NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian

STATE STIMULUS

New South Wales will today announce a $2.3 billion response to the coronavirus outbreak, set to include $700 million in healthcare support and $1.6 billion in stimulus targeted at small businesses, The Sydney Morning Herald reports.

It comes after Western Australia unveiled its $607 million stimulus package, which includes a freeze on the emergency services levy, public transport fares and household costs such as electricity, water and motor vehicle charges.

IN RELATED NEWS: With WA the only jurisdiction to have announced household support, Melbourne activists IWW Kulin Nation have launched a now 1,483-strong rent strike pledge to “withhold all rental payments while the COVID-19 pandemic requires vulnerable people to isolate without security of income and housing”.

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CROWD CONTROL

The Coalition is working on its second stimulus package, this time targeted towards at-risk industries, including the tourism, hospitality and services sectors, The Australian ($) reports.

Additionally, the new national-state cabinet will today discuss a potential ban on crowds of over 100 people, The Guardian reports, with new modelling showing quarantine and isolation measures could mean the difference between 40,000 and 80,000 cases a day by August or estimates as high as 300,000 cases a day by July if left “unmitigated”.

ASX’S RECORD FALL

Yesterday saw the ASX’s biggest fall on record, the ABC reports, which the RBA will meet with a rate cut to 0.25% on Thursday and a willingness to purchase “Australian government bonds”. Meanwhile, Wall Street stocks dove 6% following a Federal Reserve rate cut.

CORONAVIRUS HITLIST

Now, for just some overnight crisis highlights, because there’s really only so much earth-shattering news you can fit into three-to-five morning updates.

  • The EU will ban all non-essential travel into its member countries for 30 days in a bid to slow the outbreak (Business Insider).
  • The UK Johnston government has warned against all non-essential contact (SMH Live) in a seeming reversal of an earlier, extraordinarily dangerous, “herd immunity” policy (The Guardian).
  • Melbourne scientists at The Doherty Institute have discovered how the body works to overcome the virus — which could help fast-track treatments, vaccines and even identify those at risk of dying (Herald-Sun ($)).
  • Multinational medical supplier Roche has developed new testing kits capable of returning results within three hours, which are set to arrive in Australia by Wednesday (The Guardian).
  • A Brisbane man is trying to escape Morocco as the country begins shutting its borders (ABC).

WAR CRIME CHARGES?

Four Corners has released helmet-camera footage of an Australian soldier shooting and killing an unarmed man at close range in Afghanistan, in what the ABC says could result in war crime charges. 

The Sydney Morning Herald has also placed the footage — which is apparently at odds with what soldiers told ADF investigators — within a context of years of reports into alleged war crimes by Australians in the country.

THEY REALLY SAID THAT?

The claims are ridiculous. These two people have been long-standing opponents of the government, detest me because of Manus and Nauru and our border protection policies. And yet they’re trying to use this to their advantage, they’re involved in prisoner advocacy and all sorts of left-wing causes…

Peter Dutton

The home affairs minister takes a swipe at fellow passengers and patients prison abolitionist Debbie Kilroy and Indigenous rights activist Boneta-Marie Mabo… who are guilty of questioning the government’s self-quarantine and testing rules and having opinions, I guess?

CRIKEY RECAP

Government losing control as crisis tests basic skills and demands hard choices

“The escalating sense of fear around the coronavirus crisis partly reflects the rising number of cases in Australia and dramatic decisions taken by other governments around the world. But it also reflects a struggle by our own government to reassure Australians it knows what it is doing.”


Data point: helping you keep track of the spread of COVID-19

“Truth and facts are the first victims of war and mass panic. Below is a compilation, based on verified data from state and federal health departments, of the progress of COVID-19. It’s been compiled by digital communications specialist Juliette O’Brien, who, like Crikey, believes data is beautiful — and very, very helpful.”


School closures should not be left too late, experts warn

“Public health experts have warned of the risk of closing down schools too late, as New York City becomes the latest city to shut its doors to students.

“Raina MacIntyre, professor of global biosecurity at the University of NSW, told Crikey school closures only worked if they were done proactively, as part of a broader lockdown.”

READ ALL ABOUT IT

Aboriginal people who work for dole told to attend group activities despite coronavirus risk

Victoria enters state of emergency as coronavirus pandemic sees Melbourne universities take classes online

Queensland LNP Senator Susan McDonald tests positive for coronavirus

First participant in US coronavirus vaccine trial to be given dose

‘It made a powerful impact’: ABC chair says AIDS campaign worked

Coronavirus sees Woolworths, Coles combat panic-buying with special hours for seniors, people with disabilities

Australian jobseekers fear having payments cut off during coronavirus crisis

NBN urged to intervene as pandemic tests broadband connections

Harvests could be lost if travel restrictions lead to labour shortages on Australian farms

Secret list of dangerous buildings shows cladding far from only problem

Man charged after allegedly planning rightwing terrorism attack on NSW south coast

THE COMMENTARIAT

Infection at a level that achieved herd immunity would be catastrophicRaina MacIntyre (Sydney Morning Herald): “Allowing transmission to continue in young people will result in the epidemic peaking earlier, with a higher peak, and a larger number of cases for zero gain because herd immunity will not be achieved. It may be large enough to exceed our health system capacity very rapidly.”

Coronavirus: Australia’s next priority is to keep people employed ($) — Adam Creighton (The Australian): “Sharp increases in the jobless rate take many years to reverse. During the last recession in the early 1990s it took 12 months for the jobless rate to jump from 6.6 per cent to 9.5 per cent in June 1991. The jobless rate peaked at 11.1 per cent in 1992 and took seven years — until late 1999 — to get back to 6.5 per cent.”

I just lost 90 per cent of my clients in one week thanks to COVID-19 ($) — Joan Westenberg (Australian Financial Review): “I started the week with clients coming to me and asking to end their contracts. I finished the week by lining up calls with start-up founders, and openly offering them the chance to end their contracts early to shore up their own capital, reduce their costs and find a way to survive.”

HOLD THE FRONT PAGE

The Latest Headlines

WHAT’S ON TODAY

Canberra

  • Both houses of parliament are still scheduled to sit, however, all inquiries have been postponed.

Melbourne

  • The Lost Dogs’ Home will hold a press conference to express its concern about the panic-buying of pet foods across supermarkets.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief
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