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

The rest of the country follows NSW in closing borders to Victorians. The situation in Victoria continues to escalate. And overseas, the United States and Indonesia also have a worsening caseload.

States shun Victoria

As NSW prepares to close its borders with Victoria from midnight tonight, the rest of the country is following suit. The Northern Territory and Australian Capital Territory have flagged similar bans, with all Victorians travelling on flights to the ACT to be denied entry to Canberra. In the NT, Melburnians will have to undertake a 14-day quarantine. 

South Australia is reassessing whether to open its borders today, and considering opening to NSW and the ACT, but not Victoria.

In Victoria, hospital admissions for patients with COVID-19 tripled in the past week, and World Health Organisation WHO) adviser Mary-Louise McLaws has called for a Melbourne-wide lockdown. 

Cases may already be spreading across borders, with two suspected COVID-19 cases identified near NSW border town, Albury — some of the first cases in NSW not linked to returning travellers since the curve flattened. 

Complaints about the hard lockdown imposed on nine public housing towers across Melbourne’s outskirts continue to grow, while some experts have argued residents who’ve tested positive to COVID-19 should be removed from the towers to avoid further spread. 

New allegations about Victoria’s management of its quarantine hotels have also been revealed, with security guards employed at Crown Promenade Hotel saying they were paid cash in hand — with no superannuation contributions or payslips — to supervise quarantined travellers. 

I can feel it coming in the air tonight

The WHO is reviewing a report signed by 239 scientists from 32 countries asking that it reviews its recommendations about the transmission of COVID-19 via air particles.

The report argues that the WHO’s current recommendations underestimate the ability of the disease to be spread by air particles.

Previously, it was thought the disease was spread by large droplets spread mostly through coughs, laughter and sneezes, with the heavy droplets falling to the ground. 

The airborne or aerosol route has been considered as a possibility for a long time, though it’s not known the extent to which the virus can be spread. 

Can we leave, yet?

Australians hoping to head to Bali once this is all over may have to reconsider — experts say Indonesia will become the third virus hotspot in Asia, with infection rates expected to keep rising into October. 

The virus is widespread in Indonesia — including Bali — where there have been more than 65,000 confirmed cases and 3241 deaths. 

To speed up the possibility of a trans-Tasman bubble, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has said she is willing to set up quarantine-free travel with individual Australian states. There has also been a 65% rise in Americans saying they’d be interested in emigrating to New Zealand since the pandemic began. 

US virus records tumble

The rolling seven-day average for daily new cases in the United States reached a high for the 27th day in a row yesterday. 

The US has had nearly 3 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 and more than 130,000 deaths. On the weekend, US President Donald Trump said 99% of coronavirus cases were “totally harmless”. He has been criticised for attempting to downplay the pandemic.

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, who’s also downplayed the pandemic, has confirmed he will be tested for coronavirus after experiencing symptoms.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has turned down an invitation to a celebration of a new free trade agreement between Trump and Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador at the White House due to the pandemic.

Peter Fray

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