News Coronavirus Virus update: School shuts, health experts front coronavirus inquiry, IMF predictions worsen

Virus update: School shuts, health experts front coronavirus inquiry, IMF predictions worsen

coronavirus schools
Students from one Sydney school will have to learn from home on Thursday. Photo: AAP
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A primary school in Sydney’s north will shut on Thursday after one of its students tested positive for the coronavirus.

The closure comes one month after public schools resumed face-to-face learning following almost two months of remote learning.

Lane Cove West Public School will temporarily close to undergo deep cleaning after a year two student was confirmed to have COVID-19, the NSW Department of Health said.

“The school will be non-operational for the on-site attendance of staff and students to allow for contact tracing to occur,” the statement on Wednesday night said.

Students with flu-like symptoms have been urged to get tested at a clinic which has been set at Royal North Shore Hospital, near the school.

Health experts to appear at virus inquiry

A Senate inquiry into Australia’s coronavirus response will on Thursday hear from several infectious disease experts as politicians turn to health outcomes and preparation.

The Australian Medical Association’s head Tony Bartone is expected to argue that Australia should have an organisation equivalent to the Centre for Disease Control.

For years, the AMA has argued that Australia “urgently” needs a CDC to: “provide national leadership and to co-ordinate rapid and effective public health responses to manage communicable diseases and outbreaks”.

Dr Tony Bartone.

Dr Bartone will front the inquiry on behalf of the professional association for doctors and has his focus on “the physical and mental health of the population and the financial impact” of COVID-19.

Representatives from the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation will speak on 18 recommendations made to the government.

They include paid pandemic leave, access to personal protective equipment, continued funding for telehealth services, and strict rules around aged care funding being used to protect residents from virus outbreaks.

EU weights up US travel ban

The number of coronavirus cases around the world, now at about 9.3 million, is expected to reach 10 million next week, World Health Organisation Director General Tedros Adhanom said on Thursday morning.

He said the WHO was now supporting many countries in dealing with difficulties obtaining oxygen concentrators, devices that boost the flow of oxygen to support the breathing of COVID-19 sufferers.

“Demand is outstripping supply,” Dr Tedros said.

The US is the worst place for the virus, prompting the European Union to now consider banning Americans from travelling to member states when it reopens its borders on July 1.

The 27-member bloc is deciding on a list of measures that non-EU countries need to meet for its citizens to be allowed entry into the EU.

It is anticipated that countries with high infection rates such as the US, Brazil and Russia won’t meet its health standards to enable travel.

Meanwhile, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he was “very confident” a solution could be found “in the coming weeks”.

“We certainly don’t want to reopen in a way that jeopardises the United States from people travelling here and we certainly don’t want to cause problems anyplace else,” he said.

His comments came after New York governor Andrew Cumo announced new quarantine measures that would require anyone entering the state to self-isolate for two weeks.

Deeper recession predicted

The coronavirus pandemic has caused wider and deeper damage to economic activity than first thought, the International Monetary Fund says, prompting the institution to slash its 2020 global output forecasts further.

The IMF said it now expects 2020 global output to shrink by 4.9 per cent, compared with a 3.0 per cent contraction predicted in April, when it used data available as widespread business lockdowns were just getting into full swing.

A recovery in 2021 also will be weaker, with global growth forecast at 5.4 per cent for the year compared to 5.8 per cent in the April forecast.

The IMF said, however, that a major new outbreak in 2021 could shrink the year’s growth to a barely perceptible 0.5 per cent.

Australian virus cases

Australia has recorded its first coronavirus death in a month after a Victorian man in his 80s died from the disease, bringing the national tally to 103.

The state has had 128 new cases of COVID-19 in the past week, with 20 cases and the death recorded on Wednesday.

Victoria’s active cases have jumped from 58 to 143 in the past eight days, while the rest of the country combined has only had 20.

Australia has recorded 7521 cases on Wednesday with 494 still active and no cases in SA, Tasmania, ACT or the NT.

The national death toll is 103: NSW 50, Victoria 20, Tasmania 13, WA nine, Queensland six, SA four, ACT three. (Two Qld residents who died in NSW have been included in the official tolls of both states).

-with AAP