Coronavirus updates LIVE: Victorian CHO Brett Sutton to front state’s hotel quarantine inquiry; NSW mystery case emerges as Australian death toll stands at 816

Coronavirus updates LIVE: Victorian CHO Brett Sutton to front state’s hotel quarantine inquiry; NSW mystery case emerges as Australian death toll stands at 816

September 15, 2020


  • Victoria recorded 42 new coronavirus cases on Tuesday and, for the first time in two months, did not add to its death toll. The state’s regional areas will be able to enjoy eased restrictions from tomorrow, but Premier Daniel Andrews has warned Melburnians an escape to the country is ‘not on’.
  • Queensland is considering lowering the bar to reopen the border with NSW by halving the required number of days with no community transmission to 14, according to government and industry sources.
  • NSW recorded seven new coronavirus cases on Tuesday, just one without a known source. The state’s health authorities are growing increasingly concerned about low testing numbers ahead of the school holidays.
  • The inquiry into hotel quarantine in Victoria continues today, with Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton due to give evidence.
  • There have now been 29.3 million coronavirus cases worldwide since the start of the pandemic. The global death toll has passed 930,000.

Today's front pages

Here's what is making news on the front pages of The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald today.

  • The Andrews government faces a new class action on behalf of workers retrenched during the coronavirus second wave, amid claims the hotel quarantine bungle forced thousands out of work.
  • Some of the nation's most respected economists say Australia should attempt to effectively eliminate the coronavirus, warning opening up restrictions too early could damage the economic recovery.
  • Recordings of meetings that set up Victoria's failed hotel quarantine program reveal Australian Defence Force troops were on offer to the Victorian government from the outset.
  • NSW's elective surgery waiting list has blown out to more than 100,000 patients that will take at least six months to clear after national cabinet's moratorium on non-urgent operations triggered an unprecedented backlog.

Police struck in head while trying to break up illegal Melbourne gathering

A police officer in Melbourne has been struck in the back of the head while trying to break up a group of about 40 young people in the city’s outer west.

It’s alleged that the large group was gathered on an oval at Long Tree Drive in Harkness and began “throwing bottles around” when police arrived at 5pm on Tuesday.

“As police were attempting to disperse the group, one police officer was struck to the back of the head and is being treated for non-life threatening injuries,” said a police spokesman.

Three males and one female was arrested and the rest of the group left the oval.

Investigations are ongoing.

Under Melbourne's current restrictions, people can only gather in groups of two or with their household outside.

'No magic solution': Failings cripple COVID testing in UK

Boris Johnson's government acknowledged its COVID-19 testing program is coming under strain, amid reports of tests being unavailable even where they're most needed in the country's biggest virus hotspots, Bloomberg reports.

"This is challenging," Home Secretary Priti Patel told Times Radio on Tuesday. "There is no magic solution to say this is all going to be perfect."

Britain’s Home Secretary Priti Patel says there is “no magic solution” to strains on COVID-testing regime.Credit:AP

The United Kingdom recorded 27 new deaths and 3105 positive cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, up from 2621 the day before, official statistics showed.

Cases of the coronavirus have been steadily rising in Britain since the beginning of September, forcing the government to bring in tough new restrictions on public gatherings to prevent the virus from spreading further.

  • Read more: Failings cripple COVID testing in UK

Welcome to today's blog

Good morning and welcome to today's live coverage of the coronavirus pandemic in Australia and beyond. This is Mary Ward taking you through Wednesday's developments. Please send me a tweet or an email if there is something happening in your community you think we should know about.

As for what is happening today, Victorian Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton is due to make his long-awaited appearance at the state's hotel quarantine inquiry, and the state's Parliament will sit.

We are also expecting the tense words between state premiers on borders to continue. South Australia decided yesterday to reopen to the ACT but not NSW, and the question of whether Qantas will decide to headquarter its 10,000 jobs away from Sydney is emerging as a battle between NSW, Queensland and Victoria. Meanwhile, government and industry sources are saying Queensland could be set to relax its hotspot definition (the national cabinet discussion on the matter is coming up on Friday).

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