daniel andrews
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews (Image: AAP/James Ross)

Victoria: the ‘oh Christ, what now’ state

Victoria has announced 627 new cases of coronavirus and eight deaths in the past 24 hours, a small dip on the 723 cases recorded yesterday.

Following yesterday’s horrifying spike in numbers, it cannot come as a surprise that the Australian Medical Association (AMA) and a raft of other experts are saying the second lockdown of Melbourne and Mitchell Shire, which has been going for three weeks, will have to be extended beyond it’s original six week period.

“Stage three is not ending in three weeks. I can say that with 98% probability,” University of Melbourne epidemiologist Tony Blakely told the ABC, while the AMA is calling for tougher restrictions in the state.

Premier Dan Andrews today deflected questions about further lockdowns.

Goodbye Ruby Princess

If a chain is only as strong as its weakest link, the chain of command in the case of NSW’s Ruby Princess cruise ship outbreak — as with the hotel quarantine fiasco in Melbourne — appears to be made of paper that’s been stored in a bucket of warm water.

Last night’s 7.30 added another calamity to the list, reporting that “a senior Australian Border Force officer” mistakenly believed passengers with flu like symptoms had tested negative to COVID-19, when they had in fact tested negative for the common flu. Border force command, having allowed 2700 people to disembark, didn’t realise the mistake for 30 hours.

(Don’t) Go West

Clive Palmer’s case against Western Australia’s hard border closure continues, with the mining magnate and controversy-magnet telling the Federal Court the continued closure will “destroy the lives of hundreds of thousands of people for decades”.

This argument, however, is not proving popular with the WA public. A petition supporting continued closure has attracted well over 200,000 signatures (nearly 10% of Western Australia’s population):

We, the West Australian signatories on this petition, fully support our premier Mark McGowan in his endeavours to keep the WA border closed … we find it intrusive and offensive that outside bodies are taking legal action to force the WA Government to open our border.

Queensland Premier Anastacia Palaszczuk, nervously eyeing the polls in the lead up to October’s state election, and Victoria Premier Dan Andrew, whose government has taken a battering in the recent flare-up, must be looking longingly at the unquestioning support McGowan continues to receive from his constituents.

Cases continue to pile up in the US

California and Florida — the US states now with the highest number of cases — have both set new records for coronavirus deaths this week.

California Governor Gavin Newsom said on Wednesday that 197 people in the state died from COVID-19 the day before, the state’s highest in a single day. The state also reported 8755 new positive cases.

Florida’s Department of Health confirmed on Wednesday that 216 people died from the virus on Tuesday, also a new single-day record for the state. At least 9448 people tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the state’s total to at least 456,000 confirmed cases and 6586 total deaths.

Meanwhile, former Republican presidential candidate and co-chair of “Black Voices for Trump” Herman Cain has passed away from coronavirus at the age of 74. It’s unknown where he contracted the virus, but he did attend President Donald Trump’s rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma on June 20 — where at least eight Trump staffers also contracted COVID-19 — and shared a photo of himself on the night, proudly unmasked.

Toyko Drifts towards another outbreak

Coronavirus cases are spiking in Tokyo, with Thursday seeing another daily high of 367 new infections. Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike has urged citizens to stay home and requested that karaoke venues and any bars and restaurants that serve alcohol close by 10pm .

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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