NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian (Image: AAP/Joel Carrett)

It’s been a huge weekend for coronavirus news, with state and federal governments sending mixed messages around lockdown measures and Bondi backpackers partying like there ain’t no tomorrow.

There are now more almost 330,000 coronavirus cases worldwide and 1314 of those cases are in Australia. 

States break rank

This morning NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews addressed their states, contradicting federal rules on schools.

Andrews announced funerals and weddings will be banned and the establishment of a police taskforce established with 500 officers dedicated to cracking down on people not obeying the rules. He previously announced schools would close in Victoria. 

Berejiklian said that, while schools would remain open for practical reasons, parents were encouraged to keep kids at home where possible. She also announced a website which would include a list of businesses to close. The website crashed shortly after the announcement, but is now back in operation.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison reportedly talked state premiers out of a more drastic national lockdown than the one announced on Sunday. 

Stricter measures still to come

The national cabinet will tomorrow night discuss if stage two restrictions are needed, on top of the already strict measures which will come into play at midday today. The details of stage two restrictions have not been announced.

Scolding Scott Morrison

In an address to the nation last night, Morrison chastised the public for not obeying the government’s badly communicated and ill-defined social distancing measures. 

“The social distancing practices are not being observed as well as they could be,” he said. 

He announced pubs, gyms, cinemas, restaurants and cafes, and places of worship would be closed (stay calm — bottle-os will stay open). 

Chief medical officer Brendan Murphy shifted his blame to the youth. “Some people haven’t got it. I’m particularly talking to young people… You don’t want to be responsible [for elderly deaths],” he said. 

Morrison’s criticism comes just two weeks after he backflipped on plans to go to the football, and a week after the government launched a belated series of coronavirus ads on March 14.

A day after the ads went up, Murphy told the public that handshakes were “low risk”, only to be contradicted by Morrison hours later in a live address. 

Why wouldn’t people know what the rules are? 

The ABC is important again

In case the bushfire coverage didn’t prove the organisation’s worth, the ABC has now been deemed an “essential service” and will not be closed with the latest lockdown measures. 

Party like there ain’t no tomorrow 

… Because you’re all in bed with coronavirus. 

Backpackers in Bondi are behind a surge in NSW coronavirus cases, with several cases linked to two parties hosted on March 14 and 15 in Bondi and Darlinghurst.

It comes after social media was flooded with packed images of Bondi Beach on Friday. Sydney’s eastern beaches are now closed, to discourage mass gatherings. 

Eighteen other cases have been linked to the Ruby Princess cruise ship, which allowed passengers to disembark despite more than 150 cases of illness logged onboard.

NSW had 136 people diagnosed with COVID-19 in the last 24 hours — the highest daily increase yet — with state cases at 669. 

Who else is in quarantine?

Disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, who was sentenced to 23 years in prison for rape and sexual assault earlier this month, has tested positive for coronavirus. It comes amid calls to release prisoners from overcrowded cells to preserve human rights and curb the spread of the virus. 

Three more public figures are in self-isolation or quarantine: German Chancellor Angela Merkel will be running the country from home after it was discovered a doctor who treated her tested positive for coronavirus.

In the US, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul has tested positive for COVID-19 just a week after he voted against the second coronavirus relief package. 

Labor’s Senate leader Penny Wong is also self-isolating after waking up feeling unwell this morning. 

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
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