News Coronavirus briefing: Anti-masker arrested, and testing times for Queensland

Coronavirus briefing: Anti-masker arrested, and testing times for Queensland

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The first of five specialist Australian Medical Assistance Teams, which provide disaster relief in critical health situations, will arrive in Melbourne on Thursday.

But it’s not just Victoria that is concerned about a growing number of coronavirus cases.

Authorities fear a spike in disease clusters after cases spread to Sydney’s densely populated eastern suburbs.

And “furious” Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk is dealing with the likelihood of community transmissions from two teenagers who dodged quarantine. So far, they’ve passed the virus on to at least one friend.

The arrival of extra medical teams in Melbourne comes as the federal government ramps up resources for the private sector it regulates as the aged-care death toll continues to mount.

Nine deaths in Victoria – seven linked to private aged-care homes – lifted Australia’s COVID-19 toll to 176 on Wednesday.

Amid warnings of ‘‘more deaths’’ from former chief medical officer Professor Brendan Murphy, due to “deficiencies” in the response to COVID outbreaks, about 150,000 aged-care workers will receive a refresher course in infection control through the Victorian aged-care response centre.

The Australian Defence Force will also start door-knocking everyone who tests positive to the virus after checks found 29 people from 500 visits weren’t home.

Alleged border breacher ‘Eve Black’ arrested

A woman who was slammed as ‘selfish’ and disrespectful’ after evading police at a coronavirus checkpoint last week has been dramatically arrested in Melbourne.

Police have confirmed they arrested the 28-year-old Warrandyte woman, who is known by her social media name ‘Eve Black’.

They had been trying to speak to her since July 23, when she posted a video online laughing at police officers at a vehicle checkpoint at Bunyip, east of Melbourne.

“During the arrest, police were forced to break the woman’s car window as she refused to speak to them, wind down her window, or step out of the vehicle,” Victoria Police said on Wednesday.

The woman has been released pending summons.

Meanwhile, on the Mornington Peninsula, three people were fined for hosting a birthday party – among 103 fines issued by Victoria Police in the past 24 hours for breaching public health orders.

Four people were also fined after police found them in a car together and confirmed none had the same address.

There were also 33 fines issued for failing to wear face coverings when leaving home.

Border controls tightened

Meanwhile, police in Queensland continue to investigate after two 19-year-olds travelled to Brisbane from Melbourne via Sydney.

The young women allegedly gave false information on border declarations.

It’s since been confirmed they passed the coronavirus on to a friend.

Their travel prompted the Queensland government to ban visitors from Sydney from Saturday.

Testing has been stepped up in Queensland amid fears of an outbreak of community transmission.

On Wednesday, a 22-year-old woman who works at YMCA Chatswood Hills Outside School Hours Care, in southern Brisbane, and is known to the teens became the state’s first community transmission of COVID-19 in two months.

The 19-year-old women, from Logan and Park Ridge, returned from Melbourne, via Sydney, on July 21 and spent eight days in the community before testing positive.

They have reportedly been fined $4000 each for making false border declarations.

They have also sparked a massive contact tracing mission for Queensland Health while being responsible for the state’s first community transmission of coronavirus since May.

Passengers who sat near the pair on Virgin flights VA863 and VA977 on July 21 are also being contacted.

Between arriving back in Queensland and getting tested for COVID, the women went to a dental practice, five restaurants and bars in six suburbs, including Southbank, South Brisbane, Woodridge, Browns Plains and Sunnybank.

Shopping centres, restaurants, a school and a church have been closed.

Regular News Breakfast hosts Lisa Millar and Michael Rowland were off air on Thursday. Photo: ABC TV

ABC team isolates

The ABC’s News Breakfast hosts Lisa Millar, Michael Rowland and Nate Byrne are in isolation after a colleague’s wife tested positive to COVID-19.

ABC News spokesperson Sally Jackson said the program’s floor manager found out on Wednesday that his wife had tested positive for COVID-19, so “ABC management has decided the team that works closely with him should not come into work” and the Southbank premises would be cleaned.

Madeleine Morris, Ben Knight and Georgie Tunny will present the show from Thursday.

“This goes above and beyond the requirements of the Health Department, but the ABC wants to take the extra precaution for the wellbeing of everyone who works here, and in the interests of public safety,” Ms Jackson said.

Sydney cases prompt tighter restrictions

More rules will soon be in place for NSW gyms to ensure social distancing and stronger hygiene practices.

Gyms across the state from Saturday will need to register a COVID-safe plan and have a dedicated hygiene marshal on site to ensure social distancing, equipment cleaning and hand sanitiser availability.

This includes 24/7 gyms that are otherwise unstaffed for certain periods.

Fitness First gym in Kings Cross on Tuesday confirmed one person who attended for a class on July 20 had tested positive.

NSW Health recorded 19 coronavirus cases on Wednesday with only two in hotel quarantine and 10 connected to the Thai Rock restaurant in Wetherill Park, taking the size of that cluster to 85.

Its Potts Point sister restaurant is connected to two additional cases, taking the size of that cluster to seven, with one new case also linked to nearby restaurant The Apollo.

Fort Street High School in Petersham will also be closed on Thursday after being advised of a possible COVID-19 case.

The co-ed selective school will be cleaned as an extra precaution, a spokesman from the NSW Department of Education said, with test results expected by Thursday afternoon.

Other restrictions imposed on NSW residents include a ban on entering Western Australia unless an exemption is granted. While travel to South Australia and Tasmania is permitted, but people must quarantine upon arrival for 14 days.

Travel to the Northern Territory and the ACT is allowed but people coming from hotspots must quarantine for 14 days, while NSW residents who return from Victoria must self-isolate for 14 days upon return.

A further two cases – a woman in her 30s and another in her 60s – were also confirmed in Port Stephens on Wednesday.

-with AAP