17/04/2020 - 15:22

COVID-19 Daily Wrap: 6 new cases and 1 death

17/04/2020 - 15:22

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Western Australia records six new cases and one death from COVID-19, NBN Co announces a $150 million relief package for internet providers during the pandemic, and Health Minister Roger Cook flags the need to locate asymptomatic cases in the community.

Roger Cook says the government is working towards finding asymptomatic cases in the community. Photo: Gabriel Oliveira
  • Western Australia has recorded six new cases of COVID-19 overnight, bringing the state’s total number of cases to 541. One man in his 40s has died overnight, bringing the total number of deaths from the virus in WA to seven.
  • Premier Mark McGowan will take a cautious approach to reopening schools in Term 2, with the state accommodating for face-to-face and remote learning in the first three weeks (Read more).
  • NBN Co has created a $150 million COVID-19 relief and assistance package, intended to aid internet providers in meeting network demand brought on by increased remote learning and working-from-home arrangements. A third of that will be dedicated specifically to assisting low-income families stay connected to the internet, with NBN chief executive Stephen Rue calling the measures unprecedented.
  • Health Minister Roger Cook has today flagged the need to locate asymptomatic carriers through a public health surveillance study, as WA records another day of single digit increase of COVID-19 cases. Such a move would require precautionary actions, such as downloading a tracing app for mobile phones, which has been criticised by privacy advocates. Prime Minister Scott Morrison said yesterday that Attorney General Christian Porter is investigating the legality of such an app, which is expected to be rolled out in the coming weeks.
  • While the federal government has said any contact tracing app it develops will require individual consent to use, the Prime Minister this morning declined to rule out making the app a mandatory download. It is estimated that around 40 per cent of the population will need to download the app for the measure to be effective and allow for an easing of restrictions on movement.
  • PharmAust’s share price closed $0.18 higher today after the company announced it would begin trialling a new treatment for COVID-19. In an announcement to the ASX today, the company said it would enter into an agreement with Victoria-based Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research to assess the effectiveness of monepantel, an experimental drug used for treating cancer, in treating COVID-19 patients.
  • Prime Minister Scott Morrison has said there will be no coronavirus repair levy, arguing such a move would not help grow the economy. That is in contrast to the temporary budget repair levy of two per cent for those earning more than $180,000, which was in effect between 2014 and 2017 to relieve national debt that had accummulated after the GFC.
  • Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton has said China should be more transparent about the origin of COVID-19, referring to ongoing investigations from US intelligence agencies into whether the virus was engineered in a laboratory. That claim has not yet been proven, with the medical and scientific community widely believing the virus originated in bats and spread to humans through an intermediary host.
  • Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro has fired the country’s health minister after the two repeatedly clashed over the severity of, and measures needed to combat, the COVID-19 pandemic. Brazil has currently reported more than 30,000 cases of COVID-19, and just shy of 2,000 deaths.
  • The UK will extend its lockdown for a further three weeks, said Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab. The country has now recorded more than 100,000 cases of COVID-19, and more than 13,000 deaths.
  • New York has also extended its lockdown for an additional month, as the US continues to struggle with the world’s worst outbreak of the virus. The country currently has more than 670,000 cases and has recorded more than 30,000 deaths.

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