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Daniel Andrews drops hint at when lockdown may end

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LIVE Last updated October 14, 2020 3:27PM AEDT Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has given one of the strongest indications yet that his state’s lockdown could be drawing to a close.  During today’s media briefing, Mr Andrews said while some restrictions would likely ease on Sunday, he didn’t think the government would “be able to go…

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Last updated October 14, 2020 3:27PM AEDT

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has given one of the strongest indications yet that his state’s lockdown could be drawing to a close. 

During today’s media briefing, Mr Andrews said while some restrictions would likely ease on Sunday, he didn’t think the government would “be able to go as fast and as far as we thought”.

However, he said lockdowns were not “indefinite”.

“These measures come with a cost. There is a public health benefit, but there is also a cost … and that is why it’s so difficult to impose restrictions like this,” he said.

“This is not an indefinite arrangement … At some point, the cost of the restrictions will be greater than the increased risk and the increased challenge for our public health team to keep the virus suppressed if we open earlier than we had planned.”

Meanwhile, there are serious concerns regarding NSW’s coronavirus status as the state recorded 11 new locally acquired cases overnight.

The grim news was confirmed by NSW Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant, who said an additional three cases were confirmed in overseas travellers in hotel quarantine.

“Of the 11 locally acquired cases, nine were linked to the Lakemba GP cluster. All nine cases are household or other contacts of known cases, including three who attended the clinic,” Dr Chant said.

“Contact tracing and investigations into the source of the cluster continue. And the other two cases are similarly linked and linked to the private clinic cluster in Liverpool which now has 10 cases in total linked to that.

“One case attended the clinic and the other is a staff member at the clinic. Investigations continue into the source of that cluster.”

Health Minister Brad Hazzard said he had some “very serious concerns” about a drop in testing numbers.

RELATED: Should Dan Andrews have survived vote of no confidence? Have your say

Follow the latest coronavirus news in our live updates below.

Live Updates


Sarah McPhee

Woolworths has confirmed a worker at its QV Melbourne supermarket has tested positive for COVID-19 and is self-isolating.

“The team member last worked at Woolworths QV, Melbourne on Tuesday 6th and Wednesday 7th of October,” the supermarket giant said in a statement today.

“We’re making contact with our team members and providing our full support to those required to self-isolate in line with advice from the health authorities.”

Woolworths said any customers who shopped at the QV Melbourne store on October 6 or 7 and feel unwell in the next two weeks should contact health authorities.

The store is on the corner of Lonsdale and Swanston streets, within the Queen Victoria Village shopping precinct in the CBD.

“Customers and team members should be assured they can continue to safely shop and work at our QV Melbourne store,” it said.

In a separate statement, Woolworths said it had been notified a customer with COVID-19 was at its Malvern store in Melbourne’s inner southeast on Tuesday, October 6.

It issued the same health advice to anyone who feels unwell after visiting on that date.

Some residents in Townsville, Cairns and Brisbane have been asked to urgently get tested after a Queensland woman who travelled to Melbourne tested positive for coronavirus in Victoria, NCA NewsWire reports.

The woman lived in Townsville but travelled through the two other cities in the Sunshine State before flying south.

The woman, who is in her 30s, left Queensland on October 7.

READ MORE

PLEASE SHARE: A Townsville woman has tested positive to COVID-19 in Melbourne after travelling through Cairns and Brisbane. #covid19 pic.twitter.com/ZsPUIdOnDZ

— Annastacia Palaszczuk (@AnnastaciaMP) October 14, 2020

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Sarah McPhee

The Victorian Department of Health and Human Services has updated its list of high-risk locations in Shepparton.

UPDATE: Shepparton high risk locations

Please call the GV Health hotline on 1800 313 070 (8am-8pm) for instructions if you visited one of the locations listed at the exposure times.

-More info: https://t.co/zff0BwGThi

– Find a testing site: https://t.co/ogHDjdmEZd pic.twitter.com/KtDaZzVbGm

— VicGovDHHS (@VicGovDHHS) October 14, 2020

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Daniel Andrews has given no indication he will scrap Melbourne’s controversial 5km radius rule despite demands from the opposition to get rid of the harsh measure in another fiery Question Time, NCA NewsWire reports.

Opposition Leader Michael O’Brien asked: “Yesterday Labor MPs voted to keep the 5km limit, leading epidemiologists … the Liberal and National parties don’t support the 5km limit and most Victorians don’t support the 5km limit. Why won’t the Premier scrap the 5km limit?”

It triggered a cheeky response from the Premier: “And most Victorians don’t support the Liberal Party.”

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Sarah McPhee

Hundreds of Shepparton locals have queued today for COVID-19 tests after three cases were confirmed in the large Victorian regional city.

The other four cases, of the seven announced in the state on Wednesday, are in Melbourne.

According to WIN News, people have been told to come back on Thursday if they don’t have symptoms, or else wait in line for six hours.

Police are now telling Shepparton locals at the back of the line to go home and come back tomorrow for screening if they don’t have symptoms , or endure a 6 hour wait to get tested. pic.twitter.com/PhrcqSNsa5

— Grace Evans (@GraceEvans2904) October 14, 2020

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At 2.40pm, Shepparton News reported the Goulburn Valley Health Acute Respiratory Clinic at Graham St and the McIntosh Centre at Shepparton Showgrounds were both at full capacity.

The Showgrounds site is reportedly limited to 30 tests per hour.

Earlier, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said the outbreak required an “urgent public health response”.

Pictures: Alex Coppel

There are eight active coronavirus cases in regional Victoria – the remaining five in the Mitchell Shire.


Sarah McPhee

NSW Health has issued a public health alert for the town of Bargo and the surrounding area southwest of Sydney.

The new case will be included in Thursday’s figures.

“Investigations into the source of the infection are ongoing and contact tracing is underway,” the health department said.

“Close contacts of the case are isolating and being tested.

“People who live and/or work in the Bargo area are now urged to monitor for symptoms and get tested immediately if they develop.

“After testing, they must remain in isolation until a negative test result is received.”

Earlier on Wednesday, chief health officer Dr Kerry Chant said the case revealed overnight was an “elderly gentleman from Bargo”.

“Interviews are still underway but in order to galvanise the community we are identifying that case ahead of more formal details of their movements to ask the community to be particularly alert in that Bargo area and present for testing,” Dr Chant said.

Health Minister Brad Hazzard said the man is aged in his 70s.

NSW Health advises the testing clinics in the Bargo area include:

Picton GP Respiratory Clinic

* 9 Margaret St, Picton (open 1.30pm-5.30pm Monday to Friday and 8am-12pm on Saturdays)

Camden Hospital Walk-in Clinic

* 61 Menangle Rd, Camden, NSW 2570 (open 8am-6pm seven days)

Bowral and District Hospital

* Outpatients Clinic, Ascot St, Bowral, NSW 2576 (open 8am-6pm seven days)

Campbelltown Hospital

* Therry Rd, Campbelltown, NSW 2560 (located between the Clinical School and Building D) (open 8am-6pm seven days)

Mittagong GP Respiratory Clinic

* 58 Bowral Rd, Mittagong (open 8am-5pm seven days)


Alexis Carey

Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt has spoken about the mental health challenge posed by the coronavirus pandemic and associated lockdowns.

In a press conference this afternoon, Mr Hunt said there has been a massive spike in calls to helplines during the crisis.

“We know now with the latest data that’s been released that the challenge of lockdowns, the challenge of loss of employment or uncertainty of fears about our health has all contributed to an increase in mental health presentations across the country and an increase in people seeking support through our different organisations such as Beyond Blue, Kids Helpline, Lifeline, Headspace,” he said.

“In particular, what we have seen in just the last four weeks, on the latest data provided to me by the Department of Health, is there’s been a 31 per cent increase in Medicare mental health services in Victoria compared to the same time last year.”

He said Beyond Blue had experienced a 77 per cent spike in demand for assistance among Victorians compared with the rest of the country, with Lifeline noting a 16 per cent increase and Kids Helpline a 24 per cent jump.


Alexis Carey

The confidence of Aussie shoppers has bounced back to its highest level since July 2018.

That’s according to Westpac Melbourne Institute Index of Consumer Sentiment, which found confidence had lifted by a whopping 32 per cent in the past two months.

The surprisingly positive result has been attributed to measures outlined in the federal budget along with Australia’s success in containing the pandemic.

Shopping confidence has jumped to pre-coronavirus levels. Picture: iStock


Alexis Carey

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has given one of the strongest indications yet that his state’s lockdown could be drawing to a close.

During today’s media briefing, Mr Andrews said while some restrictions would likely ease on Sunday, he didn’t think the government would “be able to go as fast and as far as we thought”.

However, he said lockdowns were not “indefinite”.

“These measures come with a cost. There is a public health benefit, but there is also a cost … and that is why it’s so difficult to impose restrictions like this,” he said.

“This is not an indefinite arrangement … At some point, the cost of the restrictions will be greater than the increased risk and the increased challenge for our public health team to keep the virus suppressed if we open earlier than we had planned.

“Some of those are measured at a very personal level, in terms of the health, both physical and mental, of individual Victorians and their families. Then there’s obviously a whole range of economic considerations beyond health.

“Weighing up those matters is very, very challenging but there is an enormous amount of thought, consideration and judgement that comes with that task.”


Alexis Carey

NSW is teetering on the brink of a coronavirus outbreak on par with the disastrous Crossroads Hotel cluster.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the state was now almost in the same position it was when that situation emerged back in July, when an infected man from Melbourne visited a Sydney workplace and spread the virus among colleagues.

The group then visited the Crossroads hotel in Casula, with dozens of cases eventually linked to the venue.

“Our state is on the verge of being where it was when we had the first seeding event from Victoria,” Ms Berejiklian said today.

“And I want to be very clear about this. There are a number of locations in south-western Sydney, a number of people who need to come forward and get tested.

“I cannot stress enough that this is the most concerned we’ve been since that first incident when the Victorian citizen came up, infected his colleagues and went for a drink at a hotel.”

NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard also compared the current situation to the previous outbreak.

“The numbers that we got overnight are just reminiscent to me of Crossroads (hotel) and it worries me that perhaps the community are not actually coming out in the numbers that we need to be tested,” he said.

“Effectively, each and every one of us, our community (are) the frontline troops of a war on COVID and just thinking you might have hayfever is no excuse to not get tested.

“In fact, it’s the reason you should get tested.”

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Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person. The virus that causes COVID-19 is a novel coronavirus.