South Korean soldiers spray disinfectant in Seoul (Image: EPA/JEON HEON-KYUN)

Light at the end of tunnel

Despite protests against Victorian restrictions, evidence is mounting that the lockdown is finally starting to work. Victoria today recorded 113 new infections as it approaches what is hoped to be the final fortnight of its strict stage four restrictions.

There were 12 more deaths recorded.

Tragedy in NSW

A Ballina woman has lost one of her unborn twins after she flew to Sydney for treatment instead of going through the onerous application process to cross the border into Queensland.

The family had tried to get emergency treatment for the mother and baby in Brisbane, but decided that applying for a border exemption would have taken too long.

The woman’s father told The Courier-Mail his daughter had to wait 16 hours before she could get a care flight to Sydney and then had to wait another “six or seven” hours before the emergency surgery.

“I’m not blaming the health system in Queensland, the same thing could’ve happened if they could’ve gone to the Brisbane hospital … but the fact is it could have made a difference.”

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, who a week ago was criticised for saying Queensland hospitals were “for our people only”, said the death was a tragedy, but denied the state was prohibiting urgent interstate medical cases from being treated in Queensland hospitals.

South Korea faces lockdown

South Korea could go back into another lockdown, after 441 new cases of the coronavirus were reported on Thursday, its highest single-day total in months.

Health officials have described the outbreak over the past two weeks as the country’s biggest crisis since the pandemic started. The country has already banned large gatherings, shut churches and bars, held sporting events without crowds and shifted most schools back to remote learning.

The National Assembly in Seoul was shut down and more than a dozen members of the ruling party have been forced to isolate on Thursday after a journalist tested positive. The government is primarily laying blame on two groups doctors on strike and (yet again) uncooperative churches.

The brewing storm

With two storms headed for America’s Gulf region this week, there are fears that any resulting evacuation — forcing potentially tens of thousands of residents in the Gulf region to surrounding counties — may worsen the spread of COVID-19.

A new study argues that if evacuations followed the routes of Hurricane Irma in 2017, one of the largest hurricane evacuations in US history, new coronavirus cases could spike by as much as 61,000 as people forced to flee their homes shelter with friends and family, or in crowded public shelters.

Peter Fray

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