at Circular Quay; new infection cases in Australia remains low, and there has been just one death since yesterday; the UN says there has been an 8 per cent decline in global carbon emissions because of the lockdown, bans on travel and the curtailment to industry.

April 22, 2020: Morning brief… Sydney’s Bondi Beach will reopen for surfers but not sunbathers next week; the UK says it will begin human trials on a vaccine for coronavirus from next week; the Ruby Princess crew, including over 40 infected with the virus, will be gradually taken off the ship and flown home, NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller said; global infections have passed 2.5 million with a quarter of deaths occurring in the United States; Singapore has experienced a serious second surge of the virus after initially successfully locking it down; the Reserve Bank of Australia governor Philip Lowe says the country needs to seriously reform tax laws to give the economy a chance of recovering.

Crew from the Ruby Princess are offloaded and health-checked at Port Kembla. (Photo: NSW Police)

April 21, 2020: Morning brief… NSW schools will begin a staggered reintroduction of face-to-face teaching, with students returning to schools one-day a week from May 11, and a return to normal by the start of term 3; across Australia only 13 new cases of infection were recorded yesterday; restrictions on elective surgery to start being lifted today; travel bans brought in to stop the spread of the virus have pushed Virgin Australia into voluntary administration with over $5 billion in debts and up to 20,000 full-time and contractor jobs under threat; self-isolation has led to the lowest regular flu-rate for this time of the year in Australia, with only 99 cases logged, compared to 18,000 at the same time last year;

April 20, 2020: It’s sport Jim, but not as we know it… From marble racing (it’s mesmerising!) to the Tajikistan footie league, check out Hatch reporter James Thompson’s guide to lockdown sports.

Virus reviews… There has been an unprecedented, in scale and speed, response from the scientific community to finding a vaccine for coronavirus. A recent review found there are currently 291 active clinical trials being conducted around the world specifically on COVID-19, 109 of which are looking at effective drug treatments.

Die herd… Sweden’s government stood out in the early days of the pandemic as being one of the few countries putting the onus on personal decision-making, i.e. a herd immunity approach, but is coming under increasing fire as Sweden’s infection rate skyrockets. While Australia has seen its graph not only flattening the curve but on a determinedly downward trend, Sweden’s rate has gone near vertical.

Under the Milky Way tonight… Singer/songwriter Steve Kilbey (he of The Church) has been livestreaming shows from his Coogee lounge room during the virus lockdown. His latest is… tonight! 6pm. Check it out. But it’s not all beer and skittles and this is about performers trying to make a living. So if you watch the show make a donation too – even if it’s just a couple of bucks. Think of what you’d pay to see a live gig – that should put it in perspective.

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There ya go

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Morning brief… The Grattan Institute estimates 3.5 million people could be made jobless during the pandemic in Australia; only one new case in Victoria identified from some 7,000+ tests carried out over the weekend; only six new cases in NSW from over 4,000 tests; no new cases recorded in Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia, Tasmania, the ACT or the Northern Territory; cases of infected people in Europe passes 1 million and deaths 100,000; Britain’s Sunday Times reveals PM Boris Johnson missed five key coronavirus crisis meetings at the start of the pandemic – Britain’s toll of fatalities has now reached 16,060; restrictions on exercising lifted at some Australian beaches, including Maroubra, Coogee and Clovelly in Sydney, despite the areas being part of the city’s major virus hotspots.

April 19, 2020: McShopping… With the exception of Tasmania, you can now buy bread, muffins, eggs and milk at McDonald’s drive-thrus as part of the fast-food giant’s basic expansion into groceries during the pandemic. Strange times indeed!

Too cruel for school… While PM Scott Morrison continues to bang on about the low risk to school children from coronavirus and urge teachers to be ‘frontline heroes’ the government’s said nothing about cases outside of Australia that point to the risks of schools remaining open. Across the Tasman Sea, New Zealand’s biggest cluster at the Marist College in Auckland saw cases escalate from eight to 52 in five days, with total cases now standing at 93.

Invisible infections… In a general sample of the population, blood analysis of 3,600 people living in Santa Clara, California, by researchers has found one in 66 was infected with the virus, making it at least 50 times more widespread than previously thought but also far less deadly.

Stir crazy, but brilliant… This is more F Troop than F1. Don’t let coronavirus get you down folks!

Morning brief… Deaths in Spain have passed 20,000, and the UK records 888 new deaths to pass 15,000; New York, the worst-affected city in the world, records its first decrease in the number of deaths in two weeks; the Ruby Princess, currently docked at Port Kembla, will leave Australia on Thursday with 160 of its 1,000+ crew having so far tested positive for coronavirus, among them 13 who had been hospitalised; all-up there are 21 known deaths linked to the ship and over 900 infections making it the worst single cluster worldwide; an extra 3 million flu shots have been bought by the federal government to cover a surge in demand.

The Big Pause… What many of us are thinking.

April 18: Morning brief… China updates its fatality statistics for the city of Wuhan, the source of the outbreak, by 1,290, saying deaths were 50 per cent higher than previously reported once cases at home, that had not been counted, were added and records in jails and funeral homes updated; China has strongly denied accusations, mainly in the US, of a cover-up of the extent of infections and deaths; a Japanese family is suing Carnival Corporation for $1 million following the death of a family member from coronavirus caught on board the Ruby Princess cruise ship.

April 17, 2020: Stay home… Are you coping with isolation? Getting bored yet? Hatch’s Talya Jacobson TikTok’s her day.

Morning brief… Scott Morrison has outlined the measures necessary for easing social restrictions and returning the economy to normal, which include wider testing of asymptomatic people, contact-tracing app-tracking of people’s coronavirus status and a more robust health system that could deal with local outbreaks; NSW has doubled the number of ICU beds and is upgrading a number of hospitals with specialist COVID-19 wards; the state is also considering a staggered rostering system of reintroducing face-to-face teaching in schools from week three of term two, saying the process could take up to a year; a seven-week-old baby boy has tested positive to the virus in Sydney; the Anglicare Newmarch House aged care facility in Caddens now has 29 confirmed cases; NSW police commissioner Mick Fuller says there has been an increase in domestic violence incidents, but DV assaults are down; with less cars on the road police say there has been a 40 per cent increase in speeding offences in NSW.

April 16, 2020: Mr COVID-19… A Sydney dance teacher once paid 100 euros to pose for generic stock photos doing stuff around his house has become the unwitting face of the coronavirus pandemic. Jeremy Tang’s image is frequently used in stories to illustrate life under lockdown.

Sign of the times… In the many press conferences being held on coronavirus, signers for the deaf have become almost ubiquitous. And one of the joys of seeing more signers on our TV screens is (because of their need to be hyper expressive in conveying their message) they always seem to be having a far better time than everyone around them.

This morning’s NSW coronavirus press conference with a deaf signer translating NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller. (Photo: ABC screenshot)

Morning brief… Testing rates in NSW back up to over 3,000 tests in the past day, with only 11 new cases; 15 cases recorded at the Anglicare Newmarch House aged care home in Caddens in western Sydney, the latest major Australian cluster; now over 2 million infections worldwide, with the number having doubled in two weeks; Australians are drinking more while in lockdown new research shows; the real death toll in the UK is feared to be much higher with as many as 40 per cent of COVID-19 deaths coming from aged care homes, which are not being added to the official count.

April 15, 2020: Investigations socially distance… Fascinating that while a police criminal investigation into the Ruby Princess debacle is in full swing, NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian comes out and announces her own, which will wrap up in faster time (with George Pell’s barrister leading it). Could Gladys be trying to get ahead of findings that paint NSW Health in a bad light? We bet those ‘all in it together’ morning press conferences she holds with police commissioner Mick Fuller will be a bit frostier now.

The distance between us… The New York Times has a great interactive graphic, showing how far sneeze droplets can carry (26ft – ouch!) and their app can show you how far to keep from people while socially distancing. Here’s me working out how close I can get to the cat and chickens. @newmanmartin

Morning brief… Donald Trump announces the US will cut it’s funding to the World Health Organisation, criticising it for its use of funding and accusing it of covering up the spread of the virus (smells like blame-shifting to us); he’s not the best orator (or mathematician) either is our Don, just told a press conference the worst day of his life was when he was told America would need 130,000 ventilators to deal with the crisis but was hundreds of thousands of ventilators short; the Australian government will this week discuss strategies for exiting the coronavirus shutdown; the International Monetary Fund has forecast a global recession with gross domestic products declining by 3 per cent, a 6.3 per cent difference to the 3.3 per cent growth projected just a few months ago in January.

April 14, 2020: The Love Boat… This really is heart-warming. More than 1,000 charity care packages have been loaded onto the Ruby Princess at Port Kembla today for the neglected, shunned crew of the tragic ship. The Mission to Seafarers Port Kembla organised the care packages – containing food, soft drinks, toiletries and other items such as make-up – to be given to those on-board. The packages have been donated from community members across the Illawarra and packed by the charity. The boat has over a thousand crew members and some passengers still on board, an unknown number of whom are infected with coronavirus. A win for humanity, amidst the fear and recriminations.

‘Thanks Australia’: The message from crew on the Ruby Princess at Port Kembla. (Photo: NSW Police)

Down the Mudge… If you’re a city-dweller and thought life in the country, where everyone’s spread out more, might be a bit easier, think again. Hatch reporter Annika Baker reports from Mudgee, where businesses have ground to a halt and families struggle to get supplies in.

Keep your shirt on… Actor Matthew McConaughey has posted a DIY mask-making video on Instagram as alter-ego Bobby Bandito.

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Stand and deliver… Not everyone is doing badly from the coronavirus. Online sales are booming and in the US Amazon has just announced they will employ another 75,000 staff. This comes after the company announced a month ago it was putting on 100,000 extra temporary staff. In Australia, supermarkets Coles and Woolworths, as well as telcos such as Telstra have all put on jobs to deal with increased demand. However, it’s not all good news, as some staff at Amazon in the US have been striking over safety and work conditions in its warehouses.

Morning brief… NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian says same-day negative test results will now be available in NSW; Australia’s unemployment level to rise to 10 per cent, the highest level in 26 years, from 5 per cent before the virus crisis; government says JobKeeper allowance has stopped jobless rate hitting 15 per cent; 700,000 to lose their jobs by middle of the year; only 100 international visitors due in Sydney today – that compares to the 11,500 daily average in non-coronavirus times; 1.9 million people now infected worldwide.

April 13, 2020: Morning brief… Hundreds of thousands of dollars have been issued in fines over the Easter weekend for breaking social distancing rules, including $800,000 in Queensland alone; the comedian Tim Brooke-Taylor, famous for his role in British comedy The Goodies, a favorite of kids growing up in the ’70s and ’80s, has died aged 79 from coronavirus; the government has unveiled a $440 million package for renters and landlords.

April 12, 2020: Pariah-status finally pays off for North Korea… Already self-isolating North Korea is one of the few countries to record no coronavirus cases yet (it claims) after being one of the first to lockdown it’s populace and quarantine anyone from abroad, who were mostly diplomats.

Haute COVID-19…. Coronavirus fashion appears to be loosening up.

Tassie hotspot… The Tasmanian government has closed two hospitals on the north west coast and put 1,000 members of staff or their families in a two-week quarantine. Almost half the states infection cases are from the area and 35 staff members have tested positive at the North West Regional Hospital and North West Private Hospital in Burnie.

Aged care… Europe is considering keeping elderly people on lockdown until the end of the year.

Morning brief… The quietest Easter Sunday has been ushered in in living memory in Australia, with church services moved online and families told not to visit one another; another passenger from the Ruby Princess cruise ship has died, bringing the national toll from the doomed pleasure cruise to 16 of Australia’s 57 fatalities;

April 11, 2020: Humour’s not black and white… The world’s first coronavirus sitcom launched in Spain on Tuesday to mixed reviews. All 15 actors in Radio Television Espanola’s Quarantine Diaries film themselves from their own homes. With over 15,000 deaths in hard-hit Spain the show really begs the question ‘when is too soon to joke about tragedy?’ Increasingly, it seems, as virtually everyone in the world has been affected in some way by coronavirus or its assorted impacts we all have a valid excuse to make light of it.

Like a virus… Holed up in London, Madonna has been documenting her coronavirus self-isolation in a series of Instagram videos and posts. In the latest she talks about three people she knows who have died from the virus, including a cousin, and complains about her son nagging her.

Owhhhh… Cute coronavirus baby pic.

Morning brief… The first 1,300 passengers to arrive at Sydney International Airport under the Air Transportation Quarantine Order today complete their mandatory 14-day quarantine in hotels around Sydney; South Korea says 91 patients who had recovered from coronavirus have retested as positive, after previously testing negative. They say the virus may have reactivated in them, rather than them having been reinfected ; the global death toll has passed 100,000 with more than 2,000 occurring in America in a day and almost 1,000 in the UK.

April 10, 2020: Struggle street… It’s hard not to notice more people’s belongings piled in the street as they move or are evicted for non-payment of rent, this despite a supposed moratorium on evictions.

Cough up the cash… The NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller says nearly 50 people have been issued with $1000 fines for ignoring new public health guidelines brought in to contain the spread of coronavirus. He added: “From today, police will be able to issue a $5,000 fine for spitting, coughing on an emergency service worker or someone going about their duties in a hospital or a pharmacy.”

Morning brief… It’s Easter Friday and there are strict curbs being enforced across Australia on travelling to meet family that should see an unparalleled reduction in traffic on the country’s roads for a long weekend; NSW Arts Minister Don Harwin has been fined $1000 for breaching the public health guidelines on non-essential travel by relocating to his Pearl Beach holiday home on the Central Coast; the US has recorded almost 2,000 deaths in a single day from the virus; British PM Boris Johnson has been moved out of intensive care as his condition improves; Saudi Arabia calls a two-week ceasefire in the bloody war in Yemen as 150 members of the Saudi royal family test positive for coronavirus.

April 9, 2020: Driven up the wall… These crazy days of self-isolation have stopped sport in its tracks and sent many sportspeople and organisations online. Check out Hatch reporter Charlie Bullis’ exclusive interview with racing car driver, now gamer, Todd Hazelwood about last night’s Eseries.

One more time… A 58-year-old man has been issued with $1000 fines on consecutive days on King Street, Newtown, in Sydney’s inner west, for ignoring police cautions about breaking public health guidelines, brought in to contain coronavirus. He was arrested on a third occasion and bailed to return to Newtown Local Court in June.

Morning brief… Parliament last night passed the $130 billion JobKeeper package to keep the Australian economy from collapsing; police from Strike Force Bast have raided the Ruby Princess at Port Kembla to seize documents, the voyage date recorder and to question crew and some passengers who remain onboard; The World Trade Organisation says global trade will slump by as much as 32 per cent because of the coronavirus crisis, having a worse economic impact then the Great Depression that lasted from 1929 to 1933; Bernie Sanders exits the race for the Democrat presidential nomination, saying he is too far behind Joe Biden and the impacts of coronavirus have made it impossible to continue campaigning; the states of New York and New Jersey have together recorded 7,772 deaths, more than the rest of the US combined, and much has been blamed on the dependence of New Yorkers on the tightly-packed public transport system (41 public transit workers have died and over 6,000 been infected); the UK recorded its worst day with 938 deaths; a second pop-up hospital has opened in Birmingham in the UK which can cater to up to 2000 people; British prime minister Boris Johnson is said to be sitting up in bed and doing better, although still in intensive care.

Investigators from Strike Force Bast boarding the Ruby Princess last night. (Photo: NSW Police)

April 8, 2020: Mick moves fast… It was only a few days ago NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller prefaced a full and wide-ranging criminal investigation into the Ruby Princess debacle, and this morning Strike Force Bast (as we have just been told it’s called) had it’s first operational meeting. A team of 30 detectives from across State Crime, Counter Terrorism and Special Tactics and Marine Area Commands have been seconded to put the spotlight on everyone from the NSW Health Minister to Carnival Cruises. There have been 15 deaths around the country from the ill-fated cruise ship and over 600 people on board have returned positive COVID-19 tests. FULL BRIEF HERE

Coffee comforters… The patrons of St Marks cafe in Randwick pay extra to donate coffees to those doing it tough because they’ve lost their job to the coronavirus crisis. The tally as of this morning: 186. That’s community!

Cruise control… The army has joined police in monitoring ports along the NSW coast for public health compliance, i.e. crew and passengers on cruise ships and other visiting vessels remaining on board unless being escorted to hospital or quarantine. FULL STORY

Facetime… Want to make your own mask. Here’s a simple technique with a scarf and two rubber bands.

Morning brief… Wuhan, the city of 11 million people in central China, where coronavirus first broke out, is ending its 76-day lockdown, but folk still need permission to leave the city; China meanwhile recorded its first day in months without anyone dying from COVID-19; in contrast the US had 1,877 deaths yesterday and the UK had 786, both tracking higher than the previous hotspots of Spain and Italy; Japan’s infection rate has doubled in five days; jogging during the day has been banned in Paris; in Australia there were further signs of the containment strategy working, with a decline in infection cases continuing, although an increase in deaths, with seven yesterday; three children in quarantine at Sydney’s Hilton Hotel after returning to the country were rushed to hospital last night, one of them and an adult have now tested positive for the virus.

April 7, 2020: Can you resist… It’s that old chestnut: don’t push the button/push the button. What would you do? Well Hatch is definitely staying away from those stanky old buttons. @NicolaChrista

Every cloud… The hashtag #prayforbojo is trending in the United Kingdom with rare signs of solidarity across the country’s usually starkly divided political spectrum. Interesting times.

Who knew this would be right… In 1997 actor/director Kevin Costner brought out one of his most laughable films (there were a few) The Postman, set in a post-apocalyptic America where the mailman was the last reliable service left and a hero to those struggling with the collapse of societal norms. Fast forward to 2020 and the local postie has become a friendly face stuck-at-home self-isolators look forward to seeing each day as one of the few outside contacts in their daily routine.

State briefing: Queensland… Five cruise ships left in Queensland, all others have departed says Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, with remainder required to leave by midnight tomorrow; also registers a downward trend in infections.

State briefing: Victoria… Victoria premier Daniel Andrews says 108 non-compliance infringements have been issued; infection cases have stabilised in Victoria – but adds ‘we cannot get ahead of ourselves’; emphasises home learning and keeping students away from group gatherings as the state prepares for Term 2 flexible and remote learning next Wednesday; says every child who needs a laptop will get one.

State briefing: NSW… NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian reiterates advice to not go out, and says no one should be thinking about getting away for the Easter holiday; NSW chief health officer Dr Kerry Chant says there has been a stabilisation and decline in new cases in NSW, although three more deaths; she says a sixth person has died from the Dorothy Henderson aged care facility and another passenger from the ill-fated Ruby Princess cruise ship; residents in Waverley, Woolahra, Lake Macquarie, Byron Bay, Nowra, Port Macquarie, Dee Why and other suburbs where unaccounted for COVID-19 infections have been found have been urged to come forward for testing.

Morning brief… British PM Boris Johnson admitted to intensive care after his symptoms worsen; worldwide there have been close to 75,000 deaths and over 1.3 million infections; Japan declares state of emergency; the death toll in the US passes 10,000 as the country now numbers more infection cases than European hotspots Italy, Spain and the UK combined; British Open golf championship goes the way of Wimbledon and other major sports events in being cancelled for 2020.

April 6, 2020: Publish or perish… It’s literally (literarily?) amazing just how quickly books are put out today on a breaking event. Have a browse through Amazon and there are already dozens (we stopped counting after the third page) tomes on the coronavirus outbreak, from self-help to quarantine romance novels. The Henry and Me boys clothes company has it’s own free e-book to explain the virus to children. CLICK HERE for a copy.

Buck up… Queen Elizabeth II has addressed Britain on the coronavirus fight to motivate and reassure her subjects. It is only the fifth time in her 68-year reign she’s made an unscheduled speech to the nation.

Morning update… British PM Boris Johnson has been hospitalised 10 days after he was diagnosed with COVID-19; the Ruby Princess has been allowed to dock at Port Kembla on the NSW South Coast, where the 1,040 crew members onboard will be treated by doctors FULL STORY HERE; cases in NSW are declining, but the government said it has also been testing fewer people; Americans told to brace for the ‘hardest, saddest week of their lives’; more than 4,000 people have now died in New York, the world’s worst-hit city.

April 5, 2020: Late update… An 11th passenger from the Ruby Princess has died, taking Australia’s overall death toll to 35; Iran announces it will begin low-risk economic activity from April 11 as one of the worst-affected countries starts to bounce back. Hoorah Iran!

#ironic… Notice how much the COVID-19 bacteria looks like one of those de-stressing balls.

Ruby update… Police commissioner Mick Fuller confirms a criminal investigation into the cruise ship fiasco will cover NSW Health, Carnival Australia, the port authority, ambulance and police. “The only way I can get to the bottom of whether our national biosecurity laws and our state laws were broken is through a criminal investigation,” he said this afternoon.

Plane offender… There are currently 55 flights to or through NSW, the country’s worst affected state, alone that have positively identified COVID-19 passengers onboard, the most recent six days ago. CLICK HERE to see the flight details and row numbers most affected, and for other states and territories.

Morning brief… Coronavirus cases in New Zealand pass the 1,000 mark as Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern calls out ‘idiots’ failing to take it seriously; NSW Health announces three more deaths from the Ruby Princess, bringing the total to 10, while Sky News’ Andrew Clennell claims a police investigation into the debacle is about to become a criminal investigation (corporate manslaughter we wonder?).

April 4, 2020: A tale of two cities… Here’s a salient example from 1918 of how Philadelphia stuffed up while St Louis ‘flattened the curve’ in their different approaches to dealing with the Spanish Flu. It relates to today’s coronavirus crisis, but also worryingly warns of a second wave.

T’was a dark and stormy virus… How many books will be written about the coronavirus outbreak? We’ve probably all got at least one in us. Check out this very satisfying Twitter thread to see how a few of them might begin (Spot on Alex Leo).

Not in the pink… Singer Pink has revealed she tested positive for COVID-19 two weeks ago but has now recovered. She joins dozens of well-knowns who have caught coronavirus, including Idris Elba, Tom Hanks, Placido Domingo, Boris Johnson, Prince Charles, Prince Albert II of Monaco, Jackson Browne, Harvey Weinstein and Kevin Durant.

Ship of fools… NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard sounding a bit like Donald Trump at his press conference, defending the disembarkation of the Ruby Princess passengers, he says: “The experts who made the decision were the best in the world.” According to who? Brad. Both he and NSW Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant both (stunningly) defend and try to mitigate the decision to disembark 2,700 passengers from the cruise ship despite NSW Health knowing there were possibly coronavirus cases onboard. So far, and counting, 662 people from the RP have tested positive and seven have died. So far, this is the most wrong-headed defence of a stuff-up we’ve heard in a long time. The opposition called for Hazzard’s resignation and he responded with the defence: “I didn’t know anything about the Ruby Princess.” Damning!

Morning brief… Donald Trump tells Americans they should start wearing masks as new research suggests that both a large percentage (at least a third of people) show no symptoms and the virus can be transmitted through the air just from speaking to someone, rather than by coughing or sneezing; Questions raised in the Washington Post about whether the death toll in China has been massaged by authorities – based on orders for funerary urns in Wuhan, the source of the global outbreak, the paper estimates over 40,000 may have died in that one city alone.

April 3, 2020: Keeping the virus out… Like we saw when the outbreak started in China, small villages barricading roads to prevent possibly infected outsiders bringing the virus into their community, so too the same response is now being seen in Britain.

Can Bondi please get its head out of its arse… Despite all the bad press about the denizens, or daytrippers, at Bondi ignoring social gathering laws there have been numerous reports that it’s still going on in Bondi, Manly and other nearby beach suburbs.

Same old same old… Check out this footage from a parade at the time of the Spanish Flu 102 years ago.

A debacle we can’t allow to be covered up… Channel Nine has come into some emails between NSW Health and the supervising doctor onboard the Ruby Princess cruise ship which shows a request for an urgent hospital transfer for two passengers with upper respiratory tract infections. They and 12 others were tested for flu onboard and returned negative results. Despite all the world knew about the coronavirus cases aboard the Diamond Princess in Tokyo the health department emailed back: “The NSW Health expert panel has assessed the Ruby Princess as not requiring on-board health assessment in Sydney. We could, however, ask you to send the 15 samples to our lab for COVID testing. You are free to disembark tomorrow.” Result: Seven dead (so far), over 600 infected and the virus spread to every state as the 2,700 passengers allowed to disembark made their way home. Heads must roll, probably Brad Hazzard’s. FULL STORY

Kiwi link… Meanwhile, The Ruby Princess is now being linked to outbreaks in New Zealand, where it stopped before going on to Australia. It’s clear the ship was already a giant COVID-19 incubator by the time it reached Sydney’s Circular Quay.

Where’s Kerbox?… Bondi Rescue is taking on a new meaning as the popular beach becomes the focus of coronavirus containment in Sydney.

Dance your troubles away… There has been no better coronavirus meme, yet, than Melbournian Jeff van de Zandt’s TikTok lip sync of the Scott Morrison v Andrew Proven presser last week. For posterity here it is…

Morning brief… The number of infected people around the world passes the 1 million mark, and the number of deaths goes past 51,000; the number of new cases in NSW has stabilised but there are more new cases from unidentified sources; NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian, in her morning press conference, echoes Prime Minister Scott Morrison, saying we are in this for at least six months; PM makes childcare free during crisis; Australian passengers, numbering 130, on the Zaandam and Rotterdam cruise ships allowed to dock in Florida after being one of the hundreds of cruise ships worldwide stranded at sea to be flown home in the next 24 hours; NRL players get 71 per cent wage cut during five-month coronavirus shutdown of rugby league season; In NSW 13 fines have been issued for infringements of social gathering rules; 6.6 million Americans now applying for unemployment benefits; New York hospitals to run out of ventilators in the next six days.

April 2: They walk among us… One in four coronavirus carriers show no symptoms at all according to researchers in the US. Dr Robert Redfield, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said there was a case for everyone wearing masks as those who show no symptoms were still spreading the virus. Even worse, in Iceland as many as 50 per cent of people testing positive apparently showed no symptoms. In Australia, of course, where testing has largely been limited to those with the exact symptoms or who had contact with a carrier, hardly anyone is wearing a mask and schools are still open.

Indigenous news… The Australian Federal Police are sending 102 officers to remote Aboriginal communities, which are more susceptible to coronavirus, in the Northern Territory to keep the bug out. READ THE FULL STORY HERE

But questions are being raised about how much practical help the government has been giving remote Aboriginal communities after this video was shown on NITV.

Fur and away… Cats in Shenzhen are breathing a sigh of relief (as opposed to just sighing, which cats seem to do plenty of) after the city became the first in China to ban eating cats and dogs. There isn’t a lot of cat and dog eating in Shenzhen anyway, at 13 million China’s fifth largest city, but after the coronavirus shutdown of wild animal markets animal welfare campaigners see it as another step in the right direction.

Fake a look at me now… Here’s Hatch reporter Juliane Lehmayer’s attempt at a fake Phil Collins lockdown radio station. Well, we are all bored out of our skulls…

Music news… The Fountains of Wayne songwriter Adam Schlesinger has died of coronavirus in upstate New York. Schlesinger, who was only 51, won Grammy awards with the band and Emmys for his work on TV show Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. He was also nominated for an Academy Award for the title song in the Tom Hanks film That Thing You Do.

More silliness… A woman has been charged with intentionally causing physical harm after deliberately coughing on several passersby in the Snowy Mountains. The 41-year-old was refused bail and will appear in Wollongong local court today. Good! Get with the program. FULL STORY HERE

Literary escapism… If you’ve had your fill of Netflix binging on Contagion and The Walking Dead, check out Hatch reporter Erin Christie’s list of the best doomsday books to fuel your imagination.

Morning brief… Police commissioner Mick Fuller says the laws on social gatherings will be enforced for at least three months; 200 Australian soldiers returning from the Middle East to go into quarantine; a 67-year-old woman has died in Orange, the 23rd person to die in Australia; a cut-down version of parliament will return to ratify the government’s $130 billion coronavirus subsidy package; the military will be used to test infected crew and passengers on cruise ships stranded off the Australian coast before ferrying them to safety.

April 1, 2020: Rapid transmission… A man caught speeding at 160kmph in his Lamborghini to get to Westmead Hospital for a COVID-19 test has been fined and had his license suspended. A motorcycle cop pulled the 35-year-old driver over in a 90kmph zone on the M4 at Lidcombe, in Sydney’s west. FULL STORY HERE

Love in the time of coronavirus… Apparently everyone’s libidos have gone to hell because we’re cooped up and can’t see anyone or are too preoccupied worrying about the future. But if you were feeling in the mood would any of these lines work for you?

Extra muscle… NSW Police has released pics of their officers out and about this morning in Sydney’s inner city with Australian Defence Force personnel conducting Public Health Order checks at homes and businesses and enforcing self-isolation requirements. Keep ’em honest!

Think I better dance now… Coronavirus giving you the blues? Well, we’ve come up with a feelgood playlist to lift your self-isolation spirits. Thanks @gillelandliam for compiling!

Morning brief... A fifth person from the Dorothy Henderson nursing home in Sydney has died from the coronavirus, the latest a 95-year-old woman; NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian at her morning press conference says the state has now tested 120,000 people and is doing more general testing to identify and isolate more people (why weren’t they doing this weeks ago? Hang on, it is April Fool’s Day today); she also urges Australian businesses to start making medical supplies because international supply chains are so pressured NSW can’t get enough of what it needs (some anticipation of this by our fearless leaders would have been nice); Police Commissioner Mick Fuller says cops have yet to issue an infringement for breaking social gathering laws and are using their ‘powers of discretion’; a pop-up clinic has been set up at Bondi where a significant outbreak of COVID-19 was detected among backpackers; America now has double the number of infections as China, but a comparable rate of deaths.

March 31, 2020: Bug evolving… Genome mapping researchers at Next Strain, which provides realtime tracking of pathogen evolution, have identified eight variants of COVID-19 that have mutated during the outbreak, although none more virulent than the original. It’s also got this nifty mapping tool, showing the global spread of the virus in timelapse.

Here’s Hatch reporter Matt Gordon’s TikTok take on panic buying.

Morning brief… NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller says the state’s residents should be in lockdown in their primary residence and not to travel to other places or holiday homes (urging people to only go out to go to the doctor’s or to get food); Spain, Italy the USA and France top daily fatality tolls, with Spain nearing 1,000 deaths a day and no sign of abatement; Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant reveals a coronavirus outbreak among Bondi backpackers has been identified and authorities are trying to trace people they were in contact with.

March 30, 2020: Start spreading the news… The US is steeling itself for as many as 200,000 deaths as the country’s infection rate soars well past all other countries. In New York’s Central Park a field hospital has even been set up by a Christian charity to deal with overflow patients from Manhattan hospitals.

Know your symptoms… It can be tricky knowing whether that seasonal sniffle you’ve got, might actually be the dreaded rona bug. Here’s a simple chart the good folk at Yahoo knocked up to put you at ease… or not.

Shelf-ish behaviour… A supermarket worker has let off steam about the long hours and toxic customers to deal with during the panic buying pandemonium. Check out Hatch’s report by Liam Gilleland.

Victoria premier Daniel Andrews (rapidly becoming the only politician worth listening to in this crisis) in his morning press conference doesn’t mince words: “Stay at home!” He adds there are only four reasons for going out: medical care, work, self-distanced exercise and buying bare essentials. “This is not just about grandma this is about all of us,” he adds. “If you don’t want to be burying an elderly relative, or your best mate, or your parents, stay at home. Do the right thing or people will die.”

Victoria premier Daniel Andrews lays down the law at his morning press conference. (Photo: ABC screenshot)

Blue Monday… Former PM Julia Gillard, who is the chairman of mental health charity Beyond Blue, says one in three calls they are now getting is about coronavirus stress. They are setting up a dedicated virus hotline.

Morning brief… Government to announce a wage subsidy today with businesses expected to receive $1500 per staff member each fortnight to keep them employed; all people over 70 are urged to self-isolate (they should have said this three weeks ago); comes after last night’s announcement of a six month moratorium on rental evictions due to hardship, the closure of outside gyms and playgrounds and a ban on gatherings of more than two people (excluding family and housemates).

March 29, 2020: Super news… Coles has employed 7,000 people in two weeks and is looking for another 5,000! This is better than Little Shop. SEE FULL RELEASE.

Women at risk… The peril of domestic violence is increasing with lockdowns and self-isolating families. Here’s Hatch reporter Charlie Bullis’ story on it before the announcement of $1.1 billion in funding for DV, Medicare and mental health to come into effect today.

Wage subsidies… Scant information from Mathias Cormann, Finance Minister, on ABC’s Insiders this morning. Says announcement will be made in next few days about supporting jobless and businesses. Refuses to confirm David Speers question that up to 70 per cent of income will be guaranteed. Says it will be income tested, but light on detail. Come on SloMo, get it together!

Border farce… The growing scandal of the Ruby Princess, which is starting to look like Australia’s ground zero for the spread of the virus. So far 293 people of the 2700 allowed to disembark and wander around unchecked have tested positive for COVID-19. An additional 203 came from other cruise ships according to Deputy Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly.

Morning brief… The government is set to announce today a significant relief package similar to the UK’s which would guarantee a large portion of the wages of sacked staff, according to The Australian Financial Review; US president Donald Trump is on the verge of a complete lockdown of New York City, the epicenter of America’s coronavirus outbreak; Infections in Australia rose by 257 over the past 24 hours and there was one death.

March 28, 2020: Terminal times… There will be no more family greetings of international arrivals at Australian airports from tomorrow. Because many people ignored directions to self-isolate, authorities say anyone flying in will be immediately ferried to nominated hotels by police or the armed forces to quarantine for 14 days. And they’ve warned their family members not to show up at the airport. They must be losing so much money on those overblown parking fees!

Still it’s not all grim airside.

The new coronavirus crime… The level of silly behaviour on our streets re. the virus continues, with a woman arrested after coughing and spitting on police and claiming she was COVID-19 positive. This is the second person in three days arrested in NSW for this new form of crime, of which there have been even more reported incidents. FULL STORY HERE

Bet you like this… Are you superstitious and like a flutter? Then check out this story by Hatch’s resident punter Liam Gilleland about an auspiciously named racing dog.

Cop that… A 64-year-old man who was ordered to quarantine for 14 days after returning from Thailand has become the first known person in NSW to be fined $1000 for failing to comply with a direction under Section 7 of the Public Health Act 2010 (NSW). He was warned by police not to leave his home in Bourke in the state’s west, and was then found wandering down the main street. FULL REPORT

If you choose to put the lives of your community at risk by ignoring a direction, you will be caught and you will be fined.

Central North Police Commander Andrew Hurst

Morning brief… British prime minister Boris Johnson tests positive for COVID-19 and goes into self-isolation; President Donald Trump signs into law a $US2 trillion economic rescue package to keep businesses afloat and support those made jobless; a doctor at Bathurst Hospital has tested positive for the virus; Victoria considering similar bans at beaches to those at Bondi in Sydney; PM says defence forces will be used to enforce isolation rules.

March 27, 2020: Worries ahead for medical workers… Hatch’s Maria Sajulga landed this exclusive interview with Australian Doctors Federation boss Stephen Millgate, warning of supply problems ahead for hospitals.

Desperate times… A man has been arrested by NSW Police over the theft of toilet paper from a number of shops. He is also accused of threatening one shopworker with a knife. Sheesh! FULL STORY HERE

It’s that simple… You have to love NSW Police’s social media team.

Poo joggers… Third jogger in a row with toilet paper !! @nicolachrista in Woolloomooloo

Corona cooking… How’s your cupboard looking? A little bare? Not sure how to cook up those odd items you’ve been reduced to after panic buyers stripped the shelves? Well Hatch’s Abby Seaman has the answer.

Morning brief… United States passes China for total number of infections, as 13 patients die in one New York hospital; Worldwide infections double in a week to over 500,000; NSW and Victoria said to be ready to go to stage-3 lockdown in defiance of the federal government strategy; Woolworths to put on 20,000 jobs.

March 26, 2020: Rate of deaths still nowhere near hot spots… Australia’s rate of deaths from coronavirus has begun to escalate in the past 36 hours but is still only at 0.5 persons per million of population, this compares very favourable to places like Italy (124), Spain (78) or Iran (25). But spare a thought for the tiny Southern European municipality of San Marino. With 22 deaths among a population of 33,344 it has the highest world rate of 619.

More stupid behaviour… An in-uniform assistant nurse is deliberately coughed-on and then punched in the face, while getting takeaway. Has the world gone mad, or just Australia? FULL REPORT HERE

Still no accountability…. Sydney Airport international arrivals. What a joke! @NicolaChrista

The morning brief… Australia’s death toll hits double figures after three more die, including two men in Victoria (the state’s first deaths); Spain surpasses China for virus deaths; Prince Charles tests positive and the 30-minute hairdressers’ rule is relaxed (God, can’t they just get it right the first time and stop changing tack?).

Wash your f****** hands!!!! In the meantime, if you thought you knew how to wash your hands already, check out this vid from potty-mouthed celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay. @hyoseopyun

March 25, 2020: Put another fine on the barbie… Police have been given new powers to fine people $1000 or businesses $5000 for ignoring Ministerial directions on COVID-19. That means if you’re holding a backyard barbie, look out! DETAILS HERE

Stupid has new definition… A man has been charged after he allegedly walked into Coffs Harbour police station and deliberately coughed on a 71-year-old NSW Police Force employee while saying he was infected with COVID-19. His friend, meanwhile, was filming it. The whole station was shut down and quarantined as a result. READ FULL DETAILS

Lockdown pt2… Tough new laws are being brought in today after the PM’s stage two announcement last night on banning travel overseas and further limits on gatherings. But is it enough? Here’s what people have to get signed to leave the house in Cyprus at the moment.

HOW EUROPEANS ARE COPING WITH THE VIRUS

March 24, 2020: Social distancing… There’s still a real divide between the people who think there’s a problem and the people who think it’s all just hysterical nonsense! @emmagillman3

Help for students… Good news for students who have lost casual work and are struggling to support themselves, as the Minister for Families and Social Services Anne Ruston announces the extension of the coronavirus supplement to students and apprentices.

Instant mass unemployment… Government Services Minister Stuart Robert says “hundreds of thousands, maybe a million” people lost their jobs in the overnight shutdown.

March 23, 2020: Is this the start of a new Great Depression? Huge queues outside Centrelinks everywhere today. This in Bankstown.

On top of this, the MyGov website crashed. Systems overloaded everywhere. What’s next?

Order in, pleeeze… Victoria’s Prem Daniel Andrews, while going against the federal government to announce school closures, gets everyone’s attention with this great dinner party anecdote: “We had a case last week where a group of people, a dozen or so, went to a dinner party. As best we can tell the dinner party started with one person who had the coronavirus. By the end of the dinner party almost everybody at the dinner party had the coronavirus.”

March 21, 2020: Northern exposure… The Territory is closing its borders from Tuesday. If you’re from another state you’ll have to go into isolation for 14 days. The reward is there’s a Darwin stubby on the other side.

The heat is on… Strewth! The state government and police have closed Bondi Beach, Tamarama and Bronte after sun worshippers ignored new safe distancing rules about not holding gatherings of more than 500.

You cruise you lose… More COVID-19 positive passengers were on the Ruby Princess. NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard admits (while coughing through his press conference) in “hindsight” he wouldn’t have let loose the 2,700 passengers into the community. A shambles…

Mind your Ps and queues… Social distancing being enforced at Kellyville Woolies this morning: 8.15am. Check out the ‘hospital green’ line. @charliejbullis

March 20, 2020: Toll climbs… A seventh person has died in Australia of coronavirus, as the number of infected people rose to 814.

Exemptions for some… The PM announces a limit in venues of one person per four square metres, although it curiously doesn’t seem to apply everywhere…

No cruise control… The government has had to reach out to the public to try and locate 2700 passengers who disembarked from the cruise ship Ruby Princess at Circular Quay yesterday. Two passengers and a crewman have tested positive for COVID-19. Despite it being known they were sick at sea, everyone else was allowed to go home. NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard said today: “If you know somebody who came in yesterday from the Ruby Princess, do our community a very big favour and have a chat and make sure that they are given this clear message. Put yourself in self-isolation.”

Glad to see the government’s got the situation under control.

March 19, 2020: Close to home… A confirmed COVID-19 case for a Myer employee at my local shopping centre, Castle Towers, today. The staff member was working there between March 11-17. Members of the public that visited during this time have asked Myer for more information but they won’t release details about what department or area the person was working in. @charliejbullis

Commonsense at last… Children’s panadol to go behind the counter, some medicines rationed to one per person, say Pharmacy Guild.

News for airlines gets worse and worse… Qantas has suspended all international flights, including overseas Jetstar flights from late March, following the government’s most recent advice for Australians to avoid travel. Two-thirds of the staff have been temporarily stood down in the hope of saving jobs in the long term. The majority of these staff members are expected to be stood down until late May. 

Oh for Pete’s sake… Minister for Agriculture David Littleproud has urged panic shoppers to “take a deep breath and a cold shower”. He told Australians the only pressure being put on supply chains is “from the stupidity of people themselves”. His message comes after Prime Minister Scott Morrison spoke on bulk buying “stop doing it, it’s ridiculous, its un-Australian and it must stop”.

Now, how about doing something constructive, like enforcing rationing.

Dog days… Self-isolating from all humans not proving so bad. @SamanthaJurman

Quarantine stress toys. (Photo: Samantha Jurman)

March 18, 2020: Toll rises… Coronavirus claims another life (now six) in Australia as authorities report the highest number of confirmed new cases in a single day – 104 and it’s only 2pm. 

My Bluey heaven… Home with my six-year-old as we both have colds. I’ve watched the entire new series of ABC’s Bluey twice and I’m not upset about it. @charliejbullis

Shelf life… Corona-craziness!! Man assaults elderly women in a Lismore supermarket, when he can’t find any flour to buy. #panicshopping

On the platform… Morning rush hour at St Peters Station in Sydney’s Inner West as remote working takes hold. No chance of being in a big gathering here.

Commuter traffic drops (like a stone) in Sydney. (Photo: Martin Newman)

Main image creative commons licence by Prachatai/Flickr.