The UK’s National Health Service has confirmed a less than two-week-old baby who tested positive to COVID-19 has died.
Meanwhile, officials in Beijing say COVID-19 cases in the Chinese capital have stabilised, after an outbreak which has closed schools and paused reopening plans.
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Friday’s key moments:13-day-old baby with coronavirus dies
The UK’s National Health Service has confirmed a less-than-two-week-old baby who tested positive to COVID-19 has died.
The baby’s death was one of 62 deaths related to coronavirus announced today by authorities, bringing the total number of confirmed reported deaths in hospitals in England to 28,175.
The 13-day-old baby had no underlying health conditions and is thought to be one of the youngest victims of COVID-19 in the UK.
The NHS said the people who had died were aged between 13 days and 96 years old.
In a statement, Sheffield Children’s Hospital, said: “Sadly on Monday June 15, a child passed away … having been brought in to the hospital in a critical condition. Attempts at resuscitation were unsuccessful.
“The cause of death is not yet known. Tests have confirmed that the child had COVID-19, but it isn’t yet clear if it was a contributing factor.”
Beijing outbreak under control, says official Some Chinese citizens potentially exposed to the outbreak have been ordered by the government to be tested.(AP: Mark Schiefelbein)
Authorities say new confirmed cases of coronavirus have remained stable in China’s capital, with the outbreak now declared to be under control.
Beijing recorded 25 new cases on Friday, up by four from Thursday, out of a total of 32 cases reported nationwide.
A city transport spokesman said bus services between Beijing and other provinces would be suspended from Friday to try to prevent the outbreak’s spread.
Checkpoints have been set up at the Xinfadi wholesale food market.(AP: Mark Schiefelbein)
School classes in the city have also been suspended and plans to restart sports and other events are on hold.
More than 360,000 tests for the virus have been carried out in recent days, according to city health authorities.
A health official said the outbreak spread from Beijing’s main wholesale market.
Beijing had confirmed a total of 183 cases over the past week, but Wu Zunyou, from the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, said daily numbers should soon begin to decline.
Increase to minimum wage
The minimum wage will be increased by $13 a week, as the nation deals with the ongoing damage caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
Space to play or pause, M to mute, left and right arrows to seek, up and down arrows for volume. Fair Work chief cites economic woes as reason for minimum wage increase
The Fair Work Commission made its decision this morning, citing the sharp increase in job losses caused by the COVID-19 fuelled recession, and the long road to recovery, as reason for a boost to the minimum wage.
The decision will take the weekly pay for some of the nation’s lowest paid workers to almost $754 per week, or just under $20 per hour.
It equates to a 1.75 per cent increase in the minimum wage, well down from the 4 per cent requested by unions.
Business groups had lobbied for a freeze in wages until at least the middle of next year.
Coronavirus prompts uni shake-up
The cost of studying humanities at university is set to double, but “job-relevant” course fees will be slashed under an overhaul of tertiary education announced by the Federal Government today.
Space to play or pause, M to mute, left and right arrows to seek, up and down arrows for volume.WatchDuration: 1 minute 3 seconds1m 3s Dan Tehan says he hopes the fee changes will incentivise prospective students
Demand for 2021 is already soaring, with the estimated 20,000 year 12 students who usually defer university now less likely to take a gap year because of travel restrictions and the poor jobs market.
The rising unemployment rate is also driving demand — in a recession, many unemployed people typically turn to universities.
Some fees will be slashed while others will be doubled in a move to encourage more students to study courses that will drive jobs growth.
Science, health, agriculture and maths are set to benefit, while costs for commerce, law and humanities studies are set to increase.
South Australia will lift restrictions to QueenslandSpace to play or pause, M to mute, left and right arrows to seek, up and down arrows for volume.WatchDuration: 1 minute 33 seconds1m 33s SA Premier Steven Marshall says there will be no requirement for people coming in from QLD to self-isolate
The SA Government will lift border restrictions for travellers coming from Queensland as part of the easing of more coronavirus measures.
From midnight tonight, travellers coming into South Australia from Queensland will no longer have to complete a 14-day quarantine period.
Premier Steven Marshall has also announced changes to aged care homes, with residents now allowed visits from two people at a time, as well as children under 16.
Nursing home residents are also free to leave and return to their facility.
The Premier also announced gaming rooms and food courts would be allowed to open from Monday June 29, and patronage limits for hospitality venues are also being re-evaluated.
Qantas advises customers of refund option The ACCC received hundreds of complaints from Qantas passengers.(ABC News: Margaret Burin)
Qantas has started contacting customers to tell them they’re entitled to a refund if their domestic or international flight was cancelled or suspended due to COVID-19 travel restrictions.
It comes after the consumer regulator raised concerns with Qantas after hundreds of complaints from passengers.
These passengers were offered travel credits by the airline, instead of getting their money refunded.
The ACCC says it was concerned that Qantas had not adequately informed customers about their right to receive a refund.
Melbourne hotel cluster could growSpace to play or pause, M to mute, left and right arrows to seek, up and down arrows for volume.WatchDuration: 1 minute 45 seconds1m 45s Victoria’s Chief Health Officer says the state has recorded 13 new cases of coronavirus today
Victoria’s Deputy Chief Health Officer says she expects an increase in coronavirus cases, linked to a cluster at a Melbourne hotel.
The state recorded a net increase of 12 new cases overnight, five of them being security guards at the Stamford Plaza.
The hotel has been used to quarantine returning overseas passengers, and Dr Annaliese van Diemen says she won’t be surprised if the cluster grows.
“We do expect that there are quite possibly going to be further cases linked to that outbreak, and that won’t be a huge surprise unfortunately,” she said.
Senior Government Minister Jacinta Allen says despite the new cases, next week’s easing of restrictions will go ahead as planned.
“But we are carefully monitoring that, we’ll continue to take the advice of the chief health officer and if there’s any change to those restrictions we will give that information to the Victorian community as quickly as we possibly can,” she said.
Space to play or pause, M to mute, left and right arrows to seek, up and down arrows for volume.WatchDuration: 2 minutes 9 seconds2m 9s Minister Jacinta Allan says restrictions are still on track to be eased across Victoria on MondayNT Aboriginal health authorities concerned at border decision
While many local businesses are thrilled the Territory’s borders will reopen next month, Aboriginal health bodies are concerned.
The remote community of Wadeye in the Northern Territory.(ABC News: James Dunlevie)
From July 17, people can enter the Territory without undergoing quarantine.
But the Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance NT and the Central Australian Aboriginal Congress both say they weren’t consulted before the announcement.
The Congress’s CEO Donna Ah Chee says she is worried.
“We really hoped that the borders would stay closed until there was a vaccine,” she said.
John Paterson from the Alliance says they need to make sure remote communities are ready.
“The next step for us is to ensure we have those preventative measures in place,” he said.
The NT Government says it has responses in place for remote outbreaks and rapid testing.
NT Health Minister Natasha Fyles defended the border announcement and apologised for not consulting Mr Paterson.
“I apologise to John Paterson that in the steps of this final decision, that they were not aware of this in the final steps,” she said.
Australia and UK commit to pushing for independent investigation
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson discussed the need for an independent investigation into the origins of the coronavirus outbreak with Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Thursday.
The two leaders spoke on the phone about an independent international inquiry into the outbreak of COVID-19, first pushed by Australia in April.
“The leaders discussed the coronavirus pandemic and agreed on the need for an independent investigation through the World Health Organization (WHO) into the origins of the outbreak,” a spokeswoman for Mr Johnson’s office said.
Scott Morrison and Boris Johnson spoke on the phone about Australia’s push for an independent inquiry.(ABC News/AP)
“They committed to coordinate closely on this issue in the weeks and months ahead.”
In recent times tensions between Australia and China have continued to escalate over the push for an inquiry into the pandemic.
Last month China placed tariffs on Australian barley, while some beef imports were blocked.
Tourism and the university sector have also been targeted, with the Chinese community being told not to travel to or study in Australia and the Chinese Ministry of Culture and Tourism citing a spike in racism during the COVID-19 crisis as the reason.
Mr Morrison has in the past suggested the WHO needs tough new “weapons inspector” powers to investigate what caused the outbreak.
Study casts more doubt on Sweden’s immunity hopes
Sweden’s hopes of getting help from herd immunity in combating coronavirus received a fresh blow on Thursday, when a new study showed fewer than anticipated had developed antibodies.
The country has opted for a more liberal strategy during the pandemic, keeping most schools, restaurants, bars and businesses open as much of Europe hunkered down behind closed doors.
Tests show antibodies in Sweden are below levels deemed enough to achieve even partial herd immunity.(Reuters: Denis Balibouse, file)
While Health Agency officials have stressed so-called herd immunity is not a goal in itself, it has also said the strategy is only to slow the virus enough for health services to cope, not suppress it altogether.
However, the study — the most comprehensive in Sweden yet — showed only around 6.1 per cent of Swedes had developed antibodies, well below levels deemed enough to achieve even partial herd immunity.
“The spread is lower than we have thought but not a lot lower,” Chief Epidemiologist Anders Tegnell told a news conference, adding that the virus spread in clusters and was not behaving like prior diseases.
“We have different levels of immunity on different parts of the population at this stage, from 4 to 5 per cent to 20 to 25 per cent,” he said.
Herd immunity, where enough people in a population have developed immunity to an infection to be able to effectively stop that disease from spreading, is untested for the novel coronavirus and the extent and duration of immunity among recovered patients is equally uncertain as well.
Sweden surpassed 5,000 deaths from the coronavirus on Wednesday.
Cuomo slams Trump for coronavirus response New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said the White House was operating on “pure political ideology.”(Reuters: Mike Segar)
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has slammed the Trump administration’s handling of the coronavirus epidemic accusing them of ignoring facts.
Governor Cuomo called the US Government’s guidance an “undeniable mistake” and said the White House had operated since day one on “pure political ideology.”
“It is a political theory, a public relations theory versus a science-based, fact-based theory,” Mr Cuomo said.
The governor also voiced his concerns about cases rising in a number of states, including Texas and Arizona, and faulted the Government for pressuring states to reopen quickly in an attempt to revive the battered US economy.
Mr Cuomo was especially concerned about Floridians coming to New York as it is one of a number of US states, like Oklahoma and Arizona, that have seen a surge in new cases.
He said experts had advised him to consider imposing a quarantine for people travelling from Florida.
He said New York continues to make progress in curbing the virus’ spread as hospitalistions continued to decline, with fewer than 1 per cent of more than 68,000 people tested on Wednesday returning positive results.
Dr Fauci doubts NFL season can happen Superstar quarterback Tom Brady has a new team at Tampa Bay but fans may not see him play this year.(AP: Tampa Bay Times)
Without a bubble environment to control the spread of the coronavirus, Dr Anthony Fauci —who leads the White House task force on COVID-19 — doubts football can take place in 2020.
The NBA, MLS and WNBA are moving ahead with plans to resume seasons delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic by setting up campus environments or “bubbles” to help control the spread of coronavirus.
Dr Fauci said in an earlier interview with NBC that football could be possible.
He wasn’t as optimistic on Thursday (local time).
“Unless players are essentially in a bubble — insulated from the community and they are tested nearly every day — it would be very hard to see how football is able to be played this fall,” Dr Fauci told CNN.
“If there is a second wave, which is certainly a possibility, football may not happen this year.”
The NFL plans to have all players report to training camp in July but reportedly has considered reducing the number of preseason games from the typical four, as scheduled, to two per team.
The regular season is scheduled to start on September 10.
Face masks no longer mandatory in Czech Republic Face masks will remain mandatory in areas with outbreaks and clusters, such as Prague.(Reuters: David W Cerny, file)
The Czech Republic is set to almost fully abandon its most visible tool of fighting the coronavirus pandemic — face masks.
Health Minister Adam Vojtech said that starting July 1, wearing masks on public transport and indoors such as in stores, theatres and cinemas is no longer mandatory.
Mr Vojtech says masks will remain mandatory only in regions with local clusters and outbreaks. Those places will be determined later in June.
Currently, they include the capital of Prague and two eastern regions.
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The country has registered several dozen new COVID-19 cases daily for a month, while a total of 333 people have died.