Beijing back in lockdown over COVID-19 cluster at market

 

A cluster of new virus cases has brought China's capital back into lockdown, amid rising fears the country could see a second wave of COVID-19.

Beijing has carried out mass testing for the coronavirus after a cluster of new cases were linked to a wholesale food market.

The National Health Commission (NHC) reported 57 new infections on Sunday, of which 36 were local transmissions in Beijing, all linked to the Xinfadi market. The market was shut down on Saturday morning.

Chinese health authorities tested 5,803 people working at the market on Saturday, all of whom tested negative for the coronavirus.

The fresh outbreak forced the closure of sporting events and tourism events across Beijing on Saturday, while restaurants were discouraged from accepting large groups dining together.

RELATED: Follow the latest coronavirus updates

Australia has recorded 7320 coronavirus cases overall, with 3128 in NSW, 1720 in Victoria, 1065 in Queensland, 602 in Western Australia, 440 in South Australia, 228 in Tasmania, 108 in the ACT, and 29 in the Northern Territory. 

Virus cluster brings Beijing back into lockdown

Gavin Fernando

Beijing has carried out mass testing for the coronavirus after a cluster of new COVID-19 cases brought the city back under lockdown.

A fresh cluster linked to a wholesale food market in China's capital has raised fears of a return to social restrictions.

The National Health Commission (NHC) reported 57 new infections on Sunday, of which 36 were local transmissions in Beijing, all linked to the Xinfadi market. The market was shut down on Saturday morning.

(AP Photo/Andy Wong)

A further two domestic infections were in northeastern Liaoning province and were close contacts of the Beijing cases.

The 19 other infections were among Chinese nationals returning from abroad.

Chinese health authorities tested 5,803 people working at the market on Saturday, all of whom tested negative for the coronavirus.

The fresh outbreak forced the closure of sporting events and tourism events across Beijing on Saturday, while restaurants were discouraged from accepting large groups dining together.

Live Updates

Second Melbourne school shuts over virus casescoronavirus

Gavin Fernando

A second Melbourne school has shut down after two students tested positive to COVID-19.

Two students at St Dominic's School in Broadmeadows have tested positive to coronavirus, forcing the school to close for three days, Nine News reported.

Acting principal Alison Bretag said the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) recommended all students who attended school on June 2 and 3 to get tested.

"I want to assure you we are doing everything we can to contain and slow the spread of the virus and ensure the health and safety of our whole school community," Ms Bretag said in a statement.

"Students currently learning onsite are advised to remain at home whilst contact tracing occurs.

"They must limit movements to home-based activities and not attend public places."

Close contacts of the students will be notified by DHHS.

Queensland eases restrictions on funerals

Gavin Fernando

Up to 100 people will be allowed to attend funerals in Queensland from tomorrow, up from 50.

"I really want to thank the community for raising this issue," Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said at a press conference today.

"I know it's been very, very tough over the past few months."

Health Minister Steven Miles told reporters limiting the number of mourners was one of the hardest restrictions to implement.

"It's an event that people don't get to choose the timing of," he said on Monday.

"We've received hundreds of heartbreaking stories from families, wanting to have more people to grieve their loved ones."

Picture: Liam Kidston

Ms Palaszczuk also noted the government is "actively considering" Mr Morrison's recommendation of a one-person-per-four-square-metres rule at restaurants and gyms.

However, she has not revealed for certain whether the border will be reopened on July 10.

"I raised at national cabinet that Queensland has a very comprehensive roadmap, and that July 10 is listed there," she said.

"I also mentioned that we will review at the end of the month, but it is our clear intention that July 10 would be the date for consideration."

Queensland records zero new cases

Gavin Fernando

Queensland has recorded no new cases overnight, keeping the state's total at 1065.

PM: 'Road ahead will be very hard'

Gavin Fernando

Prime Minister Scott Morrison says Australia's "road ahead will be very hard" and "there is a mountain yet to climb" as the country looks to recover from the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

Speaking to the National Press Club on Monday, Mr Morrison said projections have estimated that more than $100 billion of economic activity would be lost this year as a product of the pandemic.

He said the government has formulated a five-year plan to "get back to level we were at prior to the fall from COVID-19".

"We need to lift our economic growth rate by more than one per centage point above trend… to catch back up to where we were before COVID-19 hit."

AAP Image/Lukas Coch

He noted younger people and women had been hardest-impacted by the crisis.

"It was often those going through structural transition such as middle-aged males coming out of older industries that were impacted on that.

"This one is different. That is also a sign of the times and of our workforce being completely different today."

He concluded by saying Australia is "weathering the storm" of the pandemic fallout.

"It is now time to gather the momentum and continue to build the confidence that we need to resume this great adventure."

Global death toll surges past 430,000

Gavin Fernando

The number of global coronavirus-related deaths has surpassed 430,000, according to figures from Johns Hopkins University.

The US is leading the death toll at 115,706, while Brazil has surpassed the United Kingdom with 42,720.

Russia has surged to the third-highest number of coronavirus cases, recording 528,267 infections since the pandemic began.

There has also been a sharp increase in India, with over 320,000 cases and 9,195 deaths.

Australia has recorded 7320 cases overall, with 3128 in NSW, 1720 in Victoria, 1065 in Queensland, 602 in Western Australia, 440 in South Australia, 228 in Tasmania, 108 in the ACT, and 29 in the Northern Territory.

Australia Post adamant no job losses

Australia Post is again trying to allay fears of job losses if the agency gets the regulatory green light for changes to deliveries during the coronavirus pandemic.

"I am giving you my word today that there are no plans for forced redundancies," CEO Christine Holgate wrote in a letter to federal MPs, The Australian reports.

Australia Post is today due to meet with crossbench senators about its plans, which need the approval of parliament.

The temporary changes, first announced in April, would allow it to extend letter delivery times to every second day business day and mover some door to door posties to delivery vans.

The changes are designed to deal with unprecedented demand for parcel deliveries and declining letter volumes, during the coronavirus outbreak. Ms Colgate told MPs in her letter that "restrictions on travel, domestic and international air capacity, and social-distancing and hygiene measures in our facilities and vehicles continue to significantly impact our ability to deliver".

Australia Post has asked for the new measures to remain in place until June 30 next year.

But the Communications, Electrical and Plumbing Union fears one in four jobs could be axed if the new delivery model is approved.

Labor is continuing to pressure the government to drop the changes.

- AAP

Melbourne school closed over virus cases

Gavin Fernando

A school in Melbourne's southeast will be closed today after two students tested positive for the coronavirus.

All staff and students at Pakenham Springs Primary School have been made to stay at home while the school conducts contact tracing and cleaning.

In a statement, the school's Acting Principal Renee Cotterell confirmed two students had contracted the virus.

"Following advice from DHHS and the Department of Education and Training, Pakenham Springs Primary School will be closed from Monday, 15 June for 24 hours initially," she said.

"This closure will allow time for the school and DHHS to undertake a full risk assessment and appropriate cleaning of the school site to occur on the recommendation of DHHS.

"Close contacts of the two students will be notified by DHHS over the next 24 hours."

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