Australian cases jump 24pc in a day; AFL season kicks off tonight
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Key Points

  • Confirmed virus cases in Australia jumped 24 per cent to 565 yesterday
  • Schools to remain open
  • AFL season will kick off tonight

School debating

Robert Bolton

Dan Tehan, says schools will stay open because that is the advice the government is getting.

He says the situation in the UK which has closed its schools is different to Australia:

“The circumstances in Britain are different to here. They didn’t take the early action we took.

“We are getting advice from state and territory and Commonwealth medical officers who are renowned for their expertise. We are assessing daily advice the advice we get from them.

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“It is very clear that one of the clear things that will help us get through is making sure we have a medical workforce.

“It could impact 30 per cent of our workforce if our kids don’t go to school.

“To all those principals and teachers it’s incredibly important we listen to medical advice. I know it is a difficult time.

“Teachers provide continuity of learning, the role they play with our children is an exceptional one.”

Sale tsunami

If you woke up this morning with an inbox flooded with online sales and discount codes, you’re not alone.

Australian retailers are doing their best to encourage online shopping to combat in-store shopping grinding to a standstill as many people stay home to practice social distancing.

Bared Shoes is having it’s second 60-hour clearance (up to 50 per cent off) in just three weeks, while and are among many other Australian retailers sending deals to their customers’ inboxes.

Other retailers such as Sass & Bide and Veronika Maine are jumping on “Afterpay Day” to offer a 24-hour discount to customers if they use buy-now pay-later tech platform Afterpay.

But with many Australians working from home in their pyjamas (not this blogger, of course), it’s questionable whether customers will feel the need to buy a new wardrobe.

Online auctions on the rise

Ingrid Fuary-Wagner

Real estate agents are taking precautions to stave off the spread of coronavirus, from holding by-appointment-only house inspections, disinfecting or handing out disposable bidding paddles and ensuring potential buyers can participate in auctions from home.

While his company’s online bidding platform Auction Now has been in operation for three years, Tuesday night was a first for auctioneer Damien Cooley.

Having auctioned 12 other properties that evening, the final order of sale was a two-bedroom apartment on Birriga Road in , and the room had emptied.

The winning bid was placed remotely, from just 4 kilometres away in Surry Hills.

“After the auction, I drove to where the purchaser was and we met at a service station. We didn’t shake hands. He just signed the contract and then the money was transferred,” Mr Wasserman said.

Read more about how social distancing is changing the way auctions are run here.

UK schools to close

Hans van Leeuwen

British Boris Johnson has bowed to the inevitable and ordered a shutdown of the country’s schools from the end of this week, pulling into line with the rest of Europe and leaving Australia as an outlier.

“After schools shut their gates on Friday afternoon they will remain closed for the vast majority of pupils until further notice,” Mr Johnson told his daily press conference on Wednesday (Thursday AEDT).

“The objective is to slow the spread of the virus.”

One of the British government’s key concerns was that closing schools would hinder the ability of essential personnel – such as health workers, social workers, police and delivery drivers – to turn up to work.

This has also been a concern for the Morrison government and its state counterparts, who cite Singapore as an example of a country containing the virus without a schools shutdown.

The British government addressed this with a pledge to fund schools to provide some kind of care service for the children of these key workers.

Read more about the UK’s response here.

Does authoritarianism work in a crisis?

Gerry Shih

I had watched China shut itself down as the coronavirus epidemic first exploded in Wuhan, and then spilled across the country and beyond. For my work, I travelled around China, down empty boulevards, through empty airports, in empty train cars. I saw China’s whole economic machinery, from the curbside noodle shops to sprawling tech campuses, clank to a halt as the government pulled out every stop to contain the virus’s spread.

I emerged in recent days, precisely at a moment when life was returning to Chinese streets while much of the West seemed to be spiralling into panic and chaos. For countless others and me, the tilting scales raised the question: Are China’s strict measures a model for the rest of the world?

The truth is, I don’t know.

What I have seen is that success in containing the epidemic has not been exclusive to authoritarian systems; it has been used in democratic governments in Singapore, and South Korea that also appear to be heading for quick recoveries.

Read the full story here.

ASX expected to fall

The Australian sharemarket is expected to fall again today, with ASX futures down 70 points or 1.4% to 4826 by 7am AEDT.

The Australian dollar continued to fall overnight, slipping 3.4 per cent to US57.96¢.

For in depth coverage of how COVID-19 is affecting the sharemarket, head over to our live markets blog here.

To catch up on how overseas markets performed overnight, you can read Before the Bell here.

Good morning

Welcome to The Australian Financial Review‘s live blog, where we’ll be giving you live updates about the coronavirus as they break all day.

Here’s what you need to know this morning:

The number of confirmed cases in Australia jumped 24 per cent yesterday to 565, with one new case in ACT, 57 in NSW, 16 in QLD, five in SA, 27 in and four in .

The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases worldwide has hit 214,894, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. So far 8727 people have died and 83,313 people have recovered.

The AFL season will kick off tonight, with Richmond set to play Carlton in shortened 16 minute quarters to an empty stadium.

Concerns have been raised that the decision to begin the season is irresponsible, but AFL Gillon McLachlan has advised critics the season will be halted immediatley if a player tests positive for coronavirus.

For more coverage about what happened while you were sleeping, head over to our overnight blog here.

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