- The country’s death toll stands at 13, and its caseload at over 2800.
- Globally, there have been over 500,000 confirmed cases and 23,000 deaths.
- For a daily update on the pandemic, subscribe to our newsletter, Coronavirus: Need to Know, here.
US has the most confirmed cases in the World
According to data collected by the New York Times, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the US is now the highest in the world.
As of Thursday afternoon New York time, at least 81,488 people across every state, plus Washington, DC, and three US territories, have tested positive for the virus, the newspaper reported on its website.
The Times also said that at least 1178 patients with the virus have died.
At the start of March, with extremely limited testing available, only 70 cases had been reported in the country, the Times also said
Here’s where we start the day.
All states excluding NSW are yet to report the number of new cases overnight.
In NSW, cases have increased by 186 to 1405, which takes the national toll to 2990.
NSW police start issuing $5000, $1000 fines
NSW Police have received 600 calls in the past two days on its Crime Stopper line reporting non-compliance with social distancing and self-isolation advice.
The police issued a $1000 fine to a 65-year-old woman in Lake Macquarie who was foudn walking the streets despite a caution to self-isolate.
They also issud a $5000 fine to a massage parlour owner, and $1000 fines to its three employees yesterday.
1405 cases in NSW; 19 in ICUs
NSW Chief medical officer Kerry Chant said 1405 people have been identified as infected in the state, an increase of 186 in the last 24 hours.
She said the government was most concerned about 145 people infected from unknown sources.
Some 19 people are being treated in ICUS and another 53 in hospital wards, while 62 patients are receiving care at home.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said that tougher restrictions on movement of people may be coming, but people should not hoard groceries or medicine.
“If NSW has to do more very quickly we will, but do not worry,” she said.
“There is no need to worry about getting the things you need.”
“The community spread is increasing and that’s why we have to be ever vigilant. What is most concerning is the community transmission.”
Attendance at NSW schools is about 10 per cent, she said, and likely to fall.
NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller said most types of crime are down compared to last year.
“The streets are safe and people are generally behaving themselves,” he said.
‘We are at a critical stage’: Berejiklian flags more restrictions
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has flagged more restrictions in the state, noting that “we are at a critical stage in the disease”.
Though she did not announce any new measures on Friday morning, she said, “if NSW has to take difficult decisions we will.”
Any such decision will likely hinge on the rate of community infection, which the Premier described as the “one figure that we are most worried about”.
The Service NSW phone line is now open 24 /7 and can be reached at 137 788.
More than 100 Australians aboard stranded ship MS Roald Amundsen are now on their way home
A week after Norwegian line Hurtigruten temporarily suspended operations, the last guests aboard stranded ship Roald Amundsen – which was refused entry to Chile – are now on their way home.
Ten days after the original disembarkation plan, as of Thursday March 26, 378 guests (including about 100 Australians on a medical conference at sea) were on their way to their respective home countries after the ship docked in the Falkland Islands.
Hurtigruten reports “no confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19 on any Hurtigruten ships, including MS Roald Amundsen.
The ship, her guests and crew had been on an Antarctica cruise since the end of February – probably as far away as possible from any possible source of infection.
“As the global effects of the pandemic hit the entire travel industry, we made a firm promise to our guests: We will do everything in our power to get you safely home…we have fulfilled this promise,” Hurtigruten CEO Daniel Skjeldam said in a statement.
Retailer revolt makes rental decision urgent
Here’s some motivation for the National Cabinet on a sound decision on rental relief:
Some of Australia’s richest landlords and retailers are facing off over a shopping centre rent strike.
Major retailers are refusing to pay rent while stores are closed due to the COVID-19 crisis, stepping up pressure on shopping centre landlords to grant relief and share some of the pain caused by the pandemic.
Retail magnate Solomon Lew’s Premier Investments, footwear retailer Accent Group and jewellery chain Lovisa say they won’t pay rent after closing their stories for at least four weeks and standing down 12,300.
Full report by Sue Mitchell and Nick Lenaghan here.
Some images from the G20 meeting overnight. No shortage of flags in this WFH call.
Rental relief options being considered
There are a few different ways the government could go to provide rental relief to individuals and businesses affected by the COVID-19 fallout.
The options canvassed include:
- Income tax relief for landlords in exchange for reducing or waiving rent
- Incentives for banks to provide mortgage relief to landlords
- Land tax waivers by state governments
- Rent waivers, reductions or deferrals on government-owned properties
- Moratorium on evictions
- Waiver on other overhead costs such as utilities
Full report here.
Failed states on the agenda at PM’s 11PM call with the G20
Prime Minister Scott Morrison spoke last night at around 11pm to the other G20 leaders on video-link.
World leaders fear some developing nations will collapse due to the economic ruin being caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
Australia is so concerned that it is exploring ways to try to help as best it can some Pacific neighbours, but its capacity is severely limited due to the sheer cost of trying to combat the effects of the virus at home.
The likely prospect of failed states was on the agenda of an emergency hook-up of Group of 20 leaders which was scheduled to begin at 11pm on Thursday.
Political Editora Phillip Coorey has the full report here.