Australia’s coronavirus death toll has risen to 98 after another Ruby Princess fatality, the Chief Medical Officer is seeking advice on a condition that has killed three US children, and Josh Frydenberg has tested negative following his coughing fit yesterday.
Overseas, Vladimir Putin’s spokesman has tested positive as cases surge in Russia, a projection of America’s death toll has been revised up again, and a British train station worker has died after being spat at.
This story is being updated throughout Wednesday. You can also listen to the latest episode of the Coronacast podcast.
Wednesday’s top storiesAnother death linked to Ruby Princess
NSW health authorities have confirmed an 81-year-old woman who had been a passenger on the Ruby Princess died from COVID-19 yesterday.
The death raises Australia’s coronavirus death toll to 98 and the number of fatalities linked to the cruise ship to 22.
New South Wales confirmed six new coronavirus infections this morning, from more than 8,100 tests. That came after the state announced yesterday that it had gone 24 hours without confirming a new case for the first time since the pandemic began.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian said NSW Health knew the source of three of the new cases.
Victoria recorded seven new cases overnight, with none of them linked to the Cedar Meats outbreak in Melbourne. However, the state’s total only went up by by five as two previous cases were reclassified and removed.
Queensland’s tally went up by one this morning, but Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said it was an “old case”.
Find out moreGreg Hunt says Australia seeking advice on coronavirus-linked disease Greg Hunt said there were no signs of the condition in Australia.(Reuters: Remo Casilli)
Health Minister Greg Hunt says paediatric experts from around Australia have been asked to give advice on a disease with suspected links to coronavirus that has killed three children in the US.
He said Chief Medical Officer Brendan Murphy and Deputy Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly were also seeking advice from overseas.
“What they’re determining is the relationship between it and COVID-19, whether it’s in some way triggered or caused by COVID-19 or whether with the mass testing that has been done a condition which is otherwise there has been shown up,” he told ABC News Breakfast.
Mr Hunt said National Cabinet would be briefed on the issue this week, but there were no signs of the condition existing in Australia.
“But we’re always on alert, always on watch,” he said.
Russia has second highest number of infections in the world Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has confirmed he is battling COVID-19.(AP: Sergei Karpukhin/Pool Photo, File)
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov has tested positive for coronavirus and is receiving treatment at hospital, Russian news agencies reported.
The announcement came after a surge in coronavirus cases that put Russia at the second-highest number of infections in the world after the United States.
Russia now has 232,243 recorded cases and 2,116 deaths according to data from Johns Hopkins University. The country has reported 10,000-plus new cases for 10 consecutive days.
“Yes, I am sick. I am receiving treatment,” Mr Peskov was quoted as saying by the Interfax news agency.
He said he had last met Mr Putin in person over a month ago, the TASS news agency reported.
Mr Peskov isn’t the only high-profile Russian official to fall ill: others who have been diagnosed with coronavirus include Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin, Culture Minister Olga Lyubimova and Construction Minister Vladimir Yakushev.
Mr Putin has been working remotely from his residence outside Moscow and has been holding many meetings via video conference.
Russian factory and construction workers returned to work on Tuesday despite the surge in cases.
Josh Frydenberg tests negative for coronavirusSpace to play or pause, M to mute, left and right arrows to seek, up and down arrows for volume.WatchDuration: 1 minute 14 seconds1m 14s Josh Frydenberg has coughing fit during economic update
Josh Frydenberg says his test for coronavirus has come back negative.
The Treasurer suffered a serious coughing fit in the House of Representatives yesterday while delivering a statement about Australia’s economic outlook.
He consulted with one of the nation’s deputy chief medical officers, and was tested out of what he described as “an abundance of caution”.
He tweeted the result this morning.
British train station worker dies after being spat at Belly Mujinga died of coronavirus after being spat at while on duty.(AP: Agnes Ntumba)
A woman who worked at one of London’s busiest train stations has died after having previously been spat at by a man who said he had coronavirus, her union said.
Belly Mujinga, 47, who worked in the ticket office at Victoria station and had an 11-year-old daughter, was on the concourse in March when a man assaulted her and a female colleague.
“The man coughed over them and told them he had the virus,” the Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association (TSSA) said in a statement.
Both women fell ill within a few days of the incident and Mujinga, who had underlying respiratory problems, was later taken to hospital and put on a ventilator.
She died on April 5, 14 days after the assault at Victoria.
“She is one of far too many front-line workers who have lost their lives to coronavirus,” TSSA general secretary Manuel Cortes said in a statement.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson called the attack “despicable”, and British Transport Police have launched an investigation.
US death projection revised up again, this time by nearly 10,000 More than 82,000 people have already died in the United States.(Reuters: Brendan McDermid)
A newly revised coronavirus mortality model predicts more than 147,000 Americans will die from COVID-19 by early August, up nearly 10,000 from the last projection.
The latest forecast from the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation reflects “key drivers of viral transmission like changes in testing and mobility, as well as easing of distancing policies”.
The University of Washington’s model, which has been cited by White House officials and state public health authorities, had already been revised up multiple times.
More than 1.3 million Americans have been infected with COVID-19, with the country recording more than 82,000 deaths.
US President Donald Trump has been encouraging states to end the weeks-long closure of major components of their economies.
This chart uses a logarithmic scale to highlight coronavirus growth rates. Read our explainer to understand what that means — and what we can learn from countries that have slowed the spread.Anthony Fauci clashes with Republican senator during testimony An opinion poll this week showed 61 per cent of Republicans trust the information they get from Anthony Fauci.(AP: Win McNamee)
America’s top infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci has warned Congress that a premature lifting of lockdowns could not only lead to “needless suffering and death” but also set back economic recovery.
He also clashed with Republican senator Rand Paul, who questioned the accuracy of models predicting the pandemic’s path and said he believed it would be a mistake not to reopen schools.
“As much as I respect you, Dr Fauci, I don’t think you’re the end-all,” Senator Paul told the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
“I don’t think you’re the one person who gets to make a decision.”
In response, Dr Fauci said “we don’t know everything about this virus” and referred to a rare inflammatory syndrome believed to be linked to coronavirus that has killed at least three children in New York and afflicted dozens of others.
“I think we’d better be careful that we are not cavalier in thinking that children are completely immune to the deleterious effects,” he said.
A CNN opinion poll this week showed 61 per cent of Republicans trust the information they get from Dr Fauci versus 81 per cent of Democrats. Meanwhile, 84 per cent of Republicans trust the information they get about coronavirus from US President Donald Trump versus 4 per cent of Democrats.
First case in South Sudan protection camp South Sudan was one of the last countries in Africa to confirm a case of coronavirus.(AP: Sam Mednick)
For the first time, COVID-19 has been confirmed in a crowded civilian protection camp in South Sudan’s capital, the United Nations said, a worrying development in a country that is one of the world’s least prepared for the virus’s spread.
The UN is aware that the health ministry and the World Health Organization have confirmed two cases in the camp in Juba, a spokesperson with the UN mission in South Sudan said.
A health ministry worker said the two infected people were South Sudanese and in their 20s.
South Sudan was one of the last countries in Africa to confirm a case of the disease and now has 174 confirmed.
As of mid-April more than 190,000 people were still sheltering in several UN-run civilian protection camps across South Sudan, more than a year after a peace deal ended a five-year civil war.
Nearly 30,000 are sheltering in Juba.
The prospect of the coronavirus’ spread to refugee and displaced persons’ camps in Africa, the Middle East and Asia has alarmed health and other aid officials as often remote locations, travel restrictions and shortages of medical supplies make any containment and treatment extremely challenging.
Wuhan to test all residents for coronavirus New cases have been reported in China’s seven provinces in recent weeks.(AP: Zhang Yuwei via Xinhua)
Authorities in the Chinese city of Wuhan plan to test all 11 million residents for COVID-19 by the end of next week, in a massive push to extinguish any remnants of coronavirus from the original epicentre of the global pandemic.
In the past two weeks, new cases have been reported in China’s seven provinces, including Hubei, the original epicentre of the outbreak late last year.
China’s health authority said the reappearance of local clusters of coronavirus cases in recent days suggests that counter-epidemic measures cannot be relaxed yet.
The all-encompassing testing contrasts with shortages of testing kits in some other countries such as the United States, where people have complained about not being able to get a test despite having coronavirus symptoms.
Canadian deaths hit 5,000 Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is concerned about the number of deaths in care homes.(Reuters: Blair Gable)
The Canadian coronavirus death toll passed the 5,000 mark on Tuesday and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said major reforms were needed to seniors’ residences, where more than 80 per cent of the victims lived.
The public health agency said the number of deaths edged up by 2.9 per cent to 5,049 from 4,906 on Monday, one of the smallest daily gains so far.
Canada is the 11th nation to record more than 5,000 deaths from the outbreak.
Long-term care homes in Ontario and Quebec — the two most populous of the 10 provinces — have been particularly hard hit. Officials have detailed poor conditions in some residences, where employees earn just the minimum wage.
“We’ve seen heartbreaking tragedies in long-term care facilities and nursing homes right across the country — overworked staff, understaffed residences, grieving families,” Mr Trudeau said.
“There are serious underlying challenges facing these facilities and in the coming months the Federal Government will be there to help the provinces find lasting solutions.”
WHO sees ‘potentially positive data’ on COVID-19 treatments Dr Harris did not specifically name the treatments.(7.30 Report)
The World Health Organization says some treatments appear to be limiting the severity or length of COVID-19 and that it was focusing on learning more about four or five of the most promising ones.
“We do have some treatments that seem to be in very early studies limiting the severity or the length of the illness, but we do not have anything that can kill or stop the virus,” WHO spokesperson Margaret Harris said.
“We do have potentially positive data coming out but we need to see more data to be 100 per cent confident that we can say this treatment over that one.”
Dr Harris did not name the treatments.
Alexander Hamilton and Hercules Mulligan to the small screen
A film release of the smash Broadway musical Hamilton will be released on Disney + on July 3 to counter the closure of cinemas.
Disney had planned to debut the film, which features footage of the live show in June 2016 with creator Lin-Manuel Miranda and the original cast, in movie theatres in October 2021.
But the coronavirus pandemic, which has shuttered Broadway stages and cineplexes, has prompted Disney to adapt its programming strategy.
“In light of the extraordinary challenges facing our world, this story about leadership, tenacity, hope, love and the power of people to unite against the forces of adversity is both relevant and impactful,” Disney executive chairman Bob Iger said in a statement.
“Hamilton” is a rap musical in which African-American and Latino actors play the founding fathers of the United States. It won 11 Tony awards and a Pulitzer Prize.
There has also been a theatre version of the smash-hit musical scheduled for Sydney within the next year.
Lebanon returns to lockdown after easing restrictions The pandemic has compounded woes in Lebanon, which was already wrestling with a financial crisis.(AP: Bilal Hussein)
Lebanon’s Government has ordered most of the country to shut down again for four days, starting on Wednesday night (local time), as it seeks to ward off a coronavirus resurgence after easing some restrictions.
The country has been under lockdown since mid-March to rein in an outbreak that has infected 870 people and killed 26.
Lebanon started lifting restrictions last week as part of a longer-term plan, letting restaurants, hair salons, construction sites and others re-open at lower capacity.
But on Tuesday, the cabinet agreed on the “full closure” to curb a rise in new infections in recent days, after a drop in cases which the Government had hailed as a success.
“This achievement is at risk of collapsing” because some people did not comply with the guidelines, Prime Minister Hassan Diab was quoted as saying during the meeting.
Information Minister Manal Abdel Samad said the four-day closure, which excludes supermarkets and pharmacies, would also allow teams from the health ministry to conduct more testing.
Stay up-to-date on the coronavirus outbreakWhat the experts are saying about coronavirus:Your questions on coronavirus answered:Space to play or pause, M to mute, left and right arrows to seek, up and down arrows for volume.WatchDuration: 6 minutes 16 seconds6m Australian woman was recovering from a train accident in New York when coronavirus hit the city