COVID-19 latest updates from CME

Last updated – 12.08 PM, Friday 23th October

Australian Update

The prime minister Scott Morrison is holding a press conference after today’s national cabinet meeting.

Mr Morrison announces a new re-opening plan for reopening the economy nationally. It is available here.

He says the recommendations of the hotel quarantine review conducted by Jane Halton were agreed to by national cabinet and the report will be released later this afternoon.

National Cabinet agrees they want to ‘open up’ Australia by Christmas

PM Scott Morrison said:

“We agreed in principle again with the exception of Western Australia and their reservations were outlined on a previous occasion, with the reopening framework for Australia by Christmas.

“This is the plan, it will be very familiar to many.

“Importantly, this plan not only details the opening of the various activities within the economy and our community and society … an important part of this plan is it includes the necessary actions to support a public health response.”

He says Premiers and Chief Ministers reiterated their support for this goal today and flagged that it would be discussed again in November.

National Cabinet agrees to increase international arrivals

Caps on returning Australians will increase next month, Morrison announces. There will be an additional 140 next month in WA and another 15o in Queensland.

All jurisdictions have agreed to flexibility on caps on returned travellers to accomodate the most vulnerable.

PM Scott Morrison said:

“When we made our commitment on September 18 there were registered some 26,200 Australians, 4,100 of those were vulnerable.

“So far 1,278 of that vulnerable cohort have come home. That doesn’t include those who have just arrived in Darwin.

“And 4,591 have otherwise returned out of that cohort of 26,200.

“So we continue to make good progress towards returning Australians home. We want to do that as effectively and quickly and as safely as possible and we will continue to work with all state and territory jurisdictions to facilitate that whenever we can.”

Mr Morrison says Victoria opening up in the next few weeks would allow for more returning Australians to quarantine in Victoria, and he said it would clear the backlog of over 26,000 Australians wanting to get home before Christmas.

International borders

Mr Morrison says he can’t put a timeline on when the international borders will re-open, and the airlines understand that.

“I think what is important is what we are signalling to the community… we are already moving forward to try and solve these problems, so we are being proactive about it,” he says.

He says at this point in the pandemic with the cases coming under control, national cabinet not needing to have “phone books of announcements” every second day now means they have more time to plan when they meet.

Further quarantine measures on the cards

Mr Morrison says the national cabinet is also looking at other quarantining measures, including quarantining on farms, or those coming for mining in camps, or on campus for international students.

Morrison says the recommendations out of the Peter Conran review of the COAG process been adopted by national cabinet, and the report will be released later today.

Morrison says it “basically streamlines further” the Commonwealth and states relations process.

He said the National Federation Reform Council will meet in December in its new format, and will discuss women’s safety on top of the existing topics.

Just over 200 active COVID-19 cases in Australia

There are just over 200 active Covid-19 cases in Australia now, only 19 in hospital and nobody, nobody in intensive care, with 80 per cent of those cases are overseas-acquired.

The latest statistics indicate:

  • 27,476 cases in Australia today, which is an extra 10 so far today (some states haven’t quite reported yet
  • 905 total deaths, none so far reported today
  • “Just over” 200 active cases in Australia
  • 19 in hospital and nobody in intensive care
  • No new aged care cases since September 28

International Update

Total global confirmed cases: 41,595,980
Total global confirmed recoveries: 28,268,643
Total global confirmed deaths: 1,135,880
**Current as at 11am.

France will extend an overnight curfew to dozens more areas in a bid to slow the spread of coronavirus, Prime Minister Jean Castex has announced.

“The second wave is now under way,” he said, shortly before the country announced a record 41,622 new cases.

The 21:00 to 06:00 curfew will come into force at midnight on Friday, and some 46 million people will now be affected by the measure.

Elsewhere in Europe:

New “level 5” rules have come into force in Ireland – the highest level of Covid restrictions there. Its five million people have been ordered to stay at home for six weeks.

A second lockdown is in force in the Czech Republic which is facing a big surge in cases. Prime Minister Andrej Babis said the harsh restrictions were needed to avoid hospitals being overwhelmed.

Slovakia is closing schools until 27 November, imposing a week-long lockdown on its four most affected districts, a partial lockdown on the rest of the country, and embarking on two rounds of testing for the whole population.

Greece’s prime minister has declared a night curfew in Athens and other areas. It will come into force from Saturday and applies between 00:30 and 05:00.

Germany has announced a record 11,287 daily number of infections. Health Minister Jens Spahn has himself caught coronavirus. The country also added the UK to its list of high risk countries from which visitors must quarantine.

In the UK, officials announced that the urban areas of Stoke-on-Trent, Coventry and Slough would move into tier two restrictions on Saturday. Health Secretary Matt Hancock said in all of these areas the infection rate was over 100 per 100,000 people.

Italy’s Lazio region around Rome has joined two other Italian regions in declaring overnight curfews. Lombardy in the north starts its curfew, and Campania and Lazio will follow suit today. Prof Walter Ricciardi, who advises the government on health, has warned that “some metropolitan areas like Milan, Naples and probably Rome are already out of control”.

Spain is the first EU country to record one million infections and the northern region of Navarre has imposed restrictions on movement. The Rioja wine region says it will do the same.

Belgium’s 45-year-old Foreign Minister Sophie Wilmes has been admitted to intensive care after testing positive for Covid-19 last week. Her spokeswoman said she was in a “stable” condition. Meanwhile, health workers have raised concerns over the rising number of cases in the country, with the head of a coronavirus testing centre in the city of Liège warning that the “situation is close to catastrophe”.

The Netherlands may begin transferring patients to Germany within two days as its health system faces increasing strain from coronavirus admissions, the hospital association LNAZ said. The Netherlands also registered more than 9,000 new cases in a new daily record.

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