6.14am BST

Queensland health officials are working to determine the strain of Covid-19 infecting the crew of a cargo ship anchored off the Australian state’s Sunshine Coast.

The MV Sofrana Surville was blocked from docking in Brisbane after New Zealand warned it could be carrying a new strain of the virus.

Initial testing found two of the Sofrana’s 19 crew members were infected and they were transferred to a mainland hospital on Friday.

The Queensland deputy premier, Steven Miles, said the New Zealand government had asked Queensland’s health department to undertake genomic sequencing on the suspected new strain.

“Given [the cases] have come off a ship that has been in other countries, it’s highly likely to be a different strain … [to] the current strains within Australia,” he told reporters.

You can read the full story here:

at 6.32am BST

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Hello, Matilda Boseley with you now to take you through the next few hours of Covid-related news.

at 6.29am BST

5.54am BST

A man who allegedly refused to comply with self-quarantine rules in Western Australia has been taken into custody and refused bail following a struggle with police, AAP reports.

The 32-year-old New Zealander, who resides in Queensland, had been granted approval to enter WA to work and was issued a FIFO self-quarantine direction on 13 October when he arrived in Perth.

He was required to remain in quarantine for 14 days at an East Perth apartment but police say that on Friday a compliance check found he was not there but in front of the complex.

Police said it was further found he had been socialising with a 30-year-old man from the same company who was also quarantining in the complex.

Both men were told they would be fined $1,000 for failing to comply with directions.

But on leaving the complex police officers again found the 32-year-old man at the front of the property, WA police said in a statement on Saturday.

The man was told he would be moved to a secure self-quarantine hotel for the remainder of his quarantine but he became “aggressive and hostile towards the officers”, refusing to comply with the direction, the statement said.

“The man was arrested after a short struggle and was relocated to the Perth watch house.”

He was charged with four counts of failing to comply with a direction and was refused bail to appear in the Perth magistrates court on Saturday.

at 6.04am BST

5.37am BST

South Korea has reported 77 new cases of Covid-19, AP reports, mostly from the greater capital area where officials are scrambling to stem transmissions at hospitals and nursing homes.

at 5.41am BST

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More location notifications from Victoria. I appreciate that they’re getting pretty speedy with getting these out now.


📍 Craigieburn Line (22 Oct)
– Case travelled on trains between Glenroy, North Melbourne and Yarraville (6am-6:45am)
– Case travelled on trains between Yarraville, North Melbourne and Oak Park (1:15pm-2pm)
Full list: https://t.co/tkawOvqIid
(THREAD 2/3)

October 24, 2020

at 5.37am BST

5.30am BST

Malaysia’s King Al-Sultan Abdullah will consult with other rulers to discuss proposals by the prime minister, Muhyiddin Yassin, the palace said on Saturday, after sources told Reuters the PM had asked the king to declare a state of emergency.

Muhyiddin met with the king on Friday to present the emergency proposal that includes a suspension of parliament, sources said – a move the opposition leader, Anwar Ibrahim, denounced as an attempt by the PM to cling to power amid a power struggle.

The proposal comes as Malaysia sees a resurgence in coronavirus cases and as Muhyiddin faces a leadership challenge from Anwar, who last month said he had majority support in parliament to oust the PM.

The palace did not identify the recommendations made by Muhyiddin, and said the king would soon hold the consultation with other Malay rulers.

“Al-Sultan Abdullah greatly understands the need for the country’s administration to continue to tackle the threat of Covid-19,” the palace said in a statement. The Council of Rulers, which groups the heads of Malaysia’s nine royal houses, has the power to withhold consent from any law and deliberate on questions of national policy.

A source familiar with the matter said the rulers would meet on Sunday.

Muhyiddin’s office has not commented on the emergency proposal.

The government is scheduled to propose its 2021 budget on 6 November, and there have been questions over whether it can muster a majority in parliament for that. Defeat on the budget would count as a vote of no-confidence in Muhyiddin and could trigger an election. Emergency rule might mean the budget would not be put to a vote at that time.

at 5.39am BST

5.22am BST

Western Australia has reported four new cases of Covid-19 overnight.

The positive cases – all males aged between 30 and 57 – returned to Perth from overseas. They are all in hotel quarantine, and none are in hospital.

at 5.25am BST

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This is probably a good time to summarise some of what we have learned so far today:

The Australian state of Victoria has recorded seven new cases of Covid-19, and no new deaths. There are fewer than 100 active cases in the state for the first time since late June, as Victoria seeks to contain an outbreak in the northern suburbs of Melbourne before more restrictions ease.
Mexico’s health ministry reported on Friday 6,604 additional cases of the novel coronavirus and 418 more deaths in the country, bringing the official number of cases to 880,775 and the death toll to 88,312.
The United States broke its daily record for new coronavirus infections on Friday as it reported at least 83,948 new cases due to outbreaks in virtually every part of the country.
Germany has reached 10,000 deaths from Covid-19. The country has reported 14,714 new cases of Covid-19 overnight, and an additional 49 deaths.It takes the country’s totals to 418,005 cases and 10,003 deaths.

at 5.21am BST

4.58am BST

Authorities in Sri Lanka on Saturday closed at least two fishery harbours and many stalls after a surge of 609 cases linked to the country’s main fish market, AP reports.

The government also widened the curfew in parts of Colombo. At least 11 villages were isolated in the densely populated Western province, which includes the capital.

Health authorities on Wednesday temporarily closed the fish market on Colombo’s outskirts after 49 traders tested positive for the coronavirus. By Saturday, the number of cases went up to 609.

Hundreds of traders and fishermen are being tested.

Authorities say the outbreak is related to a cluster in a garment factory early this month, which has grown to 3,426 cases, almost half the country’s total of 6,287. It broke a two-month lull in infections.

Several thousand people have been asked to quarantine at home. Schools and key public offices are closed, gatherings banned and restrictions imposed on public transport.

Sri Lanka has had 14 deaths since March.

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