Coronavirus updates LIVE: Victoria aims for lower new cases with Daniel Andrews poised to reveal recovery roadmap; Australian death toll stands at 748


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Summary

  • Victoria reported 76 new COVID-19 cases and 11 deaths for Saturday after 81 were reported on Friday.
  • Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews is expected to present his plan for the state’s recovery following the current lockdown.
  • The US could have more than 400,000 COVID-19 deaths by Christmas according to concerning new projections.
  • New South Wales continues to keep its tally of new cases low as talks continue on how it can move towards re-opening its border to Queensland.

Latest updates

Health department refuses to release minutes of key COVID-19 meetings

By Deborah Snow

The federal Health Department has refused to release minutes from meetings of the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee, the peak group of medical officers providing health advice to Prime Minister Scott Morrison and the premiers during the pandemic.

The decision prompted the chair of the Senate’s COVID-19 inquiry, Labor’s Katy Gallagher, to warn public confidence in pandemic restrictions would wane unless there is greater transparency about the health advice being supplied to national cabinet.

“I think there is a political overlay to it, because it all gets funnelled through national cabinet and is approved by politicians before the public is allowed to access that information,” Senator Gallagher, a former chief minister of the ACT, told The Sun-Herald.

"I think there is a political overlay to it," said Labor senator Katy Gallagher, who chairs the Senate's COVID-19 inquiry.

“I think there is a political overlay to it,” said Labor senator Katy Gallagher, who chairs the Senate’s COVID-19 inquiry.Credit:Alex Ellinghausen

“There is a lot of secrecy at a time when a select few people are asking us to wholesale change our lives. I think people’s patience with living under those kinds of arrangements is going to wear thin, without the underpinning of the evidence.”

The AHPPC is comprised of all state and territory chief health officers and is chaired by the federal chief medical officer. It has issued 64 statements on COVID-19 since January 29, but has held a total of 187 meetings in relation to the pandemic.

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Health alerts issued for Kincoppal-Rose Bay, CBD medical centre, as city cluster grows

By Tom Rabe, Natassia Chrysanthos and Jenny Noyes

Sydney families have been reminded not to visit loved ones in aged care facilities this Father’s Day, as another school prepares to close on Monday after two students tested positive amid a growing cluster in the city’s CBD.

The Kincoppal-Rose Bay private girls’ school will close for cleaning and contact tracing on Monday after two year 7 day students were confirmed to have the virus.

Police officers acting on public health orders moved to shut down the illegal Freedom Day protests across Sydney.

On Saturday night, principal Maureen Ryan said the school is working closely with NSW Health to ensure the best precautions are in place to protect students and staff.

It comes as the cluster in Sydney’s CBD grew by four, and NSW Health issued an alert on Saturday afternoon after two people with COVID-19 attended the Hyde Park medical centre on Liverpool Street.

Health authorities are assessing potential coronavirus exposure of people who attended the medical centre and physiotherapy, pathology, dermatology and dental practices, or the pharmacy on the ground floor of the Liverpool Street building, from Monday August 24 to today.

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Andrews says modelling shows COVID-19 surge if lockdown ends early

By Michael Fowler and Clay Lucas

Melbourne is likely to remain in stage four lockdown until well into October, after the Victorian government commissioned modelling showing that releasing restrictions too soon risks an explosion of coronavirus cases before Christmas.

Mr Andrews on Saturday afternoon released research by the government and its partners Melbourne University and the University of New England that modelled 1000 different scenarios and found Victoria was unlikely to have suppressed the virus by mid-September.

Melbourne streets have been empty since stage four lockdowns kicked in five weeks ago.

Melbourne streets have been empty since stage four lockdowns kicked in five weeks ago. Credit:Joe Armao

It found that if restrictions were eased when the average number of new daily cases was above 25 for a fortnight, there was a 60 per cent chance of returning to lockdown before Christmas.

The modelling predicted cases were now reducing by 50 per cent every 18 days, and that rate, Victoria’s daily case load would not dip below 20 until late October.

Victoria’s daily average over the past week has been 84 – and the paper predicts that in mid September, there will still be 60 new cases a day.

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Good morning all!

By Roy Ward

G’day everyone! It’s Roy Ward here and I’ll be running our COVID-19 live blog for today as we eagerly await word from Daniel Andrews and the Victorian Government about their recovery roadmap for the state.

We plan to have a live stream of the Victorian Government’s COVID-19 briefing later today.

We will also be monitoring developments in other states and around the world so please stay with us for the big day to come.

As always you can leave a comment on the blog or shoot me a tweet at @rpjward on Twitter.

Enjoy the day to come!

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