Haircuts limited to 30 minutes; Olympics postponed to 2021

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Key Points

  • Global cases of the virus have topped 395,000.
  • COVID-19 cases in Australia are up by 580, or 34.5 per cent, to 2262.
  • The Tokyo Olympics has been postedponed to next year.
  • For a daily update on the pandemic, subscribe to our newsletter, Coronavirus: Need to Know, here.

1000 nurses will be trained to fight COVID-19

Tom McIlroy

The federal government will provide funding for registered nurses to undertake online education to enable them to re-enter the clinical workforce to assist with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Authorities are preparing for unprecedented demand for health care and will spend up to $1 million for a new online refresher course with up to date information about acute nursing care, including latest evidence based guidelines on COVID-19 infection control.

The course will be available immediately to eligible registered nurses who hold current general registration with the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia, and who meet the recency of Practice Registration Standard of 450 hours practice within the last five years.

The plan is expected to see as many as 1000 eligible nurses undertake the training free of charge.

NSW confirms 211 more cases

The number of COVID-19 cases has risen by 211 today, bringing the state’s total to 1029.

The total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Australia has now risen by 580 cases, or 34.5 per cent, to 2262.

Of the 1029 cases in NSW, 500 were acquired overseas and 176 were locally transmitted, according to NSW’s chief health officer Dr Kerry Chant.

“The vast majority of those cases, however, are still overseas acquired or other otherwise direct contacts of that overseas person,” NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said.

Dr Chant also said the fresh cases include the first time children under 10-years-old have been confirmed with contracting the virus in NSW.

They include a two-month-old boy who had contact with a confirmed adult case. Dr Chat said he has minimal symptoms and is at home.

In an unrelated case, a seven-year-old girl has also tested positive after having contact with an adult who had the virus. She also has minimal symptoms and is at home.

Website feature will end Centrelink queues

Tom McIlroy

Some good news for Australians needing help from Centrelink and Services Australia – Centrelink spokesman Hank Jongen has told ABC radio they have launched a new intent to claim function on their website as of Wednesday morning.

It means people seeking to register for financial and unemployment benefits do not need to line up outside Centrelink offices or call clogged phone lines.

Mr Jongen said benefit claims related to the COVID-19 downturn will be backdated to Monday this week.

Gerry Harvey under fire for calling pandemic an ‘opportunity

Sharon Masige

Gerry Harvey has caused something of a stir on social media.

The 80-year-old billionaire co-founder of retailer Harvey Norman was interviewed on a 60 Minutes episode which aired on Sunday, during which he explained his rather unfazed response to the coronavirus.

“Why are we so scared about getting this virus?” he told reporter Liam Bartlett. “It’s pretty much nothing to get scared of.”

When Bartlett mentioned the thousands of families particularly in Italy and China who are affected by it, Harvey replied, “But that’s there, we’re here. I’m 80, I should be really scared. Guess what, I’m not really scared.”

Harvey added that sales had increased at Harvey Norman and described the whole situation as “an opportunity”.

But social media users weren’t here for Harvey’s comments about the coronavirus, describing them as “ludicrous” and “irresponsible”, and calling for a boycott of Harvey Norman.

Read more about the fall out from the interview here.

    93-year-old David Attenborough says we need to calm down

    Joe Shute

    During the panicked age of COVID-19, Sir David Attenborough’s name is one of a number of national treasures to be bandied around social media as the latest to succumb to the virus.

    Centrelink

    Fake rumours have spread that beloved documentary Sir David Attenborough had died due to COVID-19. Supplied

    But when we meet in a London hotel shortly before the country started to go into lockdown, he is full of vim and vigour and comfortingly dismissive of the whole damn thing.

    “We don’t need to think that if you catch coronavirus you might as well jump into the grave and pull the grass over yourself,” he says.

    “If you’re old like me or if you have respiratory problems, it’s going to be quite serious – but at the same time we need to keep a sense of proportion.”

    Even the very worst outcomes of the COVID-19 pandemic are nothing on the scale of what is eventually feared will be the catastrophic implications of climate change, so why does he believe governments are not reacting towards the latter with the same urgency?

    “The coronavirus is about dying tomorrow,” Attenborough says. “And with this we’re talking about my grandchildren dying.”

    Read the full interview here.

    The lull before the storm

    Edmund Tadros, Jill Margo, Tom McIlroy

    Australia is following in the COVID-19 footsteps of the UK and experts are warning the floodgates are likely to open soon.

    While a surge in case numbers is widely expected, some say Australia will also suffer as many severe cases and deaths as the UK. But others say current numbers suggest the death rate could be significantly lower.

    “I believe we are in the lull before the storm,” said Associate Professor David Heslop from the School of Public Health and Community Medicine at the University of NSW.

    Australia is in a critical period and “the floodgates could be about to open,” said Professor Robert Booy, senior professorial fellow at the National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance.

    Professor Booy said Australia is following the UK trajectory and he is worried.

    “While eight deaths and more than 2000 cases in Australia are encouraging numbers, physical distancing has to be scrupulous from here on in,” he said.

    “It’s the time for action and if we don’t toe the line, the government will naturally become more draconian.”

    Read the full story here.

    Good morning

    Welcome to The Australian Financial Review‘s coronavirus blog, where we’ll be bringing you the latest news about how the virus is changing our way of life.

    Here’s what you need to know this morning:

    Last night Prime Minister Scott Morrison introduced tougher measures to prevent the virus’ spread.

    They include banning auctions and and inspections, limiting weddings to five people and limiting funerals to 10 people.

    Beauty salons will close and hairdressers will only have 30 minutes to cut your hair.

    You can read a full list which businesses are affected here.

    The Tokyo Olympic Games has been postponed to 2021. Read more about the decision here.

    There have now been more than 395,000 cases of coronavirus reported around the world. Deaths are up to 17,241. For all the latest data, head over to our live blog here.

    In Australia, the total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases rose to 369, or 21.9 per cent, to 2051.

    Here’s an interactive graph explaining the numbers in Australia:

    For all the latest news sent straight to your inbox, subscribe to our daily newsletter, Coronavirus: Need to know, here.

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